New Monthly Content September 2016: Conversions: Installing a DCC Decoder in a DCC-Ready Locomotive

New Monthly Content September 2016: Conversions: Installing a DCC Decoder in a DCC-Ready Locomotive

Sept. Monthly CoverIn today’s world of model railroading almost every new model locomotive for any scale is either DCC equipped or DCC ready. Brand new DC locomotives that are not DCC ready are becoming rarer and rarer. While DCC equipped is the easiest route to go, it is often much more expensive.  A typical HO scale model locomotive, for example, is often US$90, $100, or higher more for the DCC equipped version than the DCC ready version (and if it has sound installed, that can really drive up the price).  DCC decoders are often relatively inexpensive, on the other hand, especially if it is a basic decoder without many extras and with no sound. You can get good Digitrax decoders for around $20.00 each in some places, and that is much better than the price difference between a DCC ready and a DCC equipped locomotive.

In this month’s monthly report – Conversion: Installing a DCC Decoder in a DCC-Ready Locomotive, I’ll walk you through the steps to install a DCC decoder in a DCC-Ready locomotive, using photos of my installation of a Digitrax decoder in my Bachmann KCS SD40-2.

The process really is pretty simple, but there are a few things you must be absolutely aware of and make sure of. If you are not familiar with DCC (I myself am just now becoming familiar with DCC), do some research. There are good articles and videos out there that can help you determine what DCC decoder type is needed for your DCC ready locomotive (also, your locomotive may have come with information telling you which type works for your model), what DCC brand and model is best, and so on.  It is imperative that  you purchase the correct decoder for your locomotive.

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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