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Trouble with ESU lokPilot V 4.0 micro

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Category: Topics
Forum Name: Digital Trains
Forum Description: Everything about Digital Trains. Please check the subforums.
Printed Date: 18 Feb 2018 at 12:10pm
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Topic: Trouble with ESU lokPilot V 4.0 micro
Posted By: el Gato Gordo
Subject: Trouble with ESU lokPilot V 4.0 micro
Date Posted: 02 Jul 2017 at 6:14pm
I have an N scale Fleischmann Biergarten Lok, BR 111, #781302 whose decoder died.  It has a NEM 651 six pin plug, but needs about a 3" (7,5 cm) wiring harness to the decoder space.  So I bought and installed a LokPilot micro (#54687) and it won't run.  The lights, fore and aft, just flash.

First thought was that I had the plug installed reversed, or mis-aligned the pins.  Nope.

I dug out the ESU instructions, which say that this is due to the auto detect for speed step setting.  that what I need to do is set the lok on my programming track, switch on the lights, and run the speed up until the lights stop flashing.  Did this, but the lights never stopped flashing, and the train still doesn't run.

I tried setting the speed steps to 14, and tested; set to 28, and tested, set to 128, and tested.  No joy.

I tried disabling the auto-detect of speed steps function, and ran through each of the steps.  Still no luck.

I waited a day, and waited for magic to happen......

Still doesn't run.

I have tested this lok with a direct plug ESU decoder and it runs fine - with the shell off.  But one cannot do a direct plug and get the shell back on this little darling.

Any ideas out there?


Rheinland Bayern Bahn

Posted By: Railwriter
Date Posted: 02 Jul 2017 at 6:33pm
I have only had two decoders fail so far -- and both have been ESU.  I don't know if I have just been unlucky, as ESU generally has a good reputation.

But on the failed decoders, there was a noticeable spot where a component had failed by overheating and melting.  I cannot think of anything I would have done to cause this.

Take a careful look at your problem decoder.  If it has a transparent plastic protective casing, any overheating should be easily visible with a melted section of plastic..

If the decoder is brand new, you should be able to get a warranty replacement.

I have not had any problems with the Roco (Zimo) decoders or the Viessmann decoders.

I assume you've already tried a full reset to factory values and this did not change anything.

-- Ernest

Posted By: el Gato Gordo
Date Posted: 02 Jul 2017 at 7:25pm
Thanks for the reply, Ernest. Yes, I tried a full reset to factory values, with no luck. I first noticed the issue when the only change I had made was to the lok address. I guess when store's reopen on Wednesday I'll give a call.

Rheinland Bayern Bahn

Posted By: BR42
Date Posted: 14 Jul 2017 at 10:23am

You may have to return it.  I think ESU expects you to mail it back to Germany.

Decoders do strange things.  I had put a Digitrax DH166 into a Trix V188 around Christmas, and it ran fine.  Yesterday, the DCC-system suddenly lost control of the loco, but only in the auto-reverse section!  I tried another loco in the reverse section, and everything worked fine.  I swapped the DH166 with an old T1 decoder from TCS which I had in a Roco locomotive. After this, the V188 ran perfectly inside and outside the reverse section, as I expected. 

Now comes the weird thing: I decided, that the DH166 was history. Just out curiosity, I put the Roco loco with it on the track, and it also works perfectly inside and outside the reverse section!! Go figure. 

My suspicion is that the blackened wheels of the Trix loco created some fluctuations in the DCC signal which confused the autoreverser and the decoder. While these fluctuations were not enough to cause problems outside the reversing section, they combo of two electronic parts (decoder and auto-reverser) just did it.  This guess is based on the fact that I had power problems with blackened wheels before.  A polishing of the running surface with slices of the Roco rubber usually takes care of this.

Of course, there is also the possibility that my auto-reverser is on the way out....  Well Digitrax will repair it for $20.


Posted By: el Gato Gordo
Date Posted: 14 Jul 2017 at 11:23am
Hi, Ulrich

The ESU website says to return it to the retailer. I called and discussed it with the seller, who agreed the decoder is defective and that I should return it. So I did. Just waiting now for the replacement.

If all of this was easy it wouldn't be a very interesting hobby, right?

Thanks for the input!

Rheinland Bayern Bahn

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