Lenz Digital Plus

Trouble Shooting and Helps Page


When Installing and Programming Decoders in Locomotives



1. After installing your decoder to a locomotive's chassis or frame, DO NOT/NOT PUT THE LOCOMOTIVE'S SUPERSTRUCTURE ON TO THE FRAME.

2. Put the frame with decoder installed ON THE PROGRAMMING TRACK and try to program it to the address to which you wish it to respond.

3. If you get an ERR 02, STOP!!!. You have a short somewhere. FIND IT AND FIX IT BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER. Then go back to Step 2.

4. If the address programs in properly, Escape out of Programming mode.

5. Only now, put the superstructure on to the frame.

6. Now, put the fully reassembled locomotive ON TO THE PROGRAMMING TRACK AGAIN.

7. Try to read the address in the decoder.

8. If you get an ERR 02, STOP!!!. You have a short somewhere. FIND IT AND FIX IT BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE Then go back to Step 6.

9. If the address reads out as the one you programmed into the decoder, Escape out of Programming mode.

10. ONLY NOW, put the reassembled locomotive on to a running track on your layout and try to operate it.

Trouble Shooting Common - and Not So Common - Problems


1. - General System Failure

1.a. - General System Failure: Flashing LED on the LZV100

1.b. - General System Failure: Steady or Flashing "LH100" on the LH100 display or intermittent loss of display

1.c. - General System Failure: ERR 03 on LH90

1.d. - General System Failure: LZ100/LV100 (or LV101) or LZV100/LV102 combination will not control decoders

1.e. - General System Failure: Xpressnet - LA152 units set up in series not working.

2. Decoders Not Programming or Operating properly?

2.a. - Decoder Incompatibility with the Lenz Railcom Capability

2.b. - Decoder Programming with the LH100 - A Step by Step Guide

2.c. - LE103XF and Digitrax

2.d. - ESU sound decoders - Problems with Programming Decoders and Diesel Horn function not performing properly in Lenz System

2.e. - Problems with Digitrax, Broadway Limited and Other Non-NMRA Conforming Decoders

3. Problems Setting up the LI-USB Computer Interface

4. Problems with the LI-USB/Ethernet (23151) Computer Interface

4.a. - Touchcab/IPhone Set Up

4.b. - Touchcab Operation

4.c. - Android App Comparable to Touchcab?

4.d. - Drivers for Windows 7 64 bit machines

5. Computer Programme Design for the LI-101F and the LI-USB

6. Programming Components with other DCC systems

6.a. - Programming the LS110 with Digitrax

7. System Components - Mechanical, Electrical, Technical Information

7.a. - LH100 - Cable Wire Colour Coding

7.b - Lenz Decoder Programmer p/n 23270 (V.1) Documentation

1.a. - General System Failure: Flashing LED on the LZV100

Often system owners have called me after their system has stopped working and complained that there is something wrong with the system because the LED on the front of the LZV100 is flashing.

Normally, one (one only) press of the red ST button on the LH100 or the target button on the LH90 should stop the LED flashing, if the short has been cleared from the owner's layout.

[I have bolded the "one only" above because, over the years, I have had many owners send me a "broken" system only to open the parcel, set up the system on my test module and find that everything worked just fine when I pressed the ST key once. That is a very expensive way to learn that one has a heavy finger on the key!!]

If the LED continues to flash persistently, regardless of pressing the ST or target key, the first step in trouble shooting is to disconnect the LZV100 completely from the layout and place it on a workbench away from the layout.

Once there, connect the input wires from your system power supply to the U and V terminals on the back of the unit.

Then, connect two wires from the J and K terminals on the back of the unit to a length of flex track on the workbench.

Then, plug in the cord from your LH100 or LH90 into the DIN socket on the back of the unit.

Then, turn on the power supply to the unit.

If the LED is still flashing, press the ST (LH100) or Target (LH90) key once.

If the LED stops flashing, you know that the problem is not with your Lenz system, but somewhere on your layout.

There may, for example, be a continuing short somewhere on the layout. There may be a short in the latest bit of track work done, or wiring done. There may be a crossed wire in the Xpressnet bus.

Whichever it may be, you at least will have begun to isolate the problem. And without the cost and bother of sending your system away and having it returned.


1.b .- General System Failure: Steady or Flashing "LH100" on the LH100 display or intermittent loss of display

An "LH100" on the display of the LH100 or intermittent flashing of the display and loss of ability to control locomotives with the LH100 can be due to several things.

The most common is one or more broken wire(s) in the cable, either at the plug or at the LH100 end. This is often a result of repeated flexing of the plug/cable in use (usually hard or careless use).

