n Gauge & DCC

Hi all,
I've been working on my (currently theoretical) plans for a small,
shelf based N Gauge layout, which will be a not-quite modern image
scenic siding/shunting, goods bay with a small passenger terminus.
I am thinking of going the whole hog with this one, including block
detection, fully automatic points etc. Then I thought about DCC...
I've not bought anything yet, but I'm looking to work out if it's
possible to fit any n gauge loco's (specifically diesel's) with dcc
decoders ?
Any brands to avoid / recommend ?
I've toyed with the idea of making this a european scene too, and some
of the fleischmann stuff looks really cool (I love their new Desiro
model)
Thanks for any advice...
Ian
Reply to
icornish
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I can't claim to be any expert, but my first few DCC conversions have been small RTR OO locos, so I've delved into the N-gauge decoder market. TCS make a very smal decoder called the M1. I've used a couple of these and found them to be very good. Of course I've little to compare them against..... The only reservation is that I'm currently running with default settings, building a programmer is next on the workbench. Cheers, Bill.
Reply to
Bill Davies
Hi
I've just invested in a Lenz compact, DDC fleischmann diesel #7250 and two green coaches for it to pull. Seemed great when I had it demoed in the shop and I believe it's from the steam/diesel transition period so I can eventually run diesel & steam together happily.
I'm intending to run it on Kato unitrack - any comments?
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for good buildings to go with this as I'm starting from scratch. I like the hornby Lyddle End buildings and have a few on my existing British layout and wonder if there's anything comparable to go with a German layout?
Thanks,
Julian
Reply to
Julian Jordan
I was also thinking of Kato Unitrack too... As to buildings, Fleischmann and Faller do a good range. I was looking through the "International" insert in this months Model Rail (not sure if it's actually on the shelves yet, but...), and there seems to be some new and good stuff coming through very soon.
Reply to
icornish
You can get chips inside **anything** available as an RTR loco in N (yes, even the Arnold Kof). It depends how determined you are. I've seen a small German inspection railcar (think Wickham trolley) and a VW camper bus done in N, or for UK steam, a Beattie 2-4-0 well tank. If the more readily available chips don't fit, try things like those by CT Electronik for example.
The ReadyToRun and easy way; probably makers such as Fleischmann who make locos with sockets, and with chips already installed.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
And, if American outline is used, Atlas provide locomotives with chips already installed too.
I have several of these and they all work very well with the Lenz Compact and Kato Unitrack.
Dave
Reply to
Dave
Fleischmann even fit sound chips inside the locos!! I run both that are available and they are terrific! Man, are you in for a surprise..
Reply to
Nick Beard
In N scale they've done that by coupling a dummy Diseasal to a powered one. I think they do a steam loco all by itself however.
Greg.P.
Reply to
Greg Procter
Nigel's comments are correct you can chip almost everything, but you need some practice! If you are looking at Diesels most farish are easy to do although you will need to mill (chop out) space from the chassis block to make room for the chip in the case. The most difficult model is the 08, there is plenty of space for the chip (lenz gold) in the cab, but the isolation of the chassis is tricky and needs the use of heat shrink insulation around some of the fittings. If you are buying new models fitting the chip removes the warranty, so for these I often bite the bullet, save my time and ask the owner of Mackays Models (in RM, & Model Rail) to fit a chip prior to posting (other shops also provide this service I'm told), otherwise get a few cheap engines of e-bay and practice. If you need guidance on a particular engine drop me a line, I've converted most in my time. Good luck with your planning.
Reply to
64Magnette
Hi Greg, The new Desiro diesel railcar http://213.239.212.34/images/products/normal/7420.jpg is excellent too. Kind of a bendy-bus on rails. Heck it even makes station platform anouncements when you press F4, something like "ding dong--please be aware that the doors are closing and the trail will soon depart" except its in German which is kinda cool if you like the continental feel to your layout. Another nice feature is that the loco or railbus will not move off until you hear the breakes being released. At £240 each there not cheap, but niether are BMW's. The build quality is better that one could ever dream of including Kato
Reply to
Nick Beard
In your message of 7 Mar 2006 you offered guidance on fitting a decoder to any N loco! Can I take you up on that? I have a Farish No.8174 diesel railcar and a Lenz Silver Mini Decoder.With great difficulty my friend and I have detached the body from the chassis but need advice on the best way of tackling fitting the decoder. We should be very greatful if you could help.
