Roco BR 03,10 #41307 ESU No lights, sound and directional issues.

My Roco steam train from train set 41307 having problems with ESU decoder. The lights stopped working. Both head/tail lights and wheel lights. The train runs in the wrong direction. One of the sounds can not be turned off. I believe it's the scoop of coal or the injector noise when it's in motion. I did a factory reset back to CV 03 with no changes. I tried all three speed steps 14/28/128. I reversed direction in CV29 (it did reverse direction). I did get the tail lights to work I believe it was running step 28, but they work when the train is running forward. I also tried 28 speed steps under CV29. I'm using the roco multimaus. This is the only train I'm having issues with.
Any help would be appreciated. P.S. I'm no expert at this.


  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    It appears that you have some type of failure of the decoder. While modern model railroading equipment is highly reliable, provided it is well treated, my experience is that the one item most prone to failure in the digital model railroading world is the locomotive decoder.

    Locomotive decoders are basically tiny computers, crammed onto a small circuit board. The computer is only as good as its weakest component, and, if any of the resistors, capacitors, memory chips or processors fails, the entire computer fails.

    While ESU has a generally good reputation, two of the failed decoders I have had to replace have been ESU decoders (that came with locomotives I bought used). So far, I have not had any problems with the Roco (Zimo) decoders nor with Viessmann decoders. On both the failed ESU decoders, it was fairly evident that some component had overheated, as part of the plastic covering had started to melt.

    If the locomotive and/or decoder are still under warranty, you need to contact the respective manufacturers. If the decoder was supplied with the locomotive, going to the locomotive manufacturer for assistance would probably be best, even if the decoder is now out of warranty.

    Let us know what success you have in resolving this problem.

    -- Ernest

  • I had an ESU Loksound decoder fail right out of the box. Rey replaced it for me and the second ESU Loksound was fine. It fired right up and I've had no problems since.

    Before giving up on it, I would try multiple CV8-8 resets, each time removing power from the track between resets. I have a squirrely decoder in a TRIX locomotive that displayed many of the same symptoms you describe with your ESU decoder. It took many attempts to reset the decoder before it would start behaving normally. Every now and then this decoder will still forget it's address and has to be reset. I don't know why it does this, but it has never failed to eventually reset. I don't remember the brand that is installed in the TRIX locomotive, but I remember it is not ESU.

  • BR42BR42 Auburn

    Yes multiple resets need to be tried. Some decoders need to go through a power-off/power on cycle before the reset takes effect. If the decoder would be failing beyond repair, then usually all functions do not work.


  • Well no luck. Tried multiple times (10) to reset cv-8 while removing the power each time. Same results. I am buying the Z21 roco DCC controller. Not sure if this work any better. Next option is to buy a new Roco (Zimo) decorder and try to program it through the Z21. Next option is to send it in for repair. (Not sure who will do this) .
    Thanks for all your help. But it looks like a bad decoder. Steve

  • RailwriterRailwriter Durham, NC

    I don't think locomotive decoders are repairable once they fail. The cost of any repair in terms of work time would be far greater than the price of a new decoder. Once it has failed, just write it off -- if it is no longer covered by a warranty.

    I would guess that the installation of a new decoder will solve your problems. But, before you do, check around carefully inside the loco to see if there are any loose wires or other items that may have caused a short-circuit and contributed to the decoder failure.

    It should not make any difference whether you program the decoder with a Multimaus or Z21. By the way, the Multimaus would still be usable with the Z21 as an additional control device, even if you decide to use a tablet or smartphone as the primary control device. Or, you could keep the Multimaus and your existing amplifier box at your workbench with a short test track, while the Z21 is installed on your layout.

    By the way, did you look at the existing decoder -- both sides -- to see if it showed any evidence of overheating or having shorted out?

    -- Ernest

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