KB160: Rotary Beacon for Athearn MP15 with DH163AT Decoder

This article was last updated on May 29, 2014, 10:29 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

I have a Athearn HO Scale MP15 Soo Line and have installed a DH166 decoder. How do I get the rotary beacon to flash?

Function Outputs on the DH166

The DH166 is set up at the factory to control six function outputs.

The DH163AT is configured to control the forward and reverse lights on the locomotive through the yellow lead and white lead using Function 0 (F0F-forward yellow and F0R-reverse white) for directional lighting.

Functions F1(green) and F2 (violet) are part of the harness for easy hookup.

F3 and F4 are also available on the decoder board.

These can be accessed by snipping the shrink wrap and peeling it back to expose the solder pads that control these functions (see image below).

To use these functions, solder a wire from the pad for the function you wish to use to the lamp (or other function) you wish to control.

The Blue/+Common pad works the same way as the blue wire on the harness and is provided here for convenience.

The wire colors indicated are the standard color code used in the industry (you can use any color you like).

These colors are important if you plan to use function remapping.

When adding function wires, be very careful that the wires you add do not come into contact with any other pads or components on the board where they might create a short circuit.

All six function outputs can be easily set up with Digitrax FX3 lighting effects or as standard on/off functions with the following operational qualifiers:

1. Forward or Reverse direction of travel, or

2. Whether F0 is on or off, or

3. Both direction of travel and whether F0 is on or off, or

4. Whether the locomotive is stopped or moving.

The Rotary Beacon Effect

Once you have determined which function you will use to control the beacon and have completed the wiring connections from the beacon to the proper function wire and the blue ground, you will need to program the beacon for operation.

In the case of F1 (green wire), this is done by changing the value of CV51.

A value of 38 (decimal) should give you proper operation of the beacon.

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