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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all - I am new to this forum and new to modern DCC, having been an old Zero-1 user years ago.

I have a Hornby select unit and have been experimenting with it. To be fair for what it is its good value, but after reading a few entries here I have doubts that it is suitable for anything more than a standalone Hornby system.

So far it has worked well with the hornby decoders, but I acquired some NCE N14SR recently and I can't get these working at all. More of a worry is the fact they make a nasty noise when placed on the track with the Select unit connected.

I have tried two of these decoders now in different locos (N gauge grafar models, some DCC ready others modified!) and get the same results. Yes, before you ask they are definitely wired correctly.

Can anyone else confirm these findings?

Interestingly I also can't get these NCE decoders working on standard DC, even though they should according to the decoder instructions. It could be a faulty batch of decoders, but I suspect otherwise.
 

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This is the first report of which I'm aware concerning NCE decoders and the Select.

There have been quite a lot of reports that Lenz decoders (and therefore Bachmann decoders , which are made by Lenz) can be programmed with the Select.

There's been one report that TCS decoders (model unknown)wouldn't program with the Select , and one report that someone had managed to program a TCS decoder (make unknown)

In theory, even if you don't program the decoder , it should still run , as address 03.

I've not personally seen the Select, but reports suggest it can only change the address and not other CVs . Therefore it should not be possible for the Select to change the CV that controls whether DC is enabled. Hence the decoder should work on DC....

It has been stated in print that there are several "modes" for sending instructions to a decoder. The Hornby Select apparently only supports one(the most recent and mandatory one) It has been suggested that some decoders don't support all modes, and if the mode missing from the decoder is the mode used by the Select , clearly it won't program

All I can suggest is that you:

- Find someone who has a different brand of DCC system and see if the decoders will respond /program on that system. If they won't they're duds.

- Failing this , send the decoders back to the supplier with an explanation of what has happened .
 

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There has been significant discussion about the Hornby system and it's compatibility with other systems on other threads. If you look under Hornby Select Hornby Decoders and so on you will probably find the answers there. The common denominator for most incompatibility issues seems to be the Hornby system.

Check your decoders with an established DCC system and see if they work with Lenz or Digitrax or whatever. If they don't then there the decoder will be the problem.
 

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This is what a Hornby representative said recently:-

QUOTE Concerning your e-mail, I suspect, although I would need to check to be absolutely certain, that the reason why the TCS decoders do not appear to function correctly is the fact that they may require to be programmed using a different format than the Select uses. There are, in principal, 4 specific programming modes - Direct, Operation, Paged and Register. The Select uses the most recent format, which is Direct, but without receiving the technical spec of the decoders in question I cannot be more specific.

Incidentally, the Elite can accommodate all 4 programming modes.

Finally, both the Elite and Select are NMRA compatible.

I hope the above is of help.

Simon Kohler

Since then it has been reported that certain TCS decoders will function as long as they are programmed when the loco is on the main.

Does the NCE decoder support the direct programming format?

It does appear that NCE decoders have issues with other consoles as reported on another forum. Is this locking feature mentioned below unique to NCE?:-

QUOTE I just had a new version 3.5 SW9SR decoder professionally installed, per your instructions, with correct lighting, in a new Lifelike Proto 2000. It operates correctly in DCC mode, with correct lighting, using an Atlas Commander. However, when I try to change any of the decoder's settings with the Atlas Commander programming track, it returns error codes and doesn't change any settings. This applies to using the direct CV programming as well as page mode register programming. I've even tried putting another settable locomotive on the programming track first and then swapping to the NCE decodered SW9. Nothing works.
Could this be a defective decoder problem? Is there another way to try to program this decoder with an Atlas Commander? Is programming an NCE decoder in an Lifelike Proto 2000 SW9 known to be problematic? Should I try increasing the initial programming track voltage with DCC Specialties PowerPax DCC Programming Booster?

I really don't want to have to return the decoder as I just spent $15 to have the connections soldered and appropriate lighting added. What should I do to get this decoder to work properly?

-- Scott R. Smith ([email protected]), March 13, 2005

Answers
I do not know the Atlas Commander but I am familiar with the NCE decoder your having trouble with. It sounds like the decoder is locked. NCE decoders have a feature that permits one to lock the decoder to prohibit any changes to settings. Try changing CV15 to a zero and verify that CV16 is a zero also. This will unlock the decoder allowing changes to the rest of the CV's.

-- Dan Ferrick ([email protected]), March 13, 2005.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I tried the suggestion to unlock via CV15 and CV16, which I had to try to do via page mode (through changing registers to affect the CVs). Each entry resulted in an Er2 response from the Atlas Commander. While I know that even Atlas says that an error message does not necessarily mean that the entry was ignored, after further attempts to change simple settings like the decoder address, I was still unsuccessful in programming (or reading) anything on the decoder. Does anyone else have any further suggestions on what might solve this problem?

