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I got to be honest, not a good experience with Bachman products

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I got to be honest, not a good experience with Bachman products
Posted by jeep35 on Monday, May 28, 2018 9:19 AM

It is my preference to purchase good quality lococmotives, mainly I have Atlas, Kato, Stewart/Bowser a couple old Proto 2000 models. But, sometimes if I'm looking for a model that I'm not going to run a whole lot or if I'm willing to accept a lower level of detailing I will look at some of the "off brands" like a Bachman. This has proven to be quite a frustrating experience. A while back I was having trouble running two Bachman FA-2s with sound in a consist. Simply wanted to run them back to back. Quite a few people on this forum tried to help me. I have tried any and all suggestions, went on You Tube, looked at the soundtraxx website, spent hours trying different solutions. I was never able to sucessfully run these two engines together. They run fine seperately, no complaints. So I thought maybe I could run one sound unit with one that doesn't have sound (only DCC). Had a pair of older Bachman "Sharks" that I could try. They had been sitting on the shelf and I had forgotten the decoder address (Bachman did not put numbers on the sides of the engines), but I had just forgotten although I could have sworn I had written them down somewhere. Oh well I'll just reprogram them. Trouble is, I can't seem to reprogram them. Followed the normal procedure that I have done many, many times and they just will not accept any address (long or short). They just sit there! Tried resetting the decoder to factory settings, tried unlocking the decoder and reentering the CV values off of Bachmans website. So I've wasted a good part of last evening and a good part of this morning trying to get "cheap" locomotives to work. Now maybe it's just me, I may be doing something wrong and I just haven't figured it out yet, but it's very frustrating. I have never had these problems with other brands of locomotives. I don't want to say Bachman makes junk, but clearly I'm not satisfied with the products I currently own. Thanks for letting me rant!!!! 

Jim

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, May 28, 2018 9:50 AM

Bachmann does not make the decoders.  They are a low-budget version of Soundtraxx decoders.  Bachmann just installs them.

I've got two Bachmann engines, and both look and perform just fine.  One is a small Mikado, and the other is "Gigi," my GG-1.  They are both equipped with the Soundtraxx "Sound Value" decoders.  The only issue I have is that they don't recognize the normal start and momentum CVs, so they would both take off like a jackrabbit at speed step 1.  I don't run my trains fast, so my solution was to greatly reduce the Vhigh CV, which scaled down the running voltages to the point where speed step 1 was much lower and the startup curve was much better.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by bearman on Monday, May 28, 2018 10:23 AM

I have had mixed results with Bachmann.  The 44 ton switcher, from the Spectrum series, never ran right.  On the other hand, the GP9 I got runs fine.  I have learned to check the online reviews before going the Bachmann route.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Monday, May 28, 2018 10:45 AM

My take is: get them without dcc, and then install non sound or sound. By themselves, they are quiet runners, although their deisel locomotives are obviously lacking in detail. From what I have seen at the club and on reviews, their steam locomotives are way better.

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Posted by jeep35 on Monday, May 28, 2018 12:54 PM

By themselves the FA-2s run fine, no complaints. It's when you try to consist them that things go haywire. I was actually content to disable all the sound functions on one of the engines and just use it like a non sound model. Just wanted the headlight to work. Even that was too much to ask! I am considering removing the sound board and just installing an inexpensive decoder.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Monday, May 28, 2018 3:29 PM

Great idea. Several people do that. Bachmann=ok. Bachmann+their decoder=Sad Bachmann+soundtraxx sound value=Ick!. Get an econami if you still want sound. They generally go for under $80, and I am quite happy with mine.

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Posted by nealknows on Monday, May 28, 2018 4:26 PM

Wow! I have a pair of Bachmann A&B F units NYC with sound. They run fine together in consist. What did I do to make them to play well together? I gave them BOTH the same address. Since they don't have a road numbers on them (another topic for another time), they only run together. I have many of the Bachmann DCC equipped and for the money they cost, they're just fine. Definitely not an Atlas or Athearn, so for the basic engine and whatever decoder they put in them, I'll buy them to add to the fleet. One of the train stores advertised some Bachmann GP35 DCC equipped for $40! For that price, I'll splurge, bought a few and repaint them for my private road. It's basic, not top of the line. And as always YMMV!

