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First run Athearn George Bush Locomotive, drop-in decoder, and getting ditch lights to work?

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First run Athearn George Bush Locomotive, drop-in decoder, and getting ditch lights to work?
Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 9:25 AM

I have the first-run of the GWB  4141, and put an 8-pin decoder in it. THe ditch lights aren't working. If I get a 9-pin decoder, will the lights work, or do I need to run a wire up to the board?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, December 30, 2019 10:05 AM

How many functions does the decoder have?

I get by with 2 function decoders, but I wire the ditch lights to the headlight, and rear light circuit.  No control over the lights except on and off.  Ditch lights come with headlight.

Mike.

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 10:11 AM

I am 99% percent certain it is this decoder: NCE NCE5240103 HO Decoder, Plug n Play D14SR/6-Function 8-Pin 1A:

Which leads me to think it's a wiring thing.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, December 30, 2019 10:30 AM

Probably.  A 6 function decoder, you should be able to operate ditch lights.

Randy, THE resident decoder/locomotive electronic guy will see this thread.  There might be a CV thing that needs to be changed.

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 30, 2019 10:51 AM

Brammy

I am 99% percent certain it is this decoder: NCE NCE5240103 HO Decoder, Plug n Play D14SR/6-Function 8-Pin 1A:

Which leads me to think it's a wiring thing.

The directions for that decoder are here

Page 4 say they need to be connected to attached to position 3 & 4 on the board, and the common.  I don't know what a 9 pin decoder gets you over an 8 pin.  I hope Randy tells us.

Henry

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 11:00 AM

Thanks, I thought that. A friend who has DCC-ready Athearn locos has said that using a 9-pin his ditch lights worked.

 

Googling this was hard to get a clear answer on, but a few hits seemed to think a wiring was in order.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 30, 2019 11:33 AM

Your friend may be right, scroll down to the next to last post

Henry

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 11:43 AM

Thank you! I will try a 9-pin when I am at the club this week.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, December 30, 2019 1:47 PM

 AN 8 pin decoder only has conenctions for 2 functions - headlight and reverse light. The DECODER may have more - in this case, the decoder in question has a total of 6 functions, but the other 4 are accessed via solder pads on the decoder.

A 9 pin connection carries through 4 functions, so you have the headlights plus 2 more wires. Enough for alternate flashing ditchlights, or steady on ditchlights plus a rooftop beacon, or whatever.

As far as how Athearn wired their boards, I've seen posts about moving connections for ditch lights. But the only newer Athearn locos i have with the boards that have both a 9 pin and 8 pin connector al all first gen diesels, no ditch lights or extra lights anywhere to be found.

                         --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 Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 6:19 PM

rrinker
AN 8 pin decoder only has conenctions for 2 functions - headlight and reverse light. The DECODER may have more - in this case, the decoder in question has a total of 6 functions, but the other 4 are accessed via solder pads on the decoder. A 9 pin connec

 

I am confused about this statement. Does that mean the 9-pin will most likely work out of the box, or does that mean I may need to pull a wire?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 30, 2019 6:41 PM

Brammy
I am confused about this statement.

me too, can I say that without being sent to moderation? Devil

The 8 pin has one pin that is not used, so you have effectively 7 connections

  1. Motor right
  2. Rear light
  3. blank
  4. Left Rail
  5. Motor left
  6. Front light
  7. Common
  8. Right rail

DCC wiki doesn't call it a 9 pin they call it a JST connector.

  1. Negative of Function 2
  2. Left Rail
  3. Motor left
  4. Rear headlight
  5. Front headlight
  6. Common
  7. Motor right
  8. Right rail
  9. Negative of Function 1

How does that get to 6 functions

 

Henry

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, December 30, 2019 6:52 PM

 

BigDaddy
How does that get to 6 functions

 

What I read is that Randy said FOUR functions.

rrinker
A 9 pin connection carries through 4 functions, so you have the headlights plus 2 more wires.

 

The remaining two are still solder pads on the board. You can have a rotary beacon and number lights or cab light — whatever.

Pin 1 and 9 would be output 3 (Phase A) and output 4 (Phase B) mapped to whatever function you choose for the ditch lights or others of your choice, as each lamp of the ditch light is a separate function. (Usually the violet and green wires)

Some decoders, ESU certainly, allow you to have the ditch lights activate when you ring the bell or blow the horn through function mapping. Easy with a Lokprogrammer. Tsunami2 also has this feature.

The eight pin only uses seven of the connections, of course. And the blue + is still the lighting plus for all of the LED anodes.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 6:57 PM

Whoops, quoted the wrong part of the message: I meant to quote this:

 

As far as how Athearn wired their boards, I've seen posts about moving connections for ditch lights. But the only newer Athearn locos i have with the boards that have both a 9 pin and 8 pin connector al all first gen diesels, no ditch lights or extra lights anywhere to be found.

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 30, 2019 7:27 PM

Brammy
all first gen diesels, no ditch lights or extra lights anywhere to be found.

He is saying 1st generation diesels didn't have ditch lights or any of the other lights that modern diesels have, so he can't tell on his own locos.

Henry

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, December 30, 2019 7:43 PM

BigDaddy
He is saying 1st generation diesels didn't have ditch lights or any of the other lights that modern diesels have, so he can't tell on his own locos.