The fix for this is to send the unit to us to repair or replace the cable. (In years 2-10 after purchase, there will be a service charge and the cost of return shipping.)

Alternatively, if the owner is comfortable with voiding the warranty, the fix is to cut off about 6 inches from the end of the cable where the break(s) have occurred and resoldering the wires to the LH100's pc board or the contacts in the DIN plug.

Lenz does not recommend this approach.

There have been very rare occasions where this problem has been caused by condensation or oxidization of contacts on the socketed eprom either inside the LH100 or inside the LZV100.

Again, the fix is to send the set into us to check out and repair as necessary.

Again, there is an alternative, if the owner is comfortable with voiding the warranty. The fix is to open the LH100 case, remove the micro and reseat it. Or, to open the LZV100, remove the pc boards and remove and reseat the eeprom on the command pcboard.

Lenz does not recommend this approach.

1.c. - General System Failure: ERR 03 on LH90

An "ERR 03" on the display of an LH90 in V.3.6 systems normally indicates that the operator is attempting to set up an MU lashup without having first taken control of a locomotive with the LH90 being used to create the MU. The fix for this is to review your manual and follow closely the steps for setting up an MU lashup.

On older systems, i.e., those at pre-V3.6 software/firmware, the "ERR 03" normally indicates that the owner/operator is attempting to use an LH90 with V.3.6 firmware version. The only fix for this is to upgrade the system to V.3.6 or to degrade the LH90 to pre-V.3.6 firmware.

On older systems, i.e., the old Set-01 made up of the LZ100 and LV100/LV101, which have been upgraded to V.3.6, the "ERR 03" can result from one of the inherent hardware limitations of old production system components. When talking through this problem with an owner, we found that doing a system reset (with another LH unit) removed the "ERR 03" from his LH90.

1.d. - General System Failure: LZ100/LV100 (or LV101) or LZV100/LV102 combination will not control decoders

Often an owner, on newly setting up his old LZ/LV two box system will find that he is unable to operate a locomotives that worked either previously or on other layouts or test tracks.

I have now had two such instances where we have tried everything via telephone troubleshooting and nothing has worked.

After they sent in their systems to me, and after I had checked and verified full functionality, the solution to the problem became obvious.

There are three wires that connect the C, D & E terminals of the LZ unit to the LV unit. These wires carry the command signals from the command unit to the power unit.

What had happened was that the owners had reversed the C & D wire connections (i.e., so that the C went to the D and vice versa). Reconnecting the C to the C and the D to the D made all of the previous problems disappear.

Finally, on one ocasion, this has proved to be the problem when a second power section fed by an LV102 on a layout would not function. Again, it transpired the the owner had not correctly connected the C, D & E wires from their terminals on the back of the LZV100 to the back of the LV102

The Moral:

ALWAYS check to make sure that you have ALL your terminal connections connected correctly.

1.e. - General System Failure: Xpressnet - LA152 units set up in series not working.

I have had several owners, on installing the LA152 Faceplate/Adaptors on the fascia of their respective layouts report to me that one or more of their LA152 units is not working or connecting to the Xpressnet bus. The LA152 units are very simple electronically and in 25 years, I have yet to have one returned to me that has been defective.

In each of these instances, after troubleshooting we have found the problem lay in the connections between one or more of the LA152 units.


The first connection from the LZV100 unit to the nearest LA152 unit should be done with discrete wires from each of the green L, M, A & B terminals of the LZV100 unit to the green L, M, A & B terminals of the LA152 unit. (20 Ga. wire is fine for this, 18 Ga. better.)

When installing, use colour-coded wire and/or do each wire connection one at a time in order to avoid a misconnection (e.g., L terminal to A terminal). This kind of misconnection is one principal window for error and the cause of many of the problems reported to me.


All subsequent connections from the first LA152 unit can be made using the cable supplied with the unit.

If you are spacing LA152 units farther apart than the cable supplied and not using the cable supplied or splicing the cable supplied with the LA152, this establishes a second window for error which has been the cause of virtually all the other problems reported to me.

These break down to the following:

If an owner has used cabling to connect from one set of L, M, A & B screw terminals to those on the next LA152, the problem has invariably been either a misconnection or a bit of insulation interfering with proper mechanical contact between the wire and the terminal thus interfering with electrical continuity;

If the owner has tried splicing the cable supplied with the LA152 to make it longer, the problem has often been that one or more of the wires has been misconnected;

Alternatively, If an owner has made his/her own cable, a failure in the crimping process has caused one or more of the wires in the cable not to connect correctly to the RJ plug. Redoing the cut/crimp process has usually fixed this.

