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Author Topic: What can I get that is DCC - HO scale  (Read 1373 times)
jessie01

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« on: January 14, 2019, 03:51:57 AM »

Hi guys,
been looking at the online shop, (yes, and Hornby, sorry) and I can't see too much of Thomas and Friends that is DCC.
In fact I can only see Edward and James (Hornby) that are DCC ready.
My local shop said Thomas isn't big enough to make DCC.
Any thoughts from you guys?  Can't really get Edward and James without Thomas, and Emily (Bachmann) is a good looking loco.
I suppose I would be pushing it to find Thomas and some friends with sound???  For the grandkids of course Wink
Thanks
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TrainshockeylifE

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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 08:55:32 AM »

There are some places out there that put DCC chips inside, smoke units, sound, and lights, but they are very expensive. There is a place called DCC Train. They put dcc in and lights. There is also a place in the UK that puts sound and smoke in but itís like $200. If you would like me to find the website I can.
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jessie01

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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 09:40:10 PM »

Hi, thanks for offering to search a website, but I think I have to give up this wee quest. 
I'm in Christchurch, New Zealand and I've phoned several model shops all over NZ that could usually fit a chip and all say 'No, Thomas is too small'
Getting Thomas fitted off shore is a bit out of my price league too
I was just hoping to find something off the shelf already done.
Thanks again  Smiley
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Rodimus Supreme

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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 11:04:35 PM »

Hi, thanks for offering to search a website, but I think I have to give up this wee quest. 
I'm in Christchurch, New Zealand and I've phoned several model shops all over NZ that could usually fit a chip and all say 'No, Thomas is too small'
Getting Thomas fitted off shore is a bit out of my price league too
I was just hoping to find something off the shelf already done.
Thanks again  Smiley
Those people apparently arenít putting enough effort into checking if itís possible, otherwise theyíd know that a Z Scale decoder would fit inside Thomas.
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jessie01

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2019, 11:30:14 PM »

Hi
Anybody seen / run this?  Advertised as DCC installed
Bachmann HO 587411-DCC-Thomas the Tank Engine with dcc decoder installed (Otter Valley Railroad Model Trains - Aylmer, Ontario Canada)
$200 NZ dollars inc shipping - not bad really
Thanks
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Striker1945

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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 03:17:08 PM »

For what its worth I have the following Thomas & Friends locos and have put a decoder in each of them:
Duck, Donald, Edward, Toby, Bill, Ben, and Oliver.
The process of wiring your own engines for DCC is actually fairly simple with Bachmann decoders (though I presume other decoders are just as easy because of the NMRA DCC Standard).
Let me know i you have any questions!

-Striker
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rich1998

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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 05:57:21 PM »

I will jump in with a Digitrax DZ126 decoder that is quite small. I used a DZ125 a few years ago in a Bachmann loco. Good for Z, N and HO scale and one amp. You can find the specs online. That one only has wire leads. The DZ126PS has the eight pin plug which you probably do not need.

Rich
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 06:02:00 PM by rich1998 » Logged
CC55

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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2019, 08:12:58 PM »

For what its worth I have the following Thomas & Friends locos and have put a decoder in each of them:
Duck, Donald, Edward, Toby, Bill, Ben, and Oliver.
The process of wiring your own engines for DCC is actually fairly simple with Bachmann decoders (though I presume other decoders are just as easy because of the NMRA DCC Standard).
Let me know i you have any questions!

-Striker

Can you maybe go a little bit through the process because I have also wanted to put dcc in my engines but it always seems hard when researching it and there is not that much out there to reference. Do you have anything else in your engines? Lights and/or sounds? This type of wiring and ďupgradingĒ of the engines fascinates me but I would never know where to start. Thanks!

    -CC55
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Striker1945

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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 09:12:23 PM »

So my loco's only have the Bachmann DCC decoder. I decided early on not to bother with sound or lights for my Thomas and Friends locos.
All my advice is based on my personal experience. I also only use Bachmann equipment. That means I use Bachmann decoders, the Bachmann Dynamis DCC system, and obviously, Bachmann locomotives.
If any other modelers here have more advice, or better advice, please feel free to share and correct me!

