Decoders

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crazypotter
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Decoders

Postby crazypotter » Tue May 01, 2018 8:19 pm

Hi all. Just need a bit of advice on sound decoders for my attempt at a layout. Have gone with a 60's theme. I am intending to buy initially 2 DCC ready locos and get my own sound decoders. The locos I have !y eye on are a class 37 diesel and a "black 5" steam . Can anyone recommend a good sound decoder for these 2 locos?. I am on a budget so nothing outrageously expensive. Don't know as yet whether to go for Hornby or Bachmann. Any advice on loco make or decoder would be appreciated. Thanks.

Bigmet
Posts: 6020
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Decoders

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 02, 2018 10:10 am

If you are on a budget, then best leave out sound for now, very expensive for what you get. Don't forget you need something to run with those two locos, whether freight or passenger is what you are looking at, and there's the track too and a DCC system to budget for. You can add sound at any time in the future, and there is some possibility that the price will fall in real terms as budget options like Hornby's TTS are starting to appear.

Let me guess that you are going to do this in OO: there's little choice in new purchases of these locos in OO, as there are single manufacturers for a given quality.

Bachmann for the class 37 if you want a centre motor drive mechanism.
Hornby for the class 37 if a very dated looking motor bogie model is acceptable.
(There's a large choice in s/h, Lima, ViTrains, are additional options there.)

Hornby are the only current option for a Black 5. It has been in production a long time, so you might care to trawl the s/h, but don't be tempted by a tender drive version, Hornby's tender drive was never designed for DCC and many of them really don't work well at all.

I would put Lenz standard or Zimo MX600 decoders in any of these models, (hardwiring to get past the 21 pin decoder expense if you choose the Bachmann class 37). That's the way to get best operating quality for least money.

crazypotter
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Decoders

Postby crazypotter » Wed May 02, 2018 2:56 pm

Thanks for the info. Food for thought. It is indeed 00 gauge and I am trawling auctions(not eBay) but proper auction houses for some pre owned stuff. Your comments on the tender drive locos have been noted. How do I determine this type of drive?. Would it be in the written spec of the loco?. Again, many thanks.

Bigmet
Posts: 6020
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Decoders

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 02, 2018 3:06 pm

Yes, it should be in the spec of the loco. If there is ambiguity or no clear statement, steer clear. If you can handle the model ahead of purchase and the loco driving wheels roll freely then it is either tender drive or a wreck internally...

You can also look up the catalogue numbers on the service sheets to check what drive the loco was fitted with. Hornby's site has the more recent productions, if you want to go further back then http://www.hornbyguide.com/service_shee ... heetid=267

HOWEVER: beware the bottom feeder style 'traders' who cheerfully exchange drives and then claim ' some were like that from factory just before they introduced the loco drive', and like tosh. Make it clear at time of purchase that loco drive is a condition of sale, and that the goods will be rejected if not loco drive.

crazypotter
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Decoders

Postby crazypotter » Wed May 02, 2018 6:16 pm

Thanks for your advice bigmet. Just as an aside to this decoder business, what is a harness actually for and when would I actually need one?.

Bigmet
Posts: 6020
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Decoders

Postby Bigmet » Wed May 02, 2018 6:52 pm

Decoders broadly come in two formats.

Either a wire 'harness' usually with a plug on the end - that goes in the 8 pin socket.

Or a direct plug in decoder with no wires just pins or holes to match the socket, in 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 21 and 22 pin formats and for all I know there may be more.

Personally having been able to solder from about 7 y.o. I use the wired types and rip out the sockets, hardwiring the decoder into the loco circuit. This offers the most flexibility in decoder location: and I have to say that until quite recently this was often necessary in my opinion as the manufacturers very often just lobbed in the socket with little thought of an optimum position. Recent releases are better I would now concede, but there is a significant price premium to get the same decoder quality in the 6, 18 and 21 pin formats as is available in 8 pin. I'll take the circa £10 saving by hardwiring with a wired decoder every time.


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