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Digitrax Radio Question

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  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Colorado
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Digitrax Radio Question
Posted by jxtrrx on Monday, April 7, 2008 11:19 AM

I have a DT400R throttle with my Zephyr and a UR91 radio receiver.  The manual says that if the throttle is plugged in, a battery is not necessary.  But If I run it without a battery (while plugged in) I get only the "Version Number" read out, not the loco information on the throttle display.  If I insert a battery, it works fine.  How can I solve this?

By the way, I'd prefer not using a battery since I always forget to remove it when I'm done... and it drains the battery.  Who ever heard of a device that requires removing the battery each time you're finished using it????Dead [xx(]  I've taken the battery cover on and off so many times, that it no longer fastens properly, and ultimately I've lost it.  Ok I'm finished whining. SoapBox [soapbox] 

Other than that I love my Zephyr.

-Jack My shareware model railroad inventory software: http://www.yardofficesoftware.com My layout photos: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a33/jxtrrx/JacksLayout/
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Posted by retsignalmtr on Monday, April 7, 2008 12:08 PM
when i use my dt400r in my empirebuilder system without a battery i get the same display as if i was operating in a wireless mode. i even tried it with the power supply for the ur91 unplugged and i still got the proper display. digitrax tech support is very good each time i had to call them with a decoder question or something about my system. try giving them a call. i also complained about there being a lack of an on/off switch on the controllers.
  • Member since
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Posted by jamnest on Monday, April 7, 2008 4:32 PM

I am a satisfied Digitrax Chief (radio) user.  I have two DT-100R, two DT-300R and a DT-400R.  They work great but I would agree that the battery is a big negative.  I do use recharagable 9v batteries, so if they run down, I can re-charge them.  There is enough friction with the battery clips that I just leave the backs off.

The new DT-4R throttles have a feature which allows you to turn the unit off.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, April 7, 2008 4:57 PM
 jamnest wrote:

The new DT-4R throttles have a feature which allows you to turn the unit off.

On the Digitrax website I found a DT-400R and a UT-4R, but not a DT-4R?? Confused [%-)]

Stix
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Posted by jbinkley60 on Monday, April 7, 2008 7:00 PM
 jxtrrx wrote:

I have a DT400R throttle with my Zephyr and a UR91 radio receiver.  The manual says that if the throttle is plugged in, a battery is not necessary.  But If I run it without a battery (while plugged in) I get only the "Version Number" read out, not the loco information on the throttle display.  If I insert a battery, it works fine.  How can I solve this?

By the way, I'd prefer not using a battery since I always forget to remove it when I'm done... and it drains the battery.  Who ever heard of a device that requires removing the battery each time you're finished using it????Dead [xx(]  I've taken the battery cover on and off so many times, that it no longer fastens properly, and ultimately I've lost it.  Ok I'm finished whining. SoapBox [soapbox] 

Other than that I love my Zephyr.

After you get the version number it doesn't give you the voltage reading on the display ?  If not, I would check the power to the UR91, although it would seem strange that the UR91 is working and yet not supply proper power to the DT400.  Does the UR91 work for wireless mode when you install a battery in the DT400 and go tetherless ?

 

 

 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
Visit my layout at: http://www.thebinks.com/trains/

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Posted by UpNorth on Monday, April 7, 2008 7:45 PM
Look at your  OPSW #2 setting of your DT400R . If it is anything between 40 and 48 (hex) you are " Radio ONLY enabled ".    
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Posted by locoworks on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:56 AM
you could put a battery in and power the UR91 with the 'keep alive' option using 12V DC. that way when you power down the zephyr, aslong as the 12V dc is on the DT400R won't use the battery up and it will also retain the memory of what ever was assigned to it before you switched the system off.
  • Member since
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  • From: Kansas
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Posted by jamnest on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:19 PM

I am aware of the "keep alive" function that keeps power on the Digitrax Loconet to keep throttle batteries from running down.  When I leave my layout room I have a master switch which "kills" the power (electrical outtlet) that my Digitrax boosters are connected to, so I don't have any power on the layout when it is not in use.

Several years ago Loys Toys (now out of business) sold a stand alone device which you could plug your throttles to keep them alive.  I am not sure if these are still available.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by locoworks on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:48 PM
i suppose all you need is a BIG leisure battery that has a decent charger topping it up when you are playing trains.  the leisure battery would just plug into the keep alive on the UR91, UP5 or any other panel.
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Posted by jxtrrx on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 9:07 AM

 locoworks wrote:
you could put a battery in and power the UR91 with the 'keep alive' option using 12V DC. that way when you power down the zephyr, aslong as the 12V dc is on the DT400R won't use the battery up and it will also retain the memory of what ever was assigned to it before you switched the system off.

Thanks everyone for the good suggestions.  I added the 12V power suppply to the UR91 and the inoperative readout problem went away.  I have not yet seen if this will also solve the battery life problem.

I have operat4ed the UR91 for a few years without a power supply, and it worked fine.  But recently enlarged my layout considerably, and moved the UR91 farther away form the Zephyr control unit on the loco net.  This is what introduced the problem.  I don't know if it's as a result of the distance from the Zephyr, or the additional track eating more current??? 

Anyway, everythings fine now!  Again thanks!

-Jack My shareware model railroad inventory software: http://www.yardofficesoftware.com My layout photos: http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a33/jxtrrx/JacksLayout/
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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 9:25 AM

jxtrrx,
Not having the external power supply plugged into the UR91 vastly reduces it's range.  We had a problem at my club where we had to run without the power supply, and our radio throttle range was limited to the immediate area around our layout.  It also didn't like to go through walls.

Once we got some external power in the UR91's, the range went back to it's considerable level and had no problems going through multiple walls.

Paul A. Cutler III
************
Weather Or No Go New Haven
************

 

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Posted by jamnest on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 9:59 AM
Wow, I didn't know that a UR-91 would operate without an external power supply.  I have had Digitrax radio for almost 10 years and my UR-91 instructions said to connect it to an external power supply.  I guess without an external power supply the UR-91 was taking power from the Loconet?

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by locoworks on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 11:49 AM

 jamnest wrote:
Wow, I didn't know that a UR-91 would operate without an external power supply.  I have had Digitrax radio for almost 10 years and my UR-91 instructions said to connect it to an external power supply.  I guess without an external power supply the UR-91 was taking power from the Loconet?

 

yes it does, if you only have a small switching layout and want the radio ( it probably wouldn't be necessary ) then powering it from the loconet doesn't have issues except for battery going flat without the keep alive.

  • Member since
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Posted by jamnest on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 11:59 AM

I went back an looked at the Digitrax manual for the UR-91 and it recommends that an external power supply be used if your Loconet exceeds three teathered throttles.  This might be less for a Zepher as it puts out about 1/2 the AMPS of a Chief. As I stated, I have always used a small "wall wart" power supply with my UR-91 and never had any radio signal problems.

I also have my UR-91 mounted high near the celing and not in the layout facia.  This reduces the amount of walls or benchwork that the radio signal must pass through, thus improving reception.

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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