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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #1
OK, went to help a friend today, had problems with controlling his challenger.

I had 2 TIAs and 2 remotes.

We determined that one remote has something wrong in the radio, it cannot hear or transmit. Don't know which, but it's clear it's bad.


So tried challenger #1 with both TIAs and the working remote. Running DC and fixed output #1.


For a short time the loco just ran whenever the power was applied to the TIA.


I quickly learned that TIAs can be numbered from 1 to 5 and that the "number" is not in the tia, but basically in the remote.

So (working one at a time) determined that one TIA was #1 and the other #3... ok, changed #3 to #1 just for simplicity.


Also turned off variable 1, 2, and fixed 2...

Somewhere along the line, the locomotive stopped running by itself, and behaved properly.


OK we were done... buddy #2 went home with his challenger, his tia, and his non-working remote.

Buddy #1 just called... the loco is running on "cruise control" again, his challenger, which I forgot to check out before I left...duh...;


Everything looks right on the TIA side, but the loco is running whenever power is applied to the TIA and no locos are found by the remote.

It's like the loco is in a world of it's own, and is deaf.


I know it's something simple, since I cleared this when I was there..

Ideas?


Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, it's a little hard to follow the story. I'm getting lost on a couple of points that don't really matter(buddy #1, #2).
The TIU ( not TIA) is a track interface unit. It sends out the dcs signal. If the engine does not see the signal at start up, it starts in conventional mode and runs as the throttle is turned up or down. So lets start at the begginning. The TIU should recieve its power either througth fixed #1 input or aux power input. The TIU must be powered up first or at least at the same time. The engine is not seeing the watchdog signal for some reason. Why did you "Also turned off variable 1, 2, and fixed 2... " ?Just use the in and out on fixed #1 and make sure the DCS signal has not also been turned off to fixed #1. The two tius can remain as they were numbered and I wonder why you changed them both to #1s. Don't think that the tiu needs to be changed. You are right that they can run five and there is super mode for running even more.
I suggest you start with a single piece of track with the tiu (one for now) wired up as a test track. This is always recommended practice for adding engines and service work. Once we get it working there we can tune the layout for signal strength. If the test rig won't fire up we need to check fuses. The TIU has internal fusing to protect it. I am new to this system too and there are others that are more qualified that we can talk to but lets get figured out whats working first and what is broken. I've learned alot trouble shooting my expanding layout, Joe
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for replying Joe... sorry I did not tell the story well, it has been a tough couple of days personally. Not all my brains are in one place.

Buddy 1 and 2 should have been made clearer.... was buddy 1's house, testing buddy 2's challenger... got it all set up and working and found out #2 had bad remote...

Did not check that buddy 1's challenger was still working right when I left... now it runs by itself.



The TIU ( not TIA) is a track interface unit. It sends out the dcs signal.
Sorry, spazzout...


If the engine does not see the signal at start up, it starts in conventional mode and runs as the throttle is turned up or down
OK, that helps a lot



The TIU should recieve its power either througth fixed #1 input or aux power input.
Using fixed #1


The TIU must be powered up first or at least at the same time.
Same time, will try first, but seems same results.


The engine is not seeing the watchdog signal for some reason. Why did you "Also turned off variable 1, 2, and fixed 2... " ?
In case it made any difference... it did not


Just use the in and out on fixed #1 and make sure the DCS signal has not also been turned off to fixed #1.
Yes, verified this


The two tius can remain as they were numbered and I wonder why you changed them both to #1s.
They are owned by 2 different people, but they are friends, easier for them to have both setups the same, the TIU's were never on at the same time, and always in different houses


I suggest you start with a single piece of track with the tiu (one for now) wired up as a test track.
This is what I did, and I had buddy #2's TIU and his loco working fine, also #1 TIU and remote... just forgot to check buddy #1's challenger before I left


Thanks Joe, it's something small, and it happened to me while I was there, but I corrected it, but never checked other challenger which is now acting funny...

