In Depth Locomotive Decoder Troubleshooting guide

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Multifunction Decoder Reset

Summary: Sometimes your Multifunction Decoders will lose their settings, or mistakes were made when configuring a new decoder. Rather than return the decoder to the dealer or manufacturer, thinking it is defective, a simple reset will restore your decoder to its factory defaults.

Multifunction Decoder Reset

A decoder reset forces all the CV values back to the initial factory settings. This is useful if your decoder becomes unusable or if you want to have a fresh start with the decoder. Not all decoders have CV reset functions, please refer to your owner's manual for full instructions and details on it's use. Some decoders allow you to reset everything, or only certain sections of the decoder (such as the speed table only, or everything except the speed table).

The reset is entirely handled by the decoder. This function is non-intrusive, that is, you don't have to use this feature at all. The only necessary tools to activate this function is a method in which you can program various CVs. This can be handled by the throttle of most systems, or through the use of DCC software.

The reset procedure is not part of the NMRA's Digital Command Control Standards or Recommended Practices (RPs), so there is no default method to reset a decoder.

Cheat Sheet

The following table has general notes on resetting a decoder. Read the specific text below for any additional information which may apply.

If you don't know the address, use a programming track to accomplish a reset.

It is only possible to read CVs on a programming track during Service Mode Programming.

Always check the manufacturer's instructions. Not all manufacturers use the same CV for the same purpose. Some decoders must be reset using Operations Mode, others will using the programming track. A jumper inside the locomotive may need to be installed or removed, or the position of a switch changed.

As mentioned above, there is no set procedure to accomplish a decoder reset.

Typical Reset Values

Don't forget to cycle the track power OFF and then ON to complete the reset. This can be as easy as tilting the locomotive to raise the wheels on one side off the rail and waiting a few seconds. You may need to power cycle your DCC system too. Multifunction Decoder Default Reset Values
Manufacturer ID No. in CV8 CV to Write plus Value
Lenz Elektronic 99 CV8 = 33
NCE Corporation 11 CV30 = 2
Digitrax 129 CV8 = 8
ESU (LokSound)1 151 CV8 = 8
Train Control Systems (TCS) 153 CV8 = 8 or CV30 = 2
SoundTraxx: DSDLC, DSX, Tsunami3 141 CV30 = 2 CV8 = 8
QS Industries 113 See text below
Model Rectifier Corp (MRC) 143 CV125 = 1
Broadway Limited Imports (BLI) 38 CV8 = 8
Bachmann Trains 2 101 CV8 = 8
MTH 27 CV8 = 8
DCC Concepts 36 CV8 = 2 or 8
Kato Precision Industries 40 CV8 = 8
Hornby Hobbies Ltd 48 CV8 = 1
Gaugemaster 65 CV8 = 8
Atlas Model Railroad Products 127 CV8 = 99
ZTC 132 CV8 = 8
Zimo Elektronic 145 CV8 = 8
LGB 159 CV55 = 55
Arnold / Rivarossi 173 CV8 = 8

CV8 is the Manufacturer ID. This value is assigned by the NMRA. Writing any value to CV8 does not change its contents as it is a read-only variable.

1 ESU recommends using the programming track.
2 Bachman products may be equipped with Soundtraxx decoders
3 Programming track with booster required.

Soundtraxx (Tsunami) and QSI decoders will require a Program Track Booster or a PowerPax
Newer Soundtraxx Tsunamis may not require the program track booster
MRC Decoders are not reliable for read back.
Some Lenz decoders may work with a value of 8 or 33 in CV8. Older decoders used 33.

Resetting a Multifunction Decoder

If you do not have control of the address use the programming track.
  1. Start by determining the decoder manufacturer.
  2. On the programming track read CV 8.
  3. Compare the number with the above chart for the ID (if you have a LENZ decoder CV8 will equal 99).
  4. Write to the matching CV the value shown in the table. Writing to CV8 will not change the value contained in CV8 when you read it back). When resetting the decoder, it may respond by flashing the lights or sounding the horn. Resetting a decoder will change the address back to the default of 3. Cycle track power on and off to complete the reset. Read the instructions for the decoder to verify what should happen after a reset (headlights flashing, etc.) to determine if the process was successful.
  5. Try the decoder on the main line using address 3. If it works, you can start your programming.
    1. The default address for a retail decoder is 3. A factory installed multifunction decoder may not default to 3, verify with the instructions for the locomotive.