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Reply to
Revd Margaret Stark
I checked out this railcar on the web, it is by no means "DCC ready." I couldn't find an image of the disassembled loco, but however it is built, the conversion will require major surgery, adding and rerouting of power pick-up wires, etc.
Generally, in older engines you have to to make room for the decoder board. That means machining/filing/cutting. You may also have to completely isolate the motor from the frame, as it will now get power from the decoder. It depends on whether the motor is grounded to the frame of the power bogie.This means additional wires in awkward places, and may require additional machining of the frame. Since the 8174 is a rail car, there may be room in the passenger compartment for a decoder, but I would think you'd have to carve away some internal fittings such as seats. In any case, what you're contemplating is not a job for the faint-hearted.
Personally, I wouldn't do this with an N scale engine not designed for fitting a decoder. It's tough enough in HO/OO scale.
Sorry to rain on your parade. OTOH, if someone has already done this conversion, I'm sure they'll be able to give you the specific help you need.
Good luck, Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K
I disagree with Wolf, whilst not "plug and play" its not a particularly hard conversion. Whether an individual modeller feels confident to undertake it depends on lots of things. If not confident, there are numerous DCC specialist retailers who will have done such a fitting.
The chassis is split frame, the metal block forms each side of the pickup from wheels to the motor. So, the first job is to disconnect the brushes on the motor from the chassis block. This is usually done by dismantling the chassis and drilling out a small amount of metal near the brushes.
Then, once the chassis is reassembled, the fitting is a doddle. Connect the pickup wires (red and black) to each side of the chassis; trapping them behind the chassis fixing screws which join the two halves together is one method. Connect the motor wires (orange and grey) to the motor brushes; I'd solder them in place.
- Nigel
Reply to
Nigel Cliffe
One has to ask if you actually have any experience with Farish N conversions, old or new?
Even the old kettles can be converted with Digihats (google if you don't know what they are).
MBQ
Reply to
manatbandq
[...]
Any loco with a split frame is going to be a problem IME. So the real question is, Why take on the bother (and time) of doing it? This is not IMO a tangential issue.
Why do you want to sink time and money into an ancient model? Current models are much superior. So why do it? If it's the aspect of the hobby that appeals to you, well and good. It's reasonable to spend resources on something that gives you pleasure.
If there's no current model of your favourite engine available, well, that's a different issue. But a large part of that issue is whether you, personally, are up to the job. OP didn't seem to be, the admission that it was difficult to take the body off the frame indicates that this kind of work is a new, um, learning opportunity. ;-) So I'll modify my advice: By all means do it, but do a couple of simpler DCC conversions first.
But if your primary aim is to save the value of the ancient loco, my general answer is, It ain't worth it. True, it pains one to accept that an ancient model no longer meets one standards, because that's a loss, and losses are hard to bear. Losses always feel bigger than they are, and it takes a firm hand on the yellow pencil to make the rational decision of cutting your losses.
Don't get me wrong: I do have quite a few ancient models. I keep them for sentimental reasons, but I no longer fuss and fiddle with them to get them to run better, improve their detail, and so on.
Best, Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K
Farish split frame are not ancient models and are quite easy to convert. Certainly a lot easier rhan their big brothers from Bachmann.
MBQ
Reply to
manatbandq
Hi, everybody. Thanks for all your advice. My No.8174 is now chipped and ru= nning well. We used a digihat for one set of springs and brushes, and, to i= solate the other, we cut through the metal strip under the chassis on eithe= r side of the brush clip.=20
As a finishing touch, we fixed N gauge figures as drivers in the two cabs a= nd are going to stick sheets of paper behind the coach windows with images = of passengers and seats in order to hide the wires etc.
MS
Reply to
margaret.stark
running well. We used a digihat for one set of springs and brushes, and, to= isolate the other, we cut through the metal strip under the chassis on eit= her side of the brush clip.
Well done!
MBQ
Reply to
manatbandq
running well. We used a digihat for one set of springs and brushes, and, to isolate the other, we cut through the metal strip under the chassis on either side of the brush clip.
are going to stick sheets of paper behind the coach windows with images of passengers and seats in order to hide the wires etc.
Good for you!
And you may have discovered a niche business for yourself. ;-)
Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K

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