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Author Topic: newbie question - How to get reliable non dcc operation  (Read 2613 times)

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« on: December 03, 2012, 04:37:06 AM »

I just bought last week my first On30 locomotives. The 2-6-0 is analog and the 4-6-0 and the shay are dcc without sound. I know nothing about dcc. I would like to build a small shelf layout with standard DC power. What is the best way to get good slow speed operation with DC ? 

I'm not really interested in dcc or sound decoder unless there is no other way to make it works.

Thanks in advance
Pat Wink
Hamish K

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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 11:26:58 PM »

The standard Bachmann DCC decoder, such as that fitted to the non-sound 4-6-0s, is a dual mode decoder that can operate on DC as well as DCC. It should not require any modification, although you might have a slight delay when the power is first applied. Is your Shay DCC ready or DCC euipped? DCC ready means that it is an analogue locomtive (but able to be fitted easily with a DCC decoder). As it comes it will operate on DC. I am not aware that Bachmann made Shays with a non-sound DCC decoder. If it has been fitted with an after market decoder it will depend on the controller. A standard Bachmann controller should be dual mode.

I hope this helps


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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 05:48:46 AM »

Thanks for the information. Like you said, the 4-6-0 is DCC-equipped with dual mode and the shay is dcc ready. So all my locomotives will run on DC. But according to some posts on this forum, it is almost impossible to get slow speed without DCC. Some say it can work but you have to remove all the electronics.

Do I really have to buy a DCC power pack or I can use a "classic" MRC pulse DC trottle and get a realistic slow switching speed?

Right now I don't have any On30 or HO track. I'm in O scale, standard gauge.
Hamish K

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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2012, 03:08:03 AM »

Unplugging the decoder from your 4-6-0 and replacing it with the provided plug should be a simple task. I don't have a 4-6-0 myself so I haven't done it. Whether this is necessary for good running  depends on the controller being used. Pulse controllers do have a reputation for not working well with DCC decoders, so doing this might be desirable..

You certainly don't have to buy a DCC power pack, if you did you would have to fit DCC decoders to your other locomotives.



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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2012, 11:04:57 PM »

I have added decoders to several non-dcc locos which I run on my DC Christmas Layout, every single one of them runs better then they did without the decoder and quieter to boot, and that's with DC, the Key is the Back-EMF  which works in dc or Dcc.

With a dcc system with programming abilities you can optimize settings, but stock setting will usually add improved operation, and if  you make changes to optimize performance they should work just the same or with no noticeable change from Dcc to DC

« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 01:56:24 PM »

The big issue with dual mode decoders is the electronics that drive the motor require about 5 volts just to wake up. The motor requires maybe  a couple more volts to begin turning, depending on gearing, weight.  In locos with dual mode decoders, the electronics drive everything when using DC or DCC.
Some users have had their locos fine tuned to run better on DC.
My locos start at about 1 mph, HO scale speed using DCC and move along quite nicely. They would never do that under DC.
Bottom line, dual mode is a compromise.
With the adapter, he motor is connected right to the rails via the pickups. That is why the loco seems to run much better under DC power.

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