MRC 1663 Decoder For Atlas S2/4’s

Ok, so we’ve had some problems with our sound decoders since we installed them a few weeks ago.  If you missed that post – here it is.

Anyway, Derwin’s loco lost all engine noise, but other sounds like horn and bell worked.  Both of mine were fine until Derwin ran one of them during an operating session.  The result was no engine noise, but bell and horn would work.  The commone denominator – Derwin – as usual!   HA!

I reprogrammed my loco (thank God for DecoderPro) and it worked fine.  The same fix didn’t work for Derwin unfortunately.  Then I got an email from Daniel Watkins thanking me for my post on installing these decoders.  After an exchange of a few emails we discovered his loco had a very similar problem.

So, the power of the public press came to the rescue.  I sent an email to MRC on Saturday.  I did not expect a reply until Monday or Tuesday.  However, when I turned on my computer Monday morning there was an email from Frank waiting for me.  Wow – I was impressed.  Here is Frank’s response…

if you have horn and bell sounds but nothing else it is possible you inadvertently shut off the prime mover sounds
did you try double clicking the headlight button, [F0] as we use this as a mute, and also F12 is the sound on/off mute or try playing with CV # 49 to see if you can get the sounds back onif all eles fails send me the decoder, [no money] and i’ll check it out for you.

I asked Frank what value to set for CV49.  His next email suggested setting it to “1”.
Since I had Derwin’s loco here I tried Franks suggestions and a double-click of F0 did trick. Daniel had a similar response on one of the groups and it solved his problem.  Unfortunately there is no mention of this F0 feature in the documentation that comes with the decoder and no mention of what CV49 does.
This problem is resolved, I think.  I’m still not completely happy with the decoder – the lowest volume level is still too loud and the speed adjustment is coarse,  but I don’t think you can beat its price when you get it on sale.

2 Responses to “MRC 1663 Decoder For Atlas S2/4’s”

  1. Chris Ruhl says:

    Hello, Scott!

    I had this same issue. I did my installation test on the 20-ohm resistor test track right after decoder installation. The sound came on and then went off and I had no idea what I did. I fugured that the reduced amperage and voltage from the resistor knocked out the sound. The S-2 did creep very slowly forward and backward so I knew my install was okay. I then removed the resistor and completed programming.

    MRC says that hitting any function key before starting the engine will bring sound. I found that didn’t work. I then began hitting all function keys in succession and finally all came back on when I double-tapped the headlight key.

    I agree with you that these decoders are way too loud (this thing drowns out my Tsunami-equipped Atlas RS-11) and speed adjustment is tough but I find that I can temper that speed issue with the acel/decel buttons on my NCE control. Sadly, the noise is a bit tinny as well — the Tsunami sound spoiled me a bit but the MRC offering isn’t bad for the price in comparison.

    Chris Ruhl

    Playing with trains since 1967
    NMRA member since 1975
    DCC since 2009

  2. Skip Foster says:

    I have installed this decoder in at least 5 S2 or S4’s and I have not had a lick of trouble with any of them. To turn on the sound on my locos I hit 8 and she comes alive. 3 taps of the 8 button shuts the sound down. I have the NCE wireless system. I have also used the MRC decoder for Athearn RS3 and it works fine as well.

    Once we got things figured out it’s not that bad of a decoder. The issue of 2 presses of F0 was what was causing my problem. You’d think they’d have that in the documentation for the decoder.

    I do wish they had more speed adjustment in their decoders.

    Thanks for the comment!


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