Digitrax Zephyr not working.

Please bear with my whining, I would really like DCC to work.

So far my Zephyr has been pretty disapointing. It fails reading any of my engines even with a Power Pax hooked up. I even had it exchanged once thinking I had a bad unit. Digitrax recommends I try adding a 1k ohm resistor to the track (seems they should have included that in the package), which I will try tonight. Digitrax inferred that it might not be able to read the decoders installed in my engines, which makes me wonder what it will read since I have several different kinds of engines. They stated it won't read Bachman at all. I have Bachman, Atlas and Athern. No I don't know what decoder they have. I bought them all new and they came with DCC installed. I don't really care about the Bachman, I have come to the conclusion that Bachman is very low quality and won't buy anymore.

I'm wondering what most people do to get their engines to program with Digitrax? Do you install digitrax decoders in your engines in order to make it work with Digitrax controllers? Maybe DCC is one of those things some people love because they get to tinker with it all the time. Personally I would like to see my engines run, so far most of my time has been wrapped up in getting the DCC to work. Should it be this hard to get DCC to work?

Sorry for the rambling, but I'm very frustrated at this point.

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I should add that I have put the Zephyr on a table now an it's only connected to a 1ft. programming track. Leads are connected to ProgA and ProgB. I eliminated everything that I could to make sure something else wasn't interferring with the unit.

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Mike, I'm sorry to hear you're having problems reading decoders, but you'll have to supply more information. For example, exactly what does the Zephyr's display indicate, what mode (paged, etc) are you using to try to read the decoders, and what specific locos are you trying (model, vintage, with/without sound, etc.)

Even if you don't know what decoders are in them, or what the modes/displays mean, we will need to know in order to offer suggestions. For example, some Athearn locos use MRC decoders, which are difficult if not impossible to read back no matter which DCC system you use.

Another place to go for help is the Digitrax Yahoo! group, but again, they will need specifics in order to help:

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HTH, Stevert

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Mike, The first thing I would recommend is signing up for the Yahoo Digitrax list. You should be able to get better information there from the over 5000 members. It is also a moderated list so no garbage such as sometimes shows up here.

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Jon Miller

Thank You. I have posted this issue to the yahoo group.

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This is what I can gather:

1). Atlas Master engines have only Lenz "dual mode" decoders installed from the factory. These have had problems in the past with programming and reading with the Digitrax Zephyr. The resistor across the programming leads and/or the Power Pax should solve it.

2). Athearn engines have only MRC sound decoders installed from the factory. These are low end sound decoders in a high quality model (Athearn Genesis). Athearn knows these decoders have issues, but Horizon (Athearn's owner, who doesn't know what a train is) went with the cheapest brand. The only way I've ever been able to program these is by using "OPS" mode (ie., programming on the main). I've not been able to read them at all, and that's with my club's Digitrax Chief system. IMHO, it doesn't matter which DCC system is used, you'd have the same problem with these MRC sound decoders. They aren't very good.

3). Bachmann... I don't know what you have. If it's a sound equipped steam engine, then I think it's either QSI or Soundtraxx. Look at the label on the box and it should tell you, or the instructions that came with it. If there's no sound, or if it's a diesel, it may not be factory installed DCC.

No, it shoudn't be. I know I've had a few buggy things that happen to me with my Z from time to time, but I"ve not had problems programming. But then I usually buy Digitrax decoders.

One question I have is: What programming mode are you trying? Digitrax decoders work best with "PAGE" mode, MRC with "OPS" mode, and some sound locos work best with "DIR" mode (that's Direct mode).

Paul A. Cutler III

************* Weather Or No Go New Haven *************
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Pac Man

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