Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Fun - MRH Posts Decoder Install & ESU Decoder (RE)Programming

If you're a long-time reader and you also get MRH's weekly email, you may have recognized the photo with the "Bachman steamer sound upgrade" link. Yup - today's "Friday Fun" is especially fun since the weekly email featured one of my past posts!

Check it out here and join the conversation
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I've often said that ops sessions are one of the best ways to tease out problems with your equipment, and my last session was no exception.

I use ESU decoders exclusively in the diesels that operate Shoreline trains and the Full Throttle feature - which allows you to ramp-up the prime mover sound while maintaining the motor drive independently - makes it easy to simulate the starting of a heavy train. But I discovered that you have to be a little careful with how you do the programming - especially if you start moving functions around (which is super easy to do with ESU's Lokprogrammer software).
My ESU decoder mapping

As you can see (if you click on the image), I've remapped the Full Throttle functions (Drive Hold and Independent Brake) to functions 5 & 6, respectively. That way, they'll show up on the screen on my NCE "dogbone" throttles (the LCD only shows the first 6 functions). I also (thanks to Roman) changed the sound default to default "on" so that whenever a Shoreline operator acquires a road engine, it doesn't automatically shut down the prime mover.

So far so good. Everything was running well - until someone wanted to run a two-diesel consist with the Full Throttle feature. Turned out, only one of the locomotives in the consist would respond to either Drive Hold or the Independent Brake - and it'd literally drag along the other engine. After a bit of troubleshooting, I figured out the problem.

I'd forgotten to make sure those functions would respond to the consist address(!) Yup - the checkboxes for functions 5 & 6 (Drive Hold and Independent Brake) weren't checked.

My ESU Consist Functions
Once I figured that out, it was a simple matter of making sure F5 & F6 were checked and loading the changes into the decoder. Now everything works as it's supposed to (yay!).

Decoder programming can be a hobby in itself, and it's way too easy to go down yet another rabbit hole in this hobby. But knowing at least a little bit makes the engines run so much more realistically and, fortunately, ESU's Lokprogrammer makes these little adjustments super easy. Once you know what the problem is . . .

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