Intermountain Frisco FP-7's and F-7B's...

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020), Aug 1, 2015.

  1. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    If anyone is interested, Brooklyn Locomotive Works still has the very nice Frisco FP-7 and F7-B models. I have no connection with Brooklyn Locomotive Works except being a regular and satisfied customer.

    Tom G.
  2. Kevin Blair

    Kevin Blair Member

    MB Klein in Baltimore ( also has a couple of A's left... about a dollar less than BLW - HA! Funny, never noticed that the SLSF units cost more than the Katy FP-7's.
  3. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Just finished installing Digitrax DN166I2B DCC decoders into 5040 and 5045. A couple issues, and some recommendations...

    1) Stay away from MRC. I'm not going to turn this into MRC bashing, but I'm 0 for 4 over the last three days with MRC and was told by their tech line it was my fault for owning NCE ProCab...

    2) Isolate the wires at the connection to the motor brushes so the exposed wires don't short against the frame. DCC ready may not exactly be the case...

    3) Ask the all knowing folks on this forum if they have any idea how I can get the front light to work. I'm stumped!

    4) Now, the MRC Sound/DCC decoder that comes with 5047 and 5050 is not supported by Intermountain and it may be dealer installed for all I know. They tried to help, but there is only so much you can do based on what we are working with. The issue - Sound, DCC and lights worked perfect until I put these units into an NCE consist in preparation for the other video of my 54 unit Frisco roster in action.

    I showed up on taping day and the engines didn't work. I erased the consist, reset the engines to factory settings and still, perfect operation of lights and sound but no movement. I am going to dig into engine power wire isolation tomorrow before I give up and send them to MRC...

    Any thoughts/recommendations?

  4. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    I have not experienced this on the intermountain F units, but it is certainly possible there was an error at the factory ( I.e. too much solder ) that could cause contact where you describe. On the units I have done, the main trick I have found is that the wires need to be routed the same way they were with the factory light boards.

    Those are definitely not factory installed decoders. The FP7s and F7Bs that intermountain has released were not sound. Equiped units.

    As for yor consisting problem, the PowerCab writes a value to CV19 when it creates a consist.

    Try turning on the headlights using the consist address instead of the engine address. If that works, you can check and see if the decoder has CV21 and CV22 available, and if it does you may be able to configure the decoder so that it will respond to both addresses ( cV21 and CV22 are consist control CVs. They are NMRA specified optional CVs, so not every manufacturer makes them available).

  5. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Jim, Paul has stated the base information surrounding your question. For further clarification, when you create a consist using the NCE system, the system links an Advanced Consist number (that is programmed into CV19 of each locomotive by the system) to the address of the lead locomotive. The NCE system does not change any of the other CVs related to Advanced Consisting in any of the locomotives, therefore only the Lead locomotive in the consist will respond will respond to Headlight On/Off, Bell, and Horn or other commands.

    Sorry, but since I do not install any decoders in N scale locomotives, I am useless in answering questions regarding making them work with DCC.
  6. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Hi Paul -

    Good to hear from you! How do you like the Frisco #127?

    My current problems with FP7A units are not related. Let me try to explain.

    1) On the 2 FP7As that I purchased DCC Ready, I installed the appropriate DCC decoder board from Digitrax and, after I isolated the motor leads from the frame, the locomotives moved perfectly but the directional headlight does not work. I can't get the headlight to work using Digitrax DN166I2B decoders. Please note that these locomotives have never been in DCC consist.

    2) On the 2 other FP7A Intermountain locomotives that I purchased pre-installed with an MRC Sound decoder installed, they both ran perfectly (sound, lights and motor movement) for 2 weeks as Frisco units 5047 and 5050.

    The night prior to my Frisco N Scale Roster movie, I powered up everything DCC to make sure everything worked. Every DCC locomotive did. I decided to hook up 5047 and 5050 up as a consist for the movie. I did so and everything worked great so I shut everything down and powered down the layout.

    The next morning (better daylight), I powered up everything, but the MRC equipped 5047 and 5050 FP7As that were in consist successfully the night before didn't move.

    I deleted all consists from 112 thru 127 thru my NCE Power Cab on both the main line (I'm using a Smart Booster SB5) and the program track. I then put the 5047 by itself (and later the 5050 by itself) on the program track and did a Prog Trk 7= Recovery Program to reset the decoder to factory defaults. After reading, I have used my program track as a main line and set CV19=0 which should deleted any consists. I also set CV125=1 which should have restored factory presets.

    What I now have are 2 MRC sound equipped DCC FP7A locomotives 5047 and 5050 that are both numbered 003 in the decoder and both have full light functions, full sound effects but no control over the engine in forward or reverse.

    I will send a video of the 5047 (and similar 5050) issue.

