Helpful Tips -Installing DCC decoders into DCC ready and non DCC engines

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About a year or so ago I stated in one of my video’s that I would do a how to video about installing DCC decoders in to HO locomotives. Well finally an opportunity presented itself that allowed me to make a video on 1/24/13. Since I had to by a dual mode DCC decoder for my recently purchase Athearn RTR Amtrak P42 #108 I had a chance to make the video. In this video I go into great detail as to how to installed DCC decoders in DCC ready locomotives which have the 8 or 9 pin plugs in them from the factory. This enables the modeler to chose a decoder brand of his or her choice for the model and its takes minutes to install them. Then I talk about installing decoders in non DCC ready engines, like Atheran blue boxes, older Bowser engines and a few others. These require drilling or to make it easier and less time consuming you can buy a premade DCC harness for you Athearn blue box engines. Its the DHAT from Digitrax and it eliminates the need to do any drilling or sodering. Other harness are made for the other locomotive brands also. Finally for the first time using my new I show you how to install a decoder in a DCC ready engine. then to close out the video I test the locomotive to see everything is in order. If you doing this on a DCC system you should be able to read the default address of the decoder which is 3. 3 is the default address on all decoders worldwide. I hope you enjoy this helpful video on installing DCC decoders. Feel free to ask med any question’s and I’ll do my best to answer them.


Hello everyone this is EMDs d14 here and this is how to install DCC in your HL locomotives that’s right I finally had the time to actually make a tutorial on how to do DCC installation in nature locomotives I know I said that many men I know has probably said that a couple years ago that I wanted to do one but I never actually had to go you know had the time to do it so situation presented itself today where I had to buy a decoder so I said okay head by decoder why not just go ahead and make a tutorial let me explain several things a lot of locomotives that are manufactured today are DCC ready now what is DCC ready well DCC ready means the locomotive has the components that enable you to quick and easily install a number of DCC decoders let me show you what I mean this is a proto 2000s d9 this is my only Southern Pacific black widow in my collection it’s an older model way older but it is DCC ready and what I’m referring to is looking at the PC board here you notice this dummy plug here this is where you would plug your did your digital decoder now basically how do you how do you you want to know probably how do you make this a fully DCC locomotive well you basically take this dummy plug out which is an eight pin plug and then you just buy a decoder that has an eight pin plug or an eight pin adapter plug like at one end it’s a 9-pin and at the other end it’s an 8-pin and then you just install it in your locomotive and it’s that’s it you’re done and all you have to do is just program it to his road number and it’s finished now I must note the locomotive will not run without the dummy plug and it will not run without the decoder the reason being is each completes the circuit for the locomotive to run so if there’s nothing there completing the circuit nothing is going to run and that includes the dummy plug as well so I just wanted to let you guys know that the afteron ready to roll makes DCC ready locomotives kado Atlas Bowser Bachmann of course and a few other companies make DCC radio locum oohs.

Now you’re probably wondering what about non DCC locomotives well let’s go over to this CSX g50 here let me put this shell back on this is one of my this is my only stealth gray unit in my collection okay now this is your typical aft on boom box mechanism here basically you have to do a number of things to make this a DCC compatible locomotive first off in order to do that you have to isolate the motor from the frame now there’s two ways you can do this the copper tabs on the underside you can either remove the copper tabs that actually connect to the frame which basically is like the grounding point for the motor or you can just bend them back up and use a double sided stick tape on the underside of the motor so that insulates it that’s step one step two you have to connect your uh your black and your I think your black gray and red wires I’m not too sure if that’s the right order but then you had to start connecting your wives but once you get all that connected you have to actually tap a hole in one of the frame so that the decoder is grounded to the frame so I’m pretty sure I’m pretty sure your black and your gray are for your yeah your black and your gray up for your trucks yeah I’m pretty sure about that so you’d have to wire up your trucks with the black and the gray and then you’d have to ground out the round it out to the frame now you could have you could either tap a hole in the frame at a predetermined spot inside here or you could just use the original light bar light bar set up right here on this locomotive that’s just a little that’s just a little tidbit on on that particular conversion that’s actually pretty extensive because you have to do soldering and drilling and you you have to you know trim it all up to make sure everything fits inside the shell so yeah that that that that that’s a big that’s a big complex thing right there now if you wanted to get around that there’s a way to get around that you can actually buy motors that already have the PC board attached to them that are DCC ready and though the one that comes to mind first off is afrin ready to roll Motors in half in genesis motors now after it is specifically offering motors now that you can repower your blue box engines they come with the they come with pretty much everything and all you have to do is just take your old motor out like I showed you here install that motor with the PC board and then you’re pretty much basic you basically just turned your blue box into a DCC ready locomotive all you have to do is just bought it a decoder put the decoder in program it and then you’re ready to go so after is actually starting to do that now you mean you could order them before but now they’re actually offering it as another chin on their website I think it’s on their website but I know they’re offering it that’s that’s 100% guarantee this is another Atlas engine that’s also BCC ready this is an ex burlington northern st 24 it’s been rebuilt into an SD 24 hour for my freelance erm WR error that’s another engine now let me show you what the after mechanism looks like let me show you what that looks like this is my ready to roll after n’ p42 number 108 and this is pretty much bass this is basically what the mechanism would look like of a DCC ready ready to DCC ready ready to roll motor.

