Non working ditch light on Intermountain loco

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#1
I am brand new to this forum and basically brand new to model railroading. I recently became interested in model railroading again after not having played with trains in 32 years. While I was a kid I had a nice HO layout that my dad and I put together. Now that I am forty-something it hit me after visiting the model railroad museum at Balboa Park in San Diego. Enough about me...on to the problem.

I recently purchased an Intermountain HO scale BNSF ES44DC with sound. It is a very nice engine, but upon testing it I found that the left ditch light is not operating. Is this a common problem with these locomotives? Is there an easy fix for this? I do not want to return the locomotive as it was not easy to come by. If anybody has any tips or suggestions I would certainly appreciate it.
 

bnsf971

AKA Gomez Addams
Staff member
#2
I am brand new to this forum and basically brand new to model railroading. I recently became interested in model railroading again after not having played with trains in 32 years. While I was a kid I had a nice HO layout that my dad and I put together. Now that I am forty-something it hit me after visiting the model railroad museum at Balboa Park in San Diego. Enough about me...on to the problem.

I recently purchased an Intermountain HO scale BNSF ES44DC with sound. It is a very nice engine, but upon testing it I found that the left ditch light is not operating. Is this a common problem with these locomotives? Is there an easy fix for this? I do not want to return the locomotive as it was not easy to come by. If anybody has any tips or suggestions I would certainly appreciate it.
As long as everything is connected properly, it has a bad LED. If the connections for the LED are reversed, it won't work, so if you can without destroying anything, try swapping the connection leads to that one, and see if it works.
 
#3
Thank you for the reply and for the information. I have a feeling it is the LED because the other light works fine and flashes without any problems. I emailed Intermountain just to see what their take is on it. I don't want to send the locomotive in, but perhaps they will send me a new LED. I have heard nothing but great things about the customer service there. Thanks again!
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#4
I doubt very much if they will send you an LED. You might try resetting the decoder to default and see if somehow you turned that one off by mistake.
 
#5
Thank you Ken. I will give that a shot. I hate to ask a stupid question now, but would you happen to know how to reset the decoder with a MRC Prodigy Advance 2? Thanks again.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#6
I don't know how to reset the MRC but if you looked for it online its probably out there somewhere. Typically the NMRA standard is CV8 set to 8 will give you factory default.
 

Motley

Active Member
#7
That Intermountain loco has a Tsunami decoder in it.

So using the MRC system, enter the Programming on the main, select the loco address, and go to the Set CV values.

Enter CV 8 = 8

After a successful reset, the locos new address will be 03.
 
#8
Thank you for the replies and suggestions. Unfortunately, after resetting the decoder, I am still having difficulties with the left ditch light. I did receive a very prompt reply from Intermountain customer service and I am very impressed. I am so impressed with their concern and rapid reply that I am including a copy of the email I received in this post.

Eric,I apologize for the issue with your locomotive. I suspect that it is a loose/broken wire.* If you are comfortable in removing the shell you can do so and take a look.** This is a bit tricky as there are fragile handrails that have to be loosened on both sides and the front of the cab.* Once they are loose then the body can be rocked a bit back and forth and will lift off.* If it is a sound unit be careful not to jerk on the speaker wires as the speaker is mounted in the body.

The front light board is just held in with a couple of screws and can be removed easily and then you can test it to see if it works, or find the broken wire.* If you find that it is not a simple fix, or that the board is bad, I can send you another light package for your locomotive and you can install it.

If you are not comfortable in doing this work then please send it to us and we will gladly take care of it for you.* Please ship it to:

InterMountain Railway Company
Attn: Service
1224 Boston AveLongmont, CO* 80501

Please include a brief not describing the issue along with your contact information including your mailing address, telephone number, and email address.* Our service tech will get your locomotive taken care of promptly and returned to you.

Thank you for your support of InterMountain Railway Company products.

-Cheers Richard Frazier
InterMountain Railway Company
richard.frazier@intermountain-railway.com
800-472-2530

If that isn't customer service, I don't know what is. I might just send it to them and let them take care of it for me. I really don't want to screw anything up. Maybe I will try to find some older, used, reasonably priced locos to take apart and experiment with. I am not quite ready to take apart a brand new one while being such a novice.

Thanks again for the assistance!
 
#9
I noticed something while I was testing the locomotive again today. For a brief moment the left ditch light came on and then went dim. It is not out completely, but it is only dim. I was in a darker room this time so it was easier to see.