Regards, Greg
 

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There were probably more than one issue as to why things did not go as you wanted.
The one remote that "didn't" work almost certainly does. The problem is that if the TIU is set to #3, the remote must be also. Sounds like you tried to get remote #1 to talk to TIU #3. (which it will not on start up) You can tell which number the TIU is set to by watching it power up. The red light will flash a number of times equal to its setting. (so here one flashed once, the other 3 times)

Reset the TIU and remote for both systems. Add the TIU and engine back. If you still think the remote is bad, connect a phone cord between the TIU and the remote. And replace the batteries, or at least check to ensure they are tightly in the remote. It is not uncommon for them to move inside the remote if the remote is handly roughly. That can effect the range too.

Next time you start up the system, turn the TIU on first. It really does matter. Than the remote. Then push the read button on the bottom left of the remote. If the remote does not say (1) TIU found and (0) AIU found - you have the TIU and or remote set to different configurations. (if you have it set up correctly, it will also find the MTH engines on the track and bring them up to active engne list)

John
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks John

The one remote that "didn't" work almost certainly does.
Not sure this is true, but read on.


The problem is that if the TIU is set to #3, the remote must be also.
Understand, that is why I added TIU's 1-5, and then did a read, the working remote ALWAYS found a TIU, the non working one NEVER found one (did not have the remotes on at the same time)



Reset the TIU and remote for both systems.
Did that


Add the TIU and engine back.
Added all TIU's and did a read. The working systems found one loco, the non working remote did not find anything


If you still think the remote is bad, connect a phone cord between the TIU and the remote. And replace the batteries, or at least check to ensure they are tightly in the remote. It is not uncommon for them to move inside the remote if the remote is handly roughly. That can effect the range too.

Did all that, and working remote kept working and non working one still did not work


Next time you start up the system, turn the TIU on first. It really does matter. Than the remote.
Will follow that procedure from now on


Then push the read button on the bottom left of the remote. If the remote does not say (1) TIU found and (0) AIU found - you have the TIU and or remote set to different configurations. (if you have it set up correctly, it will also find the MTH engines on the track and bring them up to active engne list)
Yes, so thank you, you have confirmed what I have found, and I will remember to do the proper turn on sequence


But, as explained in the previous post, the problem now is that I cannot find the loco, and it runs as soon as the TIU is turned on.
All TIU addresses are enabled, and the read button finds the tiu, but no loco.

When this happened earlier in the day, I could not read the loco either... like it's in some deaf mode...

Now, only buddy#1's stuff is at his house, a remote that worked on both TIUs, his TIU that worked earlier in the day, and hiis loco WHICH WE NEVER TRIED.... (we used buddy #2's loco)


Regards, Greg






John
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 02/15/2009 7:57 PM
OK, went to help a friend today, had problems with controlling his challenger.

I had 2 TIAs and 2 remotes.

We determined that one remote has something wrong in the radio, it cannot hear or transmit. Don't know which, but it's clear it's bad.


So tried challenger #1 with both TIAs and the working remote. Running DC and fixed output #1.


For a short time the loco just ran whenever the power was applied to the TIA.


I quickly learned that TIAs can be numbered from 1 to 5 and that the "number" is not in the tia, but basically in the remote.

So (working one at a time) determined that one TIA was #1 and the other #3... ok, changed #3 to #1 just for simplicity.


Also turned off variable 1, 2, and fixed 2...

Somewhere along the line, the locomotive stopped running by itself, and behaved properly.


OK we were done... buddy #2 went home with his challenger, his tia, and his non-working remote.

Buddy #1 just called... the loco is running on "cruise control" again, his challenger, which I forgot to check out before I left...duh...;


Everything looks right on the TIA side, but the loco is running whenever power is applied to the TIA and no locos are found by the remote.

It's like the loco is in a world of it's own, and is deaf.


I know it's something simple, since I cleared this when I was there..

Ideas?


