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Offline DaveCowl  
#1 Posted : 12 September 2021 22:17:24(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Hi All,

Recently I started updating decoders using the CS2 programming track, and I had success with a number of these. However, today one of the updates failed, and the factory installed sound decoder seems to be bricked.

I removed it from the Lok and tried with the 60971 USB programmer, and it says that there is no response from the decoder. I cannot see a way to update via the 60971 with the decoder not responding.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, and if so, what was the remedy? It seems that the risk/reward ratio of updating a decoder to the latest firmware is not so good if you lose one every now and then!

Cheers! Dave.
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Offline marklinist5999  
#2 Posted : 12 September 2021 22:28:18(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 970
Location: Michigan, Troy
Dave, I am understanding that factory equipped decoders are locked, so how can one be updated? I have never tried it. I haven't installed a new decoder either, but the Marklin dudes say if you ever have, you are likely to fry at least one.
Offline kiwiAlan  
#3 Posted : 12 September 2021 22:46:48(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,294
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
Dave, I am understanding that factory equipped decoders are locked, so how can one be updated? I have never tried it. I haven't installed a new decoder either, but the Marklin dudes say if you ever have, you are likely to fry at least one.


You can certainly update the firmware, but you cannot update the sound project.

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Offline DaveCowl  
#4 Posted : 12 September 2021 23:29:14(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
Dave, I am understanding that factory equipped decoders are locked, so how can one be updated? I have never tried it. I haven't installed a new decoder either, but the Marklin dudes say if you ever have, you are likely to fry at least one.


As Alan notes, you can update the firmware version on factory decoders.

The decoder is not fried, it is bricked. I believe that with the right tools, new code could be installed. The question is, can we do it? If not, what other support does Märklin offer?

I have made initial contact with one of the dudes. So far no solutions.

Cheers! Dave.

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Offline bph  
#5 Posted : 12 September 2021 23:59:53(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 396
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
Hi All,

Recently I started updating decoders using the CS2 programming track, and I had success with a number of these. However, today one of the updates failed, and the factory installed sound decoder seems to be bricked.

I removed it from the Lok and tried with the 60971 USB programmer, and it says that there is no response from the decoder. I cannot see a way to update via the 60971 with the decoder not responding.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, and if so, what was the remedy? It seems that the risk/reward ratio of updating a decoder to the latest firmware is not so good if you lose one every now and then!

Cheers! Dave.


Hi

I have experienced something similar during a firmware update of a factory fitted sound decoder (mSD3). I also did try it on a 60971, but without any luck.
I did send it to Märklin, but they could not repair it, so Märklin replaced it under warranty.

I did not receive an explanation why it had happen, so don't know if it was a faulty decoder, or because of a glitch during the update.

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Offline DaveCowl  
#6 Posted : 13 September 2021 00:04:15(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
Hi All,

Recently I started updating decoders using the CS2 programming track, and I had success with a number of these. However, today one of the updates failed, and the factory installed sound decoder seems to be bricked.

I removed it from the Lok and tried with the 60971 USB programmer, and it says that there is no response from the decoder. I cannot see a way to update via the 60971 with the decoder not responding.

Has anyone else had similar experiences, and if so, what was the remedy? It seems that the risk/reward ratio of updating a decoder to the latest firmware is not so good if you lose one every now and then!

Cheers! Dave.


Hi

I have experienced something similar during a firmware update of a factory fitted sound decoder (mSD3). I also did try it on a 60971, but without any luck.
I did send it to Märklin, but they could not repair it, so Märklin replaced it under warranty.

I did not receive an explanation why it had happen, so don't know if it was a faulty decoder, or because of a glitch during the update.



Thanks - I kinda imagine that I will need to go this route. Did you contact support through the main website?

Thanks!

Dave.

