Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Problems with Tsunami fault detection in Athearn 2-8-2

3300 views
14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 3 posts
Problems with Tsunami fault detection in Athearn 2-8-2
Posted by Mikado-282 on Monday, January 28, 2008 10:19 AM
I recently purchased a Tsunami Medium Steam decoder to install in my Athearn  Mikado.  I figured this would be an easy install as the engine already had a DSD 150 installed.  After installation and testing on a test stand I ran the engine on the track.  On the track it would stop and start frequently.  At first I attributed it to dirt on the track so I cleaned it thoroughly.   The engine still exhibited the same tendency to start and stop and I noted that the head light would flash.  I counted the flashes as 11.  In the fault section of the Steam Users Guide it indicates that Error 11 is a Motor Connection Fault and that this error indicates a faulty motor connection has been detected and typically occurs when the motor lead is shorted to a track pickup wire. The motor will not respond until the error is corrected.      I proceeded to pull the  engine apart and investigate to see if the motor leads could be touching the frame.  I saw no evidence that this was happening but placed some electrical tape on the solder pads to prevent contact with the frame.  I reassembled the engine and test ran it on the track.  It exhibited the same peculiarity.  However, if I leave it run it appears to stop doing this behavior until I stop it and restart again.      The engine doesn't exhibit this behavior when the DSD 150  is reinstalled. Can you give me any advice?  Subsequently I tested this decoder in another engine and had no problem will continue to pursue cause.  If anyone has encountered a similar problem and corrected it I would appreciate the info.
  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 22,644 posts
Posted by selector on Monday, January 28, 2008 11:25 AM

It sounds as if the new decoder has an internal continuity issue.  If the old decoder was fine, then so were all the necessary connections on the loco-proper.  A lead into the new decoder body has come loose, or was never soldered properly to begin with.

I would send it back.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Monday, January 28, 2008 10:16 PM

Ok, I am having the same problem. I have put the same the tsuanmi medium steam decoder into my Athearn 2-8-2 Mikado with the same results. I have been trying to figure this out also. I had an MRC decoder in it before the Tsunami with no issues. I put the Tsunami decoder on a decoder tester and it checks out fine. This is very strainge and now even stranger that someone else is having the exact same issue.

I will let you know if I figure it out.

Jeff

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: CANADA
  • 2,292 posts
Posted by ereimer on Monday, January 28, 2008 10:54 PM

sounds to me like an incompatibilty between the tsunami and something on the athearn board that the decoder connects to . you could try searching both companies websites to see if there is a tech note on this , or if they have their own forums maybe someone else has reported it . if you have no luck wuth that i'd suggest an email or phone call to both companies tech support people

 

worst case scenario is nobody can figure out what's causing the problem in which case the solution is to remove the athearn board and wire the decoder directly the motor etc.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 10:26 AM

Ereimer,

Thank you for the suggestion, mine is already wired directly to the motor. I had cut the plug off and each wire is soldered and shrink tubed for good connectivity. I am thinking it has something to do with the motor and the weight in the locomotive. I am getting readings of continuity between the right side wheels and the right side of the weight. I am going to make sure the motor is completely isolated. I also added tender wheel pickups to mine. This should have improved the performance and I did check to see that they are red right rail, black left rail. Which is the same as the locomotive.

Best regards,

 Jeff

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 10:56 AM

Here is what I have done so far. I took the locomotive apart last night and did continuity checks everywhere I could to find a short, none found. The Locomotive has a split chassis and weight that has plastic spacers seperating them. There is no wipers on the wheels for electrical pickup. I could not find any issues with the weight or chassis, so next I took all the wires and replaced them in case there was a bare spot that I was not finding. I then made sure the motor was isolated. Next I shortened the two screws that mount the weight to the chassis just in case they touch in the middle. They screw into the center from each side. While I was looking at the light board I noticed that where the resistor is soldered in, underneath the board the solder points were large. I went ahead and clipped them down and covered them with electrical tape to make sure they are not touching the sides of the weight.

I have now reassembled the locomotive and checked everything for any shorts and there is not any. I tested the decoder on a decoder tester and it works perfectly there. Tonight I will tackle the tender and make sure I have no issues there. I did install tender pickups previously and I want to make sure this is not an issue. I will report back tomorrow on the final results from the install and testing.