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, May 28, 2018 5:19 PM

 Sounds like the OP has a pair of A units, not an A and B, so consisting them back to back is not a simple matter of giving them the same address. One has to have NDOT reversed with CV29. Or in some other way be set to run the oopposite direction. Don't know what DCC system, but when consisting with NCE you just tell it the unit is runnign backwards and it adds 128 to the consist number in CV19. With Digitrax it doesn't even have to set anything in the decoder, the command station just runs it in whatever direction you had it running when adding to the consist.

                                   --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 jeep35 on Monday, May 28, 2018 5:55 PM

Using the NCE system. Actually set up a programming track using the PowerCab. On the programming track I could pretty much get the engines to do what I wanted them to do. On the lead engine I left eveything at factory defaults. On the trailing engine I disabled the bell and the horn. When I went to program the consist I used the "Avanced" option and it assigned the number 126 to the consist. Tried it out and everything appeared to function. Set the engines on the main line and selected 126 for the loco and she moved, but I lost some of the horn functions (horn button on throttle did not work) pressing button 2, nothing. Pressing button 3 gave a very brief horn. Also lost headlight function. As I said before, when I run them seperately they function very well, consisting them causes the issues. I realize they are inexpensive, but I really shouldn't have this much trouble. It's very disapointing.

Jim

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, May 28, 2018 6:25 PM

I'm still in the construction phase so I have not tried a consist.  All my locos, not that many, that have sound are loksound and I have an NCE Powercab. 

On occassion, I have lost headlight or horn functions and resetting the decoder always worked.  The engines weren't Bachmann and the decoders were 100% loksound selects.  I have 2 Bachmann steamers, but they have't been run enough to say, one way or the other.

My BM 45 tonner does forget it's programming.  I don't have to run it through a turnout set wrong, I just have to park it for 2 weeks and it loses it's mind.

I don't think we can blame NCE either.  You and I share the same polterigeist. 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, May 28, 2018 8:21 PM

 You need to loook at CV21 and CV22, these controls what functions are active in advanced (CV19) consisting. You shouldn't have to mess around with individual locos enabling and disabling functions prior to consisting them. NCE takes care of this by sending the horn and bell commands to only the lead loco in the consist, you shouldn;t need to fiddle around with this manually.

 What you're doing wrong is manually proogramming CV19 on the PowerCab and then taking the two locos to the main and selecting the consist number as the loco number. You need to create the consist on the same system you are trying to run them oon - they get programmed ont he main, no program track needed, and the bahvior will be more like expected. Full NCE consist functionality does NOT move with the locos.

                                             --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 jeep35 on Monday, May 28, 2018 10:37 PM

Well, I've tried everything else I might as well give this a try.

thanks

Jim

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 6:37 AM

If you've tried a lot of other things, first thing I'd do is reset the decoders, then set the desired address in each one. Then, using the layout system, build the consist you are trying to build, following the NCE instructions.

 You can TEST it on your PowerCab program track by building the consist in the PowerCab - but break it up before moving the locos to the layout and build the consist again there using the layout system.

                                  --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 jeep35 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:40 AM

Well, I did as you suggested and actually disconnected the layout DCC system and installed the Powercab. This is how the layout was originally wired when I first got into DCC. Reset the decoders, gave each engine an address, then tried to build a consist. First I tried using the "advanced" option on the controller, it assigned the consist number 119. Using the Powercab throttle engines moved but lost horn function and headlights. More ominous was when I tried to use another throttle to control the train, it took off at full speed and didn't respond to the throttle. Tried suing the "old style" consist option. Entered in addresses using the Powercab, this time it assigned the consist the number of the lead locomotive which I believe is normal and it performed normally. Bell, horn, lights, everything functioned.  However when the train reached a section of the layout that was beyond the reach of the Powercab (it's on a 6 foot cord) and I tried to use another cab (NCE POWER PRO Cab-06) things went downhill. I entered the consist number but the throttle didn't seem to understand it was a consist and contolled the lead engine and left the trailing engine unpowered, just dead weight for the lead engine to try to pull. Interesting, is a loco issue, a throttle issue, or a little of both.

