Model Railway DCC Conversion Guide

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Contents:


Wickness Models At Work
Decoders For DCC Conversion
N Gauge Sound Conversion
HARDWIRING A 21 PIN LOCO
Heljan Locomotives On DCC
HORNBY DCC SOUND
Marklin and HAG Locos On DCC
Graham Farish Small Diesels On DCC
American N Gauge Diesel Locomotives on DCC
Union Mills locomotives DCC
Dapol Steamers On DCC Sound
Lima Diesels on DCC

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Wickness Models At Work

A video showing part of the process of converting an N Gauge Dapol Hall to DCC Sound. The section here shows me soldering new ultra fine decoder wire direct to the Zimo decoder drive circuit, then insulating the decoder and mounting it to the chassis ready for wiring in. The tender chassis has had the 6 pin socket removed and received some modification ready to accept the decoder and the decoder has had its original heat seal removed. The reason for this is twofold, firstly the heatshrink prevents a fit and secondly the sound circuit wires are both the wrong colour and too large as supplied for a subtle fit of speaker in the cab. Unfortunately the camera angle is a little too shallow to show the full process but we hope to do a few more of these videos with better views Sound decoders used in the above video are available here Zimo MX648 Decoder
Sound decoders used in the above video are available here Zimo MX648 Decoder
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Sound decoders used in the above video are available here Zimo MX648 Decoder
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Decoders For DCC Conversion

Wickness Models has a large range of dcc decoders for all applications and gauges including sound which is becoming more popular. The range of standard decoders can be found here Standard DCC Decoders and the range of Sound Decoders can be found here DCC Sound Decoders

N Gauge Sound Conversion:

Sound in N gauge is developing very fast, you will now find a large range of models in the shop which have sound pre fitted or we can fit it to your individual locomotives if you would like to get in touch, sound provides a wonderful enhancement to railway modelling, our basic advice for this at the moment is:

Dapol Tender Steamers For DCC Sound but not Diesels
Farish Diesels for DCC Sound but not Tender Steamers(Exception is the new 2MT which is excellent)
Both Farish and Dapol DMU's are excellent on sound

Basic Weathering Package Including Basic Detailing:
Diesel Shunter: £100
Diesel: £120
Steam tank: £130
Steam Tender: £150 
Basic DCC Conversion:

Drive: £30
Sound: £60-£100 plus decoder
Cab Lighting: £30
Interior Lighting: £35

You can effectively create a model from your memories of past eras for your layout from the limited production models available from manufacturer

We can supply you with pre programmed Loksound V4 and V4 Micro Sound decoders for European and American locomotives from the range of soundtracks available on the ESU website download page.

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HARDWIRING A 21 PIN LOCO

From time to time locos may need to be hard wired to run on DCC control, this is not something to avoid, it is easy to do with a bit of soldering skill. There are various reasons you may wish to do this, normally related to removing sockets and pcb's to create space for decoders and speakers. All you need to do is trace the necessary circuits within the loco and wire your decoder wires appropriately.

The following is an extreme and unusual example showing how a Bachmann Class 47 with 21 pin socket can be hard wired via its existing pcb. In this case the customer supplied the model with 21 pin socket and a Loksound V4 decoder which unfortunately had an 8 pin connection. The 8 pin socket was removed and the wiring hard wired to the appropriate terminals on the locos socket by following the generic 21 pin socket wiring diagram.

In the pictures below you can see the wiring diagram followed by various views of the hard wired installation. A slightly odd example but it does illustrate the way in which a hardwire can be carried out simply by following and understanding the wiring requirements of the loco you are working on. You can therefore treat DCC conversion in similar fashion to the bespoke methods you may use in layout construction.

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Heljan Locomotives On DCC

The Heljan OO gauge large diesel chassis is particularly suited to dcc running in general and excellent with sound. It forms an affordable starting point from which to add sound and lights. Similarly the O gauge versions of Heljan locomotives are ideally suited to fitting larger scale Loksound V4's

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HORNBY DCC SOUND

 Most recent Hornby Steamers and Diesels are excellent on DCC sound. All have multiple pickup systems and good quality can motors which makes them ideal for sound conversion.

The only difficulties encountered when converting these models to sound is finding a suitable location for both speaker and decoder. Preferred decoder for these is the Loksound V4 and Loksound V4 Micro. Often space is particularly limited for speaker location to get optimum sound levels and this usually means removing the decoder socket and hard wiring the decoder or making modifications to chassis or shell. Sound Decoders can be found here

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Marklin and HAG Locos On DCC

The 2 rail versions of Marklin and HAG locos run superbly once converted to dcc. They do require a full lighting rewire where the existing dc lamps are replaced with led's. This often results in a considerably enhanced lighting function which is both controllable and considerably more intense than the original. Decoders of choice for this kind of conversion are ESU Lokpilot or Lenz

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Graham Farish Small Diesels On DCC

Please have a look at this latest video showing the control possible on graham farish small diesels with digitrax decoders . The most recent range of Graham Farish small diesel locomotives are excellent on dcc.

The new chassis type with enclosed can motor is capable of producing genuine shunting speeds in n gauge. Converting these to dcc is both affordable and very worthwhile. Various micro decoders will fit into all of them with a bit of chassis and shell modification.  These locos can form the basis of a genuinely true to life small n gauge layout. Suitable decoders for this kind of application are the Digitrax DZ126 or the Lenz Silver Mini
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American N Gauge Diesel Locomotives on DCC

American designed locos run particularly well on dcc. There are numerous manufacturers including Atlas, Athearn, Lifelike, Walthers, Intermountain, Bachmann Spectrum etc. Japanese manufacturer Kato also does a lot of business in this market. The common factor is that they use a split chassis design with smooth running motor and multiple pickup system. The combination produces faultless slow running and control, complimenting any n gauge dcc controlled layout. Most require modification of the lighting circuits to obtain full dcc control but the results are excellent. Suitable decoders for this kind of application are the  Digitrax DZ126 or the  Lenz Silver Mini and the excellent TCS Z2. If you want sound the MX648 from Zimo is very good or the Loksound V4 Micro but considerable additional modification is required for sound

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Union Mills locomotives DCC

Union Mills Locomotives are superb on DCC. The metal cast chassis ensures good pickup contact which is the main prerequisite for good DCC running. Micro decoders can be fitted in the tender above the motor by milling away part of the tender shell. There is an alternative locating the decoder in the cab but this extends the wiring between cab and tender and the decoder is of course visible. Locating above the motor retains the locomotive in the originally intended configuration when manufactured. The models are not suited to sound conversions because of the limited tender space and cast boiler section. They are a very worthwhile addition to any DCC layout where you are looking for smooth running and good control at low throttle. The Lenz Silver Mini is the ideal decoder for this application


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Dapol Steamers On DCC Sound

Recent N Gauge Dapol Steamers respond particularly well on DCC sound.

The basic method is to remove the 6 pin socket behind the motor in the tender and a Zimo MX648 Micro sound decoder can then be fitted with some chassis modification. The speaker used is a Micro sugar cube located in the cab area.
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Lima Diesels on DCC

The basic Lima chassis works very well on dcc. The simple pancake motor with double 2 pickups either end and central weight responds surprisingly well to dcc command. With a bit of maintenance ie pickup adjustment and wheel cleaning they will respond well on any OO gauge layout once fitted with a decoder. The available space makes them particularly suitable for the enhancement of adding high intensity lighting which can truly bring these older models to life on a dcc setup. Depending on your preference there are numerous decoders ideal for this application as follows

Digitrax DH126D
Lenz Standard
Lokpilot V4
Digitrax DN136D

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