Finally, if an owner has made his/her own cabling, the positions of the wires in the cable have inadvertenly been reversed, thereby changing a patch connection to a crossover connection. Follow closely the diagram/instructions at page 27 of the LZV100 manual (http://www.lenzusa.com/1newsite1/Manuals/LZV100V36Manual.pdf) when making your own cable.

Section 2 - Decoders Not Programming or Running properly

(As a preface, let me apologize: I had understood that software V.3.6 had addressed the problem some owners of non-NMRA-Standard-Conforming decoders had experienced because the Lenz programming track mode does not provide sufficient voltage for their high-current-draw decoders. I have just learned today (July 12, 2017) that is incorrect.)

Some owners may not be aware that some Soundtraxx, Tsunami, and most QSI, Digitrax, Broadway Limited and other non-NMRA-standard-conforming spound decoders require a higher programming voltage on the programming track than the NMRA standard specifies. This is because of significant capacitance and other elements of their decoder circuitry.

For Lenz Digital Plus system owners to be able to program these decoders, it is necessary to raise the voltage output to the programming track. One way to do this is to buy a programming track power booster from any of a number of commercial sources.

The least expensive way of accomplishing the same thing, however, is to wire in series on either the P or Q wires to the programming track a 10 Ohm, 1 Watt Resistor. These resistors should be available cheaply from places like Radio Shack or any electronic parts supply house, or perhaps even a stereo/electronic repair shop.

I have had one wired into my different test modules since the mid 1990's and have never not been able to program an other manufacturer's decoder.

2.a. - Decoder Incompatibility with the Lenz Railcom Capability

In V.3.6, the current Lenz system software version, the default setting has Railcom capability turned ON.

Many currently available decoders from other manufacturers do not conform completely to the NMRA DCC standard and will not work properly in an environment that has the Railcom capability turned on.

In order to operate such non-conforming decoders in the Lenz system, it is necessary to turn off the system's Railcom capability. I have put together a couple of step by step guides that may help owners to do this on their own:

2.a.1 Turning off Railcom with the LH100: Step-by-Step [Click Here]

2.a.2 Turning off Railcom with the LH90 Step-by-Step [Click Here]


2.b. - Decoder Programming with the LH100 - A Step by Step Guide

Some users have found the Set 100 and LH100 manual difficult to follow (or have never tried to follow it) where programming decoders to new addresses are concerned.

Click here to go to a Step-by-Step guide.

2.c. - LE103XF Decoder & Digitrax

In August 2013, Ron Ruyg asked why his LE103XF decoder would not work on Digitrax (&NCE) systems.

The answer is that the LE103XF (which has been out of production since 1999) was not designed to work on systems set to 128 speed steps.

The LE103XF, first produced about 1996, only supports 14-27 and 28-55 speed steps.

2.d. - ESU sound decoders - Problems with Programming Decoders and Functions not performing properly in the Lenz System

In July-August 2014, Dewey Jones found he was not able to control the sound functions, specifically the diesel horn (F2), with his newly repaired Lenz Set 100.

The horn sound was intermittent, though other sounds seemed to work fine most of the time.

After several go rounds with us, with his decoder installers and with the ESU folks (I think), someone hit on the solution of hitting the 8 key on his LH100 several times while the locomotive was in idle mode in order to reset the sound CVs in the decoder.

That seems to have taken care of the intermittent horn sound for him.

William Seabrooke had a problem in May 2015 programming an address into his new Rapido GMD-1 equipped with, he told me, an ESU sound/motion decoder. We went through the programming sequence several times with everything seeming to work as it should, only to find that when put on the running track, the locomotive was totally non-responsive. I suggested that the fix above be tried. Again to no avail.

However, I had him take the locomotive off the track and then put it back on. Lo and behold, everything worked as it should at the newly programmed address.

So, something else to try. (I'm not making these things up.)

2.e. - Problems with Digitrax, Broadway Limited and Other Non-NMRA Conforming Decoders

Broadway Limited, MTH, Digitrax and other manufacturers produce and sell decoders or locomotives equipped with decoders that do not conform to the NMRA DCC Standard.

This may cause ERR 02 messages when an owner tries to program such decoders on a Lenz (fully NMRA-Standard conforming) DCC system. This is due to the fact that programming such decoders commonly draws more current/voltage than the system is designed to provide on the programming track (i.e., the P & Q terminals of an LZV100).

There is a work-around that often allows Lenz owners to program such Decoders/Locomotives.

The first step is to program, on your programming track, a Lenz or other decoder which can be programmed without ERR readings to the Address and other CV setting you wish to put into the problem decoder.