 

Jim

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Posted by nealknows on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 9:35 AM

Jim,

One of the posters who replied to you stated that you need to consist on the track / layout you will be running on, not the program track since its separate from the layout. The consist number is stored in the NCE PH PRO system you are running the train on. The Power CAB will only work on its own system/unit. You can't take it from one system to another with the same consist, or any consist for that matter. You will be dead in the water. I learned that a couple years ago; just forgot to take it out of consist on my layout to bring to someone else's layout. 

Good luck!

Neal

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Posted by jeep35 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:28 AM

Tried that. Maybe the simple answer is they were never designed to work in this manner. Perhaps the people who designed the decoders never thought that someone would consist two sound equipped locomotives together. At least not the inexpensive  type of decoder this is. Maybe you can consist several Bachman engines together, but only one can be sound equipped. Perhaps the cost was a factor and that feature wasn't included. When I bought them, it was actually cheaper to buy two sound equipped engines then to buy just one sound equipped engine and then another DCC ready one and buy a seperate decoder. At worst I hoped I could disable all the sound functions on one of the engines and just use it as a trailing engine without sound. Basically just headlights was all I needed for one of the engines. Maybe I can contact Bachman directly for some answers.

Jim

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:40 AM

I have a few saved searches on eBay I use to keep me informed when something I'm looking for gets listed.  All of them include "-bachmann" to exclude them from my results.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 11:31 AM

jeep35

Tried that. Maybe the simple answer is they were never designed to work in this manner. Perhaps the people who designed the decoders never thought that someone would consist two sound equipped locomotives together. At least not the inexpensive  type of decoder this is. Maybe you can consist several Bachman engines together, but only one can be sound equipped. Perhaps the cost was a factor and that feature wasn't included. When I bought them, it was actually cheaper to buy two sound equipped engines then to buy just one sound equipped engine and then another DCC ready one and buy a seperate decoder. At worst I hoped I could disable all the sound functions on one of the engines and just use it as a trailing engine without sound. Basically just headlights was all I needed for one of the engines. Maybe I can contact Bachman directly for some answers.

Jim

 



That is indeed the case.  DCC doesn't know which is the lead engine, so you have to program the CV's on each engine to tell them their position within the consist, or which functions are active in the consist.  Soundtraxx is the later.  I would grab a copy of their DCC manual and read through the CV list.  It will solve many of your issues.

 

IF you are having issues getting the consist to run, directly program the consist number of each trian into CV19.  And if the train is running backwards, add 128.

For example: Consist 112

Forward train: CV19 = 112
Backwards train: CV19 = 112 + 128 = 240

Then just type in 112 into the address on the NCE controller.  If I remember correctly NCE makes you specify if you want short address or long when the value < 128.  Be sure to use SHORT address.

BTW: Not all mfg's accept 3 digit consist address.  Some only allow you to go to 99.  I like to use the last two digits on my lead engine.  Keeps things simple.

When you are done, just set CV19 of every loco in the consist to CV19 = 0.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by RR Baron on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 1:15 PM

jeep35

Tried that. Maybe the simple answer is they were never designed to work in this manner. Perhaps the people who designed the decoders never thought that someone would consist two sound equipped locomotives together. At least not the inexpensive  type of decoder this is. Maybe you can consist several Bachman engines together, but only one can be sound equipped. Perhaps the cost was a factor and that feature wasn't included. When I bought them, it was actually cheaper to buy two sound equipped engines then to buy just one sound equipped engine and then another DCC ready one and buy a seperate decoder. At worst I hoped I could disable all the sound functions on one of the engines and just use it as a trailing engine without sound. Basically just headlights was all I needed for one of the engines. Maybe I can contact Bachman directly for some answers.

Jim

 

Jim,

I will be blunt. Every one of your conclusions is WRONG! 

All operator error, you have not yet built the consist correctly.

