Default Address

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The Default Address is the Primary address specified in the NMRA DCC Standards for retail multifunction decoders. Manufacturers are required to set the default address to 3. There are no leading zeros on the address.

The default address only applies to multifunction decoders sold at retail. OEM decoders installed in a locomotive can be set to any address the manufacturer wishes to use.


If you reset your multifunction decoder, all the Configuration Variables will be restored to their factory default values, including the address. Any new locomotive will respond to address three (providing it has a decoder installed and no programming has been done). The same is true for a new multifunction decoder purchased at a retailer.

By specifying a default value of three in CV 1, anyone can acquire a decoder with factory default values and either operate the locomotive, or program it. This is necessary for a new decoder, or one that has been reset to factory values, so that the user doesn't have to sift through documentation for that decoder (providing you know who made it and what the product name/family is!) to figure out how to address it. Since most decoders are installed in a locomotive, this eliminates a lot of frustration.

It also allows the decoder with default values to be interrogated to determine who made it, and also read the decoder identification variable. Which may not be possible if you don't know the address.

Primary Address

After a decoder reset, the Primary Address is set to 3 in CV1. Any Extended Addresses have been reset and their CVs cleared. Configuration Register CV29 is also set to its default value, clearing the Extended Address Mode bit.

Setting the Address

To set the address a Program Track is required. See the article on Addressing for more details regarding setting the address, and Primary / Extended Addresses.