Digitrax Zephyr OPS Mode Decoder Programming

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Summary: Blast Mode is an optional high current programming mode available with the Digitrax Zephyr and Zephyr Xtra. It must be enabled in the Option Switches.

Programming with a Digitrax Zephyr

Setting a four digit address using a Digitrax Zephyr and Zephyr Xtra command station. Blast Mode will be used. For more details, please read the article on Decoder Programming.

The Digitrax Zephyr is also known as the DCS50, DCS51 (Xtra) or DCS52 (Express). For the most part they are the same unit. The DCS210 and DCS240 command stations also offer this mode on their program track outputs. Do not use a programming track booster when Blast Mode is enabled.

This feature is not found on the DCS52 Zephyr Express model. The DCS52, DCS210 and DCS240 offer this feature as their standard mode on the programming track.

  • Four Digit address/Long Address/Extended Address means any address between 128 to 9999
    • Digitrax systems can only address to 9983
  • Two Digit Address/Short Address/Primary Address refer to any address from 1-127.

Setting the Primary Address can be done with Operations Mode. Setting an Extended Address should be done with Service Mode. Attempting this operation is done using Operations Mode can result in unintended issues, such as reprogramming all the multifunction decoders on the layout. It is possible to set the Extended Address if the decoder supports the Extended Packet Format.

This article documents how to program a QSI decoder installed in an Atlas brand locomotive using a Digitrax Zephyr or Zephyr Xtra DCC system. Atlas has used QSI for OEM decoders for a number of years. This procedure is based on a document published by Atlas.

If you want to read the original documents: Original Document

As always, refer to your owners/user's manual, both for the decoder and your DCC system.

Blast Mode

Blast mode increases the output current to assist in programming a multi-function decoder with sound. It also assists in programming decoders with a energy storage module. This is accomplished using OPS Mode programming.

This feature is not found on the DCS52 Zephyr Express model. The DCS52, DCS210 and DCS240 offer this as their standard mode on the programming track.

Warning: No other locomotives shall be on the same track as the one to be programmed. Everything on the track will be programmed using a broadcast packet! Remove all locomotives and disconnect the Rail A/Rail B connections even when using a dedicated, isolated programming track. Blast Mode sends programming packets to both the main and programming track outputs, and it will alter the programming in other decoders in random ways.

Enabling Blast Mode

Blast Mode is controlled using Option Switch 7. The following procedures are to activate and deactivate that mode by changing the status of OpSwitch 7. As always, refer to the Zephyr manual as changes may have occurred.

Close Option Switch 7
  1. Press the PROGRAM key
  2. Press the SWITCH key
  3. Press 7
  4. Press the c / − key (below the 9 key, may also say CV−WR).
  5. Press EXIT

Program the decoder using Direct (dir) mode. Be sure that ONLY that locomotive is on the track during programming!!

Disabling Blast Mode after Programming

Essentially the same process, except Option Switch 7 must be returned to the Thrown position.

  1. Press PROGRAM
  2. Press SWITCH
  3. Press 7
  4. Press the t / + key (may also be labelled CV-RD).
  5. Press the EXIT key to leave that mode.

QSI Programming with Blast Mode

Main article: QSI Solutions

QSI's multifunction decoders can present challenges during programming operations.

Programming Four Digit Addresses on the Mainline Using the Digitrax Zephyr or Zephyr Xtra DCC System

  1. Place the locomotive on the main track and run it on DCC using address three (03), or whatever address was programmed into the locomotive decoder. If you can’t determine the address, reset the locomotive with the magnetic wand on a Direct Current powered track. Then test the locomotive on the main track with DCC using address three to ensure the reset worked.
  2. *Address three (3) is the default address every decoder is set to. Resetting the decoder will force all the settings back to their factory defaults, including the address the decoder responds to.
    1. The NMRA DCC Standard does not require a vehicle's factory installed decoder to default to 3. If the locomotive does not respond after a reset, check the manual for vehicle to determine the default address.
  3. If your locomotive has a QSI sound decoder, keep the locomotive on the main line and use Operations Mode programming to set CV62 to 0 (zero). This step maximizes the probability that CV29 will be correctly set to its four-digit address value to 38 (thirty eight) in Step 8 below.

Setting Blast Mode

See the above process for enabling and disabling the Blast Mode for programming purposes.

Programming in Blast Mode

  1. Place the locomotive on the main track (if it is not there already). If DCC track power is off, turn it on using the POWER key. Make sure that the locomotive to be programmed still runs on DCC using address three (or whatever other address you have programmed into it).
  2. Keep pressing the PROGRAM key until you see PAGE on the display. This sets the programming mode.
  3. Press the LOCO key until you see AD4 on the display. This indicates the mode for setting a four-digit address.
  4. Use the keyboard to enter the four-digit address that you want (e.g., 1234 or any other address between 128 and 9983).
  5. When you have finished entering the four-digit address, write the new address to your locomotive by pressing the CV-WR key. Do not be surprised if the locomotive moves forward one foot or more when the programming takes place. This movement doesn’t always happen, but it can.
  6. To exit the Blast Mode or Programming on the Main mode, press the EXIT key.
  7. To run the locomotive with the address you entered in Step 7, press the LOCO key; re-enter the address entered in Step 7 by using the keyboard; and press the LOCO key again.
  8. Verify that the locomotive runs using its new address.
  9. If the locomotive did not run in Step 11 when you used its new address:
    • Turn off DCC track power and move the locomotive that you are trying to program from the main line to the program track.
    • Use Direct Mode programming (or whatever type of programming your decoder requires) to read the values of CV29 and AD4. For a four-digit address, the value of CV29 should be 38 (thirty eight) and AD4 should equal the address that you entered in Step 7.
    • If either or both of these values are incorrect, change them. You may make any necessary changes in Direct Mode while the locomotive is on the program track.

Turning Off the Blast Mode

  1. When complete, return the Zephyr to its normal mode by setting OpSwitch 7 to Thrown
  2. If your locomotive has a QSI sound decoder and you set CV62 to 0 (zero) in Step 2, put the locomotive back on the main line, run it briefly at its new 4-digit address, and configure the Zephyr or Zephyr Xtra for Operations Mode programming. Now change CV62 back to its default value of 1 (one).

JHM 11/9/2011.

For more info, see the Atlas website.

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