To DCC or not to DCC

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by Graeme, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I have been gifted 2 DCC controllers (NCE powercab and NCE DCC twin) and some trackage.
    I have some HO locos left over from a previous life (pre G Scale) and was wondering when I build another HO layout if I can use my old locos.
    They are all Bachmann Spectrum US outline;
    -81902 3 truck shay
    -82504 4-8-2 heavy mountain
    -11413 2-8-0 Consolidation
    -81805 0-6-0 Tank Switcher (marked DCC ready)
    As only 1 is marked DCC ready I am wondering if I should go with DCC or stay with DC which is what they all ran on before.
    I have searched online asking the question are they DCC ready but could not find a definite yes or no answer.
    I am assuming that a decoder could be put in all of them but I really would prefer "plug n play".
    Any help will ge greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    If you have no lights, it’s simply 4 wires. Red and black go to track, blue and grey go the other way (if I’ve remembered it correct. - to the motor)

    Then you have to find some space to hide the decoder..

    And ensure the chassis is isolated from the motor..

    Yeah, it can be a puzzle, challenge or a breeze. :scratchchin::thumbs:
     
  3. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Almost but not quite Andy

    If you look at the current loco in DC - as Andy said Red and Black go from the track to motor.

    To convert just connect the Red and Black to the track (usually looking from the rear of the loco to the front Black is on the left hand rail and Red is to the Right hand rail - but may vary).
    Disconnect the red wire from the motor and connect to the Red on the Decoder, then connect the Orange from the decoder to the motor.
    Next disconnect the black wire from the motor and connect to the black on the Decoder, then connect the Grey from the decoder to the motor.

    The one marked DCC ready, check on the type of socket usually 8 or 21 pin, and get the appropriate decoder.

    I usually have a couple of the Gaugemaster DCC27 OMNI loco decoders - these are a 21 pin decoder with a 9 pin JST header at the end to connect a cable with an 8 pin plug, that can be cut off for hard wiring a loco. Rated at a nominal 1.0A, 1.8A peak / max

    You may find this link useful for decoder install instructions https://tcsdcc.com/installations/ho-scale

    Just scroll down for the Bachmann Loco installs.

    If the loco's have older open frame motors then it may be worth looking at the TCS T1 decoders.

    Paul
     
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  4. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    After looking at the link it appears that all the locos may be just plug and play using the TCS decoders. From the site they look to be good for drive and lights but no sound.
    If I want sound I'm guessing I will have to look for sound cards?
     
  5. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    Doh :facepalm: orange not blue... close... no cigar... (I was tired!):faint:
     
  6. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    Graeme beware the ac/dcc dark side … :facepalm: there are dangerous spellmakers afoot who will draw you in … next thing you know you'll be out in the woods searching for magic mushrooms and gnat's breath …

    vamp.jpg

    Ian vt
     
  7. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Don't forget the eye of a haggis. :avatar:
     
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  8. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    TCS also do sound decoders and some replacement boards for some of the Bachmann locos to make DCC a easy fit.

    To Go DCC or not will totally depend on your style of operations or just personal preference
    DCC can be addictive once you get started and by the sounds of it you have a good start with the base Power Cab model or even the NCE twin I haven’t used one of these but I think it was basically the entry point for Conversion from DC to DCC for a twin track oval style layout.
     
  9. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I have yet to come across a loco that can't be converted to DCC, no matter what it might say on the box. Basically, it's down to there being enough space to physically accommodate a decoder of choice (whether sound or not) and speaker(s). Decoders are available down to around 12mmx12mmx 4mm, SR MAN and myself both having DCC converted the Bachmann Wickham trolley (which is pretty small in 00 gauge!) in different ways despite the box saying 'NOT DCC convertible' . Larger gauge loco's will usually have more space internally, whether "DCC Ready" or not, you will just need to determine the maximum current draw for the intended loco conversion, and make sure you buy a decoder with a high enough current rating for the motors 'stall current'.
    Keith.
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    I am already a master of the dark side my main scale being G Scale with battery remote control.

    Plus I have been converted to using Linux on my computer by the dark lord Gormo. :worship: :worship:
     
  11. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    :faint::facepalm::facepalm:another soul lost

    Ian vt
     
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Full Member

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    The main reason for considering DCC is that I am retiring and moving to Bundaberg in Qld and there is a strong model train club there. They have a couple of layouts their biggest one being DDC and a smaller Dc one. Seeing as I have the controllers it just seems sort of logical to go DCC, I have read that some decoders detect whether the tracks are DCC or DC powered and adjust accordingly, if that is the case I can run on both layouts.
     
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  13. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    Lenz DCC is the only DCC system my knowledge that allows one DC loco to run on DCC. Normally as they come. DCC decoders work on DC without any problems, just need the throttle turned up a bit more.
    The main reason I went from DC after 40 plus years to DCC, was to make the operators life in my main station , a lot easier , not having to switch sections to controllers to allow for 4 trains on the move at the same time in the same station was a godsend.
     
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  14. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Full Member

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    My ZTC can do it as loco 0 (zero) but makes the motor buzz like mad. It also has a function to control the old Hornby Zero 1 chips, but not at the same time (bearing in mind the designer of the ZTC unit was by the same guy who developed Hornbys system.)

    Although some chips will allow their control on DC, it does need to be switched on in the CV’s. Otherwise you may find it reacts in a totally different way.

    Out of interest, did anyone ever have the Airfix one or see if it? For the 1970/80’s it would have been very much like we have today.
     
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  15. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    :facepalm::headbanger::faint::scratchchin::facepalm: got to get my head round this ac/dcc stuff I'll try I promise

    ian vt
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019

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