I have a digitrax DH465 decoder installed in an American Flyer locomotive. When I first installed it the locomotive ran perfectly. After a few minutes, it started having a delayed response to commands. Now after a few hours of running, it will not reverse, runs jerky, and does not respond to commands. I'm convinced it is not the track as another locomotive with the exact same type of decoder in it runs over the same section just fine. I swapped the pickup wheels with those of another locomotive and looked for loose connections with no luck. Is there a CV that could be causing this problem?

The decoder in the problem locomotive was a replacement from digitrax for a defective decoder, which itself was a replacement for another defective decoder. I marked each decoder I sent back so I'm fairly sure they were replaced and not repaired.

Original Post

Well in HO for digitrax, the reset CV is CV8 to value 8. I don’t know if this applies to American Flyer. What brand DCC Controller are you using? This decoder May be bad or there are pickup problems besides the wheel sets. There should be contact pads somewhere that get electricity from either the Brass Bearings or there should be a springy brass finger touching the wheel set. There might be something between that finger and the wheel itself. An example would be pet hair or oil. On a locomotive I did maintenance on today, (HO Walthers ES44AC) some pet hair was stuck between the contacts. You could take the contact pads out and clean them with a Scotchbrite pad, that usually works for me. There could also be something wrong with the motor or lights that is shorting the decoder.

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“It’s a good thing to let another generation know what a steam locomotive is.” — Southern Railway Vice President-Law W. Graham Claytor Jr.

Got a chance this morning to mess with it. I cleaned up all electrical contact points including wheels, axels, and pickups. I also adjusted the pickups to have more spring just in case they weren't making good contact with the wheels. I put it on the track and had the same problem. I then set CV8 to 8, reprogrammed the settings, and tried running it again. It ran very jerky around the track for a few minutes and still wouldn't run in reverse. Then after about 10 minutes, the decoder died. I replaced it with a spare DH465 I just received and it now runs perfectly again. I guess it was just another bad decoder. Good thing there's that one year warranty.

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