DCC Ready?

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First found May 22, 2018

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DCC Ready?
The Good,
The Bad
and The UGLY!
Presented by Bruce Petrarca
Copyright 2010 © Bruce Petrarca, All Rights Reserved
How to operate this slide show
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Litchfield Station
Founded by Bruce in 2001
 Sold in the spring of 2010
 At that time, it was:
– The largest volume SoundTraxx dealer in the world
– The second largest SoundTraxx and Blackstone dealer
in the world, behind Caboose Hobbies
– Second to Walthers in Digitrax volume worldwide
– The largest direct-ordering NCE dealer in the world
Mr. DCC continues…
Bruce still holds the tradename
 The technical data is on a new web site:
 Bruce doesn’t make anything off Litchfield
Station sales, but is available for:
– DCC & layout consulting
– Specialized installations
– Clinics and talks
What does “DCC Ready” mean on a loco?
How to work with what we are given
Markings and their meanings
Define Good, Bad, and Ugly
Examples of each type
The Others – some other ideas on installs
Your pike will
probably need different
pieces of the puzzle to
bring together the look
you want
I’m going to discuss a few locos I’ve
worked on and how I made them “happy
campers” on DCC
DCC logo
 No standards for use
NMRA conformance warrant
 Tested to NMRA standards
and RPs, but which ones?
What does
“DCC Ready” mean?
Expectation: plug in a decoder and run
Different locos from the same
manufacturer can vary widely in their
Reality: The art department at the
manufacturer can spell “DCC”
The Good – my criteria
Plug in a decoder – multiple suppliers
 The loco operates with all its features
 The loco operates safely for a long time
 Soldering preferably not needed
 What most of us expect
from the DCC logo
Here we go,
in alphabetical order
Atlas C-424 HO
Plug in a NMRA medium (8-pin aka
NEM652) decoder and go
Digitrax DN163PS decoder shown
Kato E8/9A N
LocoSpecific decoder:
Digitrax DN163K0A or NCE N12K0a
Life-Like Proto 1000 DL109 HO
Light board replacement decoder:
NCE DASR shown
 Connections soldered and light replaced
with Golden White LED – optional
Life-Like Proto 1000 F3 HO
Typical of older Proto 1000 design
Three cuts and soldering needed!!
 Trouble free installation
DH163D decoder shown
Life-Like Proto 2000 GP & SD HO
Many versions in GP 7 & 9 or SD 7 & 9
The versions shown are “DCC Ready”
 DH163PS
in SD7
in SD9
Stewart FT-A HO (older)
TCS makes a custom harness for this loco
to install a JST style decoder – T1 shown
Stewart S12 HO
NMRA 8-pin plug
 Lenz Silver-MP shown
 Light contacts may need wires
Stewart VO1000 HO
TCS makes a custom harness for this loco
to install a JST style decoder – T1 shown
 Light contacts may need wires
The Bad – my criteria
Requires extensive talent or experience:
 Soldering or changing bulbs
 Difficult disassembly
 DCC included, but difficult to use
 Damage to loco or decoder on some units
Here we go, in alphabetical order
Athearn Genesis or RTR Diesel:
HO CF7 Shown
Digitrax designed board – quality issues
 Rail to motor short can damage decoder
Athearn Genesis Diesel Sound
Older units had MRC Decoder installed
 4-digit address cannot be programmed by
normal means.
 Best “work around” is to program another
loco to the desired address and read the
values in CV 17 and CV 18 and copy them
into the Athearn unit
 Not for the beginner or faint of heart!
Athearn Genesis SD75M HO
1.5 volt bulbs a challenge in DCC,
if you want realistic ditch lights
 A6X decoder from TCS has voltage regulator
Atlas HO-scale S-2
LocoSpecific decoder from one vendor:
 Complete kit for installation, including
insulation for motor
 Soldering of the LEDs needed
Atlas N-scale – GP-28 shown
LocoSpecific decoder:
 Digitrax DN163A0
 NCE N12A0
Motor contact intermittent – add wires to fix
Kato C-44-9W HO
On board short for rear light blow board and
decoder when “plug-in” decoder is installed
Life-Like Proto 2000
GPs & SDs HO
Low voltage bulbs must be changed
 DH163L0 – single source
 Some GP60s had a marker bulb across
the rails, making programming difficult
The UGLY – my criteria
Entire runs of locos that damage
themselves or the decoders
Design flaws which threaten the loco or
Here we go, in alphabetical order
Proto 2000
Life-Like Proto 2000 S1 HO
Heavily billed as a “DCC Ready” loco . . .
But it has a design flaw – orange wire to frame
and low voltage bulbs
Life-Like Proto 2000 S1 HO
First – isolate the motor from the frame
and add an orange wire
Replace bulbs with Golden White LEDs
Life-Like Proto 2000 S1 HO
Install your choice of decoder
Replace bulbs with Golden White LEDs
The UGLY – honorable mention
Bachmann 0-4-0T – has socket, but no
room for decoder – need to hard wire
 MDC “Critter” first run LEDs backwards,
blew decoder if plugged into socket
 MDC Heisler – internal shorts
 Proto 2000 PA circa 1995
– not sold as “DCC Ready”
– Stall current above 3.5 amps
The Others . . .
Here are some examples of typical
installations, in the style of Mr. DCC!
Only quality Kapton tape is used
Wiring is routed and constrained
Shrink tubing is used to secure and insulate
Athearn “Blue Box” HO classics
Bachmann MOW HO Crane
Kato HO GP35
Kato HO NW2
Kato HO RS2

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