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What does it mean to have a factory installed 8 pin DCC plug

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What does it mean to have a factory installed 8 pin DCC plug
Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 5:50 AM

I am thinking of taking the plunge and purchasing a DC locomotive with a, and I quote, "factory installed 8 pin DCC plug".  I assume this means that I can purchase an 8 pin decoder and plug into the DCC plug and voila, the DC locomotive is now a DCC locomotive.  However, I am not sure if this means that t comes with sound.  Does this usually mean I need to buy a speaker and attach it to the decoder?

Up until now, I have been farming out my DCC issues to a local (very) small business who does great work, but it can be pricey.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by woodone on Saturday, February 09, 2019 6:33 AM

An 8 pin scocket will let you just plug in a non-Sound decoder.

Sound is a different install for sure. Some loco’s may come with a 9 pin socket which will some times support a Sound decoder, but most of the time you will need to solder the wires to a speaker. Also you must add a speaker with an baffle. There are some loco’s that now have a built in speaker mount with the baffle.

You May be getting a good deal if your installer does good work at a fair price!

There are tricks to the trade has they say.

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Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 6:45 AM

woodone, you typed the unmagical word...solder.  If you are located in Phoenix, then you are probably familiar with Litchfield Station in Avondale.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by betamax on Saturday, February 09, 2019 7:46 AM

Basically you have a plug with two connections for the motor, two for track power, two for lights and one is the common lead for the lights. Often there is a dummy plug in there to complete the connections and allow it to work on straight DC.

A compatible decoder is connected in place of the dummy plug and you are now DCC.  It is even idiot-proof: If you connect it backwards, the lights don't work.

Eight pin will work with sound decoders, the speaker will be wired directly from the decoder.

The move is toward 16 and 21 pin connections, to allow for more lighting effects and easy sound installations. Some 21 pin connections are backward compatible with other connectors in that family as well. Gives manufacturers more flexibility.

See https://dccwiki.com/Locomotive_Interface for the variety available.

Unfortunately the NMRA standards have not kept up. If you know anything about the process of creating a standard, you would understand.

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Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 7:54 AM

beta...where would you solder the speaker and I know all about the process of standards creating.  In a prior life I both wrote standards, inevitably they were camels, and I have opposed the standards created by someone else.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by betamax on Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:24 AM

bearman

beta...where would you solder the speaker and I know all about the process of standards creating.  In a prior life I both wrote standards, inevitably they were camels, and I have opposed the standards created by someone else.

 

 
Usually the decoder will have two wires to connect to the speaker, so it would be a direct connection outside of the connector.
 
For the more sophisticated connections, there may be a point on the locomotive's daughter board for the speaker connection.
 
WRT Standards, having enforced them for 20 years and working with people who belong to the committees writing them, I can understand why they would spend a week arguing over the wording of one sentence. 
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Posted by tstage on Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:46 AM

bearman

woodone, you typed the unmagical word...solder.  If you are located in Phoenix, then you are probably familiar with Litchfield Station in Avondale.

While I have never had Litchfield Station do any decoder installs for me, I have bought a number of sound and motor-only decoders from them over the years.  Good folks, good prices, and very quick with deliveries.  (I usually receive an order to OH within 2-3 days.)  And my dear wife always appreciates the token mint that arrives with any package I order from Litchfield Station.

Bear, soldering can look intimidating but it's really not that difficult.  All you need is a good soldering station (for better and more consistent temperature control), a spool of rosin-core 63/37 solder, and a little practice.  Once you learn how to solder, you never really forget.

Speakers wires (2) on sound decoders (e.g. Loksound and TCS) are usually brown in color and it doesn't really matter which one you solder to the speaker terminal.  All you need is a matching speaker (rated in ohms) for your sound decoder and a good baffle to amplifiy the sound.

The one challenge to sound installations is where to fit the speaker.  As someone mentioned, the easiest are locomotives that already come with a built-in spot for a speaker in the chassis.  Those that don't: Some may require from a-little-to-a-lot of modification to the chassis in order to fit in a speaker and others may give you enough room to place a speaker in either the tender or under the shell.  I have a brass FM H20-44 where the speaker/baffle is mounted with double-stick foam tape in the roof of the shell and it sounds great.

Anyhow, don't let soldering intimidate you, bearman.  It's a skill worth learning and not that difficult to pick up and master.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:53 AM

beta, when I was writing standards, I hated the wrangling over one sentence for a week.  When I was fighting them, I relished spending a week on a sentence.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by bearman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 9:03 AM

Tom, yeah, Litchfield Station is about 20 minutes away from me in Avondale.  I got my NCE system and cables from them and they have done all my DCC installs.  In fact, I dropped by yesterday with a locomotive that needs a new decoder.  He bought the business from Bruce Petraca several years ago and it appears he is doing very well, which is a good thing.

As for soldering, I have soldered feeders to rails/rail joiners and joiners to rails, but I have never done anything remotely related to circuit boards.  Plus I absolutely hate the activity.  We shall see what the future brings.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, February 09, 2019 9:44 AM

I liked Bruce a lot, Bear.  He was always helpful with any questions I emailed him.

Yea, it seems that LS is doing very well, which I am pleased to here confirmed.  And, last I heard, Bruce was doing some install work for them in his "retirement".

