Fitting a DCC decoder to a Bachmann Wickham Trolley

Discussion in 'DCC Control' started by Jim Freight, Sep 11, 2019 at 3:42 PM.

  1. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    I bought one of these when they first came out, 2 years ago I think. My intention was to fit a DCC decoder to it, but how?

    Options I had seen from fitting in the roof of the trolley unit, yuk, to machining out the trailer chassis and fitting a very expensive tiny decoder £ouch.

    In the end I thought I'd try the Digitrax DZ126T, quite small, versatile and not too £ouch.

    Two years later I eventually plucked up the courage to try and do it, this posting shows the result. I do not like removing any weight from any sized loco to fit a decoder as the weight IMO is needed far more for sound electrical pickup than traction. If you cannot control the loco in a more prototypical fashion with DCC than DC it is a pointlessly expensive exercise.

    So the the plan was to squeeze the decoder in the trailer and cut an opening in the 'ballast' load to allow the decoder some headroom and disguise it with a box of tools and general junk. However it worked out better than that as it almost looks like a sack. So perhaps a little bit of fabric on top with weathering should finish it off, don't like the plastic ballast effect anyway.

    The pictures show the result, it was easier programming the decoder before fitting. Although responsive on the track for running, communication when programming was rather erratic.

    Please feel free to comment and teach me sumfink ;)

     
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  2. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Jim.
    Yes, I've also fitted a decoder to one of these Wickhams, and in a very similar way to yours, disguised with what many local ganger teams would 'lash-up', namely a one planked height extension to the trailer, filled with ballast, thus covering the decoder. 'SR Man' in Oz has done this too, but as I recall, he did it by fitting the decoder into the cab unit, a more difficult but do-able proposition, both of us using the smallest available decoder (the name of which escapes me presently!). Both 'SR Man' and myself did 'how-to's' on the forum, but they may have got lost in the software changeover which happened some months ago.
    Keith.
     
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  3. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Found the 'how-to' Jim, it's under "Worlds smallest DCC decoder? (for an upcoming project!). The decoder in question is the CT Electronik DCX77Z, and the posting was Nov 20th 2016.
    Keith.
     
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  4. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    I can't remember the model of the very tiny one either but it was £ouch.

    I think the fitting of the decoder in the cab also meant extra wiring, whereas in the trailer it was just a matter of de-soldering the existing pickups to motor wire joints and inserting the decoder wires.

    Straightforward using an eye-glass, especially the finger singeing part :hammer:
     
  5. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I recall it was around £30 from Coastal DCC in Ipswich.
    Keith.
     
  6. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Hmm, quite a few £ to fit into a £68 Wickham, that and the relatively unknown (to me) manufacturer.
     
  7. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    A good job done. :thumbs:
     
  8. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    CT Electronik are a well known and reputable Austrian manufacturer, not cheap, but good. My personal recommendation for non-sound chips is LaisDCC, a Chinese manufacturer. Wired, 6 pin, 8 pin and 21 pin decoders from several UK Ebay suppliers at around a tenner each, what's not to like? I have getting on for 50 fitted to my own fleet with Zero failures so far, I've NO connection with either any sellers or the manufacturer, they're just a good cheap decoder, what more do you need?
    Keith.
     
  9. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    My established preference is Hattons own brand in bulk and Digitrax/Gaugemaster for tighter spaces, my first conversions when a newbie were Lenz along side my Lenz DCC system until I was more sure of mixing decoder and system brands.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 7:59 PM
  10. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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  11. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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  12. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    Yes. The trolley chassis is the part adjacent to the decoder in the photo. You can see the extra space created by removing the metal support arm where the original pcb was mounted.

    I should add there is a smaller CT Elektronik decoder than the DCX75 type I used here. The other Wickham trolly I converted used exactly the same method of locating the decoder, but I used a TCS Z2 decoder in that one. I prefer the CT Elektronik one though.
     
  13. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Ah, so you're another Lenz DCC system user like myself. I too have used Lenz decoders, quality but not cheap, though I've tried most of the well known non-sound decoder manufacturers products, but not keen on ESU sound decoders, having had 2 consecutive ones fail on me.
    Keith.
     
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  14. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    So did you dispense with the pickups in the trolley itself?
     
  15. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    Agreed regarding price and quality of Lenz, also they were a good choice for early conversion of Hornby Dublo locomotives with the 0.5inch motors, but may try the Hattons DCR-8PIN-HarnessMini (my default choice, a good all rounder so buy in packs of 10) for the integrated and Ringfield types.

    The Lenz DCC system was the best option for me when I was evaluating which system to start with in 2013. After trying a variety of their controllers I found to my surprise that I much prefer the LH-100 over the control knob types. However I also use their LA152 Xpressnet Adapter to link up to a wireless access point and use second-hand 2nd Generation iPods with TouchCab V1.71 for walkabout control.

    Whether Lenz would be the best if I had to start again today, not sure, I hope I don't need to find out ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 1:05 PM
  16. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    No, but I rejigged the way the pcb sat so the pickups are on all wheels while allowing the decoder to fit in above it.
     
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  17. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    So, very well hidden, great! :)
     

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