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Offline marklinist5999  
#7 Posted : 13 September 2021 00:27:47(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 970
Location: Michigan, Troy
I had an LG flip phone I really liked before my first smartphone. One day it just wouldn't power on. My sister in law had the same happen to hers. We were told by our dealers that they were bricked, and sometimes it happens.
I notice in my CS3 decoder settings menu there is a decoder life. I don't know if that is alterable.
Offline marklinist5999  
#8 Posted : 13 September 2021 00:33:04(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 970
Location: Michigan, Troy
I would also send Marklin service an e-mail, but they are slow to reply.
Offline clapcott  
#9 Posted : 13 September 2021 04:30:05(UTC)
clapcott

New Zealand   
Joined: 12/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 2,332
Location: Wellington, New_Zealand
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
... However, today one of the updates failed, and the factory installed sound decoder seems to be bricked.


Please be a bit more specific about which actual decoder.
And if you can recall the versions before the update attempt and the version selected.

The 60971 programmer is designed for m*D/3 retrofit decoders.
If you have another type it is not expected that it will read it

But, can you just to confirm, does "bricked" also mean that the CS2 does not see the decoder (in the Loco , on the programming track) if you go into the update section.
i.e. you actually get a message saying that no decoder is found. what is the exact text of the message?

Have you tried using a factory reset from the CS2? both via the mfx definition and/or MM (i.e set CS2 to MM only and use a dummy MM loco)
Note: usually the reset is for the configuration side of things, but it may kick somethin into life.









Peter
Offline DaveCowl  
#10 Posted : 13 September 2021 04:50:18(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Originally Posted by: clapcott Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
... However, today one of the updates failed, and the factory installed sound decoder seems to be bricked.


Please be a bit more specific about which actual decoder.
And if you can recall the versions before the update attempt and the version selected.

The 60971 programmer is designed for m*D/3 retrofit decoders.
If you have another type it is not expected that it will read it

But, can you just to confirm, does "bricked" also mean that the CS2 does not see the decoder (in the Loco , on the programming track) if you go into the update section.
i.e. you actually get a message saying that no decoder is found. what is the exact text of the message?

Have you tried using a factory reset from the CS2? both via the mfx definition and/or MM (i.e set CS2 to MM only and use a dummy MM loco)
Note: usually the reset is for the configuration side of things, but it may kick somethin into life.


The decoder is in the 37306, and is an mSD3 equivalent, I believe.

The decoder was version 3.2.1 if I recall correctly and was being updated to 3.2.2.1. The numbers might be a little off, it is going from memory and the decoder no longer shows up on the CS2.

I did try to do a decoder reset after the failed firmware write. It ended up removing the entry for the lok from the CS2. As such I can no longer get info or try updates or resets with the CS2.

I put the lok on the CS3 track and dialed up the lok from when it was previously registered - it did not respond. I also searched for missing mfx (in case the reset changed something) and no new mfx lok was found.

I didn't try a reset via MM - not sure how to do that. Can you elaborate? Where is the CS2 set to MM only, and you imply I can use any MM address? The CS2 is used solely for test/programming so I can mess with it and not worry about my layout side, which uses the CS3 these days...

Thanks! Dave.
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bph
Offline JohnjeanB  
#11 Posted : 13 September 2021 12:08:02(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,738
Location: Paris, France
Hi Dave
I have done what you did: update the firmware in the hope that it will allow me to change the sounds.

The short answer is: I did succeed on locos past 2018 to update to v3.2.2.1.html (the last present version) but then the factory installed decoder was still locked for Sound changes.

The firmware update is a delicate process which, if interrupted can lead to the un-usability of the decoder; so I think it is much better avoiding it unless you have a very serious reason for it. Even Märklin will not repair the "Bricked" decoders where the boot programme has been garbled.

Below is a CS3 screen of an available new firmware for a BR 75 with a previous v3.0.1.9 just before programming (which I did)

cs3_screenshot_Decoder SW Update.png

Cheers

Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
Offline bph  
#12 Posted : 13 September 2021 12:30:24(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 396
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post

Hi

I have experienced something similar during a firmware update of a factory fitted sound decoder (mSD3). I also did try it on a 60971, but without any luck.
I did send it to Märklin, but they could not repair it, so Märklin replaced it under warranty.

I did not receive an explanation why it had happen, so don't know if it was a faulty decoder, or because of a glitch during the update.



