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Kato FL12N - did I short out my lights?


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Hello!

 

Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, I was looking around but didn't see it anywhere.

 

I got the new FL12N for the head/tail lights.  I am using DCC for the first time, and starting to experiment with the decoders.  I (eventually) got the decoder to work in the motor car of my red bird 227 series.  Then I tried to install the FL12N into the other two cars of the 3 car set.  I am using digikiejs DR5000 for my DCC system. And I also have the Z21 app that I managed to eventually connect.  It seems like both of these only want to program motor cars however.  I couldn't really get it to program the CV.  When I was installing the motor decoder, there were a few shorts, once I stupidly inserted the decoder upside down.  There might have been a short installing the FL12N as well because the lights never went on.  When I uninstall the FL12N and put the cars back on the DC layout, I don't get any lights either.

 

Have I destroyed the head/tail lights in my Red Bird 227?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Normally, when you put the cars on the track with an FL12 installed (Same with an FL12N wich I had recently too) you have a quick light up, then they go out. If this is the case, they should be fine.

On the programming, put the Headcar AND the Motorcar on the Programming track. FL12's tend to pull that less power that many DCC Systems simply recognize them as an "error" rather then programming them. If you put the motorcar on the track too, it works normally.

As for the situation with your lights being out now, I suggest to check the collection brackets. I once "bend" one of these so much during a rather rash install of an FL12 that they simply no longer made contact. Might also already been the case when you installed them, so unless you dont have any burn marks on your FL12's, I wouldnt consider them broken just yet.

Only way to really short circuit an FL12 is to put it inside Upside down. if you just have it face towards the front instead the end, it will simply power the red lights when it should power the white lights, and vice versa. Sometimes you even need to make "use" of that to get the correct light orientations in your cars.

Edited by Wolf
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Great, thanks so much! And for your fast reply!

 

I think I didn't short them out as you say.  There is a plastic piece inside the body that you replace with the FL12.  Maybe when I replaced it after not getting the DCC bit to work, I inserted it incorrectly.  Just now I put the cars on the track without the decoder or that plastic piece and the lights when on.  So, whew, first worry over.

 

But I am having difficulty with your other suggestion.  You're definitely right about pulling power.  With the FL12N it isn't enough.  I put the motor car on the programming track too and of course it read the motor car.  But now how do I program the FL12 without also changing CV on the motor car too? Even just to change the initial CV# of the FL12 from 03 to something else, I feel I'd just be changing the # of my motor car instead.

 

Thanks again!

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Actually, all of the lights seem to go on now.  It's clear, red, and a green light too on.  When I put the plastic piece back in, no lights again.  I may be out of my league here.  I am not enough sure what the objective is in programming the FL12.  Shouldn't the default just kind of work and you only need to tweak settings if you are advanced?  For the motor car, I can see why, you need to give it a unique id, but not sure what I am trying to accomplish here with the FL12.  Do I need to give each car a unique address?  doesn't seem so practical and I will need to come up with some method to assign numbers I guess.

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Yes, you want your head/tail lights in DCC normally correctly addressed as in DCC the car can't make out direction of movement by the current on the track, its always the same, so it needs the dcc signal to know witch direction you go (and subsequently put the head to white and the tail to red).

Interior lights are a different issue, I stopped using DCC decoders on them and just run them by current of the track. These dont really care direction of movement either, so thats a lot of decoders less.

The "plastic piece" is normally slided in if you want the lights to be OFF. its normally set inside in a way that you can move it with the cars shell closed, either through a little hole or by a small handle. Reason is to be able to cut the circuit on the lights completely when you run twin configurations (in wich the coupled head and tail cars dont have lights on). So if you have slide these thing in to the max, it does exactly whats its supposed to do, cut the light circuit. Check the attached ASSY PDF Page 4 middle part, it shows underside with the little "on - off" printed. Stuk in full it should be "off" position"

And yes, if you put the motorcar AND the head/tail car on track and program the CV, you program BOTH. Its sadly the only workaround if your DCC unit is not able to program the Headcar alone. As you usually want your Head-, Tail- and Motorcar to be the exact same Adress as for above mentioned reasons, its normally not much of a biggie. Otherwise just remove your head/tail afterwards and re-program your motorcar to whatever other CV it had before, but as said to have proper working head/taillights, CV has to be same as motorcar.

To be more precise on the Adress issue.

