What decoder should I use for my DC/DCC Ready locomotive?

Started by Yard Master, May 09, 2023, 10:48:20 AM

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Yard Master

The short answer to this question is that any NMRA-compliant DCC decoder will be compatible with a Bachmann DCC Ready locomotive. Dependent on which item you wish to install DCC in, the decoder solution and installation process may differ.

  • For some locomotives, a decoder/module designed specifically for that model may be offered directly by Bachmann, designed and manufactured by one of our decoder suppliers. (Example: 44960 Plug & Play ACS-64 DCC & Sound Module is a TCS WOWSound┬« module designed specifically for the DCC Ready ACS-64 locomotive, included in the 00772 Amtrak┬« City Sprinter set.)
  • Most DCC Ready locomotives include an 8-pin plug for drop-in decoder installation. More recent and future DCC Ready locomotives will replace the 8-pin plug with a 21-pin (HO scale) or NEXT-18 (N scale) plug.
  • Some older DCC Ready Locomotives may not have an 8-pin plug and require soldering the decoder. In this case, and in general, the simplest definition of "DCC Ready" is that the motor is electrically isolated from the chassis of the locomotive.
  • If you wish to install a sound decoder, you will need a speaker in addition to a decoder. Some DCC Ready/"Silent" DCC locomotives come with a speaker pre-installed, while older models or models with limited/no space for a speaker may not.

DCC technicians and decoder manufacturers can offer advice and help select a specific decoder for your model. Some manufacturers such as TCS and Soundtraxx have decoder selection and installation guides on their websites.