Decoder soldering is just more delicate work.  I generally use a small spade soldering tip and keep the soldering station between 650-700F.  The key is a shiny soldering tip & pre-tinned wires and solder pad(s).  Max time for heating the solder on the pad: 1/2 second.

And, despite all the "Do NOT use flux" warnings in the decoder manuals, a very minute amount of solder paste flux paste (along with the rosin-core solder) will ensure a bright, shiny solder connection at the solder pad.  Unless you leave the soldering iron on it for 10 seconds, you're not going to delaminate the pad from the board.  I always follow it up a Q-tip dipped in 91%/99% alcohol or Flux-Off to remove any residual flux from the soldered area of the board.

Tom

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 09, 2019 10:45 AM

 Physically fitting the speaker with its enclosure inside the loco is usually a lot more difficult than soldering the two wires from the decoder to the speaker. Unless you get a DC version os one of the locos that is also offered factory equipped with sound, in some cases the speaker mount is already there in the DC version.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by betamax on Saturday, February 09, 2019 11:03 AM

tstage

And, despite all the "Do NOT use flux" warnings in the decoder manuals, a very minute amount of solder paste (with the rosin-core solder) will ensure a bright, shiny solder connection at the solder pad.  Unless you leave the soldering iron on it for 10 seconds, you're not going to delaminate the pad from the board.  I always follow it up a Q-tip dipped in 91%/99% alcohol or Flux-Off to remove any residual flux from the soldered area of the board.

The reason for "Do Not Use Flux!" warnings? It is easier to remember one simple rule, than a rule with a bunch of exceptions.

The big problem manufacturers of decoders have are failed decoders soldered in using acid flux.  Many modellers don't heed the warnings and just grab whatever they have handy, which is acid flux.  Easy to buy at the hardware store, and cheap.

Acid flux is for pipes! Not wires! For electrical work, rosin flux is what you need.  Everyone praises TIX flux, but it too is acidic. It is meant for jewellery, not electrical work. Many solder pastes also include an acidic flux.

Despite what many claim, you can't effectively neutralize acid fluxes by cleaning afterwards, especially in tight spaces or in fixed installations.

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, February 09, 2019 11:15 AM

Sorry, Betamax.  Meant to say solder flux paste rather than solder paste.  Totally different. Embarrassed

Agree with you about the "blanket" warning in the decoder manuals.  Manufactures are just trying to cover their back and it's to wordy to add all of the exceptions.

Tom

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, February 09, 2019 1:26 PM

I’ve been having soldering problems lately working on my Arduino projects and even though I’ve been soldering for over 72 years I missed checking to see if the paste I’ve been using for the last few years was corrosion free.  Well I found out that even though the label said Electrical Soldering Paste it contained an acid.
 
I thought that some of my soldering jobs looked a bit dull but never checked.
 
I also found out that it has a bit of a conductive element too, I never checked for that either, a bit under 600KΩ between holes on the .1” perfboard.
 
Thanks Betamax!!!!
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by betamax on Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:18 AM

Another issue that many don't realize: Do you have a proper soldering iron for electronics?  Another cause of decoder issues is not using an ESD safe soldering iron.

https://dccwiki.com/ESD 

Improper handling is one way to damage a decoder, using an old soldering iron is another way.  You can check your iron to determine if there an issue.  If it lacks a ground pin on the line cord, you can bet it is not ESD safe.

If you are buying one, look for the ESD logo. 

Remember, the damage may not show up immediately.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:36 AM

Can this be tested with a multimeter?

Mike.

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Posted by bearman on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:00 AM

Gentlemen, I appreciate everyone's response.  Having kept track of all of them and ruminating on the advice, I have decided to continue my present practice of farming out any of my DCC installations.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by woodone on Sunday, February 10, 2019 8:36 AM

Sent you a PM.

jerry AKA woodone

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, February 10, 2019 11:49 AM

 Quite frankly, I've never damaged anything through ESD. My first computer, built from a kit, was all CMOS, which compared to TTL is extremely static sensitive. My 'protection' was touching a water pipe before I started installing all the chips. And some will say sure, it worked then, but small static shocks shortened the life. Well, it still works today, 40 years later. For modern computers, I haven't purchased a factory made one in I can;t remember how long, I put my own together. Static protection? The one I am using right now is 6 or 7 years old, and I built it sitting on the living room carpet. 

 I'm not saying to deliberately shuffle your feet and charge up before touching electronics, but the danger, at least to sonsumer equipment, it often highly exaggerated. Touching a decent sink before touching the component is generally sufficient to avoid damage. For example, for the computer, I touch the metal case before picking up the motherboard. ANd again before pulling the CPU out of the package and putting it in place. Never had a bad one yet, never had one live only a short life and then mysteriously die. Have yet to have a bad DCC decoder, or in some means fry one during installation.

                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 2:57 PM

Bachmann locos with eight pin plug have caps and chokes. Cut the caps. The chokes might look like green resistors. Some might be wire wound coils. No resistance.

All Bachmann DCC locos have these components, sometimes hidden. They have a C and L prefix.

With quality decoders, they cause slow running issues with BEMF.

As far as flux and solder, over the years, our club ran into issues with track wiring after some years. Soldering was done with Sal ammoniac flux and solder in the early 1980's before I joined. I tried to convince them about rosin.

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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