Different Angles On Installing DCC decoders

But the author in genesis motor is pretty much identical to this in every way here are your points so basically what I was telling you where you had to wire your gray and black wires to the trucks these are actually coming from the board directly so yeah and you can actually get the brass copper tabs that slide over the truck tower the truck pickups here and rather than just soldering directly there but if you look at this this this PC board you notice that it has a 9 pin adaptor harness right and then the 8 pin is right here now now that now the dummy board was not in this locomotive when I bought it unfortunately that was a little bit of an error on the sellers part but that’s ok no big deal I tested it out using my CS Evans dummy board in here and it works flawlessly but moving on from that it already has your gray wires all your wires here I am sorry the grey and black wires aren’t for your track power I am so sorry about that so please disregard that last statement about the blue box about the gray and the black wires being for your track power I’m gonna have that description pretty much corrected at the bottom of the screen anyway so don’t worry about that so yeah I’m gonna reset reposition the camera and basically I’m going to show you exactly how to install DCC decoder and one of these locomotives I went to Nicholas Smith today I picked up a digit Rex D H 123 P decoder and these are pretty much all the system functions for it video tracks is a pretty good company plug and play you know and I believe this one is a dual mode decoder now what a dual-mode decoder is it’s basically what it’s name says dual mode it enables you to run your engine on DC or DCC basically the per digit code is pre-programmed to sense when it’s on a DC layout and it’s also programmed to sense when it’s on a layout using DCC now if you already have a decoder programmed with the engine number and you want to run it on DC layout no worries you can just take it off the DCC track put it on VCC track turn up your throttle and off you go you can then later on put it back on the DCC layout and then you know turn it turn the engine on type in its individual number address whatever it’s Road number is and then you’re ready to go that’s the beauty of dual mode DCC locomotives a lot of companies like Broadway limited tsunami’s Broadway limited after in Genesis kado they’re offering locomotives with dual mode sound ER dual mode sound decoders for example the tsunami tsunami is offering a dual mode sound decoder ESU has dual mode sound decoders digitrax has dual mode sound decoders MRC hasn’t – but I don’t recommend getting MRC just that I don’t recommend them and QSI does it also and a few other companies have dual mode decoders like lens lens is a pretty good company but I’m going to reposition my camera I’m going to put it on a tripod and I’m going to show you exactly how to do this oh by the way make sure you buy the right decoders for your engines because they do you know you know make sure you buy the right you know pin for it or make sure it has the right plug for so this one has the nine pin plug but this wiring harness here is an adapter plug like I was saying so the nine pin section here is here and then the eight pin section is here so that enables you to take a 9 pin decoder and plug it into an 8 pin DCC board that doesn’t offer both options so this has both options you have the 8 pin and the 9 pin.