I'd recommend starting witch Duck if you happen to own him as his shell is larger than most other Thomas locos thus its easier to fit an HO scale bachmann decoder in him.

For this project you will need a decoder, some solder, a soldering pen (I got mine for 25USD at Home Depot), some flux, some shrink tubing (or electrical tape), a wire stripper, a flashlight (maybe), and a small screw driver (preferably one that works on screws for glasses).
I also like to have the locomotives assembly instructions alongside incase I am really uncertain as to how to take apart the locomotive. Usually it is a matter of removing a few screws, but some can be a little complicated, or, as in the case of Bill and Ben, the screws are hard to see (I have bad eyesight) so it helps to know where to look.

Whatever the case may be you need to unscrew the locomotive's shell.
Be careful when removing the shell as you do not want to damage the mechanism which allows the engines eyes to oscillate left and right.
I also recommend making a crude diagram to keep track of screws. I make a rectangle on a piece of paper and mark the front, rear, left, and right sides. Then I simply place the screws on this paper roughly in the places where they came from. Its not rocket science so you dont need to go overboard here.
NOTE: Keep the screws on a flat surface FAR AWAY from your soldering project. I once had screws too close to Edward, a screw ended up inside his shell, and was a literal pain in the butt to remove. Being careful at the outset makes your life a lot easier lol.
With the top off gently pop the locomotives face off as well. There is usually a tab or two that you can depress lightly and the face will pop right off. Be sure to do this from the inside of the face so as not to damage or scratch the part of the face we care to see.
With that done you will have exposed the motor and you will see the green or yellowish brown circuit board.
There will be four wires sticking out, red, black, brown, and yellow. On some of the locomotives you have to unscrew the circuit board from the motor, on some you dont. If you do, unscrew the board, if you dont you can move on.
Look at the board, the red and black wires will be attached to the board. One wire will have a L and the other will have an R. These red and black wires are your rail pickups.
You can either unsolder the wires from the circuit board or just cut them off where they connect to the board.
Now go grab your decoder. You will need to strip the following wires: red, black, grey, and orange. You dont need to strip them more than 1/2 to 1/4 of an inch. You just need enough exposed wire to solder to the wires coming from the motor.
On your decoder you simply need to connect red to red and black to black here. I take it one at a time.
I dip both red wires, the one coming from the motor and the one coming from the decoder in flux. You only need a little. The flux helps the solder adhere to the wires and makes the connection, and thus the transfer of electricity, better.
With flux on the wires you simply need to heat up your solder on your soldering pen and apply it to both red wires. This takes no time at all.
I will caution you to solder on top of a surface you do not care about damaging.
I will also caution you not to use too much solder or to make sudden moves whilst soldering. I one had a bit of solder hit my index finger on my left hand. There was a hole there for a year of so and the skin is still slightly messed up.
Taking caution into account you solder the red wire to the red wire. Then you simply apply heat NEAR the shrink tubing. Dont press the soldering pen onto the tubing as you will gunk up your soldering pen tips and you can unsolder the wires.
Once youve soldered the red and black wires its time to move on.
NOTE: Be sure to place the shrink tubing on one of the wires BEFORE SOLDERING. I have had to unsolder wires before to get the shrink tubing in place. It is rather inconvenient.
Once the black and red wires are soldered from the locomotive motor to the decoder then you have a rather confusing task. Which wires go from the decoder to the yellow and brown wires on the motor?
Normally I would link you a website I used to use, but it has since disappeared from my saved pages.
What you will do is take the grey wire from your bachmann decoder and solder it to the brown wire on your locomotive motor.
The orange wire from your decoder will connect to the yellow wire on your locomotives motor.
The white, blue, and yellow wires on your decoder can be clipped off (if you never plan to add sound or other functions). If you intend to use those wires I recommend neatly rolling them up and capping them off with some electrical tape.
From here you just tuck the decoder into the cab on the locomotives shell, pop the shell into place, screw the shell down, and replace the face.
From here you just follow the directions laid out in the Bachmann DCC system booklet in order to program the loco to your layout.
That is really it.
This looks like a good deal of work because of all the words but I wanted to break down every step as carefully as I could in order to maybe help someone.
As I have said before, if any railroaders here have better hints, tips, and tricks (or if they want to point out my mistakes) please do. We only learn from our mistakes.