    Thanks Paul and all,

  7. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Try this...

  8. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Hi John,

    I'm glad to see someone making use of that unit. It was just sitting here gathering dust.

    Let's try two things
    1) Turn F0 on and set the locomoitves to run in reverse, and see if the headlights come on.
    2) Write 8 to cv 8. That's how you reset a Digitrax decoder to factory defaults.

    If 1 works, then the problem is you reversed the motor leads when installing the decoder. You can reverse the forward direction using CV29, which should fix the problem.

    If 2 works, then somehow the decoder was reprogrammed so the function was off

    if neither of those work, it's possible there is either a bad led or a reversed LED on the board.

    I can tell you right now that what MRC said about "programming the consist with NCE instead of an MRC controller" is a bunch of b.s. That said, I have no idea what the NCE "recovery procedure" actually does. Your video shows that it was clearly writing to the CVs, but I don't know what it was writing.

    I would go through (using the manual, which I can't seem to find online) and reset CVs 2,3,4,5,6, and 29 back to the factory defaults. CV 2,5, and 6 control the min,mid, and max voltages respecively. CVs 3 and 4 control acceleration and deceleration, and CV29 controls whether the decoder is using min/mid/max or the 28 step speed table.

    On the manuals that I've been able to find, I notice that MRC says that programming CV125 to 1 resets "some CVs are reset to the factory settings" what worries me is that we don't know what NCE is writing, or how that impacts how the MRC decoders run.

    (In general, I find MRC decoders to be a real pain to work with. I won't by any more, and the 2 I have will eventually be trashed.)

  9. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    If you go up to Issue #1 in my response to pbender, I found the solution to the problem and an error in the Digitrax installation sheet which caused the issue.

    The red and black motor wires are shown soldered onto the board correctly on the Digitrax instructions. What is incorrect is the light wiring leads. Digitrax shows the red wire on the same side as the red motor lead and the black lighting wire on the black motor lead side.

    Doing this per the instruction sheet yields perfect motor operation and no light. On a whim, as we may be dealing with diodes, I swapped the red and black light wires on the decoder board and everything works as God intended.

    Please insert blind squirrel and nut jokes here...

    Now if I can only get the MRC decoders to move the 5047 and 5050, I would be in FP7A heaven!

  10. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    There is now a very detailed two part install video on YouTube showing how to take these FP7A units apart and install the decoder.

    Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have purchased DCC ready 5047 and 5050 locomotives to avoid MRC all together.

    I had to swap out an NCE decoder for the factory equipped MRC board in my Kato F3a chassis. Good news is I finally found 3 single headlight F3A shells so I'll have 2 more orange and white F3A locomotives running soon!

  11. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    I am glad it was that simple.

    I haven't seen a new n-scale locomotive with anything other than LEDs since at least 2000.

    Did you try a manual reset of the decoder like I suggested previously?

  12. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Sorry Paul,

    Forgot to get back with you. I tried that with both the 5047 and 5050 when I was on the phone with MRC. Even though it didn't work, writing CVs to an MRC decoder will only have a chance to work if you program on the main. Also, I was told that read back of CV values is very unreliable unless you are using MRC's DCC system.

    As unreliable as the MRC decoders have been, it would take threats with a backhoe and fire ants to get me to consider switching to MRC...

  13. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Well, that isn't strictly speaking true. I've programmed both of the MRC sound decoders I own using the programming track on my Lenz system, and using an SPROG.

    I don't have any further ideas right now.

    That's actually an improvement. MRC used to say thier decoders didn't support readback.

  14. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Finally found a solution through the help of Litchfield Station just outside of Phoenix, AZ. I used Decoder Pro from JMRI to contact the MRC decoder telepathically! Actually, Jack Baer at Litchfield helped me to install a virtual serial port on my PC (I don't have a real serial port) using Java 1.8 and a USB Interface from NCE.

    As for 5047 and 5050, they both had zero for the start voltage and zero for the max voltage. I didn't know if this was right or not, so I jumped to the speed table tab and told the decoder to ignore previous values and use the speed table. It worked like a champ for both and this was on my NCE Powercab driven program track.


    Ozarktraveler and FriscoCharlie like this.
  15. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Tom -
    Just curious. Do the N-scale Frisco F7B's also have the incorrect d/b fan, or did IRC get it correct on the N's? (no d/b on Frisco F7B's).

  16. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Supporter

    Ken--I don't have my models in front of me, but it looks like in Google pictures, the B-units don't have DB's.

    Tom G.
  17. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    The n-scale units are correct.

  18. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Good thing. 5125 and 5130 are on their way via UPS.

  19. jmoore16

    jmoore16 Member

    Top view of the F7B...


    Attached Files:

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