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Problem with Digitrax UT4R throttles

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  • Member since
    November, 2013
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Problem with Digitrax UT4R throttles
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:32 PM

Hey guys,

On my layout, I use a Digitrax Zephyr DCS 50 for my power supply and base station.  I also have two Digitrax UTR4 (wireless radio remote) throttles working with a UR91 receiver.  The large rotary dial that controls locomotive speed will work just fine either plugged in, or unplugged for remote control.  The problem I have is the tiny buttons for bell (F1) and whistle (F2).

They will only work properly when the throttle is plugged in.  If the throttle is unplugged, I either get no sound, or the button will act like it's "stuck" and I get a continuous blast from the whistle until I fiddle with it long enough to make it stop.  

Again, with the throttle plugged in, all buttons work fine.  With the throttle unplugged - nothing or continuous sound.  The 9 volt batteries are fresh.

Have you heard of this before?  (No pun untended)  Please help!

  • Member since
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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:26 PM

That would happen to me when I used a similar Digitrax set-up. Does it ever happen that when you reverse the engine's direction, it doesn't 'take' and it keeps wanting to go the direction it had been going? That's a fairly common problem with Digitrax wireless too.

I've heard that there's kind of a design flaw in Digitrax that makes things like that happen. AFAIK there isn't a fix to it. That being said, I'm sure many folks here have used Digitrax wireless with no problems.

Stix
  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:45 PM

 Is your power supply to the UR91 good?

There can be slight lag in the radio but it shouldn;t be latching function on and completely missing keystrokes like that. Most of those issue were resolved long ago. Direction change lag with the Ut4 can be solved by not flipping the switch from forward to reverse directly but deliberately stopping at the stop middle mosition before mushing it all the way over to the desired direction. Our club uses a UR91 unless in a multi-layout exhibition in which case we switch over to the duplex radios and UR92s, but the simple (R) throttles, I have no problems using F2 to blow grade crossings while running a train along with 4-5 other people at the same time.

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:49 PM

Yes, that has happend.  On occasion I have stopped the locomotive, flipped the switch from "forward" to "reverse", opened the throttle and it will continue to go forward!

  • Member since
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  • 186 posts
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:53 PM

Randy, I will check the power supply connection and let you know.  Thanks.

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  • 186 posts
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 11:56 PM

.

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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:51 AM

Randy,

The power supply to the UR91 is the Zephyr.  All connections look good.  My layout is not large  (8' x 16').  With the Zephyr and two hand held throttles, I can only operate a maximum of three locomotives at one time (I don't double-head or MU).  I believe that the 3 amps supplied by the Zephyr is more than enough power for my layout and trains.

The locomotive that the problems happen to is a BLI "Blue Line" light mikado (DC, sound - DCC ready).  I have been running it with an NCE decoder.  I address all of my locos to their cab number.  I've tried changing the mikado's address to 03 to see if this would "reset to factory defaults".  This resulted in loss of all sound effects except chuff.  When I changed the address back to it's cab number, the bell and whistle were restored.  The issue with forward and reverse have also continued.

I have also noticed that if I use the UT4R with a different locomotive, the problem with the "stuck" F2 button will also happen (when unplugged from the UR91) 

  • Member since
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  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:28 AM

 

JOHN C TARANTO
The power supply to the UR91 is the Zephyr.  All connections look good.  My layout is not large  (8' x 16').  With the Zephyr and two hand held throttles, I can only operate a maximum of three locomotives at one time (I don't double-head or MU).  I believe that the 3 amps supplied by the Zephyr is more than enough power for my layout and trains.

Three amps certainly sounds like enough for your layout, but that is separate from the Loconet power.  You really need to add a power supply for the UR91.

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Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:31 AM

Robert, thank you for the advice.  How could I go about adding a separate power supply to the UR91?  Is it explained in the owner's manual?  Who's power supply would you recommend?

  • Member since
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  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:43 AM

In the manual they recommend the Digitrax PS14.

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:32 AM

  The UR91 needs a power supply, it and the UR92 draw too much poer to be reliably fed via the Loconet cable. The PS14 wall wart has a plug on the end and there is a matching socket on the UR91 it plugs in to. The missing button presses and so forth are often symptoms of poor radio reception, without the power supply for the UR91 it may not be receiving the radio signal clearly. Positioning also matters. Those two little wires stickign up from the UR91 board are the antennas, those wires whould be upright, not smooshed down against the board. People block radio signals, so it helps to put the UR91 up high. I've never analysed one to see exactly how they are made, but the circuit board almost has to be the ground plane for the radio receiver. What all that technical mumbo-jumbo means is I've always thought they would work best mounted high up, upside down - so the little antenna waires point down at the ground, and the whole thing is over your head. Second best in my book would be right side up down at waist level as long as there weren't too many peopel crowding into the train room. The idea here that the strongest part of the radio signal is above the plane of the circuit board, on the side the antennas are on, and the shortest direct line between the UT4R and the UR91 results in the best possible signal.

 You say your batteries are fresh - what sort are you using? Regular 9V alkaline batteries, or some sort of rechargeable ones? You have to watch with rechargeables, as many of them are really only 8.4V when fully charged which is already near the low end for the Digitrax throttles to operate.

                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 186 posts
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:29 PM

Guys,

Thanks for all the great advice.  I noticed the small plug in port on the backside of the UR91 and figured that looked like a power supply connection, but never put 2 and 2 together.  It all makes sense now.  I have found some vendors online with PS14.  Will order one today.

The UR91 is mounted on the fascia board of my layout about waist high.  I have the antenna wires positioned as best as possible.  The only interference that I see is the wooden L-girder benchwork and the under-track bus wires, which run fairly close to the UR91.   

I use Duracell Alkaline batteries.  I have a battery tester with a sweep needle gauge on it for checking my batteries.  Hopefully, it's accurate. 

Will update you on my progress.

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 3:09 PM

 Wood benchwork won't be a problem. Steel stud benchwork, or scenery made with metal screening though.. you should be ok. Once the power supply is connected it should work much better. 

 How many other throttles do you have plugged in? It MIGHT work if the only thing plugged in to Loconet is the UR91 and no other throttles. but it really is supposed to have the PS14.

                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 186 posts
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 3:51 PM

Yeah, I'm thinking once I install the PS14 everything should be smooth sailing (fingers crossed).

On my layout, I have the Zephyr "base station" with it's large rotary throttle and two UT4Rs.  So I can operate up to three locomotives at once.  I only plug in the remote throttles during initial start up, to aquire their assigned locomotive, then they remain unplugged for the remainder of the operating session.  

Glad you think the bus lines won't pose a problem...

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Posted by mfm37 on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 3:58 PM

Did you purchase the UR91 new? Depending on its production date there should have been a PS12 or PS14 included with it.

Martin Myers

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  • 186 posts
Posted by JOHN C TARANTO on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:31 PM

I "inherited" it from a modular club that disbanded.  The PS14 was probably lost in the confusion. 

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