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Since getting involved in DCC I have fitted plug n play chips to my DCC ready stock, I was sometimes baffled why the decoders are so big. So, me being me I got to wondering if N gauge chips would be a better solution but before going out and splashing the cash thought Id better ask some questions of people more knowledgable than myself.

Do N gauge decoders use the same size plug? (not a problem for retrofitting to older locos or non dcc ready)
Are N gauge decoders limited in the available functions such as lights/sound etc?
Are N guage decoders rated at the appropiate ampage to handle the power demand of a OO loco?
And finally is there much difference in price?

Im not trying to re-invent the wheel just trying to come up with a practical solution.
Thanks
Steve
 

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Most N gauge decoders are available with the 00-style 8-pin plug on wires, though the one with integral plugs use a different 6-pin plug.

You can get 4-function decoders in N sizes, for example Zimo MX620 (though you have to solder the extra wires onto this) and TCS M4. Sound is rare in N gauge but I think some decoders are available - not something I use myself so I can't comment further.

Current could be a problem - some decoders offer 1 amp which should cover most 00 locos but others will be less. You really need to ask about specific combinations of decoder and loco.

N gauge decoders are a bit more expensive and some of the budget types aren't available in N.

I've heard of people using N decoders in larger scales, particularly for the smaller models with less space available, which also tend to need less current. But I guess the fundamental question is if the space is available for a larger decoder why fit a smaller one?
 

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Hi
I have used Digitrax DZ125 decoders in 00, so they are for Z scale. As has been said as long as the current rating is suitable you will be fine, then it's a matter of choice and need as to functions.
http://www.bromsgrovemodels.co.uk/pd-87921...m?categoryId=62
They are are the ones I have used, 8 pins plug and enough current for what i used them in. much easier getting one of them in a small space than a huge in comparison 00 decoder, i used one without a plug for a J94, space was certainly an issue!!
Cheers
Michael
 

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Long way from an "expert" on the subject
but the decoders I use are the TCS M1, available from www.digitrains.co.uk , these are rated for OO/HO but small enough for N, I use them in HOe so about the same amount of room as N

Chap at Digitrains is also extremely helpful and knowledgable. Oh, the TCS decoders are garanteed "Goof-proof" as well
 

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I have used a Zimo decoder which is listed as being an N gauge decoder in a OO loco. The current ratings etc. were ok and it worked for a while before one side of the rectifier went short with the result that the loco would only run in one direction. As I use an ECoS and these are known (it wasn't known to me at that time) to have a higher than average track voltage, I think this is probably what killed it.

Unless you are really pushed for space, I wouldn't use an N gauge decoder. For OO locos where space is tight and you don't need more than two functions, the TCS direct plug in decoders will do most jobs. For an idea of the size of these things, see this sequence of photos in my UK modelling gallery:-

link

The displayed photo shows the decoder in a Bachmann 08 and the one at the left hand end of the photo strip shows another one in a Hornby Patriot. There is very little space in the Hornby rebuilt Patriot boiler. It was the very similar rebuilt Scot which had the now deceased Zimo decoder.

David
 

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**** The smaller decoders from TCS - M and MC series are well able to reliably power HO, OO or even S scale locos - their continuous power rating on the motor circuit is 1 amp. I put these in many large locos - and I tested them to the limit - 2x MC2 fitted AC6000's in consist pulling well over 100 x 100 ton bogie type ore hoppers quite happily for a very long time with no sign of even warming on the supposedly "N sized" decoder. (access is via the top of the loco, so it was easy to check)

Its a bit of a misnomer to brand all small decoders as "scaled" like OO, N and Z. You should be guided by the power ratings, NOT the size.

Certainly the EU made small decoders all seem shy on power to me at about half an amp...... AND do fail regularly - but they fail as often in N as OO, and its because of lower power and therefore less tolerant components that object to overvoltage or shorts more... NOT because of motor current draw usually!

How do you rate the Hornby decoders... which they put in their OO loc's - also half an amp. Does that make them an overweight N decoder or an underpowered OO decoder.

Where space is at a premium you should also look for an insulated decoder - which most EU made ones are not... you will not have space to easily mount it in an insulated fashion, so if the decoder is already protected, the job is that much easier.

Its my experience that in small decoders, TCS make a far more robust product than any of The EU brands.

Richard
 

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I second Richard here. The TCS M series of decoders will fit and power any of the Bachmann or Hornby locos. There is also the TCS DP range, Direct Plug, decoders of which the DP2-UK is a decoder designed to fit a UK loco, the sockets in UK locos are a north south orientation whereas US locos are an east west orientation. You may find that the DP2-UK may not fit some Bachmann locos as readily as others. This is where the the M1 decoder comes in as it'll fit easily in Bachmann locos, BR and Ivatt class 4's come to mind.
Chck them out at http://www.tcsdcc.com/DecoderSelection/HO%20Series.htm

Charles Emerson
Queensland
Australia

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 14 Mar 2009, 22:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>**** The smaller decoders from TCS - M and MC series are well able to reliably power HO, OO or even S scale locos - their continuous power rating on the motor circuit is 1 amp. I put these in many large locos - and I tested them to the limit - 2x MC2 fitted AC6000's in consist pulling well over 100 x 100 ton bogie type ore hoppers quite happily for a very long time with no sign of even warming on the supposedly "N sized" decoder. (access is via the top of the loco, so it was easy to check)

Its a bit of a misnomer to brand all small decoders as "scaled" like OO, N and Z. You should be guided by the power ratings, NOT the size.

Certainly the EU made small decoders all seem shy on power to me at about half an amp...... AND do fail regularly - but they fail as often in N as OO, and its because of lower power and therefore less tolerant components that object to overvoltage or shorts more... NOT because of motor current draw usually!

How do you rate the Hornby decoders... which they put in their OO loc's - also half an amp. Does that make them an overweight N decoder or an underpowered OO decoder.

Where space is at a premium you should also look for an insulated decoder - which most EU made ones are not... you will not have space to easily mount it in an insulated fashion, so if the decoder is already protected, the job is that much easier.

Its my experience that in small decoders, TCS make a far more robust product than any of The EU brands.

Richard
 
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