KB97: Athearn N-Scale FP45 / F45

This article was last updated on May 8, 2012, 3:37 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

What Digitrax decoders work in the new Athearn N scale FP45?

We recommend the DN163K1C, following the procedure below.

One of our editors was able to successfully install both the Digitrax DN163K1B and DN163K1C decoders in the unit.

We have determined that the chassis design requires that the decoder be installed backwards.

The only problem this poses is that one additional step has to be taken when programming.

Both the DN163K1B and DN163K1C decoders are the same footprint with the exception of the LEDs.
The DN163K1B has T-1 3mm LEDs and DN163K1C has surface mount LEDs.

When the K1B version was installed, the cab glowed then the forward headlight was lit; when the K1C decoder was installed, there was no glow.

Modeler preference and availability will dictate which decoder is installed.

We prefer the DN163K1C version.

One issue that will have to be addressed during installation concerns the thickness of the circuit boards.

The stock Athearn light board is a nominal .0235 inches while the Digitrax boards are .0165 to .017 inches thick.

This difference is a product of ROHS compliance and requires the addition a small amount of solder to the electrical pickup pads of the decoder.

The additional solder makes for a snug fit and proper electrical contact.

Some additional pressure will be required to slide the decoder in place.

Because the decoder is being installed "backwards", there is an additional step needed to complete the installation.

The value of CV29 must be increased by "1".

By adding 1 (one) to CV29's value you alter the Normal Direction Of Travel to make the locomotive run in reverse.

Since the decoder is installed backwards, altering CV29 corrects this.

A few examples: 2 digit address (1-128), analog conversion ON, the value in CV29 after initial programming will be 06, add 1 to that value resulting in CV29's value to be 07.

2 digit address (1-128), analog conversion OFF
, the value in CV29 after initial programming will be 02, add 1 to that value resulting in CV29's value to be 03.

4 digit address (129-9984), analog conversion ON
, the value in CV29 after initial programming will be 038, add 1 to that value resulting in CV29's value to be 039.

4 digit address (129-9984), analog conversion OFF
, the value in CV29 after initial programming will be 034, add 1 to that value resulting in CV29's value to be 035.

Please note that the above examples are common CV29 values.

Modelers may choose other opinions for CV29 resulting in a different initial value.

The key to successful programming is adding 1 (one) to the value of CV29.

This is a very nice locomotive, sure to be an asset on any railroad.

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