Regards, Greg




Lucky I just saw this post, I haven't had time to read other threads the last week or so. Greg, I just saw your email too, sorry it was burried in my inbox. I'll reply more later once I've fully read everything and the replies. (probably later today)


Raymond
 

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Real quick, there is one issue that I see is it sounds like you changed the TIU addresses from TIU 1 & 3 to both TIU 1. If he is using both TIUs at the same time (ie. has them both powered up for use) then everything would have went downhill from there as you will have all kinds of problems with both now set to the same TIU address. Each TIU needs to be assigned its own address like he had them.

As far as turning the other ports on or off, turn them back on. If he isn't using Fixed 2 on either TIU I don't know why he's using two TIUs. Why is he using mulitple TIUs? (I can power my entire 700ft layout with 1 TIU and do it in passive mode so I have unlimited amperage) How big is his layout? Is he using brass or stainless rail?

One issue with buddy #2's remote could have been software, users will want to have their TIU and remote software. Buddy #2's remote also probably didn't have both TIUs added in to it. When you start using more than 1 TIU that can cause some confusion.

This is going to take some time to fully reply to and will work on it later.

I just sent a reply to your email, I actually wouldn't mind calling your friend to help him directly and to be honest, it would probably be much easier if I did. We really need to have the equipment there when we're stepping through this. Let me know. Does he have internet access?

Will reply more later.


Raymond
 

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Ok just saw where you said you guys didn't have them powered up at the same time. I'll reply more when I have had time to fully read everything.


Raymond
 

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Super Modulator
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Discussion Starter #9
Two guys each have a tiu, a remote and a challenger. Buddy #1 and buddy #2.

Both of them are over buddy #1's house... buddy #2 has been having difficulties. So we will call everything TIU 1, TIU 2 , challenger 1, challenger 2, etc.

After resetting things, I determine, TIU 1 works, TIU 2 works, remote 1 works, remote 2 does not work, challenger 2 works.

Buddy 2 goes home...

I go home...

Buddy 1 (still at home) tries TIU 1 the next day, for some reason now it does not connect, not found with read button. Worked the day before.

TIU 1 and 2 never on at same time. (I have mentioned this before, I went back to the previous posts and put some things in BOLD)

I turned the other ports on and off to see if any difference, none... He is using fixed #1 on input and output.

So what is the condition where the loco just runs on the fixed output, and is never found... I think the situation where he could not hook up with his TIU is a temporary thing, told him several times to check batteries, they were ok yesterday, but today they are down to 1.3 volt each, so he will get new ones.

The big questions are:

1. what are the conditions that a loco just starts running on the fixed 1 output
2. when it's in this mode, it cannot be "Found"... does this help indicate what is wrong.

Regards, Greg
 

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THE condition when the locomotive starts up on its own is the polarity is wrong. Next time turn the engine around to see if the TIU finds it. It does matter how the transformer outputs are connected to the TIU, and how the TIU is connected to the track. For example, if you have the TIU to track connection backwards, you can not get it to work by reversing the polarity at the transformer. (at least it doesn't work for me)

My original Challenger has a polarity switch under the smoke box cover. One of the two engines might well have the switch in the wrong position. But lets repeat here. It it always the wrong polarity (somewhere) when the engine starts up on its own. In this case, you should see the power come up, and 5 seconds or so later the engine starts off (full sound and smoke). That 5 seconds is the time the DCS board uses to try to find a signal - which when it doesn't - it shifts to analog mode and just starts down the track.

As to the remote, if you replaced the batteries with brand new ones, and reset the remote to match the TIU, it should work. You can check inside the remote to see if the antenna wire is loose, which can happen if you open it up without being careful. Its hard to imagine it is broken, as it should never have worked at all if it is a bad board, there isn't enough amps to fry anything and it worked when he got it right? By the way, when you connected the remote with the phone cord, did the display change to show a (T) after the DCS version number in the banner? If so, the TIU knew the remote was there. It does not mean the remote can control the TIU.

