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What does "DCC Ready" really mean???

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What does "DCC Ready" really mean???
Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:01 AM

Hi!

I'm in the process of getting educated on DCC and you all are doing a wonderful job of it! 

Most all my HO - DC locos say "DCC ready".  My assumption is that this means one can easily install a decoder by either connecting a plug, or soldering the decoder wires to a user friendly board typically found on top of the motor.  Is this a good assumption?

Also, are there brands or types of "DCC ready" locos that are much more difficult to install or to get the DCC function to properly work?

My question is simply to insure that what locos I have will not get me more headaches than I need when I wire them up for DCC.  Currently my roster of non factory DCC models include:  P2K E, PA, SW, and GP models, Stewart FT & F units with all of the F with Kato motors, Bachman Spectrum steam locos - 2-10-0, 4-8-2, 2-8-0, Kato switcher, Atlas RS 3/4 units.  Ha, those that are difficult will appear in my annual Christmas Ebay sale!

Thanks!

Mobilman44

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:10 AM

 DCC Ready is pretty much a generic term. Generally a loco that is DCC Ready has a motor that is isolated from the frame. In most cases many such locos come equipped with a DCC plug (8 pin, 9 pin, 9 pin JST) that you can plug a compatible DCC decoder into after removing the pull-out dummy plug. In extreme cases it simply means the motor is isolated and you have to hardwire a decoder (that's the one's I enjoy doing). Don't be decieved by the term DCC Capable. Locos that carry this term can be converted to DCC after the motor is isolated (by you) from the frame. Athearn Blue Box locos are a good example of DCC Capable locos. So are some of the older Proto line.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:17 AM

 A quick search reveals that search is still not working properly and only goes back about a week.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
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Collector of Apple //e's
Running Bear Enterprises
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beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by selector on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:21 AM

Yes, you have it right, but don't ever assume so.

Each individual item was assigned under contract, and the specs were probably mutable as things went along.  In any one model, contracted to one among several manufacturers, maybe over two or three runs, things can change due to supply problems or feedback from QC centres.  Back about two or three years ago (only) the term "DCC Ready" meant whatever that manufacturer wanted it to mean.  Many of us found out the hard way.  It is somewhat better now, but it is entirely incumbent on the decoder installer to determine that the motor is truly isolated from the frame, that the lighting devices are suitable for the decoder's output voltages, and so on.  So, you need to be handy with a multimeter, with soldering, and generally knowing which wires should go to what.

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Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:24 AM

David,

I tried the search before putting in my posting and found nothing that answered my question.

Also, from Jeffrey's response, I gather the terms "DCC Ready" is a lot easier to work with as opposed to "DCC Capable". 

Thanks,

Mobilman44 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by jrbernier on Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:34 AM

Good Question!  In simple terms, 'DCC Ready' should mean that the motor brushes are insulated from the power pickup and there is a NMRA type socket/plug to attach the DCC decoder.  What happens in reality is that some were sort of 'DCC Ready'.  P1K - 'X's printed on the DC light board showing land patterns to cut(and no instruction on where to attach the wires).  P2K & Others have the NMRA socket, with a 'dummy' plug, but if you try to plug in a decoder, there is not enough room to get the shell back on the chassis.  And still yet, manyGenesis) have 1.5v lamps that will get burned out as soon as the decoder function output is turned on!

  With all this said, the manufacturers have gotten a much better at being 'DCC Ready' over the past several years.  Most of the new P2K GP's can have a Digitrax or similar DCC decoder that takes care of the voltage miss-match issues.  The current Athearn 'RTR' series of engines have an NMRA 8 pin socket with a 9 pin JST attached to it.  I can plug in the decoder using it's JST connector and be running(lights too) in about 5 minutes. I have some older P1K F3's and P2K GP9's that have the old 'light board' you have to cut the circuit paths on.  I just toss them, hard wire the engine using a JST harness and plug in the decoder.  I replace the old 1.5 v lamps with LED/resistors and wire them to the harness.  Usually this involves about 1-2 hours from start to finish.

  To gain experience, if you have an old Athearn BB engine to experiment with - try this.  Digitrax has/had a special harness kit for them.  The instructions are quitre good.  Sit down with a cup of coffee and go to it - your understanding of DCC will grow.  Many years ago, my son got a decoder and Athearn harness kit as a door prize from Digitrax at a show.  I had a Athearn GP35 I gave him and this 14 year old had it installed/programmed/running in under 2 hours.  The only 'help' I had to give him was to show him how to get the shell off!

Jim Bernier

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, October 25, 2008 11:21 AM

Quite often I use Google when I do no know what a term means. 