After doing this, you should read and note down the CV values of the decoder for the things you have programmed. For instance, the CVs to read for a four digit address are CV17, CV18 and CV29.

Once you have done this, you should put the problem locomotive on a running track or jumper the problem decoder's red and black wires to to a running track.

The default address for any new decoder is supposed to be 03. Call up Address 03 on your LH100 or LH90 and see if the locomotive/decoder responds.

If it does not respond, then you will have to contact the manufacturer or whomever you bought it from to determine what address is in the locomotive/decoder.

Assuming the locomotive/decoder responds, you should go into Programming On the Main (POM) programming mode with your controller.

Once in POM, enter the values into all of the CVs which you noted when reading them in the step above.

Once you are finished enter all the new CV values, escape out of POM.

Bring up the address which you have programmed into the locomotive/decoder and see if it responds at that new address.

If it does, all well and good.

If it does not, you may have to repeat the POM operations with an LH90. About 15 years ago, I had one owner for who this would work only with the LH90, not the LH100. I have no explanation for that.)

If it still does not, then you will have to contact the manufacturer of the locomotive/decoder for support.

Broadway Limited Locomotive with "Lenz Sound Decoder"

George Campbell reported a problem he experienced with a locomotive he had bought which had had installed what was called a "Lenz Sound Decoder". His locomotive would run but back and forth but did not have any operable sounds on his Digitraxx DCC system.

After several hours and go-rounds with me, Broadway Limited and Digitrax, he discovered that:

(a) his locomotive had a Lenz decoder installed in tandem with a BL "Paragon One" sound decoder,

(b) this is a problem known to the BL folks,

(c) that while the fix above will, apparently, work with "Paragon Two" and "Paragon Three" sound decoders, that there is no known fix for the "Paragon One" other than to have it replaced with a more recent production version, by Broadway Limited.

So, apparently the only way to avoid this specific problem is to avoid buying a model with the problematic (Non-NMRA-Standard-conforming) decoder.

["Compatible with" does not mean the same thing as "Conform to".]

3. Problems Setting up the LI-USB Computer Interface

In the software supplied with the old LI-USB, the device driver may not always set up properly in 64 bit computers.

While I am happy to provide a new installation disk file with bug-free software that should (fingers crossed) fix the problem, it may be necessary to install another driver.

The following URL will provide you with that driver for Windows 7, as well as comments from some not so happy Lenz system owners:


The following URL will provide you with that driver for Windows 8:


With thanks to Søren Jacob Lauritsen for his work, I hope this may get you running your LI-USB.

* * *

I have just discovered the following website: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm, which appears to offer drivers for Windows 10 for the the 23150. Please visit it if nothing else works in getting your LI-USB functioning correctly.

If this site is able to get you going, please let me know so that I may advise others,

4. Problems with the LI-USB/Ethernet (23151) Computer Interface

4.a. - Touchcab/IPhone Set Up

Most often in the past, problems getting the 23151 unit working properly has proved to stem from one of two issues:

First, there is sometimes a software switch or setting either in one's computer firmware or one's application that incorrectly set. This can be devilishly hard to find because the internals of computers differ and the setting concerned is often well hidden and/or poorly documented.

If this is the case, only very patient, careful trouble shooting is the answer. That, or hiring a computer engineer or a 15 year old computer whiz-kid to find the incorrectly set switch.

I am not, unfortunately, either, so I cannot help much other than to commiserate.

The second issue is, however, much easier to handle because it boils down to the IP address of the LAN/Wireless Router being set so that it is incompatible with the hardware address of the 23151 unit.

The TouchCab developer has published a wondrously clear way to fix this. It is (or was when this was written) located at the following URL: http://www.touchcab.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=443. If, there is any difficulty in connecting to that URL, I have copied the article and it can be reached by clicking here.

4.b. - Touchcab/IPhone Operation

Steve Sansome of Belleville, Ontario got his interface set up properly and found that the Iphone/Interface communication seemed to work but he was not getting any response from the locomotives on his layout.

Troubleshooting confirmed that the 23151 was properly connected into the Xpressnet. Every time he pressed a function key or changed speed or direction, the signal light on the interface blinked. His LH90 connected to the Xpressnet controlled locomotives properly. So did his LH100.

But no command signals were getting from the 23151 to the LZV100.

There seemed clearly to be a hardware problem: Either in the 23151/Xpressnet wiring or RJ plugs/sockets. I had him check all the hardware and the wiring and he confirmed there was full continuity on each line and at each end of the connection.

