Author Topic: N scale installs--hardwire or harness  (Read 1042 times)

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Upstate Gator

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N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« on: March 29, 2016, 12:09:49 AM »
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I have 3 hardwire installs to do, 2 in a Walthers Lifelike E8 split frame, one in an older E8. I'm looking at the ESU Lokpilot micro. Do any of you try to use a harness with these or do you cut off the plugs and hardwire? Using a harness would allow easy decoder changes. Is the determining factor typically lack of space?
Ben
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 11:17:21 AM by Upstate Gator »

RBrodzinsky

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 10:29:58 AM »
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Space.  Except for some large steamers (and no sound) with decoder in tender, I have not seen sufficient space to use the 8-pin NMRA plug.  Of course, there are a lot more locos out there, I am sure some may have sufficient room.
Rick Brodzinsky
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jdcolombo

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 11:10:24 AM »
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Cut the plug and hardwire.  Not enough space for the plug, and the wires are 4" long, so you need to stash them somewhere, too, or shorten them. 

You MIGHT be able to find room for a plug in a cab diesel, but you'd almost certainly have to mill the frame, losing weight.  And for what?  The chance that someday you might want to try another decoder?   If you do, hard-wire that one, too!

John C.

mu26aeh

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 01:03:03 PM »
+1
Cut the plug and hardwire.  Not enough space for the plug, and the wires are 4" long, so you need to stash them somewhere, too, or shorten them. 

You MIGHT be able to find room for a plug in a cab diesel, but you'd almost certainly have to mill the frame, losing weight.  And for what?  The chance that someday you might want to try another decoder?   If you do, hard-wire that one, too!

John C.

And if you hardwired the first one, and need to change it for some reason, just cut your wires, splice new decoder into them and cover with heat shrink instead of redoing the complete hardwire.  No need tearing the entire engine apart again.

rrjim1

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 05:13:00 PM »
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If you really want the ability to unplug a DCC decoder, you could use a 6 pin micro connector with a 6 pin DCC decoder. You would have to remove a little more of the frame but IMO you wouldn't lose that much pulling power. Those E8s pull a ton anyway!   

peteski

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 06:07:07 PM »
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I very, very seldom find a need to remove a decoder from a model.  If you had to connect some wires between the shell and chassis (like headlights or beacons) then it makes sense to utilize a connector, but for decoder installs hard-wiring should not be a problem.
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rrjim1

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 08:37:47 AM »
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I just upgraded 11 hard wired locos from old 1990s decoders to new decoders. Sure would have been nice to just unplug the old decoder and plug in the new decoder, instead of doing the complete wiring job all over again.   

peteski

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2016, 03:15:10 PM »
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After careful consideration I think rrjim1 is absolutely correct.  How could have been so short-sighted?  Having a plug-in DCC harness in a model is an absolute must and a huge time saver.  He opened my eyes. I think I will start on converting all my hardwired decoder installs to include a handy-dandy plug.  Sorry that I tried to steer you the wrong way.  :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Upstate Gator

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 03:16:45 PM »
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We need a sarcasm meter for posts.

tehachapifan

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 03:29:15 PM »
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Isn't that what the facepalms are for? ;)
Russ

rrjim1

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 03:53:07 AM »
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Well ski if you feel that way maybe you should contact all the manufactures that make PNP locos and tell them that you prefer to hard wire all your locos! Maybe you could persuade them to go back to the old way of manufacturing locos. I can't believe anyone else would want to just plug in a DCC decoder, hard wiring is so much better.   :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:

woodone

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2016, 12:13:48 PM »
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With an N scale locomotive there is simply not enough room to support an 8 pin plug-socket hook up. This is very true with an diesel unit.
The larger steam units with large tender this may be possible. Do we really need to change decoders that often?
Once I do an install I very seldom see that unit on the work bench again.
I hard wire sound decoders into diesels all of the time- Not much room and I don't see where you would have room for the plug- socket connection.

djconway

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2016, 06:27:18 AM »
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I have quite a few hardwire installs that are now 20 years old.  I haven't seen the need yet to use harnesses.

TVRR

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2016, 05:24:44 PM »
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The Proto 0-8-0 has an 8 pin plug in it's tiny tender and it was a bear to get the decoder, plug, and wires all in there, used a DT with 1" wires.

peteski

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Re: N scale installs--hardwire or harness
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2016, 02:47:40 PM »
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Problem with N scale and connectors is that 8-pin ones are way too bulky to be useful in most installations.  The size of the 6-pin NEM651 connector is much more N-scale friendly, but the connector is very limiting.  It only has 2 functions on it (usually the headlights) but it doesn't even have a provision for the common positive return of the functions.

More promising is the RCN-118 Next18 connector. With 18 connections on that tiny connector it has greatly expanded capability (common positive, ground, extra functions, sound, etc).  Hopefully it will be come a widely-accepted standard.



But as connectors get smaller, they will get more difficult to solder by hand to make a harness. Those tiny connectors are designed to be soldered directly to a PC board (not to a wire harness). 
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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