Best regards,

Jeff

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • 1,352 posts
Posted by trainnut1250 on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 5:00 PM

Jeff,

You might send Soundtraxx and e-mail or call them.  The tech department there is very sharp and they may have already dealt with this issue.  If they have already seen this problem, they could save you some time.  If they haven't encountered this situation, they may be able to offer some suggestions that you might not come up with on your own.  I have found them to be quite helpful.

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 8:07 PM

Guy,

 I will finish what I am doing tonight and if that doesn't work, I will take up your suggestion and call them tomorrow. I am curious if anyone has put a Tsunami in a Athearn 2-8-2 and have it work? I know on Tony's Train exchange they have a tech bulletin about installing a normal soundtraxx decoder with no issues.

I will post again later when I finish the install.

Jeff

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Thursday, January 31, 2008 12:07 AM

Well all my work seems to have been a success. I am not going to claim victory just yet but tonight everything seems to be working fine. No flashing LED and the shorts seem to be gone. I was only able to do a limited time of testing tonight, so until this weekend I am happy for now knowing that at least for now it is running better. I am not exactly sure what the fix was but some things to check are as follows.

1. Check the light board in the smoke box, it has a resistor that is soldered and the legs extend out the bottom of the board. These solder points could be causing a short on the weight and back feeding into the decoder.

2. Check all the wires for any sign of insulation missing that is exposing the wire.

3. Make sure the screws in the front that attach the weight to the chassis are not too long and touching. This can cause a hidden short.

A suggestion, if you are going to go through all the trouble of this and adding your own decoder then take the extra time and add electrical pickups to the tender. This helps with the performance of this locomotive.

If you have questions, please drop me a pm and we can talk. I hope this helps you also.

 Jeff

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 3 posts
Posted by Mikado-282 on Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:51 PM
Well I'm glad to see I'm not alone in experiencing this problem.  I spoke with Soundtraxx at the Springfield, MA show but they had no information concerning this particular problem.  It is baffling.
  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: N Indiana Conrail Country
  • 153 posts
Posted by nyc4me on Sunday, February 3, 2008 8:53 AM
I don't have a tsunami in my athearn 2-8-2 (yet) but tcs decoder does just fine. one place I had a short was the metal plate on the bottom touching or nearly touching a nearby screw. Might have been close enough to provide an arc with the dcc power. I filed a slight round into the plate for some clearance on the screw head and no more problem.
Gary
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Sunday, February 3, 2008 9:55 PM

Gary,

Can you give more detail with what you are talking about? Maybe a picture, I am not sure what metal plate and screw.

Thanks,

Jeff

By the way mine is still running good, now just dealing with dirty tracks.

 

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: N Indiana Conrail Country
  • 153 posts
Posted by nyc4me on Monday, February 4, 2008 7:34 PM
don't have a digital camera. But I'm looking at the engine upside down in foam, lead truck to the right. See the big screw that holds the lead truck on. Now, just a bit to the rear of this big screw, there are two smaller screws. as you continue to look right, toward the front of the engine, the small screw on the left goes through a metal plate and holds it in place. the screw on the right does NOT go through that metal plate but fits into a manufactured notch or circular cut out. This circular cut out was touching the screw head. I used a round file to make that notch bigger to miss the screw. If you look at the Athearn diagram, you'll also see this metal plate, just under the brake hangar assembly, notice the circular notches in both the front and rear of this metal plate. Also note a large circular cut out about half way along the side with the gear case. same thoughts but no problem there, just on the front circular cut out. hope this helps. If need be I can scan and email something or maybe even post a scanned document (which I've never done yet).
Gary
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Simi Valley, California
  • 100 posts
Posted by Idaho Trains on Thursday, February 7, 2008 3:17 PM

Gary,

 Thank you for the detailed description. I will check mine out tonight, I think another issue with my decoder might be the speaker. I am going to try another speaker and see if that helps with the cutting out. I do not get the flashing headlight anymore, so I know at least doing the mods that I did helped.

Best regards,

Jeff

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • 166 posts
Posted by mmartian22 on Sunday, February 17, 2008 5:31 PM
i got the same problem but does not flash both lights are on in the decoder. i have check it out but still  won't work plus i bought two of them they did the  same one in a riv. heisler , the other in a bachman  shay  they did the  same thing  i uninstalled them and reinstalled i wired the heisler direct to the loco wiring and got rid  of the the board .it seem to cure part of the mess now .i programed  in paged mode with my dt 400  at ad2  than dail 04 enter and didn't take.i got two 750's

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!