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Author Topic: DCC decoder  (Read 3413 times)
jfinch410

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« on: April 28, 2009, 08:28:02 PM »

Can the DCC decoders be installed on most any older locomotive or is there a design limit?
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jdvass


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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 09:14:53 PM »

Generaly they can be installed in any loco. You must make sure that the loco doesnt draw a higher amperage than the decoder can supply though. If it draws too high of a current you will release all the smoke that manufacturers hide in their decoders. Once that smoke is gone the decoders dont work anymore.
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rustyrails
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 09:49:08 PM »

You also need to make sure that the motor is isolated from track power.  Lots of older locos had one side of the motor directly connected to the frame which was directly connected to the axles, which were connected to the wheels which picked up the electricity...sort of like the knee bone's connected to the leg bone...sheesh, I'm showing my age.  Anyway, that connection is a no-no.  If there is a wire going to only one brush on the motor, that's a good indication that the motor is not isolated, because the other brush is directly connected to the frame.  The older Athearn diesels are a good example of connecting a brush to the frame as are most, if not all,  the Bowser steam engines.  If you fail to isolate the motor, you will surely let the magic smoke out of the decoder.    Shocked
Rusty
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jward


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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 10:00:10 PM »

the short answer is yes, you can put a decoder in any locomotive. however, some are designed for installation of a decoder, and others present major obstacles to dcc. it is best to do some research on whatever locomotives you have, to be sure decoder installation in those locomotives are something you think you can handle. many decoder manufacturers and dealers have instructions for installing decoders in particular locomtives on their web pages.....
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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
richG
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 11:07:00 PM »

If you are going into DCC, make sure you have a couple multi-meters. You will become very frustrated without one. Even DC only modelers should have them. I have seen many times people getting very frustrated while trying to troubleshoot electrical without a meter.

Here is what I use.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90899

Make sure you get extra fuses that protect the electronics inside the meter. Also, if a fuse blows through incorrect use, do not bypass the fuse with aluminum foil. Next incorrect use and the electronics will go.

Your mileage may vary.

Rich
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2009, 01:50:15 AM »

Decoders are often sold as G-scale, H0-scale, N-scale or Z-scale decoders, but you can use any decoder in any scale as long as it physically fits and can carry the load.  I have installed "G-scale" decoders in brass H0 locomotives when the owner did not want to remotor for fear of losing "original antique" value.  And I have frequently installed "Z-scale" decoders in H0, sometimes because they were all that would fit.

As others have already said, don't guess - measure.  Don't be like the guy who burned up several decoders before he finally figured out his motor wasn't isolated.  He spent a lot more in money and time replacing burned out decoders than he would have if he had bought a meter and used it.

Jim
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jfinch410

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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 09:30:25 AM »

Thank you all for the GREAT info.YEA ,I have seen the smoke before.
I have several older loco,s but am new to the DCC.
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Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2009, 02:43:20 PM »

The list of decoder installs is growing rapidly on this site:

http://www.tcsdcc.com/HO_Search/search.html

Someone even put a decoder in a helicopter.
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Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2009, 06:22:02 PM »

But not a Tyco in the lot!!

Seriously, I am surprised that there is no mention of passenger cars, rotary snow plows, turn tables, and other fixed and mobile applications.
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Yampa Bob

Y.V.R.R.


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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2009, 02:39:47 AM »

I have a couple extra EZ Command controllers, I'm thinking they could be used to control turntables, crossing gates, lighting effects, wind generators or other animated accessories.

I saw one layout on TV that had a carnival scene with merry go round, ferris wheel and lots of other rides.

Just like calculators and multimeters, decoders are getting cheaper. I bet someday we can buy basic ones for $5 or less.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 02:43:46 AM by Yampa Bob » Logged

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Rule Number One: It's Our Railroad.  Rule Number Two: Refer to Rule Number One.
jward


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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 10:09:20 AM »

But not a Tyco in the lot!!

Seriously, I am surprised that there is no mention of passenger cars, rotary snow plows, turn tables, and other fixed and mobile applications.

personally, i don't see the need for decoders for those applications. there are much simpler ways to control them.

for me, dcc in locomotives works for train control. and for getting the speed curves i want out of the locomotive si do have. much simpler than a regear job.

but turntables can be controlled off the same power supply i use to control switches, lighting passenger cars taken care of with a constant lighting kit, and some (but not all) reversing sections can be handled with the contacts on a switch motor.

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Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.


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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2009, 03:25:59 PM »

Each to his own, of course.  But I like the idea of being able to adjust the intensity of the constant lighting in a string of passenger cars to suit the room lighting and am incorporating this feature in a portable 0N30 layout I am building.  At train shows you have no control over room lighting so passenger car lights are often out of balance with the ambient lighting.  The though of opening up each car to adjust the brightness of the lights is not particularly appealing, even if they had adjustable intensity constant lighting.  I am doing this with "free" decoders, early ones that have been replaced by better ones and were otherwise due for a trip to the dump.

In H0 scale, I have a rotary snow plow that you can push up to the snow area with its headlights blazing but its blade stopped.  When you get there, and after assessing the drifts, you can back up to take a run at them.  The blade starts up and continues running as you punch through the drifts.  Finally, you finish.  As you run back to the roundhouse, the plow's lights go off and the blade spins to a stop.  And it does all this on regular dc control.  But it required filling the snow plow with custom electronics to do this.  With a low cost or "free" DCC decoder, you can do all this and more.  And much more easily to boot.

These are just two examples.  I am not saying that you, or anybody else should do this or even should want to do this.  What I am saying is that if you want to do it, DCC makes it possible and maybe even easy.

Jim   
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 05:37:30 PM »

I control my turntable using a DH123 decoder. Works great. The TT is a walthers 90 ft that I built and motorized with the walthers motor.
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