Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

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abenn
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Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:51 pm

Just got my Lenz 100 DCC controller all set up -- my first venture into DCC -- and installed Lenz silver mini decoders in two of my locos.

Even though the Dapol instructions say " ... fit the decoder of your choice.", the Lenz mini turned out to be too big for my N-gauge Dapol 0-6-0 Pannier Tank. The Dapol web site doesn't offer any help, so can anyone tell me what they've used in this loco please?

Bigmet
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby Bigmet » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:24 pm

In case this is helpful, it is not unusual in N gauge to have to cut a chunk out of the model's chassis to enable a concealed decoder to fit, especially if the model design predates thoughts of DCC. (There may also be parts that need replacement to ensure motor isolation.) Haven't even looked at this specific model though so no direct advice of my own to add. I suggest an online search using 'Dapol N pannier decoder fitting' as the search term to see what other folks have done.

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:52 pm

I searched this forum with no result. Now that I've Googled the web it seems that maybe nobody does a decoder small enough to fit into the 6-pin socket that's beneath the coal bunker. One video I found shows the socket being removed, and a wired decoder fitted instead.

Surely if Dapol have installed a DCC socket so it's "DCC Ready" they must have a decoder in mind, but they don't seem to be telling :(

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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby End2end » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:56 pm

Perhaps contact them directly?
http://dapol.co.uk/index.php?route=information/contact
Thanks
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Bigmet
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:47 am

abenn wrote:...Surely if Dapol have installed a DCC socket so it's "DCC Ready" they must have a decoder in mind, but they don't seem to be telling :(

You might hope so, but this would be far from the first model to have a DCC socket - which means it may be advertised as DCC READY! - yet there is no known decoder to fit in whatever space there is around that socket. This has happened on OO models, so I am not in the least surprised that you should find it the case on an N product.

Out with the tools and start cutting is the usual path...

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:52 am

Thanks guys. I will be contacting Dapol direct, to see what they had in mind. But I'm reconciled to the fact that I probably need a wired decoder with 6-pin plug, and a lot of botching.

Bigmet
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:15 pm

abenn wrote:... and a lot of botching.

Once you have the first such successfully completed under your belt, it will become 'skillful modification'.

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:14 pm

No response from Dapol yet, but I've had a closer look this afternoon and there seems to be plenty of space for a decoder in the cab provided the 6-pin socket is removed and a wired decoder used. That's in line with the video I saw yesterday. So my first "skillful modification" will only entail the use of my soldering iron, with no chassis work necessary.

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:39 pm

Well, Dapol don't make it easy -- nor have they replied to my email yet :x

Today I received a wired Lenz silver mini+ decoder and started to fit it into my 0-6-0. The cab comes off easily, exposing the DCC socket and blanking plug, so I took the plug out and simply pushed the wires of the decoder into the socket. Put it on my programming track, and got an "Error 02" message from my controller when I tried to assign a new address to it. Swapped the wires around because there's no obvious indication of which way up/round the decoder is supposed to go in, but same result.

So then I unscrewed the DCC socket from the chassis, and straight away saw one of the wires was detached from it. Soldered it back on, then soldered short lengths of 24g wire onto the ends of the decoder wires to get a better contact in the socket, and tried again. Same error message. Looked at the underside of the socket, and saw another wire had broken off (the first one wasn't broken, so must have been a very poor solder joint, or maybe even just held in position by the sticky tape beneath the socket). After I'd re-soldered that, I was able to change the address to 004, and then do a successful short test run on the main track.

This weekend I hope to finish the installation. I need to verify which wire goes to which pin in the DCC socket, for there's two red wires and two black wires -- not the normal red/black/orange/grey. Then I'll shorten the decoder wires and solder them direct to those in the loco. I've been able to unclip the firebox end of the boiler to lift it up, but I can't figure out how to undo whatever's securing it at the front end, to remove it completely, so I hope that the other ends of the wires are better connected than they were at the DCC socket.

