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Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum and I'm seeking information. I did think about putting this thread in the DCC forum but I thought it was more likely to be spotted here.

Anyway, I'm interested in doing DCC in British N scale, and I'd like to know if anyone else is doing this. I'm a little perterbed by the fact that most of the diesels use live chassis. How easy is it to get round this little issue? ATM the stock I want to fit are 66s, 158s, 170s and 20s.

I've been told that Dapol see DCC as a fad. More fool them if this is the case, as it will mean I neglect buying a British product in favour of the user friendly BachFarish DCC Ready 66! Can anyone confirm/deny this?

Bye for now

Rich
 

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I don't model N so can't be sure, but I believe the bogie diesels are relatively simple to convert, as although the chassis is live to the rails, it is easy enough to isolate the motor by unsoldering a couple of wires.

The bigger problem in conversion is the Farish 08 and steam locos, as these have one of the motor brushes live to the frame and one rail. Although there is a kit available to simplify the matter somewhat.
 

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Hello Rich,
Just read your post. I have done a few conversions to date, both steam and diesel.
The Farish 66 was relatively simple. just remove the 2 jumper clips on the P.C.B. that enable D.C. running. Position the chip (I used a Lenz Gold Mini) where it sits, first stick some electrical tape across the chassis to avoid any shorts. Trim the wires to the correct length, and carefully solder them to to respective contacts on the P.C.B.

Farish Class 47's are a little more tricky, but not difficult. The chassis halves are part of the current collection, and need to be isolated from the motor contacts. What I do is split the chassis in half, havin first noted the position and relation of the bogies. They come apart when the chassis is split, and bits are easily lost! Once I have two chassis pieces, I use a small file to mill away the part of the chassis that contacts the motor brushes. When you think the clearence is adequate, refit the motor and check with a multi-meter to ensure that there are no short circuits. I then solder two short lengths of wire, about 75mm, one to each motor brush. Re-assembly the complete chassis, and run these two wires upwards between the chassis halves, ensuring that the motor is not fouled. Insulate the top of the chassis, where the chip is to be positioned with electrical tape. The method I use for collecting the current for the supply to the chip is as follows. It is not hi-tech or very pretty, but it works for me. I cut wilth a scaple, a small piece of balsa, about 15mm x 4mm x 4mm. Bear about 4mm of the pick up wires for the chip, and tin the exposed wire. Then I superglue the wires to opposite sides of the balsa. Slacken off the screws that hold the chassis together. Not too much, just enough to get the bals and the wires trapped between the chassis sides. Then retighten the screws. Join the wires from the chip for the motor connection, to the ones running up between the chassis halves and cover with heat shrink. Then check the loco on your programming track

Farish H.S.T.s with the centre mounted motor are quite simple. All you have to to is interrupt the current collection from each bogie and put the feeds to the chip. Then the output from the chip goes to the wires to the motor. Insulating where necessary.

Now for 0-6-0 chassis like the 08 of steam loco's A3's etc., this site may help http://www.jigerspe.demon.co.uk/theme_2.html
You need to strip the chassis down a fair bit. What i do is ream out the bottom brush holder hole large enough to accept the brush holder that I have covered with heatshrink tube, to insulate it. Don't make the hole too big, as the brush holder needs to be a fairly tight push fit. Solder a short length of wire to the brush holder spring clip, about 75mm, for contacting to the chip later. What I do then is insulate the side of the chassis with black electrical tape, again, not pretty, but it works for me, , then refit the spring clip and check for shorts. The electrical pick-ups come from:-
a) the wire going to the capacitor at the front of the loco, which I remove.
the bolt that comes from the base plate up through the chassis
so this is the two places you get your feed. You need to join the outputs from the chip to the wire from the bottom brush holder, and solder one to the top brush holder. Checking all the time with a meter.

I uses Lenz Gold Mini's, Digitrax DZ123, and T.C.S. M1 chips, they are all roughly the same size.
I hope that this has helped.
Kevin
 

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Since someone dug up this old fossil...

I would have quite happily soldered and wired up OO gauge motors for decoders, but having closely inspected N gauge motors I decided against it
I repaired a few Lima motors years ago too, but read some horror stories recently about repairing N gauge motors

I restarted after a 15 year break, this time in N gauge, and setup for DC with a view to going DCC

I then started to eMail contractors who were advertising DCC fitting services
Since I was planning a large fleet, of about 30 to 40 locos and DMUs that would need fitting with decoders, I was hopeful of bartering for discounts

One item of feedback was that the DAPOL Class 66 would incur a premium fitting charge
I had found that Ken Chapman had already been fitting decoders to these, not cheap at £30 each but at least it was someone that had experience of this motor
Sadly, turnaround time is between 10 and 12 weeks (yes thats months!)

DCC Supplies agreed to charge me a fixed rate of £10 per loco, plus £5 per parcel (Special Delivery)
Since I was only sending 5 locos at a time, this would balance out the fitting and reduce the risk should any parcel be damaged or lost
Turnaround time is about 10 to 14 days
So far, they've managed to complete two batches and are currently working on a third

It should be noted, these prices excluded decoders
So I then went on the hunt for those too
Up to now I had two Lenz Mini Silver, at £24 each
I then sourced the DigiTrax DZ123, at £14 each
However, I couldn't get any supplier to give me a discount, so I had to look elsewhere
Sufficed to say I now buy the DZ123 decoders from the grey market, at about £12 each (after duty has been applied)

Overall, each loco now costs about £22 to have the decoder fitted, which I consider to be good value for money, saving me time and worry
 

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Hi, if I'm understanding you correctly, you may wish to look at a part made by DCC Supplies (www.dccsupplies.com) called a top hat, which is an exact copy of the Farish metal brush insert, which I think, solves the live chassis problem.
 

