Bachmann HO EMD GP40 How do I fit DCC

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I have just started building a train layout and fitting it with a Digitrax System, the engine that I purchased is a Bachmann Diesel EMD GP40 and I have been advised will not run on DCC. As I am new to model trains I would appreciate any advise as to fitting the loco with DCC and what I would need to purchase to make it run on DCC.


See the responses on your other post. By and large, it is very not cool to post the same question on more than one part of the Board. So decide on the best fit and leave your question or comment there only.

One thing about running DC locos on a DCC pike that I forgot to mention before is that you'll want to either remove the loco from your pike when it's not actually running or put it on a track where you can switch the power OFF. You can damage DC locos by leaving them on operating DCC track.
                                                                                  -- D

Jim Banner:
All that your locomotive requires to run on DCC is a decoder.  This is an electronic device that takes power and a digital signal from the track and uses it to control motor speed and direction, lights, and even sound.  I would recommend a non-sound decoder for a first installation, particularly if you are not used to soldering small wires.  A Digitrax DZ125 decoder would be a good choice and will fit into both the N-scale GP40 and the H0 GP40.  In addition to operating the motor, it will also independently operate a front and a rear headlight.  If you want to add other lights, such as ditch lights, strobe light, cab light, etc. there is also a Digitrax DZ143 with 4 lighting outputs or a DN163 with six.  If your GP40 is H0-scale, then you also have the option of using a Digitrax DH123 (two lighting outputs) or DH163 (six lighting outputs.)  All of these part numbers are available with a D suffix which means they come with unterminated wires that you can connect to your locomotive's wiring.  They may also come with other suffixes which indicate they have an 8-pin  plug at the ends of the wires for use in DCC ready locomotives (which the GP40 is not.)  In a pinch, you can buy the type with the 8-pin plug and cut the plug off (caution - do NOT cut off the 9-pin plug that connects the wires to the decoder if you buy the DH types.)  

The instructions that come with the decoders tell you which wire connects where.  For example, the red decoder wire connects to the right hand wheels, or in more practical terms, to the both of the wires already in the locomotive that already connect to the front right hand wheels and the rear right hand wheels.  It is very important that you disconnect these where they presently join other wires so that, for example, the red wire connects ONLY to the front and rear right hand wheels.  This will make a little more sense if you study this diagram:

And remember that the ONLY connections between the wheels and the motor and between the wheels and the lights MUST be through the decoder.  Any other paths will destroy the decoders.

If you already have your Digitrax system, there is a ton more information in the Mobile Decoder Manual.  Fortunately, it is only the section on installing decoders that you are interested in right now.

Having said all that, your GP40 locomotive will run on any Digitrax DCC system even without a decoder.  This is because Digitrax is one of the brands that puts out some dc along with the DCC to make this possible.  There are a number of warnings and caveats about doing this and I am sure you will be much happier having a decoder in your locomotive.  The worst you can do is burn up a decoder but at less than $20 each for the DH123D type, even that is a small price for the education.  And it probably will not happen.

One last piece of advice - be sure to insulate all the joints with SHRINK TUBING.  Regular electrical tape just won't do.  Things can get a little hot inside your locomotive, and with both a decoder and a motor producing heat, they most likely will.  Electrical tape starts to come unstuck and if the black, gummy stuff it leaves behind were not bad enough, it can allow bare ends of wires to touch, destroying your decoder.  Nothing is more frustrating than to lose a decoder because you saved a few pennies by using tape.


Dear Doneldon
Sorry about using it on this Discussion Board, this was my first enquiry, is it better to us a General Discussion  or the other I used being HO.
Many thanks for the inromation on using DC losos on DCC

Dear Jim
Thank you very much for your informative reply.  I am going to try the Digitrax DH123 and see how I go. In the future I will probably purchase locos that are DCC ready.  Once again thank you very much


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