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  • Topic: TAS Smoke Unit

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    • February 10, 2019 1:04 PM EST
      • Tinton Falls, NJ
         
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      TAS Smoke Unit

      Looking for some help or info.  I have a TAS smoke Unit that has stopped working it appears to be the processor, I purchased new chips but do not have a programmer nor do I have access to the program.  In as much as TAS is no longer in business does anyone out there have any info regarding these units or where I may get one reprogrammed?

      This post was edited by Joe Augustine at February 10, 2019 1:07 PM EST
    • February 10, 2019 1:19 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      You need to make friends with an electronic engineer over 40. You then need to make friends with a guy who has a working one willing to lend it to you so the processor code can be copied.

      I'd guess that is a PIC processor.

      OR

      You just look for a used one, or use something else. I gather you are not running DCC with a decoder that can "direct drive" the heater and fan.

       

      Greg

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    • February 10, 2019 1:49 PM EST
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      It is indeed a PIC.  

      Another thing to look at is whether the thermistor has failed.  This could trick the processor into thinking it's overheating.

      If I still have the one I pulled out of my USAT Hudson, you may have it.  I'll look tomorrow.

    • February 10, 2019 5:36 PM EST
      • Tinton Falls, NJ
         
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      Yes it is a PIC, already checked the thermistor, the processor was the defective item, I have 3 other units that are working but no over 40 engineer friends with a programmer, guess I'll have to try a local hobby shop that deals with Lionel repairs.  No DCC yet or I would have used the outputs, I'm thinking of a NCE PH10r system but on hold waiting to see if Blue Rail Trains comes up with higher current rated models for their Blue Tooth systems.  Thanks for the replies guys

    • February 10, 2019 5:58 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      you can probably buy a PIC programmer, and a sharp pc guy can probably figure it out. Since you have 3 other units you have the "Source"

       

      You are deciding between a traditional DCC track power system, and a track powered bluetooth system? There's a huge difference in features and basic architecture between these 2.

       

      Greg

       

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    • February 11, 2019 4:05 AM EST
      • Bomaderry, NSW Australia
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      you can probably buy a PIC programmer, and a sharp pc guy can probably figure it out. Since you have 3 other units you have the "Source"

       

      Another avenue if you can get the program is to look at PICAXE a UK based educational system which is PIC based their programmers are cheap and the support forum is excellent, they may be able to help modify the program to work. 

      For "the sharp PC guy" might I suggest contacting Dave Bodnar and ask if he can help, he has given me help/guidance in the past.

      Sorry Dave for putting you in it  

       

      This post was edited by Graeme Price at February 11, 2019 4:05 AM EST
    • February 11, 2019 10:57 AM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Graeme, the PIC programmers are cheap and replacing the current PIC with another would not need software development or hardware changes... he's just replacing the processor in an existing piece of hardware.

       

      I looked on the web, many PIC programmers for the older processors are $18... it's not a question of money.

       

      What I'm saying is he could probably do it himself... get the programmer, read the program from one of his other existing, working units, and take that code and program the replacement PIC he already bought.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • February 12, 2019 4:31 AM EST
      • Bomaderry, NSW Australia
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      Graeme, the PIC programmers are cheap and replacing the current PIC with another would not need software development or hardware changes... he's just replacing the processor in an existing piece of hardware.

       

      I looked on the web, many PIC programmers for the older processors are $18... it's not a question of money.

       

      What I'm saying is he could probably do it himself... get the programmer, read the program from one of his other existing, working units, and take that code and program the replacement PIC he already bought.

       

      Greg

       

      OK I guess $18 for a one off is not a real high price to pay and to also future proof the cards.

       

    • February 12, 2019 7:07 AM EST

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      Graeme - one word of caution - I do quite a bit of PIC programming and there is a fuse (a storage place on the PIC chip) which you can enable that prevents anyone from reading the code that is on the chip.  Many commercial devices are so protected.

      That is not to say it isn't worth a try!

      For more information see:

      https://www.ccsinfo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=56690

      dave

    • February 12, 2019 12:37 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Dave: I figured this is so old, perhaps they did not do that, $18 is probably worth the gamble to find out.

       

      Joe: I don't have mine in front of me, what is the part number for the PIC? I too have several engineers working for me that have used PICs for some time. I can do some research on that part.

       

      Greg

       

       

      ____________________________________

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    • February 12, 2019 1:10 PM EST
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      Greg: 12C671

    • February 12, 2019 2:27 PM EST
      • Bomaderry, NSW Australia
         
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      David Bodnar said:

      Graeme - one word of caution - I do quite a bit of PIC programming and there is a fuse (a storage place on the PIC chip) which you can enable that prevents anyone from reading the code that is on the chip.  Many commercial devices are so protected.

      That is not to say it isn't worth a try!

      For more information see:

      https://www.ccsinfo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=56690

      dave

       PICAXE springs to mind with that Dave, bit of a pity because it would be a help.

      This post was edited by Graeme Price at February 12, 2019 2:27 PM EST
    • February 12, 2019 2:33 PM EST

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      If we knew what the chip was doing we could likely substitute a PICAXE - that would be nice!

      dave

    • February 12, 2019 3:00 PM EST
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      I started reverse-engineering mine before I abandoned it for something more powerful.  The PIC is mostly there to protect again overheating, if I recall correctly.  There's a thermistor pressed against the heater element, and the unit shuts down if it gets too hot.

    • February 12, 2019 3:25 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      pic programmer for $7.55:

      https://www.ebay.com/i/191674291656?chn=ps

       

      Data sheet fir the 12C671: 

      http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/30561C.pdf

       

      I'd read register 9-1 (configuration word) (page 53)

      If the memory is unprotected, you should be able to read the code from the existing chip and program a new one.

       

      If the memory is protected, you spent a 1/2 hour and $7.55 to try to revive your smoke unit.

       

      Greg

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at February 12, 2019 3:25 PM EST
      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


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      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

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