World's smallest DCC decoder?(For an upcoming project!)

Discussion in 'Non Sound Decoders' started by Keith M, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Anyone who keeps up to date with newly released models may have seen Bachmann's recent rendition of the "Wickham Trolley", currently only available in yellow, but shortly in yellow with wasp stripes, then the one I'm awaiting, the maroon version, supposedly available in January next. Amazingly, this model is, according to Bachmann, "Not DCC compatible", which is about as much use as a chocolate teapot to most of us with DCC control. I'm always up for a challenge, so as a result, I've just ordered what is purported to be the worlds smallest DCC decoder, the CT Electronik DCX77Z with dimensions of 7.6x5.0x1.8mm!!! I reckon I may need a microscope to work on this one, but I'm determined to see if it can be done, after all, if you can fit sound into "N" gauge loco's, then it should be possible to DCC the Wickham. The motor is fitted into the attached trailer rather than the trolley itself, but I gather that the 'ballast' load in the trailer can be removed to get at the motor, so I reckon I should be able to do this. "Watch this space" as they say, and I'll follow up with a "How-To" (or maybe a "How-Not-To" if I fail!) when I eventually get my hands on a maroon model.
    Keith.
     
  2. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Fail ......FAIL ! ........ Not an option. :avatar:

    Good luck with it Keith, all eyes are on you. ........ No pressure then. :avatar:

    Cheers

    Toto
     
  3. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Or you could fit the decoder into the trolley, and link wires between the trolley and trailer

    Paul
     
  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, got the decoder, now just need the trolley, hurry up Bachmann! Looking at the decoder, I remember now why I decided to use "00" gauge and not "N" gauge!
    Keith.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  5. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    You sure thats a decoder and not just fluff at the end of them wires :avatar:

    Impressive decoder, as a matter of interest Keith, what's its current limitations ?

    Paul
     
  6. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Paul.
    0.8 amps max motor current, overload protected, (not sure if that includes the 2 auxiliary outputs) and fully NMRA compliant so it'll work fine with my Lenz system, but as I won't need aux outputs for the trolley, it'll be more than enough for my needs. It certainly is small, even though I knew the measurements before I ordered it, don't envy fitting this on a regular basis, but for the "N" gaugers amongst us (with better eyesight than me!), it must be the answer to their prayers for tight spaces, although at £30 (Coastal DCC) it ain't cheap compared to 'normal' sized decoders, but 'horses for courses' I guess!
    Keith.
     
  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, I'm feeling quite lucky presently, as yesterday at Warley, I found that the trolley in maroon had actually been released for sale, although Kernow and a couple of others had already sold out. Fortunately, "Marks Models", a company with 3 shops in Ireland, had a boxful on their stand, so away I went, a happy fella! Anyway, as you can see from the pic, it's rather small (that's an understatement!), comparison sizewise with my ruler.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  8. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I took the top off of the trailer, as thats where the motor is situated, just 2 small screws to remove, reveals a motor not much larger diameter than a cigarette, around 25mm long, and no space whatsoever to fit a decoder, as the 'load' actually holds the motor in position. Anyway, a bit of headscratching later, I decided to fit the decoder on top of the load, add extended sides to the trailer in the same way that some tank loco's had their bunkers extended, and cover the decoder with a little extra ballast. Having run the trolley after decoder fitting, it needs a bit more weight anyway to help the traction tyres grip! With the top off the trailer, I cut the motor feed wires at the joints either side of the worm drive, drilled 2 1mm holes at front and rear of the 'load' to pass the pickup and motor wires through, and soldered in the decoder wires, heat shrink sleeving the joints to insulate them. Careful positioning of the wires was needed to ensure the 'load' fitted snugly back onto the trailer base and the worm drive didn't chew into the pickup wires at the front.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  9. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    After that, it was onto the rolling road for programming. (I'd already given the trolley an hours run in forward and backwards on DC before decoder fitting commenced!). It runs quite nicely, much more controllable than on DC, so all I need to do now is extend the trailer sides, fix the decoder in place and add some 'real' ballast. I have other duties for the next couple of days, but once I complete the job, I'll post further pics.
    Keith.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  10. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I extended the trailer sides using painted coffee stirrers to make a frame, covered the decoder with "Kapton" tape so that when I added some PVA to the ballast that was going on top of it, no chance of any problems. With the decoder stuck down, ballast added to cover, then 50/50 PVA/water to fix in place, allow to dry then tested ok. This is the result.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  11. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    A few 'workmen' figures to add to the realism (must be Monday morning, 'cos they've all got clean overalls!), and the jobs complete, so Mr Bachmann, your Wickham trolley CAN be made DCC compatible after all. I reckon anythings possible with a bit of ingenuity and/or determination. As an aside, I even managed to bag a used Wickham trolley hut on Ebay to give it a home to go to!:avatar:

    Keith.

    Attached files [​IMG]
     
  12. ianvolvo46

    ianvolvo46 Staff Member Moderator

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    Great thread Keith and what a result :tophat::tophat:

    Ian vt
     
  13. Gary

    Gary Will the real Gary please stand up... Staff Member Administrator

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    Great thread Keith. :thumbs: Proves that anything is possible !

    This could be another way of hiding the decoder, inside extra fettler/crew cars...

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/60790501@N04/5864374154/

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  14. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Great job Keith.......my eyes are watering just thinking about how intricate that conversion was.

    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    http://www.click:tophat:Gormo
     

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