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American Geared Locomotives

by Doug Teggin

Part 1 - Historical Background ~ Part 2 - Bachmann & Rivarossi models ~ Part 3 - DCC installation

Shay ~ Climax ~ 2 Truck Heisler ~ 3 Truck Heisler

 

Bachmann Shay

For all these models, I am installing Lenz Gold-JST Silent-Back EMF DCC Decoders (Article Nr. 10433).

The 2nd easiest model to install the decoder is the Bachmann Shay. There is so much space available that you can even put a sound decoder in here is you wanted.

There is even a Soundtraxx sound decoder for the Bachmann Shay (article # DSD-B3TSLC).

 

The rear water tender top removes with one screw underneath towards the front. It hinges up revealing quite a bit of space. The instructions don't tell you this and you have to hunt for the screw under some wiring...

Remove the blanking plug from the NEM socket. Cut the capacitor if you wish, but leave the chokes.

Click on the images on the right for larger versions.

The decoder is best insulated as there is metal all around (chassis and water tank). Secure it in position with some tape.
After testing (read-back of factory default address), replace the water tank and program the decoder. I've set the max speed (CV5) to 120 and V-Mid (CV6) to 48. ACC (CV3) and DCC (CV4) are both set to 4 and starting voltage (CV2) is set to 1.

Smooth movement and slow running guaranteed!

Work: 15 minutes

 

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Bachmann Climax

The Climax model takes DCC ready one step further. The model arrives with the lid off the tender and the PCB board exposed. This is definitely the easiest model to fit a decoder to. You don't have to think twice about where the decoder is going to go.

 

Remove the blanking connectors (not one pin, but two metal jumpers, and fit the decoder.

Protect the decoder in a plastic or rubber sleeve as the tender box and lid are made of metal.

Click on the images on the right for larger versions.

Squeeze in all the wires and replace the coal load.

Nothing could be simpler nor faster.

After testing (read-back of factory default address), replace the water tank and program the decoder. As with the Shay, I've set the max speed (CV5) to 120 and V-Mid (CV6) to 48. ACC (CV3) and DCC (CV4) are both set to 4 and starting voltage (CV2) is set to 1.

Smooth movement and slow running guaranteed!

Work: 5 minutes

 

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Rivarossi 2 Truck Heisler

These guys (on the right) didn't have to worry about new fangled electronics. But as we are so obsessed with it all and as we rush to digitise our layouts, here are some tips of getting DCC decoders into these geared locomotive models.

Click on the images for larger versions.

 
All the parts apart, ready for a decoder.

The model is tricky to take apart. Not what one is used to as it comes apart from the top down, but after a few times doing it, the process speeds up.

Decoder fitted, sitting in the cab. A simple process of plugging it in.

This is a Lenz Gold-JST Silent-Back EMF DCC Decoder (Article Nr. 10433).

On the rolling road before being put back together for a quick test.

Even though the decoder fitted in the protective sleeve, it was seen through the cab windows so I opted for the installation shown below.

The final position of the decoder. It fits quite nicely across the width of the model under the coal bunker. The cab remains empty.
All together again. Fantastic slow running with the geared drive. Front and rear axles driven as in prototype, 2nd and 3rd axles powered by the tie-rods. Independent trucks with universal joints on the drive shafts. Slower than anything I have including the Hornby Class 08.

Wheel diameter is about 12mm; circumference is then about 37.69mm; 28 seconds to revolve once at speed step 1; 37.69mm / 28 seconds = 0.001346 m/s; gives a prototype speed of 0.117 m/s

Work: 45 minutes

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Rivarossi 3 Truck Heisler

This is now the older Rivarossi 3 Truck Heisler.

This loco model was produced by Rivarossi in the 80's, a little before the introduction of DCC as we know it today.

 

The model has a metal chassis that is used to conduct one of the poles from the track to the motor and lights.

The lights are connected by metal strips, touching the motor, chassis and the isolated other pole.

Click on the images on the right for larger versions.

First step is to isolate all the circuits. Remove all the metal strips. I've tried years ago to connect the common light function wire to the chassis of a Fleischman loco. It blew the decoder. So lights need to be wired up. The common wire from the lights gets connected to the  blue wire from the decoder.
Wiring loom soldered up. Bare solder joints are insulated with small bits of black insulating tape.

The decoder sits under the coal bunker across the loco. Take care to insulate it from the chassis and make sure it does not come into contact with the spindle of the motor.

All ok and together again.

The loco runs perfectly and for a 1980's model, the decoder and gearing make for very smooth running.

Lights are now directional, switched on using Function 0.

Work: 2.5 hours (but worth it!)

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Part 1 - Historical Background ~ Part 2 - Bachmann & Rivarossi models ~ Part 3 - DCC installation

 

 - December 2006

 

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