Consist Troubleshooting

A few points of info:

  1. You should only program the consist on the system you want to RUN the consist on.
  2. ALWAYS choose advanced consisting when creating a consist and never change the consist ID.
  3. NEVER manually enter or change CV19 in a loco. This is where the consist ID resides in the loco decoder.
  4. You must create or kill a consist when all locos that are involved are ON the tracks.
  5. Never try to create two consists that contain any of the same locos. If you make a mistake, the first consist must be killed before trying again.
  6. Only use loco numbers to run the consist.

If your DCC system is not remembering consists, you might need to change the back up battery if it is a 5-amp PH-Pro system.

It can also be a hardware failure of the systems long term consist memory storage.


To browse and review the consist information in the command station press the program escape key (prog/esc) until you see "browse consists" then press enter. Continue to press enter to review all consists item by item. Pay close attention to the consist id numbers you see. Do not CHANGE the consist ID

Kill ALL your consists, make sure they run as single units, then start over.

Put ALL the locos ON the tracks, manually clear “kill” all the consists.

Press prog /esc 9 times- look for “browse consists”
Press enter , press the “clear” button in the consist row, then press 1 to delete,
repeat this until it says “consists empty”

Make sure you always create and kill consists with all locos ON the tracks.
Never try to create a consist twice or multiple times until your previous attempt was killed / deleted first.


First thing – clear the consist from the command station, do this with ALL locos on the tracks to also clear out any corresponding consist info stored in the loco.

Make sure CV19 in all locos is set to zero. You will need to be in service mode programming / program track mode for CV read back so you can verify this on each loco separately.

some notes about CV19 inside a locomotive: CV19=0 means not in a consist.  /  CV19=128 or higher running backwards in a consist.

The Power Cab can hold 16 consists. The valid consist numbers on a Power Cab are 112-127.

If you see a consist number higher than 127 in a locomotive, that means the loco is running in reverse. Subtract 128 to get the consist id used in the command station.

 The “browse consist” function shows all consists starting at 127 going down in the command station. It will also show you the locos in that consist and the direction they face. Do this now to make sure it is empty.

When creating a consist leave the locos uncoupled at first and a few inches apart so you can make sure they are speed matched reasonably well, and are both going in the same direction and not fighting each other.

When creating a consist it is recommended to not change the consist number that comes up preassigned by the command station. If you do change the number, write it down!!! The consist numbers start at 127 and go backwards down to 1 in the PH-PRO, in the Powercab they go from 127 down to 112. This is the value that is put in CV19 of the loco decoder when you add that loco to a consist.

 The lead loco will respond to the consist id (example-127) or the regular loco number. In this example the other locomotives will only respond to the consist address of 127 and will no longer respond to individual speed commands.

Important: you can use the lead loco number to control the consist only IF you are on the layout it was created on, so the command station knows to translate loco 1234 to consist 127.

if you are using the consist on a different layout you MUST use the portable consist id that was assigned by the command station, in our example that consist id is 127. Also remember that if the layout you are visiting already uses consist id 127, you will need to choose a different consist ID. Otherwise you will be controlling BOTH consists at once!

There are lighting rules pertaining to consisting as well, read this:


This ventures into the gray area where consisting aliases and regular locomotive numbers can intertwine. To make things even more interesting the way different DCC systems (NCE, Digitrax, MRC, Lenz , etc. treat consists is not standardized at all under the NMRA and can get a bit ugly sometimes. Without getting into a long winded and boring explanation the simple version is NEVER use a SHORT address that is 128 or lower. 

Remember that long address and short address are two different types of numbers. In a locomotive only type of address can be active at a time. Consequently 114 and 0114 are NOT THE SAME ADDRESS!   114 is a short address, but it is ALSO a valid consist ID. Hence the confusion. 0114 is a LONG ADDRESS.

For anyone who uses consisting and also happens to have low numbered three (or two) digit locos I have this conversation with.  Also never change the consist ID the command station automatically assigns when creating a consist.

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