N scale DCC decoders...

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XRails

N scale DCC decoders...

Post by XRails » Mon Mar 22, 2004 12:45 am

Which are the best (and will fit)? I have:

Life-like GP-38
LL SD7
Con-Cor SW1500
Plan to get LL F40PH

Does anyone have experience converting these locos? Thanks.

jnewman
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:44 pm
Location: Union County, NJ

Post by jnewman » Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:07 am

I have used Digitrax and Lenz decoders. I have had no real problems with any of the ones I used (I did blow up a Lenz decoder once, but it was mostly my fault).
As for those particular models, you'd probably be best with one of Digitrax's "Z scale" decoders (all that means is they are physically very small, they have impressive current ratings) like their DZ143 or DZ123.
Go hither to see the specs.
This page has instructions for the SD7 and GP38. The others will probably take significant work (i.e., frame grinding and rewiring, if even possible).
Jacob Newman
Scientia Est Potentia
Science Is Power

XRails

Post by XRails » Mon Mar 22, 2004 10:57 am

Thanks! One more question: Without removing the decoder, can you return to block power? The reason is I am putting the decoders in so I can borrow my friend's DCC unit for when we operate, but the 'ol wallet needs to fatten up a bit before I get my own DCC setup.

keeper1616
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:06 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Post by keeper1616 » Mon Mar 22, 2004 11:49 am

XRails wrote:Thanks! One more question: Without removing the decoder, can you return to block power? The reason is I am putting the decoders in so I can borrow my friend's DCC unit for when we operate, but the 'ol wallet needs to fatten up a bit before I get my own DCC setup.
the short answer: No
~~~Cyrus~~~

jnewman
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:44 pm
Location: Union County, NJ

Post by jnewman » Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:21 pm

the short answer: No
This is not true. You can certainly operate a DCC equipped locomotive on regular DC block control without removing the decoder, with no problems at all, I do it all the time.

However, it's not necessarily a good idea to run a non-decoder equipped locomotive on a DCC layout. It can be done using DCC address 00, but some kinds of motors can be damaged or destroyed by this (for example, coreless motors will be destroyed in seconds). Check the packaging for information, and if in doubt, don't!
Jacob Newman
Scientia Est Potentia
Science Is Power

keeper1616
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:06 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Post by keeper1616 » Tue Mar 23, 2004 1:29 pm

I have to admit I have only tried to run a DCC loco on DC track once, and it just sat there, much like I had anticipated. The reason is that DCC does not rely on the track voltage to determine the power applied to the motor. It relies on the signals sent on the tracks in a digital format. I have done almost no research on this, but from what I hear you may be able to get different types of decoders which may detect what kind of track the engine is placed on. This maybe a yes and no answer depending on what equipment you have, both DCC and DC, or how the decoder is programmed...maybe better asked in the DCC forum?
~~~Cyrus~~~

jnewman
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:44 pm
Location: Union County, NJ

Post by jnewman » Wed Mar 24, 2004 6:59 am

I have to admit I have only tried to run a DCC loco on DC track once, and it just sat there, much like I had anticipated. The reason is that DCC does not rely on the track voltage to determine the power applied to the motor. It relies on the signals sent on the tracks in a digital format. I have done almost no research on this, but from what I hear you may be able to get different types of decoders which may detect what kind of track the engine is placed on. This maybe a yes and no answer depending on what equipment you have, both DCC and DC, or how the decoder is programmed...






I believe that all decoders are able to switch to DC mode, but the track voltage needed to trigger the appropriate circuitry in the decoder varries among the various brands of decoder, and may also be controllable by setting CV's. For example, I have an Atlas Trainmaster model with the factory decoder, which needed a very high starting voltage on DC. After fiddling with the CV's, I got it to work better on DC. I should point out that decoder equipped locos almost always seem to be less responsive on DC.



And maybe this should be in the DCC forum, but it gives some traffic here, which heavens knows this forum needs :D
Jacob Newman
Scientia Est Potentia
Science Is Power

Mike Roque
Posts: 484
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:34 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

DCC Decoders and DC

Post by Mike Roque » Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:41 pm

Many (if not all; I'm not sure whether it's an NMRA requirement) decoders can be set up to either run in DC mode when DC is there (Just like a loco without a decoder) or not to respond at all when DC is present. The idea is specifically to avoid having to remove and install decoders just to go back and forth from a DCC layout to DC.
Mike Roqué
Road Foreman of Engines
Placerville & Sacramento Valley Railroad

N-railroader

CV29: Settings for analog & digital

Post by N-railroader » Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:37 pm

If your digital command station is capable of programming decoders compatible to NMRA-DCC/LENZ, CV29 can be set for analog & digital.
Normally values for CV29 would be set between 0 and 3 (digital, 14/28) or 4 to 7 (digital & analog, 14/28 modus).
I'm not sure, but this should always work. I would have to find out about 128-modus, but the decoder instructions should help here.

:wink:

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