You WANT Head- Tail and Motorcar to be exactly same Adress (for example assumed #47) as for the following logic:

Your Z21/DR5000 sends to the DCC Adress #47 the command "head foreward on full speed"

The EM13 in the Motorcar adressed to #47 gets that command, and does exactly that, go foreward at full speed
The FL12 n the Headcar adressed to #47 gets that command and sets headlights WHITE
The FL12 in the Tailcar adressed to #47 gets that command and sets taillights to RED

You do NOT want to set the lights seperately with a different adress, nor will your Z21/DR5000 do it.

227kei.pdf

Edited by Wolf
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chadbag

 

What is your goal in programming the FL12N?  Is it to set some CV other than the address CV?  or is it to just set the address of the FL12N?

 

If just to set the address you can "re-set" it to the same value on the motor car again so just put both on.  If it is to set some other value, this has been my experience (using original FL12)

 

-- I just try the write  multiple times and eventually it works.  (Note I am using the D&H programmer to do this on a programming track and not my DR5000).

or

-- As mentioned, you can put the motor car on as well, set the CV on the FL12N, and then take the FL12N off the track and reset the CV back to its original value in the motor car -- again, assuming it is some non-address CV -- if it is an address CV and you are setting the address on the motor car and end car (FL12N) the same, which would be normal, then it doesn't matter if you re-write it in the motor car

or

-- Use some other "junk" locomotive that you don't care about messing up the decoder on. I have a few locomotives I sometimes use like that -- I end up resetting them eventually but they are not ones I care about currently so I just stuck them on the track.

 

(I am not smart enough to understand it but here is probably some sort of circuit that could be built that would provide the correct current or other marker that is normally necessary for the CV writing to work...)

 

as an aside:

With DCC inside lighting:  I actually like to put a cheap decoder on the wagon interior lighting -- just so I can turn the inside lighting on and off as necessary.  Just the geek in me.

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Thanks both!  I have learned a lot just from these couple replies, really appreciate it.

 

I might not be cut out for this though, I am getting pretty frustrated.  I keep wind up changing the address of the motor car too, which is annoying.  I don't know what's going on.  Yesterday it was working with the address of 227, now I don't know what's going on.  I programmed it to 27 and it starting working again.  I keep the head and tail cars on, all 3 from the set and keep writing the CVs, but the lights just won't go on.  From the instructions, the decoder should go all the way in and in fact, the under cover won't go back on right unless it is all the way in.  I tried it with the decoder moved out a bit, like the plastic piece, but nothing turned the lights on. 

 

Well, I will keep trying....  This doesn't bode well for my plans if I can't do this basic thing :(

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3 hours ago, nbobkk said:

Thanks both!  I have learned a lot just from these couple replies, really appreciate it.

 

I might not be cut out for this though, I am getting pretty frustrated.  I keep wind up changing the address of the motor car too, which is annoying.  I don't know what's going on.  Yesterday it was working with the address of 227, now I don't know what's going on.  I programmed it to 27 and it starting working again.  I keep the head and tail cars on, all 3 from the set and keep writing the CVs, but the lights just won't go on.  From the instructions, the decoder should go all the way in and in fact, the under cover won't go back on right unless it is all the way in.  I tried it with the decoder moved out a bit, like the plastic piece, but nothing turned the lights on. 

 

Well, I will keep trying....  This doesn't bode well for my plans if I can't do this basic thing 😞

Post up pictures that way the guys here can spot problems fast.

 

Inobu

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I really dont understand why you are annoyed changing the adress of the Motorcar?

 

All 3 Decoders MUST have same adress (CV1). Period. Only then F0 will turn on and off head/tail Lights when you control your Loco (aka your motorcar).

 

Note: F0 is default Off on some dcc controlers, so maybe its as simple as this?

 

Otherwise what @inobu said, if we are to check for HW problems, send pictures pls.

 

Also dont give up. I started DCC a year ago and had pure agony understanding, now here I am trying already to give advice lol. It gets logical once you in jt.

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Nbob,

 

hang in there. DCC is billed as being simple, and to some extent it is, but I does require a little learning curve when you go off the basic loco driving. It takes some research, experimenting and just practice/experience for it to become easy and second hand. Also take good notes as you go along so when you have to do something again in a few months the little lost bits from memory over a period won’t frustrate you. You can do some fun things with DCC, but like most things to make it easy it just takes an investment in some time and patience.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

  • Like 2
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chadbag
7 hours ago, nbobkk said:

I am getting pretty frustrated.  I keep wind up changing the address of the motor car too, which is annoying. 

