A Guide TO Dcc Page 7 A Guide to DCC

7 A FEW ADDITIONAL POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND: Make good, solid solder joints. Be sure they are shiny and fully wet the wires or metal to which you are attaching the wires. A grainy or rough finish on the solder indicates a "cold" solder joint and that will cause problems later on. Be sure to make connections to metal in contact with plastic quickly or with a heat sink to prevent damage to the parts. Ideally removing the metal piece is best so that it can cool before reassembly. When connecting between wires, be sure to insulate the connection. Nothing is more frustrating than completing an install only to find it is not running right because of an occasional short. A small piece of electrical tape works, but a much cleaner installation can be had by using shrink tubing. Note that since you are hard wiring the decoder into the locomotive, you will not need a decoder with the connector. One with just leads will be fine. Refer to the decoder manufacturer's instructions on how to wire it out. Typically black and red go to the rails, orange and gray go to the motor. To avoid a sneak path that can potentially damage a decoder make certain that the motor brushes are insulated from the track power leads. The motor has to be completely isolated from the track power. Work slowly and methodically. Time will be wasted if the work needs to be redone later. Check the wiring diagram carefully before doing the work. Check everything after the install. Properly wired, a decoder will last for decades. But if leads are installed incorrectly, track voltage can get into circuits that will destroy the decoder instantly. Check everything over after completing the install to assure it is wired correctly. It is recommended that before setting the new installation on the layout, check the wiring on the programming track. Programming tracks have much less power available and will not harm the decoder if it is wired out incorrectly. Attempting to program or read a CV on the programming track will give you a good sense of if the install was done properly. If it will not read or write, check your work and try again. Once you feel comfortable with the wiring, set it on the layout tracks and give it a try. All NMRA standard decoders will default to DCC address 3. Assuming all is well, program it to the appropriate address and give it a run. Assuming it runs well, reassemble the model and get it on the ready tracks. You did it! That hanger queen can finally run again. plastic and metal locomotives. In some cases, you may come across an older loco that has been converted to a predecessor of DCC called carrier control, and generally these can be very easy to modify. Before converting any DC loco, check out the loco on DC. If it doesnt work, fix any operating issues prior to converting. Whether or not it is DCC ready, most O, HO and N scale locos can be converted to run on DCC. Some like the older, non-DCC ready, and particularly many N-scale locos can be more challenging. If you have never done a decoder install, start with one that is DCC ready and then work up to the more challenging projects. Prior to starting an install, you will want to make sure you have a suitable work area and the proper tools. Specifically, there are a few things that are useful to have available. Work on a clean bench where the work can be spread out. Taking off shells, small screws, couplers, connectors and all the other miscellaneous parts, some can easily get lost. Find a place where the work will not be interfered with. A soft foam pad or cradle for the loco is a food investment. A few small containers for screws and small parts are also very handy. Once you have the place to work set up, take your loco and open it up. Most manufacturers provide some instruction sheets with their products to show how to open them up or at least show the way it is assembled. Once it is opened up, look it over. Make a mental note of which end is front and rear, as well as how the existing wiring is routed. Also look at your decoder and before opening the package, decide if it will fit. Be sure to check the loco to make sure of the connector type your loco has and that it matches what you have purchased. Most shops will let you return a decoder as long as the package has not been opened. Also keep in mind that when handling decoders, remember they are electronics and when disconnected from a circuit, they are susceptible to damage by static discharge. Before grabbing the decoder, be sure to ground yourself out by touching some metal on the bench first. At this point, it really is a simple procedure to install a decoder into a DCC ready loco. Find the connector Remove the jumper plug (which directly connects the motor to the rail pickups) Plug in the new decoder in the correct orientation. It really is that easy. Once installed, a piece of double sided foam tape, if even required, will keep the decoder in place. Be sure to locate the decoder in a place where it will allow the shell to be replaced without interference. Most newer engine models usually have space on the frame milled out to locate the decoder. It may sound funny, but many times the hardest part of these kinds of decoder installs is the removal of the shell! It is recommended that before setting the new installation on the layout, you should check the wiring on the programming track. Attempting to program or read a CV on the programming track will give you a good sense of whether the install was done properly. If it reads OK, or you are able to program it, set it on the main tracks. By convention, all decoders default to address 3. Dial it up on your controller and see that it runs. If it runs, fo ahead and start programming in the unit number and any other features you would like to have on that locomotive. Refer to your DCC manual for how to do that. If it does not run, head back to the bench and retrace the installation to make sure there are no shorted wires, bent pins or something else keeping it from being wired out right. Very occasionally a defective decoder is a possibility. But most manufacturers test each decoder before it leaves the factory, and failure of the units is very rare. If all runs well, put the shell back on and you are all set. Congratulations! You just installed a decoder! Sound and DCC decoders are available for all scales, including the tight confines of N Scale locos.

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