Briperran
I bought this decoder some time back but have not tried fitting it till today.

The loco i decided to try it in is  Hornby 09 Dick Hardy.
This loco had a lokpilot basic decoder in it and ran fine with that in.

I changed it to the /Zen Nano and also added the included Stay alive to it.

Firstly the pick ups are fine and the wheels are very clean .
The capacitor is also removed from the loco.

At present the only cv change is purely the address of the loco.

When i place it on rolling road or track with the controller set at zero i get a 1 revolution turn of the wheels every few seconds.  when i apply power from the controller it starts but pulses a bit of extra power to it every few seconds and is very slow at responding to commands sent from my ecos command station.

I have done a full decoder read on the Ecos.

Can someone give me some pointers in what may be wrong here please.

many thanks

Brian




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AHJAY
Actually.... no idea.

I do not know the soft version of ECoS so - The only recommendation would be to try with railcom and all added "digital protocols" turned off, leaving only DCC.
Otherwise, feel free to send it to us and we will test for you

regards, Ahjay
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Freedom 7
Briperran wrote:
I bought this decoder some time back but have not tried fitting it till today.

The loco i decided to try it in is  Hornby 09 Dick Hardy.
This loco had a lokpilot basic decoder in it and ran fine with that in.

I changed it to the /Zen Nano and also added the included Stay alive to it.

Firstly the pick ups are fine and the wheels are very clean .
The capacitor is also removed from the loco.

At present the only cv change is purely the address of the loco.

When i place it on rolling road or track with the controller set at zero i get a 1 revolution turn of the wheels every few seconds.  when i apply power from the controller it starts but pulses a bit of extra power to it every few seconds and is very slow at responding to commands sent from my ecos command station.

I have done a full decoder read on the Ecos.

Can someone give me some pointers in what may be wrong here please.

many thanks

Brian






Hi Brian,

Have you reset the decoder ( writing 8 back to CV 8 ) once you have done that go to edit on the loco and turn off DC running and make sure all of the comms options are tuned off via the track settings and re test. ( providing you are not using them that is )

You will find these options on page 38 of the latest manual Fig 107. the only one you need to be selected here is DCC.
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Briperran
Thankyou for the replies from Ahjay and Freedom7

Firstly i put the decoder into another loco and the same thing occured.  so confirmed it was really something to do with decoder settings.
I first tried writing Cv8 to 8 as freedom suggested but all got was an error trying to write. looking at the dcc concepts decoder instructions it states fixed at 36 so i suppose that was the reason for the error .  I then disabled DC operation this simple thing fixed the problems i was having and the actual decoder now works as it should in the loco.
The decoder itself seems to work fine now but i must admit im a bit unsure about this stay alive that is supplied with it.
I was expecting that when i lifted the engine from the track it would keep running for at least a second or 2 but it does not it stops immediately.
I realise it not going to run for 10 seconds or more as it looks like there are only what look a few small tantalum capacitors there in the unit.
i have looked on the instruction leaflet and cannot see any info regarding the stay alive unit about any sort of cv adjustment as i note a number of decoders have a cv you adjust for the length of time the stay alive will work for.
Am i missing something here as i expected the stay alive unit to keep the unit running for at least a second or 2 after power is taken away?

many thanks

Brian
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AHJAY
OK, all is well

* CV8 to 8 does work but it will not change the default value in CV8 (same happens with all decoders, its an instruction to reset, not a settings change)
* Disabling DC running is a sensible thing to do on all installs. It fixes many things which are actually layout or controller induced, not a factor in the decoder software
* The small stay alive provided is designed to remove brown out, not to run the loco. It works very well even though you do not have that run-on. It is working as it should. If you need more stay alive ability you have a pickup problem in reality.

Ahjay
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Briperran
Thanks Ahjay
At least i know the decoder is now working as it should do.
What do you actually mean by the term brown out i have heard people mentioning the term before but have not really understood what they mean?

many thanks

Brian
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AHJAY
A brown-out is a lessening or very momentary loss of power delivery to the microprocessor. If that happens, then the processor will drop out for a moment and have to restart, causing stalling at slow speed.

regards, Ahjay
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Bunkerbarge
Ahjay, just to clarify, is this arrangement of anti brown out stay alive capacitor only applicable to the Zen Nano decoder and are these still available?  From what I can see the range of Zen decoders currently available that include stay alive capacitors are all for powering the locomotive rather than providing continuous power to the processor?  

There may be others confused by the use of the term "Stay Alive", which I think most modellers would take to mean that the locomotive power is continued.
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AHJAY
There may be, but I can confidently say they are such a tiny minority that it is quite irrelevant. The primary job of ALL stay alives is to keep the processor stable. Without that the loco will not run smoothly. All the extra run on is unimportant.