Manufacturer Specific Reset Procedures


Generally speaking, you can reset Digitrax decoders by writing a value into CV08 as follows:

Decoder reset lets you reset all CV values to the initial factory settings. To reset all CV values, program CV08 to a value of 008/x08. You also have the option of resetting all values except the 28 speed step tables. To do this, program CV08 to a value of 009/x09.

Source: Digitrax website

Normally this will work with all Digitrax decoders except those noted below.

Specific Digitrax decoder notes

Add notes/comments for different procedures for Digitrax decoders which the above doesn't apply.

  • None at this time


LokSound decoders do not require a program track booster. Interrupt power for 5 seconds to complete the reset cycle.

If the decoder doesn't reset when programming on the main, attempt it on a programming track. If possible use Direct Mode.

LokSound V5 DCC

Write the value 08 to CV8.

LokSound V3.5

4.3 Resetting to factory pre-set values: You may reset the decoder settings to the factory pre-set values at any time. Write value 08 in CV 08. A reset of the sound files is only possible with the aid of the LokSound Programmer 53452.

Source: Page 15 of LokSound v3.5 manual.


You can easily reset the decoder by writing the value 08 in CV 08 at any time.

Source: Page 6 of LokPilot Manual.


The LokProgrammer can quickly and thoroughly reset an ESU decoder. Use the Reset Decoder function and follow the prompts. (LokSound V5 manual, p92)


CV8 Register-8 Manufacturers Identification: Contains the manufacturer ID of the decoder, (Lenz =99). Writing a value of 33 using Register mode resets all CVs to their factory condition.

Source: Page 7 of LE1835 manual.

Other models are similar, refer to owners manual.

Tilt locomotive to one side to disconnect from track power, wait 7 seconds to reset decoder.


SR Series

CV30: Set this CV to 2 on the programming track and the decoder will reset to factory settings.

Source: Page 8 of D13SRJ ver 3.5 decoder manual.

Other models are similar, refer to owners manual.

Addressing a Reset Decoder with the NCE Power Cab

NCE Power Cab: After reset to factory default, select 3, not 0003. The system sees 0003 or 003 as a long address.

Recovery Mode for NCE Decoders

NCE has a feature in their DCC system software which allows for a recovery mode. This only works with an NCE DCC system and NCE decoders only.

Program track mode / Recovery mode is not available in the SB3, SB3a and SB5.

NCE does not recommend using this method with other manufacturer's decoders, as you may get unintended results. Not every decoder uses the same CVs for the same purposes.

Register Mode

This mode allows you to program a decoder no matter what state it is in. You do not even need to know the address (hence the danger of programming all your decoders at once). It will also work if the decoder's memory has become corrupted.

Note the statement warning of the possibility of programming all your decoders at once.

Since there are a number of options, and the process varies depending on the command station, please read the Recovery Mode For "Dead" NCE Decoders webpage on the NCE website.

Once the process is complete, the entire DCC system must be rebooted, with the target locomotive still on the track. If successful, it should respond to address 3.

QSI Decoders

Broadway, Atlas, and Life-Like/Proto-2000 often equipped their locomotives with OEM QSI (ID 113) decoders.

QSI decoders have a different reset procedure. Check the manual that came with the locomotive.

A programming track booster is required if you have a CS02, Ph-Pro, or Powerhouse system box box. Do not use the DCC Specialties PowerPAX. No booster is needed for the NCE Power Cab. For OPS Mode disable voice playback, CV62 = 0 to disable.

Some use a magnetic “wand” for the reset. If there is no “wand” then open the locomotive or an access hatch to find a reset jumper. Remove the jumper and restore the track power. There will be an audible acknowledgment at the end of the reset process. The whistle/horn is often sounded three times.

Replace the jumper and test out using address 3.

If a “wand” is used, locate the internal reed switch and place the “wand” over it for a moment. When track power is restored the decoder will go through its reset procedure and let you know when done.