Thanks - I kinda imagine that I will need to go this route. Did you contact support through the main website?

Thanks!

Dave.


I did call the Märklin support phone in Germany, as they are slow to respond by mail.

But as others write it's worth trying all the reset tricks, in the hope that something might work. But the fact that it does not respond when plugged into 60971, is not promising.

The fact that Märklin could not repair/flash my decoder, might also suggest some sort of memory fault in the decoder. And that the firmware update only exposed that, and the decoder might have failed sooner or later anyway.

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Offline JohnjeanB  
#13 Posted : 13 September 2021 22:04:23(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,738
Location: Paris, France
Hi
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
The fact that Märklin could not repair/flash my decoder, might also suggest some sort of memory fault in the decoder. And that the firmware update only exposed that, and the decoder might have failed sooner or later anyway.


If you visit an electronic factory to produce small circuits (PCB) with surface-mounted-components and microprocessors (such as used in decoders or in phones) you will immediately understand that almost anything is possible in a lab but not on a production chain (cost reasons). It is so fast you don't even see what is going on.
So in lemon terms it is out of the question to intervene on a decoder (brand new or damaged by the owner?) and reproduce the multi-step process of loading the software (boot, firmware, sound and parameters). It is obviously not cost-worthy.
Here is a small example of what I mean.


It is almost certain that this production is subcontracted and not made by Märklin. That is why Märklin choice is to replace the decoder free of charge or refuse
Cheers
Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
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Offline bph  
#14 Posted : 13 September 2021 23:11:17(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 396
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Hi
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
The fact that Märklin could not repair/flash my decoder, might also suggest some sort of memory fault in the decoder. And that the firmware update only exposed that, and the decoder might have failed sooner or later anyway.


If you visit an electronic factory to produce small circuits (PCB) with surface-mounted-components and microprocessors (such as used in decoders or in phones) you will immediately understand that almost anything is possible in a lab but not on a production chain (cost reasons). It is so fast you don't even see what is going on.
So in lemon terms it is out of the question to intervene on a decoder (brand new or damaged by the owner?) and reproduce the multi-step process of loading the software (boot, firmware, sound, and parameters). It is obviously not cost-worthy.
Here is a small example of what I mean.

It is almost certain that this production is subcontracted and not made by Märklin. That is why Märklin choice is to replace the decoder free of charge or refuse
Cheers
Jean


Hi
yes, it is several possibilities and it makes sense to just replace the decoder if it doesn't respond.

my guess is that Märklin tested the decoder, and when that failed, they just replaced it.
Marklin just wrote "decoder replaced" on the service note. I assume they do try some basic tests/programming before they replace a decoder. But in the end, only Märklin can answer that.

Have had some past experience with an industrial maker that actually did some in-house electronic repairs on some "controllers", but that was on some very expensive stuff, and repairs were (bearly) cheaper than a new card.
Offline kiwiAlan  
#15 Posted : 13 September 2021 23:21:04(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,294
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Hi
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post
The fact that Märklin could not repair/flash my decoder, might also suggest some sort of memory fault in the decoder. And that the firmware update only exposed that, and the decoder might have failed sooner or later anyway.

...
It is almost certain that this production is subcontracted and not made by Märklin. That is why Märklin choice is to replace the decoder free of charge or refuse
Cheers
Jean


I think that all the code is put into the decoder in one hit on the production line.

In this link (first photo in post) you see the woman fitting the decoder into the loco at the last IMA meeting I went to. The black box to her right is a programmer, and to the right of that you can see some white packaging with a heap of new decoders in it. When she takes a decoder out of the programmer she puts a new one in and it gets programmed while she is working on the loco chassis. The programmer has four slots for programming the decoders IIRC.

This is why a new loco is unlikely to have the latest firmware in it when you receive it, because the file provided by the development engineers is provided some period of time before production starts, and uses whatever firmware revision was used during project development, and the file then gets programmed on the production line as required. I believe the decoder has been fitted with a totally blank chip straight from the semiconductor manufacturer (or will have only test code to verify operation at the electronics assembly house) so Marklin don't need to keep a stock of preprogrammed decoders, instead they programme the number of decoders required as they produce the locos.