-- Scott R. Smith ([email protected]), March 14, 2005.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The decoder manual states "can be programmed by all methods", so I am not sure what is going on with these decoders. I am going to get these tested on a friends Lenz system before I make any judgements on the Hornby system and compatibility issues.

The fact they do not respond on a DC layout makes me think it may not be the Hornby system causing the problem - again the manual states "factory settings is for DC opertaion enabled".

As soon as I get any results, I shall post them here as I am sure you are all interested in this ongoing potential Hornby compatibility problem topic!

I doubt I will have any news until after Xmas, so have a good one!
 

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Your probably right in your assumption that it's only suitable for Hornby decoders, which are more than likely Lenz based as are Bachmann decoders, and will most likely only work well with their decoders. This goes against the basic concept of DCC in the NMRA code of RP's in that any decoder from any manufacturer should work on any system. The code governs how the information is sent through the rails to be recieved by the loco decoder. Because the information is sent in a specific format any manufacturers decoder knows what to do with it. There are 70 listed manufacturers of DCC products and most of them have an NMRA conformance warrant which basically says that this product conforms to the NMRA DCC protocols S9.1 through to RP9.3.2 and technicall information TI9.2.1, SUSI 1.3 and TN-2004-1. Now wether Hornby have applied for a Conformance warrant, they'd have to send units and decoders for testing, I wouldn't know.
As for your NCE decoder N14SR you should after installation test the decoder on the programming track to see if you can read back the basic CV's 1,2,7,8 and 29 which should read back as 03 or 3, 0, 35,11, and 6. If you can't read back these basic CV's then I'd check my wiring again. If it doesn't work in analogue mode, CV29 bit 2=1, try resetting the decoder to factory settings, set CV30 =2 note this will only work on the programming track. I don't know if Hornby recommend a programming track in their literature but it is vital that you have one. This can either be on the test bench or on your layout but it must be isolated from the rest of the track work or when in programming mode you'll program all locos on the track at the same time. I have mine wired through a dp/dt switch with center off so I can still use track as a siding.
I hope this doesn't appear to much of a soapbox rant and you can glean somrthing useful out of it.

Ozzie21

QUOTE (dualfuel @ 17 Dec 2006, 07:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi all - I am new to this forum and new to modern DCC, having been an old Zero-1 user years ago.

I have a Hornby select unit and have been experimenting with it. To be fair for what it is its good value, but after reading a few entries here I have doubts that it is suitable for anything more than a standalone Hornby system.

So far it has worked well with the hornby decoders, but I acquired some NCE N14SR recently and I can't get these working at all. More of a worry is the fact they make a nasty noise when placed on the track with the Select unit connected.

I have tried two of these decoders now in different locos (N gauge grafar models, some DCC ready others modified!) and get the same results. Yes, before you ask they are definitely wired correctly.

Can anyone else confirm these findings?

Interestingly I also can't get these NCE decoders working on standard DC, even though they should according to the decoder instructions. It could be a faulty batch of decoders, but I suspect otherwise.
 

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This is what Tony's Trains says about programming modes:-

QUOTE Decoder Program Modes
There are four different modes used to program decoders. The Address Mode and Register Modes are older and not used much anymore. The Paged Mode is used for most decoders today and the Direct Mode is the way of the future. I think the Direct Mode will become the standard way of programing decoders. If a decoder does not seem to program, you may be using the wrong mode. Some systems will test the decoder for the right mode before programing starts. You may need to check the decoder manual for the correct mode. Many decoder will accept more than one programing mode. Most decoder today will work with Register, Page and Direct modes. Not all DCC systems can program in all modes.

NCE seemed to add Direct Mode programming to their consoles by the means of a software upgrade in the early part of 2005 so it seems like relatively recent enhancement by NCE.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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It's not entirely on topic , but it is about compatibility of the Select with decoders so more appropriate in here than in the decoder thread ...

I've just read a report elsewhere in which someone seems to have got a DCC Sound fitted Bachmann 66 to program on the Select , after some initial difficulty switching on the sound.

This seems to be an ESU decoder
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update for you - I have managed to get one of the NCE decoders to work, more by luck than judgement. The way I got it working was to connect the decoder to the track without connecting the orange / grey to the motor. This then accepted the programming from the Select unit. I knew something had changed because after disconnecting the motor contacts the decoder stopped making the horrible noise.

Also the Select unit was acting as if it had a short applied to it and kept 'rebooting' prior to the motor wires being disconnected.