I'd post pictures, but whatever I do to try and reduce their size, I get an error message that they're too big for this forum :(

Edit: I've figured how to reduce the pixel width, so here's an image of my temporary lash-up.
Attachments
DCC decoder 002a.jpg
Lenz silver mini+ temporarily connected to DCC socket in Dapol 0-6-0 tank engine.
DCC decoder 002a.jpg (53.88 KiB) Viewed 1272 times

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Peterm
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby Peterm » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:58 pm

Are you going to do away with the socket and simply hard wire it ? I got a decoder (non sound) in to a friends old N gauge 03 so it's not impossible.
Pete.

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:06 am

Peterm wrote:Are you going to do away with the socket and simply hard wire it ? I got a decoder (non sound) in to a friends old N gauge 03 so it's not impossible.
Yes, it looks to me like the decoder will fit right where the socket was originally, so I'll be removing the socket entirely, and soldering wire-to-wire after I've identified which of the red and black wires are the pickup and motor ones.

If I could get the rest of the body off, the decoder wires are long enough that they could go straight to the motor and pickup terminals, to do away completely with the existing wire that doesn't seem to be very flexible.

ODRAILS
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby ODRAILS » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:03 am

A search on the N Gauge Forum shows that a Digitrax DZ125IN 6 pin decoder fits in the Dapol 57xx pannier.
Dapol seem to design the placing of their steam loco decoder sockets so that Bachmann 558a decoders will not fit!
Ian

abenn
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Re: Which DCC decoder will fit in N-gauge 0-6-0 tank?

Postby abenn » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:54 pm

Thanks ODRAILS. I searched, but didn't see that -- pity Dapol didn't reply with that information. But I'm committed now, so I'll carry on with the hard-wiring :)

Having had a look at the spec. of the Digitrax though, I don't think it will fit in my 0-6-0 Pannier Tank: It's listed as 10.62mm x 8.64mm, which is about 1.5mm wider and 0.5mm shorter than my Lenz (Hattons list the Lenz as 11mm x 9mm, I measure mine about 11mm x 7mm). The Dapol blanking plug, which only just fits inside the loco body, is only about 8.5mm long.

abenn
Posts: 187
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:03 am

Cracked it!

Postby abenn » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:41 pm

Had a spare hour this afternoon, so I started by identifying which of the red/black wires was the motor connections. Having done that, I dabbed some identifying paint on the wires and cut the DCC socket off. Then I investigated further, and found that the front end of the boiler, which I hadn't been able to remove, was held in place by a screw from the underside, which was hidden by the coupling socket. Removing the coupling from the socket allowed me to get a screwdriver to the screw, but unfortunately the chassis cracked from the buffer beam to the screw hole while I was undoing it. The crack was repaired with superglue, and is where the red line is on the photo.

So now I can solder my decoder wires direct to the pickups, instead of having to splice them to the existing rather brittle, stiff, wires; but I still can't get access to the attachments points for the motor wires. I feel pretty sure the motor and ballast probably slide out as a unit, but I've tried a bit of brute force and I don't want to trust my luck too far, so will probably splice those leads instead. Unless somebody knows how to get the motor out without wrecking things further .....
Attachments
DCC decoder 004a.jpg
Decoder red/black wires will go straight to pickups; orange/grey will be spliced to the red/black motor wires.
DCC decoder 004a.jpg (43.02 KiB) Viewed 1245 times

abenn
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Success

Postby abenn » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:54 pm

Got it all together successfully this afternoon :) I stripped the original DCC socket so that all I had left was the PCB, and then screwed that back to where it was originally, to provide a reasonably flat surface on which to attach the decoder with the provided sticky foam tape. Then I desoldered the loco's pickup wires and attached the decoder's (shortened) red/black wires instead. Lastly I cut back the loco's motor wires as far as I could while still being able to reach them to solder the decoder's orange/grey wires to them. Checked it out on my programming track, and then put the body back together. The grey and orange wires are visible in the cab (though not the decoder), but some matt black paint will solve that problem.

I've tested the loco by running 1/2 hour in each direction at half speed, and it didn't miss a beat :)
Attachments
DCC decoder 007a.JPG
Grey/orange wires visible in the cab will be painted matt black.
DCC decoder 007a.JPG (25.33 KiB) Viewed 1227 times
DCC decoder 006a.JPG
Decoder stuck down where the original DCC socket was, and red/black wires connected to pickups.
DCC decoder 006a.JPG (49.63 KiB) Viewed 1227 times


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