A Guide TO Dcc Page 8 A Guide to DCC

6 Decoder Installation Tips: Non-DCC Ready Locos If the loco is not DCC Ready it is likely that the motor is connected to the frame in some way. Many older locomotives are set up this way and the installation is a bit more involved. Depending on the model, it is not for the faint of heart, but most are very much in the realm of most model railroaders. If you have some basic tools, a good soldering iron and solder, some familiarity with electricity and some time, that hanger-queen can once again ride the rails! Youll need the basic tools mentioned previously: small screwdrivers, pliers and tweezers. As before, you will also need a good work area where you can safely disassemble the model. This installation will probably require quite a bit more disassembly, and youll want a place where you can set it without worry that inquisitive hands or the family cat will wreak havoc on the project. You will need a good soldering iron. If you are planning to do several decoders, consider investing in an advanced system. Ideally a temperature controlled station works best, but any electronics type will do OK. If possible, get a pencil tip for it. While at it, fet some good, small diameter electronics solder. Flux cored solder works very well as it makes connections easier. Good wire strippers round out the needed tools. As for supplies, you will also want some small multi-strand wire 28-26 AWG is pretty good to do the wiring. It is possible to insulate the work with electrical tape, but shrink tubing works much better and provides a more professional installation. A roll of double sided foam tape is very useful to affix the decoder. All these are available at your local hobby shop. Selecting a decoder is a critical step in doing your own installs. Basically you will want to find one that provides enough power to drive the motor without being oversized and not fitting into the available space. Also consider lighting options, whether or not sound is desired, and motor controls. Getting into the loco is not much different than with the DCC ready locos. Study the loco, and if available, look through the assembly drawings or instructions that came with the model. Once you have done a few DCC ready locos, chances are you will be much more comfortable with the non-DCC models and will be able to get into them without much trouble. As always, work carefully, and lay out the pieces in order so they can be reassembled in reverse order. Its beyond the scope of this booklet to get into the details of the work but chances are someone somewhere has done a similar install. Search the internet and see if you can find a project similar to yours. Many model railroaders have published clinics on the internet showing how they did their installs. The key piece that separates this kind of install from a DCC ready model is to get to the motor leads. The idea is to isolate the motor from the frame and wire new leads from each rail pickup and each side of the motor to the new decoder. It can get to be a bit of a puzzle to figure out how the manufacturers put the motor into the frame. Many times the assembly instructions can be found on the internet. Sometimes it is easier to attach short wire leads to the motor, reassemble the motor and frame, and then make the final connections to the decoder. Sometimes the install requires to cut off or bend back sprung tabs that connect the motor to the frame. Thats OK. Once the leads are attached, use a piece of Kapton or electrical tape to ensure electrical isolation of the motor in areas where there could be a concern. SOUND Sound with DCC Possibly one of the most exciting developments in model railroading are sound decoders. For decades modelers have had to imagine the sounds of their locomotives as they pulled their trains. There were a few analog and early digital control based systems that came out in the last couple of decades. But they were very limited in their ability, complex and very expensive. They were also proprietary in that sound equipped locomotives had to stay on those layouts; the decoders were not interchangeable. With the advent of the NMRA standard DCC protocol, manufacturers have developed sound decoders that are fully compatible with any DCC system. While early decoders tended to have generic synthesized sounds, most modern decoders use full 16 bit sound reproductions of recordings of actual locomotives. So whether you have a model of a rickety shay or a twin engine, DDA40X, chances are there is a sound decoder available with the actual sounds of those locomotives. Besides becoming more complex and accurate to the prototype sounds, modern sound decoders All three of these models have built-in decoder sockets for quick decoder installation. Sound decoders are available pre-loaded with prototype-specific sounds. 8

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