 

RR Baron

 

 

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Posted by jeep35 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 1:58 PM

Well, perhaps you can enlighten me on how to correctly build the consist. A number of people have offered me suggestions on how to solve the issue and to them I'm truly gratefu. This is my first experience with Bachman DCC/sound equipped locomotives. As I said previously, by themselves they function very well and I'm quite pleased. However, based on my experience with other brands of locomotives I've never experienced this issue and I have exhausted my somewhat limited knowledge on the subject. So, that being said, if you have some knowledge or information that would be helpful I would be delighted to hear it. 

Thanks in advance 

Jim

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Posted by jeep35 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 2:00 PM
Thanks, I will give that a try. Jim
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Posted by RR Baron on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 5:14 PM

jeep35

Well, perhaps you can enlighten me on how to correctly build the consist. A number of people have offered me suggestions on how to solve the issue and to them I'm truly gratefu. This is my first experience with Bachman DCC/sound equipped locomotives. As I said previously, by themselves they function very well and I'm quite pleased. However, based on my experience with other brands of locomotives I've never experienced this issue and I have exhausted my somewhat limited knowledge on the subject. So, that being said, if you have some knowledge or information that would be helpful I would be delighted to hear it. 

Thanks in advance 

Jim

 

 

Jim,

 

Seems to me - Best at this point if you obtain over-the-shoulder supervision to point out where errors are occurring and help you understand how to use what you ae reading.

 

Furthermore,  if you will always run the two Bachmann as a consist then there is a much simple method than  Advanced consisting .

 

If you want to try Advanced Consisting ,  then here goes,

 

Assume:

 

 You are using NCE Power Cab and know how to program. Know how to read Display, which includes knowing the meaning of each entry such as when a locomotive or Consist is being controlled,  etc.

 

Program an Advanced Consist to consist two Bachmann HO FA-2 with a factory installed Sound Value decoder. Each locomotive has a different decoder address .

 

 

 

The Sound Value decoder is manufactured by SoundTraxx to Bachmann specifications.  The Sound Value decoder is NOT a SoundTraxx Tsunami, Tsunami2 or Econami decoder.  Being there is not an User’s Guide or Technical Reference for the Sound Value,  have to make do with Tsunami Diesel Sound User’s Guide and Tsunami Diesel Technical Reference where the info is applicable. This is a major drawback because you do not know what information in document is not applicable.

 

First read then carefully follow the instructions in the NCE Power Cab Manual  

 

1)      Clear/Kill all Old Style Consist set up using Bachmann FA-2s page 30, this time use the consist number

 

2)      Clear/Kill all Advanced Consist set using Bachmann FA-2s  page 28 this time use the consist number.

 

3)      Now set up an Advanced Consist pages 25 – 28. Skip all information about Old Style Consists. The Power Cab will automatically program each locomotive placed in the consist with the  correct value in CV 29 and CV 19, which includes  locomotive  direction of travel while in the consist.

 

Now read and follow  Tsunami Diesel Sound User’s Guide pages 21 -23 to determine the value you need to program in CV 21 and 22 of each locomotive using its address, not its consist address.   Remember the NCE Power Cab has already programmed CV 19.

 

NCE Power  Cab System Reference Manual

 

https://ncedcc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/200498789/Power_Cab_V_1.65_Manual.pdf

 

SoundTraxx Tsunami Diesel Sound User’s Guide

 

http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/usersguide_diesel.pdf 

 

RR Barron

 

 

 

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Posted by jeep35 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 9:39 PM

Well RR Barron I appreciate your instructions. I was able to have some limited success following your direction. The function I seem to have the most trouble with is horn. I've lost it completely. Using the NCE manual, the horn button is a function 2. Both the soundtraxx diesel technical reference and the Bachman link to the soundtrack reference data refer to CV 36. Is it fair to assume that CV 36 controls F2 or the horn? If so, the Bachman/Soundtraxx web page shows a value of 004. The Sountraxx diesel tech reference shows a 1 as enabling the horn. Changing the CV 36 to 1 did not work. Changing it to 4 did not work. A look at the legacy function output map on the Sountraxx website also referred to a CV 36 value of 4. So where in the heck did the horn disappear to? Again thanks for the hel.

