Divide and Conquer: A Guide to Successful Troubleshooting
This guide is a work in progress and we will add to it as time permits. We hope to add specific steps for trouble shooting different types of problems.
Troubleshooting can be broken up into three main parts: Determining the Problem, Isolating its Cause, and Determining a Solution.
The first step is to determine exactly what the issue is. Here we use the "divide and conquer" method of troubleshooting. When isolating an issue it is always recommended to have a known good spare loco and decoder on hand. First determine if the problem is the decoder or the loco. 1. Take the decoder in question and try it in the known good loco. Does the problem still exist? If yes, then this points to the problem being with the decoder. If the decoder works in the known good spare loco but not in the loco in question then this points to a problem with the loco. A. If the problem points to the loco, then make the sure the frame is isolated from the motor, cleaning the trucks and wheels, and checking the gearbox/driveshaft and wiring for the lights are all recommended.
B. If the problem points to the decoder then determine if the decoder is simple not programmed correctly or if there is another problem. With the decoder in the known good spare loco, start by performing a decoder factory reset by writing a value of 2 into CV8. The decoder should now respond to its default address of three. Does it respond to three? If yes, then the decoder is ok. Try programming the decoder as needed one CV at a time and test the operation after each programming change. By testing after each step you will know exactly when a the trouble starts. Go back to the last step and reprogram again or go back to the previous value and test again to get back to a known good state.
C. If the decoder does not respond after a factory reset in the known good loco then most likely the decoder is defective. Please fill out the online warranty registration and send a copy of it along with the decoder to TCS. Please use a padded envelope for warranty returns. If the decoder is a DP5X, A4X, or A6X then you must use a small box to return it to avoid damage to the decoder in shipment. Troubleshooting, a simple process, with advanced rewards.