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New Katos/Old Katos: Decoder Compatibility

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New Katos/Old Katos: Decoder Compatibility
Posted by CSX_road_slug on Friday, May 2, 2008 6:20 PM

I still have 6 locos that need decoders installed, before my fleet is fully 'digitized'.  All of them are Katos: 3 SD38-2's that I bought in 2005, and 3 SD40's from 1993.  But each one of them runs very smoothly and quietly. 

My question is: Can the same type of decoder be used on both the newer and the older Katos - or are there differences?

TIA! 

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Friday, May 2, 2008 6:52 PM

The "same" decoder is the issue.  The newer loco's may have places for decoder plugs to be inserted.  The older loco's may not.  Have you looked?  If you do your own decoder installations and have to wire them in, you should not have any trouble.  If you are one of the newer modelers that install decoders by plug-and-play, the answer is NO.  You will probably have to get someone to do it for you.

Technically, any 1 amp output decoder can be used with any HO locomotive that is in good shape and runs well.  The minor issues are: type of sound wanted; how many motor functions you want; and is there enough room for the decoder.

The same things have to be done on all loco's before installing a decoder: electrically isolate the motor from the loco frame.  You can do this on your own, or loco's can come this way from the factory.  That is the main difference between DCC ready, and not.  You have to be able to tell which is which.  If you can't, again, get someone else to do the conversion and installation for you.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by pastorbob on Friday, May 2, 2008 8:44 PM

The SD38-2 is DCC ready with a plug.  Did one about 6months ago.  The old Kato SD40-2 required a hard wire board decoder, the new ones are DCC ready also with a plug.

Bob

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Friday, May 2, 2008 8:53 PM

The motor isolation issue is what I'm mainly concerned about; I'm no stranger to soldering wires.  I did one AThearn BB unit and decided I'd never put myself thru that kind of hassle again.

 davidmbedard wrote:
... My gut is telling me that your SD38-2 are actually ready for the Digitrax SDH104K1B+FN04K1B sound decoder. ...
 

David you are correct, I did one of my 38-2's ~1 year ago using that exact one.  IIRC, you were the guy who recommended it.

The DH165K0 is on my 'short list', along with the NCE DASR and the TCS A4X0. I like the Digitrax because its the only one with BEMF.  I'm not doing sound with these units; the extra money I would have spent on those has gone to various gas stations instead...!Grumpy [|(]

 

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by steve58 on Friday, May 2, 2008 8:57 PM
TCS decoders also have BEMF.
**** 'course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong ***********
  • Member since
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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Friday, May 2, 2008 9:08 PM

You're right it does, it wasn't too obvious when I first viewed the page.  I'd just have to pay an extra $2 apiece for the BEMF option.

 

Thanx alot guys for responding! 

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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