 

Is there a reason you want the motor car to have a different address than the cab cars (end cars) with the FL12?

As @Wolf stated you normally want them all to be the same so that the whole train responds to the same address and the cab cars can respond to the direction changes sent to the motor car.

 

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10 hours ago, Wolf said:

I really dont understand why you are annoyed changing the adress of the Motorcar?

 

All 3 Decoders MUST have same adress (CV1). Period. Only then F0 will turn on and off head/tail Lights when you control your Loco (aka your motorcar).

 

Note: F0 is default Off on some dcc controlers, so maybe its as simple as this?

 

Otherwise what @inobu said, if we are to check for HW problems, send pictures pls.

 

Also dont give up. I started DCC a year ago and had pure agony understanding, now here I am trying already to give advice lol. It gets logical once you in jt.

Thanks for the reply again.  My mistake in explaining, and as Chadbag also asked, I wasn't intentionally changing the address of the motor car.  Several times I changed all of the CVs that I wanted to, the motor car and the two end cars, and when I tried to test drive on the programming track it didn't move at all.  Eventually I figured out (I think) that the motor car address should be in the address box, but that clicking the "write" doesn't change the address, I think you have to do that in the "CV" area then change t he address to that CV number you just wrote when writing the other CVs at the bottom.  Writing in the Address area doesn't change CV1 on the cars on the program track.  I think I am starting to understand this.  Rookie mistake!! 

 

I had tried I think it was F3 because I saw that in the instructions for the decoder.  I will check the other F functions later when I can get back to it.  So you have to manually turn on and off the lights each time or just the first time and then they will go on/off when the motor starts?

 

Thanks all, I will try again and get back to you.  Attached is the screen shot of the digikiejs programming track functions.  I just opened it, it isn't connected.

 

Cheers

Screenshot 2022-08-03 105944.jpg

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8 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Nbob,

 

hang in there. DCC is billed as being simple, and to some extent it is, but I does require a little learning curve when you go off the basic loco driving. It takes some research, experimenting and just practice/experience for it to become easy and second hand. Also take good notes as you go along so when you have to do something again in a few months the little lost bits from memory over a period won’t frustrate you. You can do some fun things with DCC, but like most things to make it easy it just takes an investment in some time and patience.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

Thank you for the encouragement!!

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2 hours ago, nbobkk said:

I had tried I think it was F3 because I saw that in the instructions for the decoder.  I will check the other F functions later when I can get back to it.  So you have to manually turn on and off the lights each time or just the first time and then they will go on/off when the motor starts?


Normal behavior is that as long as you do not unpower the cars, they stick to their F command. So you "park" your train, lights stay on unless you turn it off. So you basically only turn them on first time you start playing (after unpowering probably the whole layout), or when your car lost power.  I hope I was able to explain this properly lol

 

 

2 hours ago, nbobkk said:

I had tried I think it was F3 because I saw that in the instructions for the decoder. 


You probably stumbled across this in the CV Section as you can set the Head/Taillights to other F functions as well by changing certain CVs, never done myself.
 

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Hi, sorry for the hiatus, I took a couple days off from this project.  I was at it again today, but no luck.  Everytime I go thru all the CVs and try to run the train again, it doesn't move.  Then I re-write CV1 to 127 and it works.  It seems writing to CV1 will also reset CV29 to 38 and I need that for the motor car to work.  But according to the FL12N instructions, CV29 should be 6.  Also in the EM13 instructions though it says CV29 can be set to 6/7 or 38/39.  So not sure what is going on.

 

I figured if I went through all the CVs with the 3 cars on them, then removed the head/tail cars and re-wrote CV29 only on the motor car, it might work.  But no luck.  The lights just don't go on.  The closest I got was once I clicked the light bulb in the digikeijs software, turns out its not for help, but one of the lights on the head/tail cars came on red, the other stayed off.  I couldn't replicate this later and both were still not turning on when I stopped. 

 

 

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Can you post a list what CVs you want set to wich decoders? I would like to either spot an error or if it seems correct try to redo it with my setup to crosscheck. I dont have the same train but can slap an FL12N into my Yamanote wich is still DC.

Edited by Wolf
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Hi, thanks again.  I want to set to all 3 decoders simultaneously, as has been advised.  So an EM13 and 2 FL12N, using these CVs as per the Kato instructions for both:

 

01   127

02   0

03   20

04   4

05   200

06   80

29   6 (or 7 apparently to get the direction right on the FL12N)

48   1

50   0

51   4

 

Thanks!

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