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C55
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently posted a couple of pictures of the new Arnold British Military Train Coaches {N Gauge}, which ran a daily service from Berlin and back, through one of the Corridors to Braunschweig, in West Germany. At the time of purchasing the Berliner Coaches, I was looking to purchase a Ludmilla DR 132, which were the normal traction, and spotted one on Gaugemaster's site. It turned out to be a Minitrix 16234, which has sound, lights etc and which arrived shortly afterwards.
It turns out to not respond to the Headlights function and seems to like stopping at times, too {cleaning has seemed to cure that?}. I checked with Gaugemaster and they have advised checking whether it is an interface matter, with the NEC Powercab I use, failing which they can only offer a refund. Dilemma and bull's horns seem to come to mind.
{N.B. Gaugemaster also said that opening up the loco to look for a solution, would invalidate the warranty {I am not certain about the validity of that statement... }.

I checked the function on F0, the "Headlight button" and the light level (CV 52 - light level 31 which is the Factory Setting, reset to 30 to see if any change - none}.
I checked all the other listed Functions, which worked, as listed.
I checked the Decoder Manufacturer Number {131 Trix Modelleisenbahn and Version 47}.
The "0" button on the controller functions with addresses 10 & 20.
Decoder factory reset {CV8 to 8}.. Confirmed by address reset and light value {CV 52} reset from 30 back to 31.

Given Gaugemaster's advice to check if it is an NCE Powercab interface matter, has anyone had similar experience with the combination of Controller and Decoder, which might provide a solution to the lack of lights. Thank you for reading.

Julian
 

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In depth idiot
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... Gaugemaster also said that opening up the loco to look for a solution, would invalidate the warranty {I am not certain about the validity of that statement...)
If the product information includes instructions for body removal to gain access to attend to lubrication or other maintenance, and to install a decoder or sound system if such were not already fitted, without such restrictions on warranty; then the product is designed with the intent that the owner is able to open up the loco. For my money that would negate Gaugemaster's position, as they are infringing on what the manufacturer states are acceptable actions.

The NCE question: does use of F0 with other decoders switch lights on and off satisfactorily?
 

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If the other functions work I would start to suspect a problem with the lights themselves at which point it becomes a return to retailer for replacement/refund.
I had to return a Roco sound DMU to Gaugemaster earlier in the year when it decided to release the magic smoke when I switched on the layout one evening. There was no reluctance on Gaugemaster's part and in due course I received a replacement.

David
 
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C55
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
If the product information includes instructions for body removal to gain access to attend to lubrication or other maintenance, and to install a decoder or sound system if such were not already fitted, without such restrictions on warranty; then the product is designed with the intent that the owner is able to open up the loco. For my money that would negate Gaugemaster's position, as they are infringing on what the manufacturer states are acceptable actions.

The NCE question: does use of F0 with other decoders switch lights on and off satisfactorily?
Thanks 34C, that was much along the lines I was thinking and it's good to have your reassurance, in similar vein. In so far as other locos go, the "Headlight" button and F0 both work, so I can't really see how it can be any different for a Trix, compliant, decoder as Gaugemaster suggested.

If the other functions work I would start to suspect a problem with the lights themselves at which point it becomes a return to retailer for replacement/refund.
I had to return a Roco sound DMU to Gaugemaster earlier in the year when it decided to release the magic smoke when I switched on the layout one evening. There was no reluctance on Gaugemaster's part and in due course I received a replacement.

David
Thanks David, I suspect the light circuit and a look in the exploded diagram shows what looks like sliding contacts from the main circuit board, similar to wheel pick-ups. In view of their comment about opening it up, I have left the loco alone for the time being, given Gaugemaster's willingness to refund. In the meantime I thought it might be interesting to see what Trix have to say about their warranty. I'm waiting for a reply to an email to them, outlining the situation. {That's assuming they can understand my German, it was pretty limited back 40 years ago.}
J
 

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C55
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Only a brief update, on the progress, on the grounds that there is no response from Trix {perhaps my German is worse than I thought}. That being the case, I decided to email Gaugemaster today, to ask about how to return the Ludmilla for a refund, as they haven't offered a repair to the lights, either.

