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Proto 2000 PA - Light Board Issues

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  • Member since
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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, March 27, 2021 11:51 AM

richhotrain

Randy, earlier in this thread, you mentioned the NCE D13SRJ for hardwiring purposes because it includes the green and purple wires on the decoder instead of the holes in the decoder for Output 3 and 4 on such decoders as the D13SR. Although the D13SRJ is now retired, it is still available new on eBay.

Let me ask you about some LED wiring basics. My understanding is that the longer leg is the positive anode, and the shorter leg is the negative cathode. Current flows from the positive anode to the negative cathode. The positive anode leg is wired to the Common (+) on the decoder. The negative cathode is wired to the appropriate function output (-) on the decoder. Is that all correct?

Which leg of the LED gets the resistor, or does it even matter?

Since the Common is typically the blue wire, does it make sense to wire the cathode side of every light, headlight, reverse light, Mars light, ditch lights, numberboards, with a blue wire to keep things obvious?

From there, it looks like it is just a matter of connecting the LED wires to the appropriate wires on the decoder. That sure seems simple enough.

Rich 

Randy, even though I got the Mars light to work using the D13SRP decoder, I would still be interested in your comments about the D13SRJ because I would like to try my hand eventually on hardwiring a decoder.

If you would, please let me know what you think about what I wrote concerning the D13SRJ decoder.

Thanks.

Rich

Alton Junction

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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, March 27, 2021 7:19 PM

The labels arer mostly colors - R is the Red wire, right rail pickup, B is the Black wire, left rail pickup. The + and - are the motor, + is orange, - is grey. Y is Yellow, rear light, W is White, headlight, D (sure it's not maybe B?) us the common. If you look at the dummy plug that comes in the 8 pin socket, you will see thatit has jumpers that bridge the track to the motor to one of the light pins. And then the same thing again on the other corner.

To hardwire a decoder in here, disconnect the wire from the R pin around the edge of the factory board (there's probably 2, one from each truck). Connect those to the red wire on the decoder. Same thing with the Black

+ goes to orange, - goes to grey. Now disconnect the wires going to the factory bulbs and remove the bulbs and you can remove the factory board at this point too. Wire up your LEDs - the resistor can go on either side but try to be consisten so years from now you don't get confused.

The headlight LED + side goes to the decoder Blue, the - side goes to the decoder White. The Mars LED + also goes to blue, the - goes to green or purple depending on which function output you want to be your Mars light.

 

 For a different loco that may not follow the color coding standard, it's really no that much more difficult - the wires on the decoder DO follow the standard, so it's a matter of tracing each wire to see where it goes. Track pickup always go to the red and black on the decoder, motor always goes to orange and grey. Lights are always white and blue for the headlight, yellow and blue for the backup light, and if you decoder has more outputs, you can hook them up for other uses like a flashing beacon or something if you want.

                                              --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
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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, March 27, 2021 8:50 PM

rrinker

The labels are mostly colors - R is the Red wire, right rail pickup, B is the Black wire, left rail pickup. The + and - are the motor, + is orange, - is grey. Y is Yellow, rear light, W is White, headlight, D (sure it's not maybe B?) is the common. 

It is definitely a D. Since you think that it is the Common, could the D stand for grounD? It is a tab on the DC lighting board.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, March 27, 2021 10:06 PM

richhotrain
It is definitely a D.

I had taken a photo of another L-L E-/ PA- board (but without the Mars Light components) for another thread, and you can clearly see the D tab.

I've seen K used to designate blacK wire since B usually refers to blue.

 L-L_E7-8 board-W by Edmund, on Flickr

Regards, Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, March 28, 2021 12:52 AM

gmpullman
 
richhotrain
It is definitely a D. 

I had taken a photo of another L-L E-/ PA- board (but without the Mars Light components) for another thread, and you can clearly see the D tab.

I've seen K used to designate blacK wire since B usually refers to blue.

 L-L_E7-8 board-W by Edmund, on Flickr

Regards, Ed 

Yeah, the more that I look at this configuration, the more I am convinced that the D tab is the grounD. There are 7 tabs on that side of the light board, two rail power tabs on each end and Y, D, W in between.

From right to left, W is output 1, D is ground, and Y is output 2. On the D13SRP decoder, the order of the light functions from right to left is output 3, common, and output 4. Everything follows sequentially, 1,2,3,4, with the positive tabs in between each two outputs (1,D,2,3,C,4).

Rich

D13SRP.jpg

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, March 28, 2021 1:50 PM

I have been researching that D tab a little more on the light board.

On the TCS website, there is a section in decoder installations. In that section is a photo of the PA light board before installation of the decoder. The D tab connects the black wire from the headlight which would be the positive (+) side, while the Y tab next to it connects the yellow wire from the headlight which would be the negative side. So, D must stand for grounD. 

