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Old 06-05-2020, 01:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Airwire install troubleshooting in new Bachmann Climax

Hello all,

I hope this is the right place for this question.

I just installed an Airwire Convrtr 25 in my Bachmann Climax. The Convrtr appears to be connected to the T5000 transmitter, but I am getting no response or life at all from the locomotive.
I have been Googling to the best of my ability, but I have not found any good troubleshooting information yet.

Before hooking it up I did verify battery lead polarity. I have a bright green LED on the Convrtr with power switched on. I have a bright red LED on the Convrtr with the T5000 transmitter powered on.
I have approximately 14.8 volts at the battery connection on the Convrtr, however I only have approximately 1.4 volts on the wires from the Convrtr to the decoder in the locomotive.

I have the wires from the Convrtr hooked to the "18v" screw terminals on the main board of the locomotive. The switched on the back behind the sand bins are set to MOTOR-ON, PICK UP-BATTERY, LIGHTS-DCC, POLARITY-LARGESCALE. The switch behind the smokebox door (I assume for the smoke unit) is set to off.

I have gone over the wiring diagrams in the Convrtr manual several times, and it looks like I have everything wired up correctly, but I still feel like I am missing a crucial piece of the puzzle here.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
This is also my first foray into DCC, so please bear with me - I'm climbing the learning curve as quickly as I can.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When using DCC the track power (read converter goes to the digital decoder track input). The decoder creates the V+ voltage but takes the digital signal separately from V+ and sends it to the electronics in the decoder. If you feed a digital signal to the V+, you will not get the digital signal to the electronics.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Set the smoke switch to “DCC” . All switches must be on DCC setting.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What decoder address are you using? Both the convrtr and decoder set to the same address.? Default would be 3 for both.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When using DCC the track power (read converter goes to the digital decoder track input). The decoder creates the V+ voltage but takes the digital signal separately from V+ and sends it to the electronics in the decoder. If you feed a digital signal to the V+, you will not get the digital signal to the electronics.
Thank you for the reply Dan. I'm afraid my knowledge of how DCC works isn't enough to understand how to apply it to my situation. I'm not certain what questions to ask for clarification either.
I do appreciate the response, and will keep this for reference.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Set the smoke switch to “DCC” . All switches must be on DCC setting.
Thank you Jim.

I tried setting the smoke switch to DCC this morning. There was no change in operation. I think I have another issue as well.
Just for my own knowledge, what does that switch in the smokebox do? I assumed it just hooked the smoke unit to track power on "track" and used the DCC board to control the voltage on "DCC" when that setting is selected. Wouldn't setting the smoke unit switch to "off" just disconnect the smoke unit from operation?
I am not questioning your advice, I'm just trying to understand how this system is supposed to operate.

Thank you again for your help.
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Old 06-05-2020, 11:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What decoder address are you using? Both the convrtr and decoder set to the same address.? Default would be 3 for both.
Thank you for the reply Paul.

I believe I have both the Convertr and the decoder set to 4 now. (The locomotive cab number)
It is entirely possible that I have messed up that setting in the Convertr or the decoder when I was changing it.
I followed the instructions in the Convrtr manual for changing the cab number, but this is the first time I have ever done this.
After work today I will attempt to restore them to defaults and try again.
Alternatively, is there a way to verify that everything is set to the correct address? (I think that's the right term)
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Old 06-05-2020, 12:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dmcchaser View Post
Thank you Jim.

I tried setting the smoke switch to DCC this morning. There was no change in operation. I think I have another issue as well.
Just for my own knowledge, what does that switch in the smokebox do? I assumed it just hooked the smoke unit to track power on "track" and used the DCC board to control the voltage on "DCC" when that setting is selected. Wouldn't setting the smoke unit switch to "off" just disconnect the smoke unit from operation?
I am not questioning your advice, I'm just trying to understand how this system is supposed to operate.

Thank you again for your help.
Didn’t make sense to me either, but after talking to Al at AirWire, I had success with 2 installs.
BTW, does your Climax have sound?
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Old 06-05-2020, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Didn’t make sense to me either, but after talking to Al at AirWire, I had success with 2 installs.
BTW, does your Climax have sound?
I will make sure I keep that smoke unit switch in the DCC position.
My Climax does have the factory installed DCC and sound unit in it.
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Old 06-06-2020, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here is the update on my progress this morning.

Overall the locomotive is still unresponsive, however I am learning more about this Airwire system and I'm gathering data.
I reset the Convrtr back to factory specifications just in case I had messed up a setting in it somewhere.
I have installed a 1ohm resistor per the instructions.
At the wires from the Convrtr to the DCC board in the locomotive I still have only 1.4 volts. However there is a slight voltage change every time I input a command on the T5000 controller. So far I've observed a drop as low as 1.28 volts, up to a max of 1.78 volts depending on what button is pressed.
I don't have an oscilloscope at home to confirm my suspicion, but I understand this to be an effect of whatever command signal the Convrtr is sending to the DCC board.
If I am understanding correctly this means the Convrtr is receiving control inputs from the transmitter as it should be. So one part of the puzzle is in place now.

I'm not certain what my next tests should be.
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