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Author Topic: Converting to DCC  (Read 2439 times)
bjens001

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« on: January 28, 2015, 07:21:21 PM »

I have several older, 15 years or so Bachmann "Spectrum" diesel locomotives and would like to convert them to DCC. How does one start this process. fore I buy anything how would one know,say what decoder to buy. Do you have classes given that would help? Please give me some words of encouragement.   Thanks
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jbrock27

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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 08:00:12 PM »

Any of them split frames?

http://www.ppdnmra.com/decoder-inst.pdf
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Keep Calm and Carry On
Nathan

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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 10:16:37 PM »

Most manufactures of DCC decoders have a Decoder Selector on their sites.  You enter the Scale, Loco Manufacture, Loco Model and they give you a recommended decoder.

There are many good web sites to learn about the basics of DCC:

http://www.dccwiki.com/Main_Page

http://tonysdcc.com/tonystips/dccprimer/index.htm

http://www.mrdccu.com/curriculum/

https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/

Nathan
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ACY


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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 10:52:14 PM »

If any of them have an 8 pin socket then the installation is very simple and you can use any HO scale decoder that has an 8 pin plug. All you have to do is make sure you have the plug correctly oriented when you install it. A Bachmann 1 Amp decoder with 8 pin plug would work in any locomotive that meets the above description.

It would be extremely helpful if you let us know specifically which locomotives you have because each is a unique and there is not one general rule that appplies to all Bachmann Spectrum locomotives of that era.

If for instance you have a Fairbanks-Morse H-16-44 then this locomotive has a split frame design and no 8 pin socket and an extremely limited amount of space available for a decoder and requires milling to make room for a decoder in my experience. I would consider it a very difficult install for a beginner or someone who does not have a lot of experience installing decoders yet. I believe the Dash 8-40s from that era also had a split frame design and may also be a more difficult installation.

However if you have a doodlebug from that era, it should include an 8 pin socket on the board and has sufficient room for a decoder lending itself to an extremely quick and simple installation.

There really is no middle of the road so to speak, it is either going to be very easy if the locomotive has an 8 pin plug or extremely difficult because the locomotive has a split frame design and insufficient space for a decoder without doing quite a bit of work to make room. You additionally would have to isolate the motor for split frame locomotives.
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jward


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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 01:28:33 AM »


If for instance you have a Fairbanks-Morse H-16-44 then this locomotive has a split frame design and no 8 pin socket and an extremely limited amount of space available for a decoder and requires milling to make room for a decoder in my experience. I would consider it a very difficult install for a beginner or someone who does not have a lot of experience installing decoders yet. I believe the Dash 8-40s from that era also had a split frame design and may also be a more difficult installation.

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the h16-44, as with the many other split frame locomotives I've done (all HO) do not require any frame milling, and a standard sized HO decoder like the dh163 can be used. not sure of the dimensions of the Bachmann 1 amp decoder but it would probably fit as well. the installation on any split frame HO giesel locomotive is the same, if you've done one you can do any of them.
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 02:09:48 AM »

not sure of the dimensions of the Bachmann 1 amp decoder but it would probably fit as well. the installation on any split frame HO diesel locomotive is the same, if you've done one you can do any of them.
All I know is I could not quite fit some of the larger HO scale decoders in my H16-44 and Dash8-40 when I converted them, including the Bachmann 1 Amp decoder. Also I have heard that the internal components differ slightly between newer and older releases, and some components are sometimes arranged a little differently, and some components such as the weight vary a bit in size. If you have a H16-44 from the original run (Spectrum version from the early 1990's) and a H16-44 from a couple years ago (Standard line), you should compare them to see if there are any differences.

If the Original Poster wants to add sound, he will have to do some milling for sure, but it is unclear if he wants sound as well or just DCC.
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