Here is an example. Yes, there are a lot of hits but a little reading will generally give you a good idea of a meaning. Oh, a little patience helps.  Wikipedia is one hit that may not always have an accurate description. In the past, many hits were trains.com forums. Right now the trains.com hits only go back to 10-01-2008 until the forum is fully operational. I know, instant gratification is a problem, but right now you have the whole Web available for answers. Expand your vision.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ned=us&q=dcc+ready&btnmeta%3Dsearch%3Dsearch=Search+the+Web

Another plus with this search method is that you sometimes find online train shops you did not know existed. Another search can usually turn up info about the online store.

Your mileage may vary.

Rich 

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by steinjr on Sunday, October 26, 2008 2:03 AM

davidmbedard
 J/W, I just tried the Search Function and you are absolutely correct, it only goes back 2 weeks!  Bah!  There is alot of information that has been lost then....grrrrrr.....

 It actually seems to come online for search a little by little, albeit painfully slow. Posts back to the end of august 2008 (ie about 8 weeks ago) is now available for search. 

 Progress in making old posts available for search seems to be running at somewhat less than one week of history being made searchable for each 24 hour period of processing.

 I suspect that Kalmbach perhaps got blindsided about the need to do some kind of processsing on the old posts to make em searchable, perhaps due to changes in internal data storage formats in the new forum software or some such thing.

 I have earlier sent a PM to Bergie about this to ask if there is some way this process can be speeded up, since having the historical posts available for search is a large part of the forum experience, at least for me, and probably also for quite a few other forum regulars, so he should be aware of it.

 Bergie's list of bugs they are working on can be found as a sticky in the trains.com "Community Assistance" forum - see my signature for the direct URL.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by mfm37 on Sunday, October 26, 2008 5:05 AM

 In N scale DCC ready means that the motor is or can be easily isolated from the frame. After that anything goes because we don't have room for plugs.Sad

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, October 26, 2008 10:24 AM

mfm37

 In N scale DCC ready means that the motor is or can be easily isolated from the frame. After that anything goes because we don't have room for plugs.Sad

There must be some N Scale locos with plugs, otherwise there wouldn't be N Scale decoders that come with them right on the board.

Running Bear, Sundown, Louisiana
          Joined June, 2004

Dr. Frankendiesel aka Scott Running Bear
Space Mouse for president!
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Running Bear Enterprises
History Channel Club life member.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam


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Posted by mfm37 on Sunday, October 26, 2008 8:16 PM

Many of the N Scale decoders with plugs find their way into HO engines. N scale just means that's the smallest engine they'll fit. As long as the loco stall current is lower than the decoder max current, it will work. Most N scale decoders will work in many modern production HO scale engines.

Just a couple Nscale locos have been produced with plugs. Mostly in the tenders of some steam offerings by Con Cor. PCM offered an E7 with a plug. AFAIK, that's the one and only diesel with a plug.

 

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Posted by Texas Zepher on Monday, October 27, 2008 12:33 AM

mobilman44
My question is simply to insure that what locos I have will not get me more headaches than I need when I wire them up for DCC.  Currently my roster of non factory DCC models include:  P2K E, PA, SW, and GP models, Stewart FT & F units with all of the F with Kato motors, Bachman Spectrum steam locos - 2-10-0, 4-8-2, 2-8-0, Kato switcher, Atlas RS 3/4 units.

 

The Stewart F units and Atlas RS locomotives are the easiest conversions ever.  Just get one of the decoders that replace the existing system board.  See another current tread on this exact topic.

 The P2Ks vary greatly but none of them should present a problem.  The biggest issue is the 1.5V lamps that are used in several of the E and PA units.  Personally even if the P2K has a plug, I rip it out along with all the existing circuitry and then connect the wires directly to the decoder.  The built in circuit boards can cause problems.

I've no experience with the Bachmann Spectrums other than the 2-8-0.  Mine was very old, but once again it was a very easy conversion.  I didn't use the built-in 8-pin plug that it had in the tender.  I totally ripped out that board and replaced it with a native decoder. 

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Posted by WSOR 3801 on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:25 PM

 The Spectrum steamers should all have a 8-pin plug in the tender.  Most any decoder with such a plug should work, as long as it fits. 

The P2K SW has a drop-in made, by NCE.  It keeps the 1.5v bulb on the rear. http://ncedcc.com/

The Kato switcher might be a pain.   http://www.tcsdcc.com/decoderpics/Kato%20NW2/kato_nw2_m1.htm

 

Mike WSOR engineer | HO scale since 1988 | Visit our club www.WCGandyDancers.com

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