A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

February 26, 2017

The Mysterious Ways of Dr DCC

While I was in Florida last week, I purchased a Soundtraxx PTB-100 Programming Booster. The booster is supposed to provide "reliable programming of all Soundtraxx DCC decoders." It was simple to wire up, except that I had to cut the power input wires to my Easy DCC system to splice in the taps for the input power to the PTB-100 circuit. It turned on and the status light gave a reassuring blinking green glow.

I put the troublesome GENSET loco with the Tsunami 2 sound decoder on the programming track. Alas, the PTB-100 status lights gave brief red flashes when I entered programming instructions, indicating that there was insufficient voltage input to the circuit. I got these red indicators for both the GENSET and one of my O scale locos with a Tsunami decoder.

I put the GENSET on the rails and it fired up. Things seem to work normally. But, after about a minute the loco would not respond to inputs. I shut everything down, checked my wiring and input voltage to the PTB-100. All seemed OK. I tried to program again. Red error lights again. But when I tested the loco it worked properly.

I did a full reboot cycle to see if to would still work and it did. I have no idea why it worked, but for now I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

There are two special functions FX26 nd FX 27 for ditch lights that I can't access from the Easy DCC system as there is no way to address as 2x function (or perhaps I can but don't know how. I may have to remap these to different function buttons. But having read the manual, I have no clue how to do it. I also have no clue what the dynamic brake function does. Gosh, I hate DCC!)

Also, when we arrived home, the USPS had already delivered the bow and stern parts to the bulk carrier  ship model that I mailed from Florida. Good job USPS. I placed the wooden ship hull on the intended wharf area. It fills the space quite nicely. I may make the borax pier an inch narrower, and the water area a matching inch wider to have a bit water between the hull and the fascia. Right now the hull comes right up to the edge of the fascia.

So all in all a good day. One more loco in service, and the ship hull in house. The jury is still out on the PTB-100.

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