 

Ahh, that makes sense now. Thanks. I got the real thing mixed up with model runs. This is what happens when I don't sleep well.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, December 30, 2019 9:48 PM

BigDaddy

 

 
Brammy
all first gen diesels, no ditch lights or extra lights anywhere to be found.

 

He is saying 1st generation diesels didn't have ditch lights or any of the other lights that modern diesels have, so he can't tell on his own locos.

 

Exactly. I don't have any modern locos with ditch lights, Athearn or otherwise, so best I can say is what others have posted about suhc locos. I'm pretty sure changing wires around on the Athearn board is only if you want the ditch lights to alternately flash - the way the come wires, both tie to the same point on the factory board so both will come on together. I live in NS country, they use flashing ditch lights, but not all do.

 They should work with a 9 pin decoder. OR you could solder a wire to the points called out in the decoder manual since the decoder mentioned does have enough function outputs. Where it would connect to on the Athearn board, I'd need to see a picture. There needs to be a resistor involved since the ditch lights are 1.5V bulbs. I believe that's taken care of if you use a 9 pin decoder.

                   --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 Brammy on Friday, January 3, 2020 1:06 PM
My friend's spare 9-pin was only a 2-function decoder so I didn't try it. I instead ordered this: Digitrax DGTDH126D HO DCC Decoder Series 6, 6-Functions 9-Pin 1A I assume that will have enough functions to get the ditch lights to work?
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 3, 2020 1:39 PM

 Yes, four of the functions will come through the 9 pin connector, that's enough for the headlights front and rear plus ditch lights. There are then 2 more functions via solder pads on the decoder.

                                              --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 Brammy on Thursday, January 9, 2020 9:34 PM
Closing out the loop on this. I put the 9-pin in, still no ditch lights. One of the wiring gurus at the club helped me investigate the wiring and we noticed one of the ditch light wires wasn't connected. We connected it, still no lights, and the decoder pro software only saw 2 functions. We put the 8-pin back in, still no lights, but the software saw 6 functions. Given the tools available to us, we couldn't figure out which wiring pad connected to the decoder functions, so we just wired the headlights and ditch lights together and called it a day. I kept the 9-pin in there. A few older-locomotives I am looking to get only take 8-pin so I wanted to have the spare.
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 10, 2020 7:32 AM

 If you only saw 2 functions in DecoderPro with the 9 pin decoder, it was picking the wrong decoder. Few manufacturers differentiate specific models of their decoders with the CVs available for the purpose, there is a manufacturer ID mandated and managed by the NMRA, and there is a version CV the manufacturers can use, but typically any decoder, 2, 4, or 6 function, wired, 8 pin, or 9 pin, with the same firmware will all have the same version. So don't just stop at what DP think the decoder is - make sure you select the actual one you installed.

                                  --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 Brammy on Friday, January 10, 2020 8:20 AM

rrinker

 If you only saw 2 functions in DecoderPro with the 9 pin decoder, it was picking the wrong decoder. Few manufacturers differentiate specific models of their decoders with the CVs available for the purpose, there is a manufacturer ID mandated and managed by the NMRA, and there is a version CV the manufacturers can use, but typically any decoder, 2, 4, or 6 function, wired, 8 pin, or 9 pin, with the same firmware will all have the same version. So don't just stop at what DP think the decoder is - make sure you select the actual one you installed.

                                  --Randy

 

 


We did. We thought that maybe the data in DecoderPro was inaccurate, or some other issue. I am ok with having the headlights and ditch lights on the same circuit. At some point, I might rip out the decoder and put in a sound decoder, and will revist that then.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 10, 2020 8:23 AM

 There are terminals on the factory board that you cna move the ditch lights to, so they are independent of the headlight. I'm not sure if they have the required resistors if you do so, so that may be somethign else to add.

 Just another reason I usually remove factory circuit boards and hard wire the deocders. Or at least use that completely replaces the factory board. Then there's no guessing.

                                 --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 Brammy on Friday, January 10, 2020 9:25 AM
yeah, We hit a point where better was the enemy of good on this. For modern locomotives, at least, I will just get DCC-installed units for now. It was educational on getting to learn the wiring and decoder pro.
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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 10, 2020 9:54 AM

Brammy
Digitrax DGTDH126D HO DCC Decoder Series 6, 6-Functions 9-Pin 1A

I just tried looking for that decoder, and closest I found on Digitrax site is the DH126D.

From what I have learned of Digitrax decoders ( I also use them) the number of functions is the second number in the model number.

DH126D  2 function

DH166D  6 function.

On the 2 function, the decoder doesn't use, or support the violet and green wires.  It's in the instructions.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 10, 2020 10:05 AM

 Didn't even notice the part number. Yes, a DH126 is only 2 functions. You need a DH166D, 6 function.

 Reseller who had 6 function in the description done messed up. D = Digitrax H=HO scale 1= 1 (1.5) amp, 2 = number of functions, 6= series 6 (basically version).

                         --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 Brammy on Friday, January 10, 2020 10:18 AM

Thanks to you both. This helps.

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 10, 2020 10:27 AM

The Digitrax  86 page Decoder Manual has a lot of info.  Pages 54 and 55 talk about front and rear ditchlights and the CV's that need to be set.

Mike.

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