Then, after telling him to pack it up and bring it into TLA so we could check it on our test module, I asked - almost by the by - whether his LH100 was plugged directly into the LZV100 or into one of the Xpressnet's LA152 faceplate interfaces.

He had it plugged into the DIN socket at the back of the LZV100.

As Gru would say: "Light Bulb!". I asked him to disconnect the LH100 from the LZV100's DIN socket and plug it into one of the LA152s.

!Bingo! Everything worked properly.

Don't ask me why, but IF you have your Xpressnet wire-connected to the LMAB terminals at the back of the LZV100 AND you have a controller plugged into the DIN socket at the back of the LZV100, THEN it appears that the full Xpressnet functioning may be impaired.

Solution: DO NOT/NOT plug an LH90 or LH100 into the back of the LZV100 if you have other Xpressnet devices connected to the Xpressnet.

4.c. - Android Apps comparable to the Touchcab/IPhone Link Up

Several people have asked me about this. I have not tried nor checked it, but there appears to be an Android App calle RC-Cab that claims to work with the Lenz system.

If anyone has tried out and has a working knowledge of this App - or, indeed, any other App, it would be interesting to hear about his/her experience..

4.d. - Windows 7 64 bit machines

Several Owners of the 23151 interface have had different problems setting up their software and getting it operating correctly.

If , despite repeated attempts at installing the software using the disk supplied with the 23151, it may be necessary to contact me for the latest files which I have from Lenz Germany.

If you go to the Lenz File Page, you will see several of the files that I have been able to put up for downloading.

5. Computer Program Design for the LI-101F and the LI-USB

We received the following request from Graham Plowman in 2011:

"When writing computer software to control the Set 100 through the LI-101F and the LI-USB, what is the Lenz system input buffer size ?

"i.e., If my computer sends successive requests (e.g., reading a list of CVs), is there a possibility that the Command station will run out of buffer space and be unable to keep up with the computer?

" Do I need to place a time wait between each successive request?

We received the following advice from Lenz Germany:

If your program is designed to send successive requests to the Lenz system, those should be set up sequentially, i.e., one after the other.

After each command is sent to the Interface, your program should be designed to wait until the interface has repeated 0x01 0x04 0x05 (for the LI-101F) or 0x255 0x254 0x01 0x04 0x05 (for the LI-USB) before sending the next command.

The program needs to check for that response to the previous command before the next new command may be sent.

6. Programming Lenz Components with Other DCC systems

6.a. - Programming the LS110 with Digitraxx

In April 2013, Joe Montenigro sought help with programming the LS110 stationary decoder. After some head scratching and advice from Lenz Germany, he reported the following:

"I connected the LS110 to my Digitrax programming track and selected "Page Direct" programming mode.

"I'm happy to report success in reading and reprogramming CV values for the LS110 address and for decoder operation settings. (Note: in the Digitrax system, you can't see that you're programming CV1; the system displays "AD2". I happen to be a geek, and knew this tidbit. Otherwise, I might not have known how to access "CV 1".)

"Following the Lenz instruction manual, I rigged up pairs of LEDs with dropping resistors, set the decoder to 32 for "constant" operation, and watched the LEDs alternate as I hit "throw" and "close".

"Thus enboldened, I connected a PECO twin coil motor, and was able to throw and close it as well.

"So, all is working fine, and I have a much better feel for tackling more complex connections as described in the manual.

I like the LS110 and look forward to permanently installing several on my layout. Summary: programming the LS110 on a Digitrax system is straightforward and easy, just like any other decoder."

7. System Components - Mechanical, Electrical, Technical Information

7.a. LH100 - Cable Wire Colour Coding

Some owners have undertaken to replace their LH100 cables or the DIN plugs on the LH100 cables.

This is not rocket science, but some have asked about the colour coding of the wires, just to be sure.

This is wise: A crossed or incorrect connection could damage the LH100, the LZV100 or both.

The following is the wire colour coding for the two most used cables:

The standard Lenz uncoiled cable with the straight DIN plug


The NCE coiled cable with the L-shaped DIN plug.

Cable Wire Colour Coding

Terminal Lenz Cable
NCE Cable
L Yellow Yellow
M Brown Black
A Green Green
B White Red


7.b - Lenz Decoder Programmer p/n 23270 (V.1) Documentation

At least one person has asked whether he manuals for the Lenz Decoder Programmer V.1 (p/n 23270) are available in English. I have asked Lenz Germany and they are, apparently available only in German.

Benjamin Lanza, an owner of the 23270, has done a translation of the ley parts of the manual and has very generously agreed to let me pmake it available here to share it with others.

To open the .pdf file with Ben's translation, please click here.


This page updated February 12, 2017

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