The only thing stopping me going DCC, is installing decoders in my
trains they are all 15-20 years old. I been told (not sure if it's
true) older models like this the wiring is different from the newer
models of the last few years something about being isolated I think?
any electronics is way above my head I need plain English with
pics.....lol , any help would be greatly appreciated, could you please
let me know of any links or/and websites that might help.
To be a little more precise, the motor brushes must be isolated from
the power applied to the rails.
Since the frame usually is part of the pickup system that transmits
the power from the track to the motor, isolating the brushes from the
frame is usually the first step in the conversion.
Sometimes this isn't an issue, even with older locos. I have a bunch
of the old Atlas/Roco GP's that were produced in the 70's and the
brushes are already isolated. Converting these is a snap.
All that said, the DCC primer linked to above is a good starting
place. Here are a couple more:
I'm in the process of converting allot of the older locomotives to Dcc
and its all about isolation the motor electrically from the frame. Its
not hard to do. my Athearn loco's I'm using electrical tape between the
motor and frame. Thats just one way of many ways to do it.
On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 23:50:16 -0500, "E. T. Atkins"
I use the hard plastic case from a scrapped 3.5 floppy disc, cut
to fit. Electrical tape is very soft, and, over time, can wear
through and short the decoder. I also paint the frame with liquid
electrical "tape" as a "belt & braces" precaution , having been caught
once with a Spectrum dismal sitting quietly in the yard, then suddenly
doing an "Alco" === lotsa smoke! Now everything gets milled
for extra clearance.
Alan, in Gosnells, Western Oz.
VK6 YAB VKS 737 - W 6174
Flipping the contacts is a good way to go.
I coat the frame under the motor with "Hard as Nails". I don't
think my wife ever figured out why that stuff suddenly evaporates
out of the bottle from time to time *8^)
It's not as hard as the floppy disk case but, it's a bit thinner.
Excuse me, I'll be right back. I have to log onto a server in Romania
and verify all of my EBay, PayPal, bank and Social Security information
LOL, that's what a friend of mine's F unit, I think it was an older
Athearn, did soon after he converted it. It worked very well up to that
point. He used the tape method.
I made sure to remember not to do when I convert my dozen or so locos
that aren't set up already for DCC. But I need to set up some kind of
Tony's is a good site, so start there. But if you just search Yahoo or
Google, you should be able to find several different DCC primer-type
But in plain English (more or less), with DCC you have to insert a
computer chip (called a decoder) in between the motor and the wheels on a
locomotive. Think of the decoder as a remote control speed controller or
throttle that changes the direction and speed of the motor.
Why? Because in conventional DC analog systems, you vary the polarity
and voltage to the rails to get the loco to go. In DCC, however, the power
in the rails is constantly on, and so you need some way to limit and
regulate the power to the motor.
So you can see why you must isolate the motor from the wheels. This can
be tricky on older models like Athearn which uses the frame to conduct power
to the motor. The frames cannot usually be isolated from the wheels, but
the frame can be isolated from the motor.
On an older Athearn, the bottom of the motor has two prongs that dig
into the metal frame, allowing power to run from one side of each truck to
the motor. You must remove these prongs before installing a decoder, or you
will fry it.
On older Atlas models, they do have special decoders that are "board
replacements", where you unsolder and remove the original Atlas light board
and replace it with the decoder, which you then solder the leads to it.
If you have something other than old Athearn or Atlas locos, please let
us know so we can help with specific information (some, like the Atlas S-2
switchers, have unique decoders made just for them).
Paul A. Cutler III
Weather Or No Go New Haven
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