Recently, someone asked “Why does your controller have a cover over one of the buttons?”. Well, there’s a story behind that.
I want my locos to run on DCC and DC layouts and I fitted them with DCC chips that will work with both (Digitrax DZ126 for those who are interested). But I didn’t have a controller. I wanted something simple and I didn’t want to spend a fortune, so I opted for a Bachmann EZ Command controller which was £58 from Hattons. Perfect.
Being new to DCC, when the controller arrived I actually read the instructions. Twice. They are very clear and easy to understand. Press a button from 1 to 9 to address a loco, select forward or reverse and turn the dial. Simple.
If you want to run DC you can use button 10. This sends DC to the track. The instructions clearly state you should not use this with N gauge locos as the current will burn out the motors.
I connected the controller to my oval test track and gave it a go. Did the loco run using the default DCC address for loco chips, number 3? Yes, it did. It worked first go. Could I change the loco chip to another address, say number 1? I tried. Did the loco run with number 3, no. Did it work with number 1, yes. Success! Could I reprogram the locos direction (forward / reverse)? Yes.
With everything working well I was becoming quite excited, rather like a kid in a toy shop.
I kept playing. What happens if I try running the loco on DC? I pressed button 10 and turned the dial… there was a ‘Pfutt’ sound… the smell of smoke filled the air… and the loco didn’t move anymore. Ah!
Now, I knew that would happen. I’d read the instructions (twice), but I did it anyway.
Luckily the chassis was a Kato 103 and it was not too expensive to replace.
To avoid the risk of burning out more motors I’ve covered button 10 with a homemade cover made from plasticard and I’ve araldited it in place.
Rather elegant, don’t you think? No. Well, at least I can’t burn out any more motors.