One other thing to check. DCS version 2.0 is not compatible with 3.0 (they store information in different places) and neither works with 4.0. So you have to make sure the operating systems are the same, for both TIUs and remotes. Its a free download, so update the broken remote and TIU to the latest and greatest, 4.01.

That alone might fix the remote. It might just have a bad software line in the memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks John, I was not aware DCS was polarity sensitive (but how do you put a loco on the track in the other direction?)

I will try that today and report back.

Both remotes upgraded to 4.01 and both were working, but had not been used for a while. I personally inspected the batteries in the non-working remote. When doing operations it would sometimess flash something about no RF.

Thanks again, Greg
 

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Will reply more later but, I agree with John, the polarity is usually THE number one reason you will have issues like this. It needs to be correct from the PS to TIU and the TIU to the engine. My Challenger does not have a polarity switch so his may not either. If he is powering with a DC power supply confirm the TIU to engine polarity is correct by listening to the relay clicks in the engine. Two clicks indicates correct polarity.

I have heard of folks who have had polarity backwards be able to intermittantly add or control their engine. I've never been able to with the polarity wrong.

Need to confirm the TIU software load as well.

Another issue is he has 4.01, he needs to upgrade to 4.10. The 4.01 was buggy with regards to adding and starting up engines. It also matters if the last upgrade was from v2.xx to v4.xx or v3.xx to v4.xx. Upgrade to 4.10 before you go any further. Be sure to use the DCS loader software version 2.0 to do it.

How many engines does he own? After upgrading I would delete the Challenger and readd it.

My question from before was what type of track is he using and how many feet is his layout?


Raymond
 

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Also if you are actually able to go over there today, feel free to call me when you get there. It will be helpful to have the equipment there in front of you.


Raymond
 

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Gerg - usually, you reverse the engine by picking it up and turning it around. That seems to work consistently.
I'm sure it will work once you get on the phone with Raymond. If the engine runs without the DCS (which it does, since it runs and you can't control it) then it will run with it.
I have had my system since the day MTH came out with a hudson. (eight years? I don't know, but it was a long time ago) Every once in a while I have to clean the track to get the signal strength strong enough to start up the locomotives. And if you have the polarity correct then that is the first thing to check.

But that is not the issue here, since one engine works and one does not. Load the latest software and reset the TIU/remotes. Check the polarity again.
Play with trains.
Eventually you will sell all your old DCC systems, as you will tire of using bear skins and stone knives and learn to use DCS to operate your RR.

Heck, you might even have an Aristo product someday. (ok, that is going too far and isn't going to happen)
 

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In addition to the other questions I asked:

With the person have issues -

- So in the remote you currently have TIU addresses added for 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5? (Quote: Understand, that is why I added TIU's 1-5, and then did a read, the working remote ALWAYS found a TIU, the non working one NEVER found one (did not have the remotes on at the same time) - (Quote: I quickly learned that TIAs can be numbered from 1 to 5 and that the "number" is not in the tia, but basically in the remote.) - No this is not correct, the TIU has a number in it not just the remote.

- What is the address of the TIU and how did you confirm that?
- After the engine has been sitting a while and with the power off (and I would take the engine off the track), take a voltmeter and carefully probe the battery recharge terminals in the smoke box. What voltage reading do you get? (you may need to wait a while before you check to get an accurate baseline reading.) I'd wait overnight probably, but your call.
- Where in relation to the main power leads to the track is the engine? Is it right on the the main power leads?
- what type power supply and brand is he using? and what voltage level is being applied to the track?
- When did this problem occur for Buddy#1? Was he going along just fine until this troubleshoot session? It sounds like Buddy #2 was the one originally with the problem and now Buddy #1 has issues.
- 1.3v is low but it will work ok. The remote will tell you when to replace the batteries.

The polarity issue is for sure the first and foremost thing to get right, nothing else works until you do. At this point I agree with what Joe and John have said and the recommendation to reset the TIU and remote. I would go the extra step and reset them both then do the software upgrade to v4.10. (v4.00, 4.01, 4.02a all had bugs)

- on the possible bad remote, MTH has a warning message on their new DCS loader 2.0 program that if you plug the remote into the AIU plug on the TIU then you could damage the remote. I've made that mistake before and it never hurt it but... If buddy #2 or someone else did an upgrade on his TIU and remote this is a possibility.