This engine just has the 8 pin so if I wanted to if I wanted to install this decoder and that engine I would be using the adapter harness instead but since I’m not putting it in that locomotive since I’m just putting it into a fern ready to roll then it already has the 9 pin adapter I don’t have to worry about that so let me just reposition my camera for a sec ok ok everybody I’ve repositioned myself I’m now sitting down here if you guys can probably see my hands so now I’m going to be taking the udh 123 and I’m going to be installing it in this engine now a key thing to remember is when you’re looking at the side of your harness here make sure that your decoder matches up because you don’t want to try to force it if it’s not going to go so basically look on the inside there and I’m just going to go ahead and try to keep out of the way as I can we want to make sure that is a good solid connection between the plug and the decoder you don’t want to be too rough because when you’ll damage the plug and then you’ll really be in trouble okay now that that’s been solved many tests this is to see if the circuits been completed and let’s see if the locomotive will run I’m just gonna hold the shell up so that if I that when the locomotive starts moving it doesn’t drag the shell voila let’s go and zoom out of that shall we you see so it does work so let me just double check something I need to see if I I’m showing this to you guys okay I’m not sure if that was a clear view so let me just see see if I can show you guys and that’s a key thing to check with your dual mode decoder so what I’m gonna do now is I’m gonna reinstall the body on the shelf and it should it’s you know the code of the decoders not gonna really affect the body at all make sure all your wires inside of the shell are nice and tucked away you just place the engine back on the show or the place the shell back on the chassis I’m actually going to remove it for a second yell because I want to do this properly for you now I’ve got the engine back on the track not quite and it works I might have to double-check something because the lights are technically supposed to be coming on um unless the bulbs are blown out already so that’s another key thing you want to check for make sure everything’s working your lights and and whatnot but I don’t smell anything I don’t see anything so more than likely the bulbs are just probably burnt out on it um but yeah that’s basically the basically the gist of how to take a DCCC ready locomotive and install DCC and let me do a close-up of the adapter plug for you this is the adapter and they put the eight pin section see here’s the eight pin section so yeah that’s pretty much the gist of it um follow your instructions for the DCC programming ah don’t throw this away you will need it it’s a good it’s good to show you you know it shows you exactly what it is capable of doing what brands of DCC systems to buy and the whole whole lot of other cool and interesting things I’m really impressed this is actually I’m not even kidding that’s the very first decoder that I actually bought it these are the instructions right here it tells you carefully remove the locomotive shelf from the frame though it’s the orientation of the shell to the frame so you can reinstall it correctly so yeah it tells you to basically give you everything you need right here so it says in its that these are what you should look for you know for for details of wiring twelve volt and 1.5 lamps and LEDs lamps draw more than 80 when running a required 22:08 em or home to a 1/4 watt resistor in series with the direction of light function lead protector really protected the decoder so yeah it gives you all the instructions here I’m definitely gonna keep this so yeah I just I just thought you guys would enjoy me doing a little helpful how-to video and this uh that was actually pretty painless if you asked me and if you can and I recommend if you can if you really can install it yourself I recommend you do it because it’s actually a lot better if if you’re able to install it yourself I mean don’t get me wrong if you’re not sure on something go and ask a professional please better ask a professional then they go ahead and do something silly but if you know you’ve done something right the engines gonna run if there was any problems I would have noticed them alright guys hope you enjoyed the video bye and if you have any questions feel free to ask I will do my best to answer them but I hope this sheds some light on how to just install the decoders what you need to do and the brands as far as a variety of them are out there


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woltar9 says:


Neptune6JUN44 says:

What was the issue with the lights not coming on?

theron parrish says:

hello i was looking at your video. and my question? is how do u reporgram the DH123 decorder

Bob Decker says:

Thanks alot.  I have the Proto 2K and needed some additional info. Will the digitrax work with the Bachman EZ command? 

Locomotore99 says:

Very helpful. Thank you. 🙂

SMOBY44 says:

Hey, great tutoricle.

RustEZZEProductions says:


Trainman46 says:

so I need a regular decder and  A SOUND decoder? there is no two in one?

Twin Fun says:

is the atlas silver dash 8-40bw loco plug and play?

andrews trains says:

what dcc 9 pin decoder does the p42 take

Por7anova Plays says:

What brand is the decoder you used

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