My layout is now DCC but....

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aldothenoo
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:37 am

My layout is now DCC but....

Postby aldothenoo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:43 pm

Hi guys I'm looking for some advice here. I had a loft DC layout and after experimenting with DCC I have decided to stay DCC as it's a much better option...hi have about 5/6 DCC sound locos at the moment but... I have some great stock which I'd like to use but not too sure about converting t DCC.i have a virgin voyager, dmu class 158 and 170 which I'd like to DCC. I'm not bothered about sound at this stage just to run it on DCC. I know it will need 2 decoders in each unit on the DMUs and voyager for lighting and I know it's either 8 pin or 21 pin but what do I need to look out for and Wheres the best place to buy these DCC decoders and are they expensive. Any help would be greatly appreciated Alan

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Mountain
Posts: 3168
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby Mountain » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:18 pm

You will need to check if they are 8 or 21 pin or 6 or 4 pin or even one that needs hard wiring.
Hattons tend to do reasonable priced decoders. Not sure what they are like though. All my decoders are around 8 to 16 years old so I've not bought one for a while.
When I fitted two of my Bachmann class 108 DMU's, I used ordinary Bachmann 8 pin decoders in both the power car and dummy cars as back in those days Bachmann decoders were cheaper then the function only decoders for the dummy end. I programmed both decoders with the same DCC address and the dummy end was programmed for the decoder to be in reverse direction (If I remember correctly) to get the lights to work the right way around. The Bachmann 2 function decoders were ideal for this as they had dimmable lights which were most impressive.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

BananaRepublic
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby BananaRepublic » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:38 pm

aldothenoo wrote:...I have a virgin voyager, dmu class 158 and 170 which I'd like to DCC. ....


Those 3 particular models are not DCC ready.
In other words they are not factory fitted with a DCC socket, so will require decoders to be hard wired.

That means snipping some wires inside the loco and soldering the decoder's wires to the appropriate one's in the loco.
Decoders are available with wires (no sockets or plugs) for exactly this purpose.

Alternatively, if there's room inside, install a decoder socket yourself.

Modifications may also need to be made to the lighting circuits (e.g. installing resistors) to allow the factory fitted lights to cope with the DCC voltage.

The Bachmann web site used to have a page dealing with the DCC conversion for those DMU's; but their web site is currently under reconstruction.
There are a few YouTube videos demonstrating how to do the conversion.

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Mountain
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Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby Mountain » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:07 pm

If cheaper, I used to buy 8 pin decoders and snip off the plug and hard wire in.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

Bigmet
Posts: 6307
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby Bigmet » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:13 pm

aldothenoo wrote:... I know it will need 2 decoders in each unit on the DMUs and voyager for lighting and I know it's either 8 pin or 21 pin but what do I need to look out for and Wheres the best place to buy these DCC decoders and are they expensive...

Alan,

If looking for economy - as I do - plan on hard wiring. A little extra wiring between vehicles (add a plug and socket if you want to separate them) and one reasonably featured decoder will operate all the lights. You can arrange separate control of exterior and interior vehicle lights which are sometimes grouped on sockets as 'all on' or 'all off'. (It's also often better than using the provided socket simply because they are often awkwardly placed, as a bonus.)

As for decoder choice, real quality for least money, use the Lenz Standard or Zimo MX600, both under £20. You get excellent motor control from these brands, and they have the outputs to operate the exterior lights and interior lights independently. I purchase from Coastal DCC because Kevin turns up at my local show, is always helpful and price competitive. You could shave a little money off by buying direct from a German retailer, but a good local retailer is worth supporting is my feeling.

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RAFHAAA96
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:39 pm
Location: Cyprus

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby RAFHAAA96 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:46 am

If you are going to the trouble of hardwiring a decoder into a loco with plenty of space why not wire in a socket. Much the same amount of work involved and future conversion to sound or to replace a duff decoder will be easier as and when.
Rob
RAF Halton Brat - 96th Entry
http://www.halton96th.co.uk

MickleoverTestTrack
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:54 am
Location: Derby

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:36 pm

I recently did a 158 with 2 decoders, warm white LED for the headlight instead of the yellow original. It would be easier to have used the Espress models kit and dimmed the lights using the decoder I think, if more expensive.

Some info I found useful here: http://s374444733.websitehome.co.uk/class-158/index.htm

The next one I do I'm planning to use one decoder in the power car and a 5-pin micro connector between the two cars, 3 for the lights and 2 for the power coming the other way - I figure that pick ups on 3 bogies aren't really needed but won't do any harm, might as well make use of them.

Mike Parkes
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:25 pm

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby Mike Parkes » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:50 pm

I used the Express Models kit on a 170 - to be honest I was not impressed with it for the price of it. Now if it had a proper replacement light unit then that would be different. Also it has a weird arrangement of requiring functions to be activated to swop the head/tail lights - I decided this was too clumsy and wired a relay to the decoder to change the head/tail lights according to direction. On the 158 I left it alone as far as the lights went. Both require the model to be almost completely dismantled so you might want to leave alone if you are not wholly confident and consider selling them and, when they eventually appear, buying the new dcc ready versions when they appear....

MickleoverTestTrack
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:54 am
Location: Derby

Re: My layout is now DCC but....

Postby MickleoverTestTrack » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:42 pm

I suppose it depends then how satisfied one is with the standard lights. For me the Yellow is just too awful to live with as a headlight. I've not tried the Express models kit though I thought I could do better myself.


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