However, if I wire the headlight that way with the D13SRP decoder installed, the headlight doesn't light. That leads me to believe that the 8-pin plug from the decoder somehow cancels out the D tab. In other words, no power seems to flow to the D tab in DCC mode. To get the headlight to light, I have to wire the positive side of the headlight to the Common on the decoder itself.

Any thoughts?

Rich

 

 

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 2:31 PM

rrinker

 OK - the Mars LED, is it connected right to the function 3 wire? That's the key.

If it's connected right to the decoder and never turns off, that's most certainly a blown function. 

This is why I always used to use the D13SRJ - with the 9 pin plug, function 3 and function 4 were wires, I did not have to solder anything to the decoder itself to use those extra functions.

ANd if you want to try using function 4, then you need to solder the LED - side to the pin marked function 4 in the decoder, 

Randy, ever since you made these comments about function outputs 3 and 4, which are actually small circular cutouts on the D13SRP decoder itself, I have been reflecting on the fact that function output 3 was probably blown. Your use of the D13SRJ decoder on which function outputs 3 and 4 are additional wires on the decoder rather than small "holes" in the decoder itself has a lot of appeal.

Now that the D13SR and D13SRP decoders are retired, I am looking at the D13J decoder for future projects. The D13J decoder is a replacement for the now retired D13SRJ decoder.

I strongly prefer the design of the D13J since it comes with a 9-wire harness that connects into the decoder . No holes on the decoder to mess with. Just hardwire the decoder to the light board, bypassing the factory light board. 

Rich 

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 4, 2021 8:38 AM

I live about 45 minutes from Lombard Hobbies, so I took a drive over there to buy some layout-related items.

On a decoder rack, they had several NCE D13J decoders for less than $20 each. So, I bought one and when I got home, I took out the light board and the D13SRP decoder and installed the D13J decoder - - all wires, no small circular holes in the decoder in which to solder wires. It worked perfectly, and the headlight and Mars light performs as expected, just like on my other Proto 2000 PA.

Hardwiring the D13J was a breeze, and it is clearly the way to go as Randy has often pointed out.

Life on the layout is good once again.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, April 4, 2021 9:15 AM

richhotrain

I live about 45 minutes from Lombard Hobbies, so I took a drive over there to buy some layout-related items.

On a decoder rack, they had several NCE D13J decoders for less than $20 each. So, I bought one and when I got home, I took out the light board and the D13SRP decoder and installed the D13J decoder - - all wires, no small circular holes in the decoder in which to solder wires. It worked perfectly, and the headlight and Mars light performs as expected, just like on my other Proto 2000 PA.

Hardwiring the D13J was a breeze, and it is clearly the way to go as Randy has often pointed out.

Life on the layout is good once again.

Rich

 

Being a DC operator, I mostly like these modern factory lighting boards, most of them work well with my Aristo throttles and provide great constant/directional lighting that in most cases comes on before the loco even moves.

It saves me having to built lighting circuits in most cases. There are some exceptions, where the factory design was not so good......

But once I understood the nature of DCC from helping some of my friends, it was clear to me that the best approach to DCC was to hardwire decoders without the factory "DC" lighting board.

I have not been under the hood of many recent production DCC or DCC/sound locos, but I would hope manufacturers are not just plugging decoders into light boards any more.

I know the few newer locos that I have back converted to DC had fully intergrated DCC boards rather than a DCC decoder pluged into a lighting board. 

I know this varies a lot wih brand and model, but if I was using DCC, I would be hardwiring from sctratch, not plugging into DC lighting boards.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 4, 2021 9:25 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
 

But once I understood the nature of DCC from helping some of my friends, it was clear to me that the best approach to DCC was to hardwire decoders without the factory "DC" lighting board.

I know this varies a lot wih brand and model, but if I was using DCC, I would be hardwiring from sctratch, not plugging into DC lighting boards.

Yeah, after a lot of trial and error, I have to agree with you and Randy, Sheldon.

I always resisted the advice because most of my non-sound decoder installs included the 8-pin plug into the DC light board. That made things pretty easy.

My real problems began to occur on the Proto 2000 DCC Ready locos with their incandescent bulbs which would often burn out as soon as the decoder was installed and powered up.

More problems occurred with the D13SRP decoders witht the small circular holes on the decoder itself for function outputs 3 and 4. I fried a couple of function outputs through carelessness and ignorance.

I do think that the D13J decoder is the best of the NCE D13x alternatives because it is a four function decoder with a 9-pin harness, no soldering required on the decoder itself.

I have learned a lot about decoders and decoder wiring during this entire process and a few painful lessons.

Rich

Alton Junction

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