As to why they replace rather than repair, the cost of a decoder to marklin will be about 15 minutes of a technicians time, and it will likely take more than twice that time to ascertain if the decoder can have the firmware reloaded the same way the production line does it (which is probably the only way to recover a bricked one) or if it has a hardware fault, so instead of attempting a repair a new one is sent straight away. Such is the world of consumer electronics these days. I know, ive been at that end of the business.

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Offline DaveCowl  
#16 Posted : 14 September 2021 03:08:09(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post

my guess is that Märklin tested the decoder, and when that failed, they just replaced it.
Marklin just wrote "decoder replaced" on the service note.


Did you send them the whole locomotive or just the decoder?

Actually I am an Electrical Engineer, and as such I know the ins and outs. I was hoping that the JTAG or whatever was exposed to the Renesas microcontoller, but even if it was, I would need a suitable dongle and the code to get it resurrected. BigGrin

In any case, I will contact support and see how it goes... hopefully they will replace the bad decoder.

Cheers! Dave.
Offline mike c  
#17 Posted : 14 September 2021 04:07:34(UTC)
mike c

Canada   
Joined: 28/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 7,212
Location: Montreal, QC
A lot of times that a decoder "dies" during handling is because it is inadvertently connected in a manner where voltage is driven through one of the outputs. This happens easily if the decoder is incorrectly connected to the PC board (mounted in the opposing direction or inverted top to bottom).

In many cases, the decoder will be replaced or you will have to buy a basic equivalent from ESU or Zimo. I saved all of the settings of my loks with OEM ESU decoders, so that if there is an issue, I can copy those settings onto a basic ESU unit as a replacement.

Regards

Mike C
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Offline bph  
#18 Posted : 14 September 2021 11:52:55(UTC)
bph

Norway   
Joined: 04/08/2018(UTC)
Posts: 396
Originally Posted by: DaveCowl Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post

my guess is that Märklin tested the decoder, and when that failed, they just replaced it.
Marklin just wrote "decoder replaced" on the service note.


Did you send them the whole locomotive or just the decoder?

Actually I am an Electrical Engineer, and as such I know the ins and outs. I was hoping that the JTAG or whatever was exposed to the Renesas microcontoller, but even if it was, I would need a suitable dongle and the code to get it resurrected. BigGrin

In any case, I will contact support and see how it goes... hopefully they will replace the bad decoder.

Cheers! Dave.


I did only send the decoder, (in agreement with Märklin).

I did actually notice that you are an Electrical EngineerSmile. and it's probably a bit "frustrating" for you, that you cannot do more yourself to fix it.

Hope it gets solved.
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Offline skukuza  
#19 Posted : 14 September 2021 13:30:49(UTC)
skukuza

New Zealand   
Joined: 04/04/2014(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: Melbourne
Hi Dave.
I'm writing this as a longshot after all the great input from everyone but it may help you.
I did a firmware update a while back on an msd retrofit decoder and then found the decoder would not respond. I tried everything that you have done and almost gave up except when I loaded/recalled a previous backup on my CS3 and bingo, it worked. Why and how I'll never know but at least I didn't have to buy a new decoder.
Cheers.
Kevin
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Offline DaveCowl  
#20 Posted : 15 September 2021 00:29:01(UTC)
DaveCowl

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 29
Location: Santa Clara
Originally Posted by: bph Go to Quoted Post

I did only send the decoder, (in agreement with Märklin).

I did actually notice that you are an Electrical EngineerSmile. and it's probably a bit "frustrating" for you, that you cannot do more yourself to fix it.

Hope it gets solved.


Yes it is frustrating, knowing that it should be possible to reprogram the Renesas microcontroller, but not having the means to do it. BigGrin

In any case, I will contact the service department. In the USA it is difficult to call them (due to time differences) but I should be in Germany later in the month, and can call then if they don't respond to the email...

Cheers! Dave.
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