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Recommend a decoder for my H16-44

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  • Member since
    November 2007
  • From: auburn,in
  • 113 posts
Recommend a decoder for my H16-44
Posted by wheeler on Monday, February 25, 2008 3:31 PM
I am wanting to convert this as (hopefully) my 1st successful DCC project. any recommendations?
  • Member since
    November 2007
  • From: auburn,in
  • 113 posts
Posted by wheeler on Monday, February 25, 2008 5:44 PM
Sorry, it is a Bachmann...
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Posted by locoi1sa on Monday, February 25, 2008 6:09 PM

  If its a split frame Bachman than its next to imposible. I have a spectrum H16-44 and gave up trieing to fit a decoder. It can be done but not worth the time and effort. If its one of the newer locos with a plug than any short harness decoder will fit.

   Pete
 

 I pray every day I break even, Cause I can really use the money!

 I started with nothing and still have most of it left!

  • Member since
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  • From: auburn,in
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Posted by wheeler on Monday, February 25, 2008 6:47 PM
Thanks Pete- I will have a look. any hints as to how the body comes off?
  • Member since
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  • From: Auckland, New Zealand
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Posted by Steve_F on Monday, February 25, 2008 10:46 PM

 

The body has four small screws holding it on, two each side between the trucks and fuel tank.

It's a shame so many modelers put the Bachmann H16-44s into the too hard basket when it comes to decoders. Not so long ago I installed NCE D13SR decoders into 5 of my small fleet.

 I hard wired (soldered) the power leads (Red & Black) to the truck pick-ups via a wire I used to connect the front & rear wipers and cut off the part of the wiper that connects to the frame.

I isolated the motor by cutting off part of the wiper that connects to the frame and soldering the orange & grey wires to the remaining bit on the motor then wrapped some insulation tape around the motor contacts for good measure.

For the head lights I cut the middle out of the original light boards de soldering and removing the pick-ups and leaving the mounting holes in the outer pieces so they could still be mounted in their original positions with the original bulbs and wired them with 270 ohm resistors (I don't like the lights too bright especially on older locos). I put the resistors on the blue wires to keep a uniformed practice with other locos that use LEDs.

I used double sided foam tape to attach the decoder to the top of the frame and positioned it to fit in the space left from cutting the middle out of the original board.

These locos were my first attempt at fitting decoders to any loco, I did heaps of research online to figure out how it was done so this may or may not be the best way to do it but it worked for me and may give some ideas to anyone wanting to give it a go.

Hope this helps someone.

Steve

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 2:23 AM
 davidmbedard wrote:

Bachmann eh?  Tis a very difficult install.  There is absolutely NO room under the hood and you will need to mill out weight to make anything fit.  As well, the motor is NOT isolated from the frame and this will be a big issue.

David B

You are perhaps thinking of a three way decoder?

The loco in question will easily take a number of motion and light decoders.  In my Bachmann Spectrum H16-44s I have used both NCE D13SR and Digitrax DZX123.  The latter product is no longer available, but a similar one (I think it is a DZX125 or) will do.

You see little Engineer Slim Stephenson and Fireman Tiny Dan with their heads sticking 3/16 " or more above the split frame?  That tells you that you have at least that much space to insert a decoder of that thickness.  I have done it 6 times.  Also, the split frames and motors are a cinch to isolate and hard wire.  The only thing I would suggest, is to drill and tap a screw of some sort into the frame as it is always hard to heat up a spot hot enough to hold a dab of solder.  I prefer to screw that one rail pickup lead from the decoder into the frame rather than rely on a possibly cold solder tab coming off.

The light boards in the roof of the shell also make rewiring with LEDs a snap, but the resistors in place are not correct.  Replace them with 750 ohms 1/8 watt resistors.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:26 PM

 davidmbedard wrote:

Bachmann eh?  Tis a very difficult install.  There is absolutely NO room under the hood and you will need to mill out weight to make anything fit.  As well, the motor is NOT isolated from the frame and this will be a big issue.

David B

 davidmbedard wrote:

I tend NOT to put decoders in visible areas. 

David B

No need to worry here, Dave. Take a look at your Spectrum H16-44.  I used NCE D13SRs in most of mine, but I could have any decoder in there out of sight, now that I take a second look. 

Wheeler, there is no need for the tiny Z decoders that I mentioned before either.  I used some that I bought earlier when I also thought there was little room in these road switchers.

In the photo below the space between the little guys' heads is elevated above the top sill of the H16-44 cab window (which is too dark to see into anyway.)  And note that the cab roof on an H16-44 is the same roof level of the loco body. (This is the last one I hardwired...still need to attach the handrails etc.)

Actually, if you get down you can peer through grills shown behind the cab out the other side, you will see that the top of the split frame is actually below the bottom of the grill sill....there is even enough room here to put in a sound decoder on top of the frame and further back from the visible grill opening. 

 

 

I haven't tried a sound decoder in these (and if this is your first hardwired conversion you might want to keep it simple) but I can see that a 1/2" round speaker could be inverted above the universal joint under the split frame.....or perhaps just a 3/8" speaker in a round baffle.  You would want to run the speaker leads down through the cab body, however, so they don't get pinched by the shell.....something that is almost always necessary if the speaker is going to down low in a narrow body loco.  Don't know how good a speaker that small would sound though.

So there are a great many decoders that can be put in these locos out of sight.  There should be several posts here and on the web showing the steps of such conversions too.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, April 12, 2008 3:32 PM

I hate to bring this up again, but I am having the same problem with my -44. I cannot seem to get the motor isolated. I have tried hardwiring to the wipers on each side...still hot. I tried everything I know, but when I test it, ....still hot. Anyone have pics of thier succesfull install?

I did find this out...soldering the wires to each side of the frame does not work..had to tap in a screw on each side...works great if I can get everything isolated!

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    November 2007
  • From: auburn,in
  • 113 posts
Posted by wheeler on Sunday, April 13, 2008 4:52 PM

Twindaddy- I just successfully finished up my unit yesterday, and ran it around the layout for about 45 mins last night.

I used a combination of suggestions posted here, this is what "I" did.

1) I used a tiny "M1" decoder (that I had on hand from TCS), it went under the cooling fans toward the front of the loco where the frame halves are pointed up.I ground off the pointed parts so it was level (as the rest of the frame) and taped the decoder down.

2) The motor- notice it only fits the frame one way, with an arrow that points down. I took my handy grinder and removed where the motor brush leads touch the frame halves. (sorry no pic)but there are specific "points" where the frame touches the motor tabs.This is pretty thin thru here, and was quite easy. I soldered the gray and orange decoder wires to the existing motor "tabs", and had heat shrink tubing long enough to cover those tabs. The (now) fat wire/tab/heatshrink fits right where I ground away earlier, and reassembly holds the now insulated motor in place nicely.

3) the split frame makes a nice "trough" in which to lay the wires for the decoder too!

I am very happy with its' performance, and will probably buy another loco so I can MU a set.the stock motor will not (via tuning CV's) run at step 1 on start, but looks great on 2 and thru all speeds.

A nice upgrade for a relatively cheap loco.Whistling [:-^]

 

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