Author Topic: Life Like DL109 decoder install  (Read 896 times)

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Jim Starbuck

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Life Like DL109 decoder install
« on: October 31, 2016, 10:19:45 PM »
+3
I've done a few of these and had a request to post a "how I did it" so here it is.

The LifeLike / Walther's DL 109 is a very good running and pulling engine but unfortunately lacks any DCC friendliness. Material needs to be removed from the chassis to make room for a decoder. I used a Digitrax DZ126t here or a TCS Z2 would work also.

I started by disassembling until I just had the frame halves with the insulators and frame screws and nuts holding them together.
Using an 1/8" cutter I milled a slot centered on the nose and deep enough for the lighting wires.
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The rest of the milling can now be done with the frame halves separated.
Using small wood blocks and small pieces of Masonite shims, I was able to hold the right side in the vise without disturbing the tabs that locate the front bearing block.
Using a larger cutter, I milled off the forward"wing" until it was flush with the inside surface of the frame half being careful with depth not to disturb the bearing block tabs.
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The rest of the milling was done with the 1/8" cutter to make slots for the wiring to run in.
I cut a slot down the top of the right frame half back to the motor opening. Then cut a slot perpendicular on top for the track power wire.
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The top of the chassis is narrower to accommodate the window glazing inside the shell. The final cut on the right frame half is a slot down the side to access the pickup strip. This slot  depth is flush with the upper portion of the frame.
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The left side frame half only requires milling the slot on the side for the other pickup wire.
I clipped off the frame tabs for the motor pickups with my track nippers.
After thorough cleaning to remove any chips the chassis is now ready to assemble.
I placed kapton tape on the inside of the frame halves where the motor leads go just to be safe. I filed a chamfer on the corner of the motor case to make some room for the orange wire.
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I clipped the brass motor tabs short and added a small drop of solder. Rotate the tab on the bottom tab so it's closer to the middle of the chassis and solder the orange wire to it.
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With the orange wire connected, the mech can now be reassembled including the trucks.
Route the gray and black wires down the slot on the top of the frame and solder the gray wire to the top motor tab.
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The window glazing needs to have part of the connecting portion cut out to make room for the pickup wires. I removed the front portion of the glazIng then slipped the shell on and marked the location though the window opening.
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I then routed the pickup wires down and soldered them to the contact strips.
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I test ran the engine at his point before moving on to the lighting.


« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 08:59:03 AM by Jim Starbuck »
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Jim Starbuck

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2016, 10:54:01 PM »
+1
I routed the lighting wires down the slot to the lightboard.
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I cut the traces on the board just behind the LED.
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If your prototype only had one headlight, solder the blue wire to the right hand leg of the LED and the white wire to the front end of the surface mount resistor and your install is complete. The yellow wire won't be used.
The Milwaukee Road used a Mars light and a headlight so the shell gets drilled out and a lens of Krystal Kleer or Gallery Glass goes in.
I added a second LED on the lightboard for the Mars light. I harvested the LED off of an old stock board from a previous install.
After determining the + l bent the leg back so it could be soldered to the existing LED leg.
I drilled a hole in the board making sure to miss any traces. The long leg goes down through the board and the other solders to the original LED leg where the blue common wire solders on.
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I drilled another hole along the right side of the board for a resistor for the added LED.
I soldered a 1k surface mount resistor to a piece of wire lead from round resistor resulting on what looks like a small flag. Placing the surface mount resistor on edge just makes a bit more room on the board.
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The two legs protruding out the bottm of the board are bent, soldered and trimmed off.
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Solder the blue common wire to the right side LED leg, the white wire to the end of the original surface mount resistor and the yellow wire to the end of the new surface mount resistor.
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After programming and function mapping there are now separate headlight and Mars light functions.
This is a rather involved decoder installation but quite worth it to end up with such a nice running model of a distinct prototype.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 11:22:33 PM by Jim Starbuck »
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dckuk

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 03:59:01 AM »
0
Thanks!

I'll need to do one of these one day, so thanks for doing the write up.


peteski

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 05:02:58 AM »
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Nice clean install - I like it!

Do you own a milling machine or are you using a drill press?
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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Jim Starbuck

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 05:39:31 AM »
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The machining is rather primitive. I use my drill press with a 1x2 clamped to the table for a guide and slide the vise by hand.
Very light passes and go slow.
I keep everything as short as possible because the spindle isn't meant for side forces.
I wouldn't recommend doing it like this.
I'd love to have a mill or at least a cross slide vise.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 05:52:17 AM by Jim Starbuck »
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peteski

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2016, 09:40:59 AM »
0
Primitive or not, your milling is done quite well (especially knowing how basic your setup is).
 Have you looked at the X-Y table from MicroMark. or is that out of your price range? http://www.micromark.com/microlux-x-y-table-attachment,8009.html  It looks like a re-badged Proxxon item - maybe Proxxon sells them directly for less.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm anal retentive!!!"
-"Look at me, I have the most posts evahhhh!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm snarky!!!!"
-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"

woodone

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2016, 11:48:35 AM »
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I have been using my drill press for milling for years. If you want a GOOD  X-Y table I would go with a cast iron one. The Micro Mart is made of aluminiun and has nylon gibbs. The gibbs will wear out and you will have lots of play in the X-Y directions.
For milling bit use HS steel router bits. The metal in most frames are a soft metal and will ball up if you use a 4  flute cutter.
The router bits will clear out the chips a lot better. I still use light cuts and slow feeding speeds.
Here is a link to a GOOD X-Y table. http://www.ebay.com/itm/HD-MILL-AND-DRILL-TABLE-WITH-MICROMETER-DIALS-/270358432937?hash=item3ef29e4ca9:m:mTIRmnjeoTNQj50ELx0V3QQ
You might shop around a bit and find a better deal- I got mine for less than $200.00. 

jdcolombo

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 04:00:09 PM »
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Very nice install!

John C.

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2016, 04:12:23 PM »
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Thanks for the kind words guys.
Thanks also for the links on the x-y tables. Those are within reach. I don't know why I thought they would be much more expensive.
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peteski

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2016, 07:22:19 PM »
+1
The metal in most frames are a soft metal and will ball up if you use a 4  flute cutter.
The router bits will clear out the chips a lot better. I still use light cuts and slow feeding speeds.

I use 1/8"4-flute carbide bit and Tap Magic cutting fluid and I don't have any problems with the metal balling up the cutter.  I like carbite bits becuase they are very sharp and stay sharp.

Here is Kato E8 frame with a large chunk of metal removed using the above method. I also use fairly light cuts.

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--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm anal retentive!!!"
-"Look at me, I have the most posts evahhhh!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm snarky!!!!"
-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"

Carolina Northern

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2016, 10:24:34 AM »
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Very nice, Pete.

peteski

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Re: Life Like DL109 decoder install
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2016, 04:13:08 PM »
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Very nice, Pete.

Thanks!  My intention was not to take over Jim's thread of his decoder install - I just wanted to show that a 4-flute bit works just fine with proper lubrication.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm anal retentive!!!"
-"Look at me, I have the most posts evahhhh!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm snarky!!!!"
-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"