On the bright side, meanwhile, I had a very kind offer from Babz, for one of her Brawa Ludmillas, to which I could add sound, along with the contact number of a gentleman who is good at adding DCC and sound. A run revealed a very smooth, quiet Loco, so things are definitely looking up and a very big thank you is due to Babz.

A look at the paperwork with the Brawa loco shows an 18 pin socket, conveniently located in the battery boxes and a Speaker, which seems to be a drop-in under the Speaker Case. I have managed to find the part number for their 18 pin sound decoder and the Sound files download, but I am waiting for Brawa to let me know the number for their speaker, so I can contact the gentleman about getting them and the sound files sorted.

Regards to all

J
 

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C55
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quelle surprise!... {I did say my German was somewhat faulty these days...}

Having ascertained who to post the Loco to, with their refund reference, I sent it off yesterday afternoon. Early this afternoon, the phone rang and it turned out to be their Helpdesk gentleman. "Good news", he said, "Our backroom guys had a look at your Loco and took the Decoder out to look at it and when they put it back the lights worked. would you like us to send it back to you?" Well, with my gabber truly flasted, I was pleased to reply in the affirmative and await the arrival, with bated breath. What a turn on up for the books. 😏
 

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C55
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mmmmm was this Gaugemaster??????. Babz
Indeed 'twere and having got it today and tried it, the lights are so dim they are almost invisible. The bulbs are a dim orange, so they must be lacking in voltage supply. I spent this afternoon checking the CVs, but couldn't find any out of place. I will look at the contacts tomorrow and see if there is an issue there. There is almost no information about the decoder at all on the Trix website, let alone intended voltages for the lights. Tomorrow is another day, so may provide an answer or two. Maybe the bulbs should be LEDs and somehow got exchanged. I may make an order for replacements and see what arrives in the post, at least that will provide information on the correct bulb type.

Happy weekend to everyone.
J
 

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C55
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Greetings to all and a bit of an update, some of it actually progress, too, including managing to purchase my daughter's birthday present, before her birthday at the end of the month!! Wonders will never cease.

A few days ago, I went to pick up the Brawa Ludmilla, with it's new DCC Sound, which is looking, sounding and moving very well indeed, so thanks again to Babz for the Loco and to Chris Peters for the sound. I did get in touch with Brawa to see if their decoder and speaker set-up was available, which they sort of were, but out of stock for several months. The installed one is an ESU, which I am very happy with, indeed, and some custom sounds, for the cab and platform messages.

On the other hand, the messages sent to Trix / Minitrix, about the low level of light in the headlamps, simply resulted in silence, which I thought was quite rude, really. Their decoder is an unusual 14 pin affair, about which there is scant information and none in English. Meanwhile I checked the headlights and found that the bulbs were 12V, much as expected, but not Leds, which was disappointing, but spares are available, so no great worry. The check of the voltage at the contacts revealed a maximum of 6.1V, which explains the very dim headlights. Pictures 1 & 2 show just how dim.

In view of waiting several weeks for Minitrix to end their masterly silence, I decided that I might make more progress if I found some 6V bulbs of the same fitment type. The Easy LightBulbs site had some of the right diameter and length [although there was some slightly confusing information about the barrel diameters and I ended up with 4 of the bulbs being too large diameter]. I turned the CV 52 down to value 29, which read a safe 5.4V, at the contacts with the12V bulbs, before swapping them for the 6V ones. I now have lights, not bright, but visible, as can be seen in picture number 3.
[Note: I took the pictures in the dim early morning light, so as to be able to get the Trix headlight to show, so the other Locos' lights show very brightly, as would be expected in Dawn light conditions.]

Brawa and Fleischman headlights, Minitrix at the front.
Minitrix Headlights??

Best view of Minitrix
Minitrix Orange glow

6V bulbs installed, with all three visible now
6V bulbs for the 6V supply

I did check the voltage after putting the 6V bulbs in, which got a 5.1V reading, but I think I will leave well alone for the time being and be content with the improvement. Hope you enjoyed a little light reading.

J
Now... staff coach and Cobalt Blue???
 
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