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Strange problem with Prodigy 2 squared

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  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Orange County CA
  • 36 posts
Strange problem with Prodigy 2 squared
Posted by Sherman1111 on Saturday, May 3, 2008 9:24 PM

I have a strange problem, I put a Bachmann decoder in a N scale 4-6-2 today. Programmed on programming track, ran fine on layout with a Kato f7 ABBA running on another track. ran for about a hour ans shut everything down. Came back about a 1/2 hour later, nothing works. The Prodigy is not linking with the base unit. Checked power supply, ok, check track voltage , ok, have a dispay. Take the 4-6-2 off the track, power up everything back to normal. Shut down and put 4-6-2 back on track, and it runs fine. Shut down for a hour, and back to not linking with base unit. take 4-6-2 off track, and reset. Everything fine again. Anyone run into anything like this?

There in no short in the 4-6-2 decoder, the only thing different from the other locos is that the lamp in the engine is direct connected to the track and not going through the decoder. getting to the lamp means disasmbeling the locomotive.

 

 

any suggestions?

thanks

jd 

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 58 posts
Posted by gcri on Sunday, May 4, 2008 5:32 PM
My Prodigy Advanced Squared cooked 3 of my N scale Digitrax DN163K1B decoders.  I would install them and they would run great for about an hour and then they would start to short out for no reason and then finally the directional lights were the only thing that would work.  I even took these locos over to my LHS after they started acting like this and they did the same thing on his Digitrax system.  After the third decoder I realized the track voltage was a little more than it needed to be for N scale.  I was going to get a voltage reducer to see if that helped it, but I decided to just get rid of my system and just get a Digitrax system and magically all the replacement decoders still work to this day even after several hours of use (I never used any of the replacement decoders with the Prodigy system).  Obviously this problem is somewhat different than yours, but it was still a problem with my Prodigy and N scale.
  • Member since
    November 2002
  • From: Thornton, CO
  • 763 posts
Posted by jwils1 on Monday, May 5, 2008 9:29 AM

 gcri wrote:
My Prodigy Advanced Squared cooked 3 of my N scale Digitrax DN163K1B decoders.  I would install them and they would run great for about an hour and then they would start to short out for no reason and then finally the directional lights were the only thing that would work.  I even took these locos over to my LHS after they started acting like this and they did the same thing on his Digitrax system.  After the third decoder I realized the track voltage was a little more than it needed to be for N scale.  I was going to get a voltage reducer to see if that helped it, but I decided to just get rid of my system and just get a Digitrax system and magically all the replacement decoders still work to this day even after several hours of use (I never used any of the replacement decoders with the Prodigy system).  Obviously this problem is somewhat different than yours, but it was still a problem with my Prodigy and N scale.

gcri:

Thanks for the tip.  I have several Digitrax N scale decoders and an MRC system so I think I will install a voltage reducer to be safe.  I have an MRC voltage reducer that I previously used with an Atlas Commander so I will use it.  It should drop voltage by about 4 volts.

The Digitrax decoder manual suggests about 12 volts for their decoders, whereas Atlas has told me that their newer locos can handle much more.  For example, the Atlas Commander puts out about 17 volts and they said that was okay with their equipment but probably not with other brands.

 

 

Jerry

Rio Grande vs. Santa Fe.....the battle is over but the glory remains!

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 58 posts
Posted by gcri on Monday, May 5, 2008 12:56 PM
You are very welcome.  I never had the problem out of any of my MRC or Lenz decoders only the Digitrax decoders had issues with the Prodigy.  Hopefully the voltage reducer will prevent you from ever having any problems.
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 327 posts
Posted by locoworks on Monday, May 5, 2008 1:04 PM
 why not just use a lower voltage transformer with your prodigy???
  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Portland, OR
  • 3,119 posts
Posted by jfugate on Monday, May 5, 2008 4:58 PM

 gcri wrote:
You are very welcome.  I never had the problem out of any of my MRC or Lenz decoders only the Digitrax decoders had issues with the Prodigy.  Hopefully the voltage reducer will prevent you from ever having any problems.

In the last couple of years, I've lost more Digitrax decoders due to premature failure. I moved to NCE and TCS decoders and have not had any problem since.

My guess is Digitrax has been having some quality control problems on their decoders. I don't know how their decoders are doing now days, but this incident suggests they may still be having some issues. 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 58 posts
Posted by gcri on Monday, May 5, 2008 7:06 PM

I purchased three different decoders from three different places (two online and one at my LHS) and they all failed within about a same amount of time.  All the replacement decoders (including one I traded back in at my LHS) continue to work fine with my Digitrax system.  If I am not mistaken the Prodigy system was putting out just over 16 volts which I am sure that is plenty to cook a decoder.  I should have put a reducer on it and I would be willing to bet that if I had done so my original decoders would still be working.  I am definitely not trying to say there is anything wrong with MRC, but  I was just saying to be careful with the system without running a reducer on N scale.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Vail, AZ
  • 1,943 posts
Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Monday, May 5, 2008 7:24 PM
It seems you have come across one of my pet peeves in the DCC decoder/command station world!  The NMRA standard is really confused in this area, in my opinion.  It does suggest that the "typical" output of the command station for N scale shoule be 12 V.  But, here is a quote from the standard: 

Digital Decoders intended for "N" and smaller scales shall be designed to withstand a DC voltage of at least 24 volts as measured at the track.

Which seems to imply that they shouldn't blow up at 18V.

The standard also says that the DCC voltage shouldn't exceed the DC voltage specified in S-9 for each scale by more than 2 volts.  But heck if I've been able to find those voltages in S-9!  Either I'm not looking in the right place, or the standard is kind of circular!

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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