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"N" Kato C44-9W

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"N" Kato C44-9W
Posted by HobbyDr on Saturday, May 3, 2008 9:45 AM

I need some advice, guys. I have an N-scale C44-9W by Kato I bought several (probably +9) years ago. It is a smooth runner, and I would like to convert it to DCC. (Just so you know, I have not yet decided which system I am going with, but am leaning toward MRC over a close-second Digitrax. I hope to make the decision this weekend.) The C44-9W has a removeable PC board on the top, but the instructions make no mention of being 'DCC-ready'. MRC makes the 1644 decoder that fits Kato's GE AC4400 and Electro-Motive Division SD70MAC engines, and looking at the pictures, they seem like they are identical. Has anyone here tried dropping the 1644 decoder in a C44-9W, and if so, were there any other steps involved? Or has anyone hard-wired another firm's decoder in this particular model, and how complicated was it to do? I know MRC decoders seem to have a bad rap on this forum, but has anyone had a good experience with them?

I appreciate any comments or advice.

 Don

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Posted by locoworks on Saturday, May 3, 2008 10:51 AM
digitrax do ( or used to )  a drop in board, i have on in mine, but i couldn't for the life of me tell you what it's part number is, it was done years ago. they probably still do a board though if you drop them an email.
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Posted by HobbyDr on Saturday, May 3, 2008 11:05 AM

Thanks for the response. I just found the decoder you mentioned in the Walther's catalog (part #245-DN163K1B). So it runs OK? I would like sound if possible, but could forego it for a reliable runner. Thanks again.

Don

 

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Posted by locoworks on Saturday, May 3, 2008 5:33 PM
 HobbyDr wrote:

Thanks for the response. I just found the decoder you mentioned in the Walther's catalog (part #245-DN163K1B). So it runs OK? I would like sound if possible, but could forego it for a reliable runner. Thanks again.

Don

 yes it runs great, it is the first loco i chipped that started well and would crawl along on DC with the chip in. i will say that i don't think it had the part number you gave, i have a feeling it was only 1 or 2 letters after the digits perhaps an early version in the earlier days of drop in replacement boards.( i'm thinking it just ended in 'K' to indicate kato like the 'A' was for atlas ??? ) do the decoders have the number on them?? i'm going to have to look to see tomorrow now!!.  if it does i'll let you know.  :-)

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Posted by Mailman56701 on Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:00 PM
 HobbyDr wrote:

I need some advice, guys. I have an N-scale C44-9W by Kato I bought several (probably +9) years ago. It is a smooth runner, and I would like to convert it to DCC. (Just so you know, I have not yet decided which system I am going with, but am leaning toward MRC over a close-second Digitrax. I hope to make the decision this weekend.) The C44-9W has a removeable PC board on the top, but the instructions make no mention of being 'DCC-ready'. MRC makes the 1644 decoder that fits Kato's GE AC4400 and Electro-Motive Division SD70MAC engines, and looking at the pictures, they seem like they are identical. Has anyone here tried dropping the 1644 decoder in a C44-9W, and if so, were there any other steps involved? Or has anyone hard-wired another firm's decoder in this particular model, and how complicated was it to do? I know MRC decoders seem to have a bad rap on this forum, but has anyone had a good experience with them?

I appreciate any comments or advice.

 Don

 

  Digitrax makes a drop-in decoder for this loco.  Take the Kato board out, put the Digitrax one in, done.

p .s.  I had an MRC 1644.  It would have to improve to reach "crap" level.  Don't bother.

"Realism is overrated"
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  • From: Vail, AZ
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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:20 PM
The Digitrax decoder numbers for the N scale drop in boards, are the base decoder number (163, often) followed by a letter (K=Kato, A=Atlas, I=Intermountain, etc), followed by a number (just sequential, as they are developed, as far as I can figure).  Sometimes there is another letter, to distinguush between different versions of what is probably a very similar decoder.

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by locoworks on Sunday, May 4, 2008 4:05 AM
well i just looked at the decoder, stripped it out  ( easy job ) and there are not any numbers to indicate what decoder it is. it has yellow LED's instead of the more modern white though. sorry i can't give more information. i would say get the latest digitrax offering for the loco though. i don't know if it is just the factory fitted decoders by lenz in the atlas loco's that have limited functionality or all the lenz drop in decoders??  but digitrax drop ins are i believe fully loaded.
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Posted by HobbyDr on Sunday, May 4, 2008 7:44 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. Looks like I'll be going with Digitrax, at least for the decoders. I'm still leaning toward the Prodigy controllers.

Don

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Posted by Mailman56701 on Sunday, May 4, 2008 8:44 AM
 HobbyDr wrote:

Thanks for all the feedback. Looks like I'll be going with Digitrax, at least for the decoders. I'm still leaning toward the Prodigy controllers.

Don

 

  It's only the MRC decoders that are junk; their dcc systems are first-rate.  I have a Prodigy Advance and have no complaints. 

 

  p.s.  the Digitrax decoder you need is DN163K1B.  Its available most everywhere online.  $27 or so.

"Realism is overrated"
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Posted by Mailman56701 on Sunday, May 4, 2008 8:46 AM

 locoworks wrote:
well i just looked at the decoder, stripped it out  ( easy job ) and there are not any numbers to indicate what decoder it is. it has yellow LED's instead of the more modern white though. sorry i can't give more information. i would say get the latest digitrax offering for the loco though. i don't know if it is just the factory fitted decoders by lenz in the atlas loco's that have limited functionality or all the lenz drop in decoders??  but digitrax drop ins are i believe fully loaded.

 

  Fwiw, if your basing the led color of yellow just by looking at it, many times, the actual color when powered/lit will be different.

  I.e., the MRC 1644 has white leds when you look at them, but under power, a very blue light is produced. 

"Realism is overrated"

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