I played around with a few locos including my DCC ready Grafar 66 and the same pattern occured until I disconnected the motor wires. Very odd - it works fine now.

The other 3 NCE decoders still cause the Select to reboot, but I shall try the same approach to see if they settle down. Very strange - can't really understand what is going on with this.

So it appears once the programming problem is overcome, these NCE decoders do work with the Select - it just seems to be a bit hit and miss when programming. I might invest in a SPROG II !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
WARNING.

Today one of my NCE decoders self destructed when I was attempting to program it. It also left the select unit in a strange state where it went through the motions of selecting decoders but the display would intermittantly flash the selected number rather than it remaining steady.

I had to carry out a factory reset on the Select to get it to control anything - but it is fine now, which is more than can be said for the NCE decoder which has burnt out!

Therefore, out of the 4 NCE decoders I have, one works (after experimenting with it as described in the previous post), two still exhibit the symptoms of not working / programming and making an odd noise, and the other is destroyed.

I would therefore not recommend using NCE decoders with the Select as something is not very well with this set-up.

I am relatively happy with the hornby decoders for most applications, but need something even smaller for some locos, and would like to try a sound decoder out, but I am concerned that I could be wasting money on alternative decoders if they also go up in smoke.

Can anyone confirm any other very small decoders that do work with the select for N gauge applications?
 

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Yes please try it so we can see whether it, your Select or both blow up ... sorry I'm being bad.


Personally I would be afraid to try it and would wait for somebody else to try it first. With the NSC decoders can you read what their values are with your Select? Have you tried the Hornby Stationary Decoders yet?
 

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In the days when I seemed to be doing several decoder installations a day I bought a Loys Toys decoder programmer. This saves installing a dud decoder in what could be a complex installation. I suggest you get a copy of decoder pro and do your programming on the computer, just use your Select for running. It going to save you time and frustration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUOTE (Dennis David @ 21 Dec 2006, 10:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With the NSC decoders can you read what their values are with your Select? Have you tried the Hornby Stationary Decoders yet?

You can't read anything with the select - all it lets you do is send messages to the decoders.

I haven't tried any stationary decoders yet, but again there is no way to read the values with a select.
 

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Come on be fair this is a very low specified Digital set up. I'm reluctant to even use DCC in the same context. If you want features then be prepared to spend a few pennies on something decent. The select seems to be specified for the kids market not for serious DCC use .
 

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QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 28 Dec 2006, 10:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Come on be fair this is a very low specified Digital set up. I'm reluctant to even use DCC in the same context. If you want features then be prepared to spend a few pennies on something decent. The select seems to be specified for the kids market not for serious DCC use .


It's a bit like having a Sinclair C7 and saying you have a car.
 

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QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 27 Dec 2006, 23:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Come on be fair this is a very low specified Digital set up. I'm reluctant to even use DCC in the same context. If you want features then be prepared to spend a few pennies on something decent. The select seems to be specified for the kids market not for serious DCC use .


Well said - if the Select is really intended to operate primarlily with the Hornby decoder & vise versa then there is no need for the Select to be able to "read" CV values, likewise no need for the decoder to "read back".
 

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I think that we should carefully consider what we say about Hornby Select not because of the company or some false flag waving but because there are people starting to purchase these items regardless of what we ourselves may think and I for one would not want to make these people seem unwanted on our forum. rather let's see how we can help them mitigate some of the systems limitations. Then in due time they may choose to upgrade or not depending on their own experience and needs rather than ours which is the way it should be.

Plus I vaguely remember people writing some amazing programs on these "toys".
 

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QUOTE (Dennis David @ 29 Dec 2006, 05:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think that we should carefully consider what we say about Hornby Select not because of the company or some false flag waving but because there are people starting to purchase these items regardless of what we ourselves may think and I for one would not want to make these people seem unwanted on our forum. rather let's see how we can help them mitigate some of the systems limitations. Then in due time they may choose to upgrade or not depending on their own experience and needs rather than ours which is the way it should be.

Plus I vaguely remember people writing some amazing programs on these "toys".
I guess it's hard to accomodate the opposing viewpoints of experienced dcc users and Hornby select users as they come from opposite ends of the DCC spectrum. I think there is merit in Gary's suggestion that a dcc beginners section is opened so that select and other beginner system users can discuss issues relating to those type of systems.
I'm not saying it is right, as to be fair it probably isn't, but select type systems will be regarded with a degree of disdane by users of fully spec'ed systems. To avoid beginners being subjected to this a dedicated beginners section would sheild them from the views of experienced DCC users towards their choice of system. There would be nothing to prevent experienced DCC users dipping to the beginners section to assist in DCC problems that beginners may have.
 
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