To locate the internal reset (reed) switch, place the engine on active track. Slowly move the “wand” over the top of the body or tender until the decoder alerts you audibly.

QSI also has a user software reset using the following multi step procedure:

  1. Place engine on main track if it is still responding to its address. If not responding you may need to use the program track.
  2. Set CV49 to 128
  3. Set CV50 to 255
  4. Set CV56 to 113

As the decoder in the engine resets you will hear an audible response, the horn may sound three times, or it may talk to you. Test the locomotive using address 3.

You can then go ahead and set the loco number as you desire and/or reprogram other CV’s.

An irritating issue with QSI decoders is when they do get corrupted by a short, the locomotive can exhibit very erratic operation. Resetting it back to default will put you back in control of its performance.


DSD-150 / DSX

To reset all the CV values to the defaults can be... done by programming CV 30 with 02 in service mode and turning power to the DSD off and back on. Note: This bit can be programmed only in service mode. Writing any data value during operations mode will clear all error bits to 0.

Source: Page 23 of Digital Sound Decoder Technical Reference part 2.

LC Series

Resetting all the CV values to the defaults can be... done by programming CV 30 with 02 in service or operations mode and turning power to the DSD off and back on."



Resetting the CVs... can be quickly reset to their factory default values using the following procedure:

  1. Program CV 30 to 2 (or CV 8 to 8) using either Service Mode or Operations Mode
  2. Place locomotive on a powered section of track. If locomotive is already on the mainline, cycle power to the decoder by turning power to the track off and then back on.
  3. After power is restored to the track there should be no indication of activity other than the power LED turning on for a period of six seconds. If sound comes on immediately upon restoring power, the decoder did not reset. Repeat steps 1 and 2.
  4. Once the six-second period has elapsed, the sound should come on and the headlight, backup light and onboard diagnostic light will blink 16 times indicating that the CVs were successfully reset.
  5. Tsunami should now respond to short address 3 just as it did when it was first unpacked.
  6. If you cannot get the decoder to reset, check to see that it has not been inadvertently locked (see “If You Forget the Lock Code” in the previous section).

Source: Page 12 of Tsunami Steam Sound User’s Guide.


To reset an Econami Decoder, there are options.

Writing the following values to CV8 will do a reset (a value of 8 is needed) or only reset groups of CVs.

  • 8 = Full CV reset
  • 9 = Reset CVs 1-128
  • 10 = Reset CVs 129-256
  • 11 = Reset CVs 1.257-1.512
  • 12 = Reset CVs 2.257-2.512

Source: Econami Manual

Train Control Systems

X Series

Factory Reset Sets all CVs with a shaded value back to that value. As soon as you enter a 2 in either CV 8 or CV 30, The reset is complete.

Source: Page 1 of Advanced X series Features.

Note: Some earlier non-X series decoders also supported reset as specified above.

Decoder Reset Packet for All Decoders

A special packet, called the Decoder Reset Packet, which consists of three bytes, each having a value of zero (0). When the decoder receives such a packet, it will immediately erase all volatile memory, including speed and direction data, and return the decoder to its normal power up state. If the locomotive is at a non-zero speed, it shall come to an immediate stop.

The command station is prohibited from sending packets with addresses from 100 to 127 for a period of 20mS following the reset packet, unless the intention is to enter service mode.

This process does not alter any stored CV values, it is used to prepare the decoder for programming.

See Also

Some material, such as the cheat sheet and other details, taken from DCC Decoder Default Resets by Ted Freeman, Queensland Division, AR, and Resetting DCC Decoders, by Ron Gager of the British Region NMRA.


No Warranties Express or Implied. The decoder reset process is not part of the NMRA DCC Standard. While every effort has been made to present accurate information, reset processes described may be changed at any time by the decoder's manufacturer. A reset may also cause loss of data or sound files.

While it may be possible to overwrite default settings in the decoder firmware, unless done properly any custom variables will be lost. This usually requires proprietary hardware and software. Your dealer may be able to provide this service.

Software such as DecoderPro is useful to restore decoder parameters after a reset, but the contents of the decoder must have been read and stored on your computer prior to any event requiring a reset.


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