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Posted by RR Baron on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 12:41 AM

Jim,

You should not have made any change to CV 36. Make sure CV 36 = 4 in each engine.

Seems your problem is not correctly programming CV 21 and CV 22 for each engine. 

Go to the Tsunami Diesel Sound User’s Guide reread pages 21 - 23 and build the value per the instructions to program in CV 21 and CV 22 for each engine using its decoder address not the consist address.

 

RR Baron

 

 

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Posted by jeep35 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 6:33 AM

Thanks for your patience. Maybe if I describe the procedure I used something will become apparent. Cleared any and all reference to the consist I was working with, killed consist. On the NCE throttle built consist with "advanced" ( it pops up first, I have no preference between that and " old style ". My layout is small so I only use two engines in any consist). Advanced assigned it a number (118). Removed one engine from the track and then went into program mode. As you mentioned Soundtraxx has several different manuals and none are exactly for the Bachman decoder. Looking through what I believe was the correct manual it stated CV 21 and CV 22 should both be set to a value of 1. I set the values to 1. Removed that locomotive from the track, put the otheir one on and followed the same procedure. Used select loco button on the controller and entered 118. Engines moved with diesel sound, bell functioned, headlights worked in both directions, still no horn sound. Two questions. If I leave both engines on the track and go into programming mode will it change the CV values on both engines or does the system not know which one to change. Second, although the manual stated CVs 21 and 22 should be at 1, am I ultimately going to have to keep trying different values (1 2 3 4 5 etc) until I stumble across the correct value? If I go to the Bachman website it does link to a soundtraxx page with default values for these particular models. CV 21 and 22 both default to 0. As I mentioned earlier I reset both to 1. Again, thanks for your help and patience.

Jim

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:15 AM

 The manual shows what function each bit of CV21 and 22 enable. Starting from the right the values for each bit are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128. Select the ones you want and then add those values together to get the total for that CV.

So if looking at the description you want the bits to be 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 then you have 64 + 32 + 4 + 2 + 1 for 103.

                                           --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 RR Baron on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:21 AM

Yep... That is your problem you are not correctly setting CV 21 and 22. I gave you the link to the SoundTraxx User's Guide and page numbers, which has the  procedure and example to calculate the value needed. 

When in programming CV on programming track all decoders get changed to what you enter.

 

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Posted by jeep35 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:31 AM

I think I found the answer. I went back to the Soundtraxx manual and found a table (page65) that referenced what value each function should have. Since this is a decoder with limited function; bell,horn, and headlights I was able to add the values and enter them into CV 21. It appears that the headlights are a function under CV 22. I would like to thank all the folks here who offered suggestions and comments and finally got me on the "right track" so to speak. Special thanks to RR Barron who mentioned that even though there was no actual Soundtraxx manual for these engines, there maybe information contained that I could use. So today I'm a little smarter (not much) then I was a couple of days ago. Believe me I'm going to write this stuff down!!!! Again thank you to everyone who helped me on this project.

Jim

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:42 AM

Glad everything worked out for you.

Maybe if you changed the title of this thread, it would help the next guy consisting Bachmann locos.  

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by jeep35 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 8:39 AM

Even though It appears I was sucessful, I truly have never had to go through all of this just to consist two locomotives and I have done it hndreds of times. Was it because of the brand, was it because they both have sound, why did this particular situation require addition programming. I have never had this issue when consisting two locomotives together, be they Atlas, Stewart/Bowser, Kato, or MTH. Even with decoders I installed myself, never this issue. I have never had to adjust the CV 21 and 22 values and add up "bits" to get things functioning correctly. Now, again this was my first experience with Bachman sound equipped locomotives and I would not have purchased two sound equipped engines but for the fact it was cheaper to buy two then one sound, one DCC ready and buy a decoder. When I was considering the purchase I never in my wildest dreams thought it would require this extra degree of programming. Is this something that occurs quite often and it's just the first time i've run across it. It seems from some of the posts that this is a fairly common occurence. Have I just been "lucky" to never had this happen in the past? Any thoughts on this? Again, thanks for all the help, suggestions, and guidance.

 

Jim

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