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DCC Ready - Hornby and Bachmann Steam Locos

9861 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  34C
I have just bought my first two DCC ready steam locos after having mixed results on 5 conversions. The new stock are Hornby R2459 GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class "Wellington" and Bachmann 32-003 Blue Riband Steam GWR 4-6-0 Hall Class "Kinlet Hall". Much to my surprise, neither had any information on fitting decoders. Hornby had a small slip stating that the DCC unit should not be operated without the (supplied) insulation sleeve being in place. (The leaflet with the Bachmann E-Z Command decoders - 36-551 - I intended using stated "never wrap the decoder in insulating tape! Who do you believe?)
I fitted a decoder to the Hornby first. Once I had realised removal of the forward weight made room for the decoder it was quite straightforward as the decoder slid into the spot left by removal of the weight. Once programmed, the loco runs well.
The Bachmann was a very different kettle of fish! On taking the body apart, I was shocked to see absolutely no room for the decoder. I went looking on the Bachmann website for some guidance. On the page "Fitting Decoders to Bachmann locos" the first thing I noticed was the statement 'We are not able to recommend a decoder for each locomotive...' - amazing given that they market decoders!!
Further down the page you find some info on fitting. Under Blue Riband Steam they say 'Those with a space and decoder socket present no problems. Remove body, fit decoder and replace body. A popular approach on other locomotives is to completely remove the factory fitted circuit board as it's not needed for DCC and use the space to fit a small decoder. Otherwise, locate the decoder in the tender."
Removing the circuit board would not leave room for the Bachmann decoder and fitting it in the tender requires a small hole to be cut in the tender base. I am very reluctant to proceed further at this stage for fear of breaching warranty and have sent an Email to them requesting advice on fitting a decoder. I'll keep you posted on progress.
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Hey guys- similar to your thread, but another examaple of exactly how "DCC Ready" some of these models really are. I use TCS MC2s which are made to fit N Gauge models. Below is my story from this week..............

Following a visit to the Festival of British Model Railways at Harrogate during the weekend I got several bargains. Namely, Hornby BofB "Sir Keith Park, M7, Dynamis reversing module and 5x TCS MC2 chips with the NEM 8 pin harness. The locos were great bargains from "Much Ado About Toys" stand where they were selling off loads of Hornby stock at knock-down prices. I could only get 1 reversing module from Digitrains, but they have them on their website for the same price- £7.50 less than Hattons. The chips were a good price also- working out about the same as Bromsgrove models web-price. I got another scenic mat- grass for a knock down price too!

Fitting the chips last night was not as easy as it should have been for DCC ready locos. One night of fiddling with the M7 trying to squeeze in a N-gauge chip was not fun- it simply will not fit anywhere in the chassis area and you have to remove a tank weight. Note- they are screwed into the tanks filler tops and glued on the sides. It's easy to lose some fine piping details when apart- and the coppered pipes have snapped off which is annoying. With the tank weight removed the TCS chip is fitted and the loco runs well on 28 speed step setting.

Sir Keith was much simpler- although again watch for the fine piping detail being pulled apart when removing the loco body. Also, the speedo cable is very fine with a tiny screw fitting. I re-fitted the coupling rod assembly temporarily to avoid it getting bent whilst handling the loco. The chip fitted straight into the smoke box recess and the whole process took about 25 min- re-assembly is fiddly since the rear body lugs and front chassis fit are tight. You end up wiggling it all into place and hopefully not trashing the fine coppered pipes at the cab end. Fitting all the brake and hydraulic hoses, couplings and steam ejector pipes took another r30 min or so and the result is amazing! Im going to weather the fire box (rust) and brake rods but leave it at that I think since the model is easily the most detailed offering that I have on my fleet currently. Really impressed with it. The lifting lugs on the tender need drilling out too- I note that they are drilled on the M7 tank tops. I set the TCS MC2 to 128 speed steps on the Bof B and left the capacitor suppression unit in place (for the time being) since it didn't seem to make any difference to running.

Cant wait to finish the reversing loop and get the locos running on a decent stretch of track. I think that "Sir Keith" will look great pulling the Pines Express Mk 1s that Ive got.

The show was good with plenty of layouts- although only 1 DCC with sound which was very impressive. The other layouts were some of the ones featured in BRM over the years and it was great to see them live. I particularly liked the show layout which was busy but not overcrowded- unlike Warley. Some of the products now available are really impressive- but I need to get a working model before buying any more…………….

I saw brass name plates and headboards for the WC conversion that I want to do (Triang WC to "Swanage") and the Pines Express and Bournemouth Belle headboard but will order them off the Web since the stall (247) was busy. Ive got their address so hopefully will be able to pick up some stuff from them. I might also try Wissendens.

Next to do on the layout is the reversing loop and I want to add a length of track to the other end to allow run around of locos whilst the other dumbell is being built. Hopefully, that will happen this weekend…………..
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