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    • June 18, 2018 4:36 PM EDT
    • Eric, if you ever get a chance in the future, it would be interesting to see what current you are running.


      Have you measured the decoder to see what it has rectified the track voltage to? Also interested... my guess is that you are a bit under 1 amp at full chat on the heater.



    • June 18, 2018 9:33 AM EDT
    • Function 8.  CV 160 is set to 72.  It's working - F8 turns the smoke on and off, and the PWM duty cycle does change between acceleration, constant speed, and idle.  It just doesn't fully turn off at idle.

    • June 18, 2018 6:59 AM EDT
    • What function key is used for the smoke?  If function 6 then cv 132 must be set to get cv137-139 to operate correctly..

    • June 16, 2018 9:06 AM EDT
    • I haven’t changed CV60. I did setup 137, 138, and 139. Everything is working great. Two oddities, though:

      1.  CV139 is set to 0, but the smoke unit doesn’t fully shut off at idle. 

      2.  The function controlling the smoke turns off the heater, but the fan keeps pulsing when it’s off.

      neither if these is is really a problem, just odd. 

    • June 16, 2018 7:31 AM EDT
    • Trainli had 2 different prosmoke units.

      Older ones that looked like Aristo could run from 10 volts on the heater element, but the newer version needs 15 volts!!

      To control the heater, CV 137, 138, 139 need adjustment but one has to make sure the function key for smoke has CV114 set to ignore light dimming if cv 60 is not 0.


    • June 15, 2018 9:50 PM EDT
    • We had one of the club layouts set up today, and I had really wanted to run the Hudson with smoke. On the way out the door, I grabbed the soldering iron and some tools. I grabbed some wick from Home Depot in the tiki torch department, and stopped at the electronic surplus place to get some resistors to smash for heat elements.   I performed surgery on a folding table, and got her up and running. 


      The resistor that came with the unit was 14 ohms. I switched to 18 ohms, and the unit ran for hours without burning up. 

    • June 15, 2018 11:06 AM EDT
    • HAH!


      With pretty high fan speed, my all metal USAT units could tolerate 9v continuously and drew about 1 amp, and the plastic units like Zimo, Aristo, etc, in my opinion, can't handle this much. I think you were basically at double that in a plastic unit.


      I would guess that you want to measure the average power into the unit, since you have PWM and keep it to about 9 or 10 watts, and that would only be with the fan going pretty much full out most of the time. I'd get an analog meter to see if you can get a reasonable average reading of the current.


      If not, another way would be to get a cheap thermal IR "gun" and read the temp and make sure you have a situation where the temp equalizes (and below the melting point of the plastic ha ha)


      No video of the flames? You are no fun!



    • June 15, 2018 8:23 AM EDT
    • Thanks, Dan.

      I set up and external MOSFET and optoisolator to power the heater directly from the battery, and everything is working now. 


      I'm curious why the supplies for the heater and lights would need to be separated.  I assume the low voltage outputs are just regulated versions of the V+ terminal?  Since I'm using CL2N3s, the supply voltage is irrelevant for my lights.  


      18V at 100% duty cycle did prove to be too much for the smoke unit, though.  Moments after I took this video, it burst into flames.  I'll have to reduce the duty cycle.

    • June 15, 2018 7:18 AM EDT
    • The lights should be connected to a low voltage supply on this decoder and the smoke to the variable voltage which should be set to 15 volts.  This will isolate the heater element from the lights.

      If you set up a dimming in cv60 then you need to not dim the smoke unit in cv 114.

    • June 14, 2018 9:18 PM EDT
    • I thought of the fluid level possibility, but it happens even when there is plenty of fluid.  It also happens continuously (on and off and on and off) if I run at a constant speed for several minutes.  Nothing under that condition is changing/spiking.


      I think the correct way to handle this is to connect the heater directly to the battery, and isolate it from the decoder with an external MOSFET.  That way, it's not drawing that current through the decoder or Convrtr.  Of course I'll have to optoisolate it since the ground isn't common between them.

    • June 14, 2018 9:10 PM EDT
    • Could the battery voltage be dipping and confusing the Zimo?