I will be sending my locomotive back to Intermountain today. Hopefully they will get it taken care of quickly. I also noticed that the right side driver mirror is loose to the point of getting ready to fall off. I hope they will be able to take care of that as well. I am impressed with the customer service at Intermountain and I have another ES44DC on order.

Thanks again for the replies and suggestions. It is verg much appreciated.
 

bigB

Active Member
#12
Jeeze just when im about to order a es44dc i read a post about one, how ironic...sounds like a minor issue though

Joed,

Just know that if you order a Gevo from IM, they will support you 100%. I have had great support from them and only wonderful things to say about their customer service. Very prompt and courteous. The locos are also very nice.

Brad
 
#13
Thanks bigb, that makes it easier to spend the money knowing they have your back if anything happens... I guess i will be going home with a es44dc tmrw from the hobby shop
 
#14
I agree wholeheartedly. Read the email I got back from Intermountain after I brought their attention to my ditch light problem. They seem like such a class act. I have since purchased several husky stacks from them with no problems at all....I also ordered me another es44dc.
 
#15
Good move sending it back to them. It is very hard to remove the shell on one of these without breaking the handrails or something else. I know i tried.
Intermountain was very nice and sent me new handrails prompt at no charge. Good service from them.

Bob
 
#16
In my opinion if one is spending $200 plus dollars on one of these locos or any other brand loco there should not be any issues! I think they need to have better quality control over their merchandise... Im only saying this because it is upsetting when you spend this kind of cash for a nice locomotive only to have to send it back to the company or fix something yourself because of someone elses human error... Its crazy when you pull it out of the brand new box only to find a broken handrail, or one of the ditch lights in inop for example.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

bigB

Active Member
#17
In my opinion if one is spending $200 plus dollars on one of these locos or any other brand loco there should not be any issues! I think they need to have better quality control over their merchandise... Im only saying this because it is upsetting when you spend this kind of cash for a nice locomotive only to have to send it back to the company or fix something yourself because of someone elses human error... Its crazy when you pull it out of the brand new box only to find a broken handrail, or one of the ditch lights in inop for example.
Absolutely agree! BUT...the reality is most of our MRR products are now produced overseas by usually who can do the most work at the lowest price. They are then shipped back around the world to us, where if there were or weren't QC problems in the factory (Athearn), the shipper could damage them in transit.

To me, its not that items arrive defective. Some of that is going to happen, whether to a Chinese manufacturer or being rattled during shipping. The key here is how the manufacturer supports their customer after the purchase of their product. You want and they want for you to be happy and get it right from the beginning; but if it's not, they should make a prompt attempt to remedy the situation to your complete satisfaction. For some manufacturers, its like pulling teeth to get an answer, get a part, get resolution, much less talk to a human being.

For me, dealing with IM has been like having a manufacturer that builds trains just for me. I have a problem, I write an email and it is usually answered within hours with an apology, a course of action, and a positive resolution. If I need a part, I pick up the phone or write an email and it is answered promptly by IM. Jody and Richard at IM have been phenomenal. They have more than earned my business and loyalty. 5 Stars...

Brad
 
#19
Ok i posted the same thing in my other post, but i figured i would add it here also. these are my experiences with my 2 diesels.

So after running my new es44dc i can finally compare it to my athearn sd70-m2

I have a 2 % grade on my layout and my es44dc spins out half way up the grade with 12-15 cars, these cars are mostly pulpwood flats, 2 of the cars were fully loaded with wood from my back yard... The front wheels spin out, and cause the es44dc to slow down way to much to keep pulling, if i push slight pressure on the front nose of the intermountain in has enough traction to pull it up the grade. SO I need to add weights to the front of the es44dc, does anyone know how or what weights to use?

Now i pulled out my sd70m2 and i tried it with 10 cars, then 12 cars, then 15 cars, and it pulled all these up the grade no problems, i didnt even have to build up a bunch of speed to try and make it either i could crawl up the slight grade... Its my lil beast.

Im not gonna say the intermountain is junk, its probably just not heavy enough in the front, and the athearn is weighted better.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#20
You can probably buy some lead weights from the fish and tackle store and lay a couple of them on the front of the loco while it's pulling up the grade. When you know what works, work them into the inside of the shell. I made a mold out of a piece of 2x4 that I can pour molten lead into so it sets up in a thin layer of lead that's easy to shape and cut. I use a can from beans or something, I forgot now and cut it down to melt the lead using a propane torch.
 





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