Hoping For Specific Decoder Help

Looking to find specific help with the installation of a Digitrax decoder in an Atlas switcher. I think I've looked over the available
help from the two most obvious sources: Tony's and Digitrax.
The specific application is to install a DZ143 mobile decoder in an Atlas ALCO S2/S4 diesel switcher. The switcher is new and has a PCB light board in place.
I cannot discern from the Digitrax instructions whether I should remove the light board entirely, work around it, or solder some of the wire leads directly to locations on the board. The instructions provided would be fine, if I already knew how to do these installations.
So... are there any experts in this art who can give a beginner the basics for this particular application or perhaps point me to a resource that would get me over the hump?
Also: Any special tips or techniques for safely stripping insulation on super-fine wires like those on these decoders? My stripping tool stops being useful around 22 gauge wire.
My humble thanks to any who might take the time to help.

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euphemism wrote:

,
If you're referring to an N-Scale loco (I don't even know if Atlas made N-Scale S2/S4's) I can't help.
However, if you're talking about Atlas' HO-Scale S2/S4's, dump the DZ143 and get the Tony's ATLS1234 or the NCE ATLS4-SR.
These are both the same decoder; Tony's apparently has an agreement with NCE to sell them under the "Tony's" brand name.
These locos need to have the motor insulated, and besides fitting well, the NCE/Tony's decoders come with the Kapton tape and nylon screw to make this chore a breeze. They also greatly simplify the lighting.
Of course, the hard-core hard-wiring crowd will opt for the DZ143 (or another wired decoder), but if you're asking for specific directions you probably aren't part of that crowd. :-)
As for stripping decoder wire, I have no problem stripping it with the judicial application of a small pair of side cutters. However, I have heard that a hot soldering pencil also works acceptably well.
HTH, Stevert
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Try this group out at Yahoo. You will probably find some useful answers. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Digitrax /
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mike wrote:

Yeah, he can do that. He'll find three basic groups of threads:
1) The folks who recommend the NCE/Tony's decoders;
2) The folks who tried a hard-wired decoder and burned it up because of the motor/frame/brush insulation issues inherent in this loco, and;
3) The hard-core hard-wired folks who have put in a DZ1x3.
How do I know that? Because I follow that group regularly, and did that exact search before I bought a pair of the ATLS4-SR's for my two Atlas S2's.
Trust me, being the Digitrax fan that I am, a recommendation to use a competitor's product doesn't come lightly. But more than being a Digitrax fan, I'm in favor of using the right solution in a given situation.
Stevert
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Hmm, that sounds like the advice he would get here (except Yahoo is moderated). I don't get it.
And what is wrong with DZ1X3 ? That one along with some of the Lenz decoders are the smallest available. That is what I look for in small loco installations. NEC and others don't come close. There are people who model in N ans Z you know...
I'm also a fan of any brand decoder which works in my particular application.
Peteski
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Peter W. wrote:

Ptetski, There's absolutely nothing wrong with the DZ1x3 decoders. Or the small Lenz decoders, or the small TCS decoders either. I've used them myself, and will continue to do so if and when it makes sense.
However, go back and read what the OP asked. He was looking for specific instructions, which (not to knock him in any way) makes me think he may be a little less experienced than some at decoder installation.
The drop-in decoders I mentioned address both the space issue and the insulating issues that the specific loco he mentioned is well-known for, not to mention making the lights a no-brainer.
So, while a small, hard-wired decoder can certainly be the best choice in some cases (&diety bless all those N- and Z-Scalers!), I'm not sure it's the right choice for this *specific* loco by someone who's a little less experienced.
P.S. When did NEC start making decoders? They must be large-scale... http://www.nec.com/global/prod/index.html :-)
Stevert
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Stevert wrote:

Your assumptions are correct - I have very little experience installing decoders and avoided the issue for this very reason.
As near as I could discern, the correct Digitrax decoder (according to their lists) is the DZ143. What I lack is any real idea about what needs to be done to install this decoder in this locomotive.
It IS an "N" sized decoder - but I would hope it would handle the load, considering the application is as recommended by Digitrax.
I will visit the yahoo group and hope to find the guidance I need. I sure don't want to screw up the locomotive or the decoder - the unit in question is clearly not "DCC ready." I swear I will not buy another loco not equipped with a 8 or 9 pin plug... it goes against my conservative nature to tear apart this new loco and start making major changes to it.
I thank you for your help.
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euphemism wrote:

, Digitrax lists the DZ143 as the "right" decoder because it's the one in their product line that will physically fit inside the S2/S4 shell and handle the loco's power and function requirements.
However, since it's a "universal" decoder as opposed to a drop-in replacement for a loco's factory circuit board, it may *not* be the easiest to install.
I'd still recommend, even the Digitrax fan that I am, that you save the DZ143 for another project and get the Tony's or NCE drop-in decoder made specifically for the Atlas S2/S4.
Although I've hard-wired several loco's, including switchers, I did my pair of S2's with the Tony's decoders and never looked back. It was an easy conversion and they run very well.
And by all means peruse the Digitrax Yahoo group. I'd suggest the NCE group as well, since they make the drop-in decoder. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCE-DCC /
HTH, Stevert
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wrote:

I have been running Digitrax since '97 and have mostly Digitrax decoders, however, in my Atlas switcher I also have the Tony's decoder - no problems whatsoever. The DZ143 does have bemf but is a bit of overkill for lighting unless you want to fit ditch/mars lights. It was a couple of years ago that I fitted the Tony's decoder so I cannot remember what I did, but it was easier than hard wiring a DH123 into a Mehano Pacific body, changing globes to LED's and adding pickups to all tender wheels.
Best wishes                Alan Alan, in Gosnells, Western Oz. VK6 YAB VKS 737 - W 6174
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I think that was the day after the typo was invented? Maybe two days after?
Paul -- 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 before they suspend my accounts.
Working the rockie road of the G&PX
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Paul Newhouse wrote:

Then they've been at it for a LONG time, because I've been slipping in an occasional typo since just about forever!
Stevert
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On May 10, 12:53 pm, snipped-for-privacy@pimin.wan.vpn (Paul Newhouse) wrote:

NCE, NEC... aren't they all the same? ...typo...um...yes... that is what happened. :-) Fat fingered Peteski
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I'm so used to shoe-horning tiny decoders into N scale switchers that I just ass-umed that this was the case here too. But if this is an H0 loco then there must plenty of room for some plug-n-play decoder.
Peteski
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