The stay alive with the Zen blue and previous decoders we have made has been sold in the same form for a decade, and there are more than 250.000 out there, provided free with our decoders. They have worked perfectly from the day they were released for the job they are designed to do.BTW added caps etc have had many names but in reality we were in fact the first to use the term stay alive!

They really work: The record - set in the early days of selling them - a Hornby 8F tuned to run so slowly that it ran at 1 metre per minute without stalling on a track that saw any and all other loco/decoder combinations stall regularly at slow speed. More boring than watching grass grow but it proved the point.

We are now building this brown out protection into the ZEN Black decoders so they are unnecessary with this range - however we still do add stay alive connections for those who eant more.

Yes the small stay alives are available separately and are on our website. This same device can be used with any brand which has the connections for a stay alive. We also offer larger stay alives, but the cost is significanty higher. (I actually resisted making them for quite a while as I htink they are a band aid and not a fix... Logically if the situation is such that the loco actually needs to drive for several inches, either loco or track have issues to be resolved.

regards, Ahjay
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Bunkerbarge
Sorry Ahjay but I think I'm more confused than ever now. 

What you are saying is that the stay alive capacitors are there to ensure continuity of power to the processor.  But if there is not sufficient power to drive the locomotive as well what is the point of the processor being live?  While I get it that the loco will not progress without the processor neither will it progress without sufficient power to drive the loco beyond whatever interruption or fluctuation in power it has encountered.

When you say "All the extra run on is unimportant", I tend to agree which is a conversation I seem to remember having here when bigger and better capacitors were being discussed.  As far as I can see all the capacitor needs to do is keep power to the loco, and by default obviously the processor, to ensure it can progress beyond whatever power fluctuation it may have encountered. 

I'm not sure I understand the advantage in a capacitor that will run the loco for 20 seconds unless this is more about minimising fluctuations and the larger capacity will ensure this?
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AHJAY
The term brown-out is used a bit loosely, but it differentiates between tiny interruptions in power delivery and voltage levels (Microseconds) and longer interruptions between power delivery such as those caused by really poor power pickup and dead rail sections etc.

Basically you cannot separate the decoder processor remaining active and loco power. A decoder is in series between track power and motor, so with the decoders microprocessor power interrupted, power is not available to the loco. So - with 99.9% of stalls because of interruptions of extremely short duration, far less than one second, if the loco drive is active throughout that small interruption, , there will be no stall because the processor remains active. If the processor loses power, the loco will stop. A smaller capacitance can prevent that reliably.

Any movement beyond that is largely superfluous and more willy-waving than real benefit. We made them only because people kept asking for them, because none of us would let locos run on so long on our own layouts! (We also added stay alive "On-time" to Zen black at the same time)

You are right to not really see pragmatic advantages in much larger capacitances, they add nothing to average running qualities really and have some real possble problem results for modellerss. An off the rails loco can quite happily do a kamikaze dive off the baseboard, or, just like the real thing, cause damage to itself and railside scenery and the like. Of course, they also take up a lot of space, itself a problem with many locos!

Kind regards
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Bunkerbarge
Another challenge I have come across recently can occur if you have a number of 'larger' capacitance stay alives on the track when you power up.  If your over current setting in the controller is set low then the inrush current caused by the capacitors on start up can be enough to cause what the controller 'sees' as a short and can trip the controller. 

Consequently the current limit setting has to be set higher to avoid this, which then reduces the protection under normal running conditions.
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AHJAY
Yep, every capacitor is an initial load surge.
There is some current limiting in the charge circuit, but its alway a compromise between charging fast enough and keeping the load reasonably low.

regards, Ahjay
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Briperran
Many thanks BB for the questions he has asked in this thread and to Ahjay for answering the questions.

Following the questions and answers can i clarify for myself and im sure many other dcc concept product users few questions.
1 All Zen decoders that are now sold with a stay alive unit have a stay alive unit that is purely meant to prevent  the brown out situation occurring in the decoder processor which does prevent many stalls occurring with locos and the Zen series standard slimline SKU: DCD-ZNSA1 stay alive is the same as the one fitted to the Zen decoders?
2  If you want to achieve increased running time with a dcc concepts stay alive you would need to fit a dcc concepts Super high power stay alive SKU: DCD-ZNSSA-3.

3 I fully realise that all the above work fine with DCC concepts decoders but an indication of what other decoders they work well with would be helpfull bearing in mind some decoder soldering may be required which may be beyond some modellers capabilities im particularly looking at loksound Zimo and possibly TTs sound decoders?

many thanks

Brian

Related products

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AHJAY
They will do the same for any decoder, providing that they are connected appropriately.

The DCD-ZNSA1 stay alive sold separately is the same as those provided with the decoders

regards, Ahjay
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