Author Topic: DCC for older engines  (Read 968 times)

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Bfagan

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DCC for older engines
« on: August 16, 2014, 05:41:47 PM »
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I have some Katomand Atlas engines that are 8-10 years old and in excellent condition.  Can DCC be added and is it hard to do and is it expensive.  Any recommenditions who does this?

Rich_S

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 06:34:16 PM »
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I have some Kato and Atlas engines that are 8-10 years old and in excellent condition.  Can DCC be added and is it hard to do and is it expensive.  Any recommendations who does this?

If you can solder you can install a TCS decoder in your older Atlas / Kato locomotives if they have the split light board. Some of the very old Kato locomotives will need a hard wired decoder. Is it hard to do?, in my opinion NO  Are they expensive? Depends on what type of decoder you want. Since I install all of my own decoders, I'm not aware of any services except Tony's Train Exchange.  Here is a link to Tony's installation page http://www.tonystrains.com/products/tteinstall.htm

Chris1274

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 06:36:51 PM »
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TCS's CN or CN-GP decoders work really well for older, non-DCC friendly engines. I just converted some old Katos (SD40 and C30-7) using those decoders. It requires some soldering and a bit of frame modification using a file, but nothing too difficult. I'm no virtuoso with this stuff, so if I can do it, anyone can. TCS also has helpful installation guides on their website.

jdcolombo

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2014, 07:30:20 PM »
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If you can take an engine apart to clean it and solder feeders to your rail neatly and cleanly, you can do a decoder in almost anything.  For older diesels, the TCS CN decoder series is probably the easiest way to go to preserve the front/rear headlights, and TCS's motor control is very good.  The only thing you'll have to do is solder a couple of wires between the two board halves, route a couple of wires to the motor terminals, put a piece of tape (kapton, electrical, - it really doesn't matter) over that connection to avoid shorts, and off you go.  I've used these and I have friends who have used a ton of them, and we've all been pleased.  It's no more than a 15-minute job, but you do need some modest soldering skills and an appropriate soldering iron (15, 20, 25 watt; I wouldn't use a bigger one).

John C.


Philip H

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2014, 09:53:08 PM »
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Our own Lee aweldon runs a side business doing decoder installs. He successfully decoder used my old Atlas/Roco GP30; so yeah I'd say it can be done.
Philip H.
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mu26aeh

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2014, 10:18:14 PM »
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Our own Lee aweldon runs a side business doing decoder installs. He successfully decoder used my old Atlas/Roco GP30; so yeah I'd say it can be done.

I will second this comment.  Lee installed TCS boards in two of my Atlas GP7/9's

u18b

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 11:44:37 PM »
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The TCS installation pages has lots of examples, directions and/or photos.

http://www.tcsdcc.com/Customer_Content/Installation_Pictures/N_Scale/N_Search/search.html

Ron Bearden
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Bfagan

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 07:08:14 AM »
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How about a Micro Trains EMD FT A/B units.  Its not listed on the TCS site?  Can it be done or is it too old!

davefoxx

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 08:31:25 AM »
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If TCS doesn't make a drop in decoder for MTL's FT, then Digitrax does.  For example, the DN163M0 fits the FTA.

Hope this helps,
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BCR 570

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 10:57:25 AM »
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My RS-10 and RS-18 locomotives run on Atlas/Kato chassis which date from the mid 1980s.  They have been fitted with TCS M4 decoders and four function digital lighting.  The work was done for me by Dave Mackinnon (DetailsNScale) but I do know that he is very busy and turnaround time is typically lengthy.  I have not had any installations done by Tony's, but all other aspects of hteir DCC services have been so good that I would expect the same for their decoder work.

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

djconway

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 11:06:35 AM »
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A lot of the older locos can be converted.
It may take a bit of work - but with decoders getting smaller with time it is getting easier.
1 - isolate the motor from the frame
2 - find or make room for the decoder, with Atlas/Kato/Life Like room can be made under the rear light board
3 - cut the traces on the light board between the contact pads and the light
4 - solder the pickups (red/black) to the end of contact pad red -right black - left (as close to the cut as you can)
5 - solder the gray/orange wires to the motor - gray goes where the left pickup would have cone and the orange where the right would have gone.
6 - Test Test Test look for shorts or opens - loose connections etc.
7 - wire in the lights white front - yellow rear - blue is the common
8 - test again
9 - reassemble/program and enjoy

Sounds easy - most locos go fairly smooth with practice.

eric220

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Re: DCC for older engines
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2014, 10:15:10 PM »
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Our own Lee aweldon runs a side business doing decoder installs. He successfully decoder used my old Atlas/Roco GP30; so yeah I'd say it can be done.

As Lee said when Dave V posted photos of my visit to the JD,



This moment made possible by Laurel Valley Back Shops.

Lee not only installed decoders but gave them a but of a tuneup. Now that T1 is one of my best running locomotives.
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