      Could the heater be spiking at more then an amp after it warms up, or when the fluid level drops a bit?


    • June 14, 2018 7:37 PM EDT
    • The setup is a 18 V battery feeding an AirWire Convrtr (6 A version), feeding the Zimo decoder.  A Phoenix P8 is also connected to the DCC outputs on the Convrtr.  The cam sensor is driving a pair of optoisolators, one of which is connected to the trigger on the Zimo and the other on the P8.  So there is no common electrical connection between the boards other than the DCC input.  


      The outputs from the decoder are nothing fancy.  Headlights are both connected to their assigned terminals, and other lights are on F0x outputs (classification, markers, cab).  The lights are all LEDs with CL2N3s in series, connected to the common V+ (full rectified DCC voltage).  Smoke fan is on the special fan terminal, and smoke heater is on F08.  F08 is the only output that is programmed for an effect, which is steam smoke.  


      Notes that may be helpful:

      1.  This issue affects all lights (headlights (front and rear), cab light, classification lights, marker lights).  It is not a lighting effect inadvertently selected on the headlight output.  

      2.  The problem goes away (lights stay on), when the smoke unit heater is disconnected.  I have a switch between the heater element and the F08 terminal, and can open the circuit, even though the decoder is unaware of the change.  

      3.  The manual indicates that if excess current is drawn, the decoder will attempt to reboot, and this may lead to flashing lights.  I would assume, though, that it would also lead to the motor stopping, and the chuffing of the fan stopping, but neither of these is happening.

      4.  I don't yet know whether the heater is also turning off with the lights.  I'll open it up and test this.


    • June 14, 2018 4:38 PM EDT
    • Zimo DCC decoder and Zimo smoke unit (which looks similar to Aristo) Visaton speaker...

      I think he mentions the model number of the decoder, the MX6** series... the low cost one with fewer screw terminals.



    • June 14, 2018 3:19 PM EDT
    • Eric,

      With all the changes you have made I have lost track of things.  Could you put up a list of the major components you are using for motor drive, sound etc?  

    • June 14, 2018 3:05 PM EDT
    • It really seems that somehow your LED is set up for something strange... not the fan or heater, but something like firebox flicker...


      You need to look at what output the headlight is tied to and investigate if there are other functions tied there..... better personally inspect the headlight wiring too...


      That is crazy...

    • June 14, 2018 11:57 AM EDT
    • I'm going to ask this here, since it's already been buried in my Hudson build thread.


      I have the Zimo MX695KN working as planned, triggering off of the cam sensor (actually through an optoisolator, but same thing), and it's working great.  However, when the smoke is on, the lights connected to the other function outputs randomly turn on and off.  See video below.  My suspicion is that it's a too-much-current issue, but I don't think my total adds up to the 2A limit.  The smoke heater is a little over 1 A, the fan is 125 mA or so, and the headlight is exactly 20 mA (LED with CL2N3).  I should have plenty of headroom.  


      If I turn off the heater (I put a switch inline for hard disconnect), the light stays on.


    • June 16, 2018 4:39 PM EDT
    • Email navin at and see if he can point out the part.

      He might be able to repair them for you too... you have SMT rework equipment?



    • June 16, 2018 2:30 PM EDT
    • I seem to recall reading a post where someone identified which component on the Revo receiver that is the driver for the head lights. I have two boards, one that the headlight doesn't work at all and the other with a headlight is on all the time regardless of direction. The other back up lights work normally as do all other functions so I am assuming the issue is a bad driver. I have plenty of spares so for the time I will just swap out the boards but eventually would like to fix them. Thanks in advance.

    • June 10, 2018 1:54 AM EDT
    • They are on different channels.  It is not that they are "talking" but more like Cab 1 "interupts" Cab 3 by its very presence in the system.


      After open house this and next weekend, I may try using the Cab 3 TE in the Cab 2 position and see if the problem persists.  Meanwhile, another TE is substituting and seems to work fine in this position.

    • June 9, 2018 9:39 PM EDT
    • So Cab 1 is "talking" to cab 3 and resetting it. Shouldn't they be on different channels?