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Hi,
I am also in the process of moving my N collection over to DCC.

Similar to what has been mentioned, I started on the easy(ish) options and have converted the following:-

Grafar 66
Grafar 47/57 (later bachmann chassis)
Grafar 33 (old chassis)
Grafar HST (centre mounted motor)

The most tricky one to date is a SR west country class steamer. Decoder in the tender. This was most difficult due to one set of wheel pick ups directly earth to the chassis and then onto one motor contact, all of which need isolating.

Most conversions (done myself) take about an hour - 2 hours.

I have found the hornby decoder small enough for these conversions (I have a Select unit to control them at present).

Next mission was to be a Dapol 73 which I have stripped down. Will need a lenz mini decoder for this as the hornby one will not fit without major hacking of the chassis to make space.

Dapol are apparently re-tooling the 66 and 73 to make new year releases DCC ready. It may be worth selling my current dapol 66 and 73 and buying the new DCC ready version. Although I like a challenge, why make life unnecessarily difficult!!
 

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Just to add my two penn'orth, this week I have managed to convert a Farish 4MT steam loco using the method given on the Yahoo! DCCUK discussion group (look in the "Files" area for text and pics). The philosophy with this method is to insulate the pick up brass strip from the metal of the chassis, rather than insulating the motor brush from the chassis like the Gerry Spencer conversion kit or DigiHat.

The method is to insert an insulating shim between the brass pickup and the chassis block; the DCCUK posting recommends using Plastikard. I used a thin piece of glossy paper from one of those "Use your ISA allowance" leaflet included with a lot of the railway magazines at the moment, which is thin enough not to make an noticeable difference to the sandwich of pickups and plastic that is screwed to the bottom of the chassis. Some careful scalpel work to cut out the paper strip and a modification to the brass strip to stop it making contact with the fixing screw, before soldering the red pickup wire direct to the pickup and reassembling the whole lot gives you a DCC-fitted 4MT. The loco body itself needs a bit of chopping about to fit a chip in the coal bunker, as described with photos in the DCCUK article. I spent about an hour and a half overall on the conversion, and most of that was on modifying the loco body - the DCC bit was much quicker.

I've tested my 4MT and it works fine
, which is a result in my book. (I'll let you know if it deteriorates.) However, it is simple and has given me renewed faith in fitting chips to my steam locos.

I tried the Gerry Spencer kit and have got two Farish steam locos running happily by that method myself, with another two converted by Ken Chapman.

Regards,

Dan
 

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QUOTE (rainprooftractor @ 21 Mar 2007, 13:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Just to add my two penn'orth, this week I have managed to convert a Farish 4MT steam loco using the method given on the Yahoo! DCCUK discussion group (look in the "Files" area for text and pics). The philosophy with this method is to insulate the pick up brass strip from the metal of the chassis, rather than insulating the motor brush from the chassis like the Gerry Spencer conversion kit or DigiHat.

The method is to insert an insulating shim between the brass pickup and the chassis block; the DCCUK posting recommends using Plastikard. I used a thin piece of glossy paper from one of those "Use your ISA allowance" leaflet included with a lot of the railway magazines at the moment, which is thin enough not to make an noticeable difference to the sandwich of pickups and plastic that is screwed to the bottom of the chassis. Some careful scalpel work to cut out the paper strip and a modification to the brass strip to stop it making contact with the fixing screw, before soldering the red pickup wire direct to the pickup and reassembling the whole lot gives you a DCC-fitted 4MT. The loco body itself needs a bit of chopping about to fit a chip in the coal bunker, as described with photos in the DCCUK article. I spent about an hour and a half overall on the conversion, and most of that was on modifying the loco body - the DCC bit was much quicker.

I've tested my 4MT and it works fine
, which is a result in my book. (I'll let you know if it deteriorates.) However, it is simple and has given me renewed faith in fitting chips to my steam locos.

I tried the Gerry Spencer kit and have got two Farish steam locos running happily by that method myself, with another two converted by Ken Chapman.

Regards,

Dan

I've done three 4MTs by that method now. Just bought an 08 from eBay and it looks like the same method will work. At the risk of upsetting a customer, I don't see any need for Gerry's kit (nor for the Digihat). How does Ken Chapman do it?

There is a danger of the rear wheels shorting against the lower brush holder but that's easily prevented with some black insulating tape.

Andrew
 

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Andrew,

Ken uses the Gerry Spencer kits. I'm going to try a tender loco next, like the 4F, with the paper shim method and see how that goes.

When I did my 4MT, I got my black paint out and painted over all the visible wires, exposed metal on the brush holders (I found it takes a good sideways force to get the wheel to touch the brush clip, but put some insulating tape just in case) and the pickups too while I was at it. I also put a bit of tape on top of the top brush holder in case it decided to touch the metal cab roof.

And a general plea: has anybody put a chip in a Dapol Ivatt 2MT yet?

Regards,

Dan
 
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