Hope this helps CC55
-Striker
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CC55

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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 03:38:34 AM »

Thank you so much Striker! This helps so much compared to what Iíve found on the internet, spiraling through so many peoples opinions on how to do it. This truely does lay it out in a simple form that is easy to read and understand. I have only a couple more questions, which are, why did you choose Dynamis vs the digital command control system? My other question was, does adding dcc make your engines move better? I know the second one is kind of a weird wording but basically does it improve the performance in any way? My final question (as of now) is which specific decoder did you get for your engines from bachmann because I saw there were a couple different ones and I didnít know what the difference was / which you prefer (if you have a preference)? Sorry for asking so many questions, I just want to make sure when I put in my decoder, I will get the correct materials. Thank you again so much!

     -CC55
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CC55

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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 03:56:32 AM »

My other question was, does adding dcc make your engines move better? I know the second one is kind of a weird wording but basically does it improve the performance in any way?

Sorry I thought of a better way to put this. Basically what I mean is when my Edward is pulling 3-4 of Gordonís coaches, he tends to do a lot of wheel slipping and it is really hard for him to complete. I didnít know if that was just because the way he was built and how his driving wheels are so close together and his body is big compared to those driving wheels, if it was just mine, or if it could change when dcc is added. Thanks again so much for all your help with this subject matter that I am oblivious to.

    -CC55
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Len

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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 08:11:49 AM »

Here are some instructions for installing decoders in a few 'Thomas' series locos, with pictures, from the TCS site. They show TCS decoders being installed, but the steps would be the same for anyones decoders. When my repair shop was still open, I did a number of these for my customers, but used smaller 'N or Z-scale' decoders rated at least 1 amp.

Duck: http://tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/bachmann-duck-thomas-line/t1

Henry & Gordan: http://tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/bachmann-henry-and-jordan-thomas-line/m1
(Gordan's name got typoed)

James: http://tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/bachmann-james/t1

Thomas (2002 Limited Edition): http://tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/bachmann-spectrum-thomas-tank-limited-2002/mc2

Others in the Thomas line are similar. Just use a physically small decoder that's rated at least 1 amp.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
CC55

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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 04:19:55 AM »

Thanks for the links Len! Another thing I was wondering if there is anyone who has put sound into there T&F locos, and if so, what the process is personalizing the sounds to match the engines. Also wether you started out with just a regular dcc chip and upgraded to sound and how you do that exactly. Sorry for asking so many questions, I am just so  intrigued by how this process happens and what goes in to it. Thanks!

   -CC55
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Len

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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2019, 05:47:14 AM »

I've never added sound, just straight DCC motor control, to the upgrades I've done. It might be possible with Henry, Gordan, and James, but the trick would be finding space for the speaker.

And if it were possible, I have no idea if custom sound files for the 'Thomas' locos are available to download from anywhere.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
CC55

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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2019, 09:15:01 AM »

I've never added sound, just straight DCC motor control, to the upgrades I've done. It might be possible with Henry, Gordan, and James, but the trick would be finding space for the speaker.

And if it were possible, I have no idea if custom sound files for the 'Thomas' locos are available to download from anywhere.

Len

Thanks for replying! Yeah Iím wondering wether there are sound files out there or if I would have to make my own, and if so, how hard they would be to make. Would love to hear from someone who has done this (if there is someone) and what the process was. Thanks!

     -CC55
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