Raymond
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, one problem was the track polarity. The test stand used on the first day for buddy #2 and his loco may have been wired differently when buddy #1 went to use his loco. Also, loco #1 may have had it's polarity switch set the wrong way.

The other thing revealed was that buddy #1 actually had TWO TIUs and the one NOT working is the one we never saw or tried on the first day. So everything that worked when I left still worked.

So now we have a TIU that works and one that does not, a working remote and a working challenger for buddy #1. Buddy #2 is sending his remote in for repair since we determined it was defective, radio wise.

The interesting thing now is buddy #1 says he can "add" the "Good" TIU and everything is fine... then he changes it's address to 5... then he powers the second TIU and sometimes he can link it up, but sometimes it unlinks the first TIU. I suspect there may be some cockpit error, but we now know the polarity issues and the "cruise controll" reason.

John, I have lots of Aristo products, everything they make for my era I have at least one of. Aristo and USAT are the reasons I am in the hobby. But change to DCS? That's a step backwards for me, less capability and some eccentricities (like having to have a polarity switch on a loco) I just don't like.

It's a nice system, with superb motor control and the sound and smoke system implementation is probably the best in the world, but there's a lot of things it cannot do that I want to do.

Raymond:

I think the way the TIU addressing works is that each TIU has a "Real" address we do not see. When the remote sees it, you can "assign" it to TIU 1-5. BUT that number is not the "real" address of the TIU, since a different remote can have a different number for the SAME TIU. It sure seemed this way when I was there... but maybe because I had a flakey remote, this is my misinterpretation.

I asked my friend if he could see a light blink on the TIU to tell it's address, he only saw a led that was on all the time. If you can tell me where it is, that would help.

Checking the recharge terminals, ahh, will have to find these, I suppose this battery retains settings and a bad one can cause erratic operation. I will look in the smokebox.

Nice power supply, regulated DC... will check voltage level.
New batteries in remote now..

I think the version is indeed 4.10 not 4.01, was not holding remote.

They DID plug the remote into the AIU plug the first time, but it was after the remote acted up, and they plugged the working remote into it also, and it is still working. It was not left that way a long time, because, the screen blanked or froze, so I said something was wrong... that's when they discovered it was the wrong RJ12 port!!

Thanks for all your help, it would be great to be able to tell what number a TIU was set to without trying to find it with a remote, and also to know if there is a manual reset for the TIU that does not need the remote.

Regards, Greg
 

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there is only one red LED that you can see from the top of the TIU. It will flash when power is turned on (within a few seconds of power up) a number of times equal to which number the TIU is set on. That is how you check. Once the system is up and running, it does not flash anymore.

Why do you want TIU to be set to 5? (as opposed to say, 1) Is there some reason? I suspect this is a root cause of the issue. Somewhere in the transfer from TIU set to comm 1 to comm 5 a link is not connected.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ahh... buddy #1 has 2 TIUs and wants them to be set to addresses that are "safe", so when buddy #2 shows up with his TIU, there is no address conflict.

You may indeed be right that the system "wants" a #1 somewhere, or something is getting reset. I need to go over there and try that out. I will definitely check out the LED myself, since he says it does not blink at all after powerup.

Thanks for all the help, your tip on polarity was a fundamental issue.

Regards, Greg
 

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Not to confuse the issue, but the TIUs can also be set in " super TIU " mode. Both TIUs would then use the same address. Each TIU then controls separate blocks of the track. Everything else is the same. The locos can move seemlessly from one TIU control to the other without loss of command.

You didn't mention what the track is like, but that might also be a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Actually, the second TIU is for testing only apparently, the entire layout is a single power block. I'll double check. Sounds like a good solution when running multiple locos.

Thanks, Greg
 
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