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Yet another DCC conversion

6073 Views 23 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  zmil
Hi All
The last couple of conversions I have attempted , I have used a piece of left over transparent plastic from a blister pack to mount the decoder on. Initially (the first job was a small BR24 with nowhere to mount the decoder , but the space in the boiler) it was to give the decoder a flexible mount and stay in place when slipping the body over the chassis. Also the double sided tape adheres to the plastic much better than trying to stick the tape to the loco's weights
Let me know what you think.

Fleischmann HO 4224 BR260
Installation of a M1 Decoder

This is an all wheel driven locomotive with power pickups on 6 wheels
The best method to disassemble the locomotive is to stand it up as normal
The 4 buffers hold the front and rear rails and the body too the chassis, be aware there are 4 little plastic Lamp covers which will likely fall off when the railings are removed. The body can now be lifted straight up.

Here is a picture of the "naked" locomotive.


There is a nice spot for and M1 or MC2 decoder without having to resort to milling of the loco weights. I chose to use the M1.

The picture above shows the view of the side of the Locomotive, Positive rail to the near side.
The Motor back plate was replaced with a Fleischmann insulated version.
The Decoder was mounted on a piece of plastic (from a blister pack) to fit in the space shown in the previous picture. Utilizing the motor mount screw to hold the plastic in place, this allows the weight to be removed without disturbing the decoder wiring. Fleischmann's original Black wires from the +ve side pickup were retained and connected to the Red wire on the original tag. The Black wire to the -ve (chassis internal pickup) was grounded to the chassis with the rear light. As the chassis is "live" from the -ve pickup I chose to run the lighting on half wave power.

(I Know Richard would not Approve)

Body back on , fitted with Profi couplings , the inside ends of the body was lined with Al foil to stop the lights shinning through

This loco runs very well on DCC with BEMF

Regards Zmil
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QUOTE (neil_s_wood @ 16 Aug 2008, 07:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Very good, that should be helpful for others trying the same.

***Yes, its a good install in many places and Zmil did a tidy job, BUT NO, I don't think it is a good example with the way the lights have been left!

(See Zmil - I did read it and wasn't initially going to comment, but I had some fun with a FL loco today because of the chassis grounded lighting, which motivated me to make this comment)

You said:

""Fleischmann's original Black wires from the +ve side pickup were retained and connected to the Red wire on the original tag. The Black wire to the -ve (chassis internal pickup) was grounded to the chassis with the rear light. As the chassis is "live" from the -ve pickup I chose to run the lighting on half wave power. (I Know Richard would not Approve)"

Well... I do NOT approve

What???? You say.... if FL do it and the decoder Mfrs make it possible, why would I NOT approve of it.

(BTW, the loco makers do it this way becasue its cheaper for them, not because its good!)

Here are two examples, one of them was discussed on this forum very recently.

The first was a problem for Geoff Booth - the thread is here.
In this, the light was installed by the N scale Mfr just as you/Fleischmann have done, but the filament of the bulb was intermittent, screwing up the information to the decoder and causing geoff some problems. It would NOT have happenned if the bulb was properly connected to blue and white - and all that would have taken was heat shrink round the bulb so it could go back into the same bulb holder and one more wire in the install. (or even better, relace the bulb with an LED)

The seond was a Fleischmann loco owned by a client of mine. Not a bad job done of the install but while the rear light was wired properly the front light was hard wired across the chassis rather than through the sound decoder.

The loco was brought in to me as the chuff was appallingly low and the ESU LokSound decoder would NOT accept many of the CV changes wanted, nor would it correctly read - it was a LS 3.5 16Mbit decoder, but read only intermittently and then as a V3.

It ran OK
The sound was terrible (quality OK, chuff volume very faint)
It wouldn't reliably programme
It wouldn't read on ANY controller or computer software
It wouldn't accept a software re-install (to ensure that it hadn't been corrupted)
It would half load a soundfile or seem to, then hang.

Between today and previous days, about 8 hours wasted on it. I was getting pretty close to biting the bullet ad declaring the decoder faulty .....I took one long last look at everything..... Then a Eureka moment - I realised that the front light would not respond to the deecoder functions....because the instller was simply lazy and hadn't done it properly

ONE SNIP removing the lamp from across the track and the decoder now accepted a full re-flash of latest decoder software, accepted a totally new set of soundfiles, accepted all tuning I wanted to do to it and it is now really nice.


Zmil, no, I do not approve - not to be precious about it but because it is UNWISE to do it.

Its always personal choice, so by all means keep doing it your way.... but PLEASE do NOT encourage others to use half wave or chassis based linking for light bulbs EVER - they are a reactive and inductive load and can and do cause significant problems.

The fix, doing it the "best practice" way is SO easy anyway.

The easest way is as I said above - If you want to keep a bulb, thats fine but....solder a second wire to the bub then put heatshrink aroound the metal base of the bulb, replace it in the holder and use TWO wires from the decoder to power it.


Use a prototype white LED which often gives a far better light anyway!


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QUOTE (zmil @ 21 Aug 2008, 20:25) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi All
I don't know if anyone else has experienced this
This loco wired up as to convention (except the half wave power to the lights) works correctly on DCC , forward is forward , lights go on in the correct direction , without any modification.

However on Analog Control it works backwards to the other loco's
I'm not sure if it did this before conversion as I only had it on a short test track.
Is there a way to program direction for analog use? Is this a decoder glitch?
I rarely would use analog anyway and I really would not like to swap the Orange and Grey around ( as the orange is to short for that) so it may have to stay this way

but any other suggestions (nice ones ) would be appreciated

Regards Zmil

*** I can't say I've ever had a loco that runs correctly on DCC and wrongly on DC.... Right rail usually = red by NMRA stds and generally globally accepted wiring conventions (except Hornby, when its either blue or black on all recent steam locos, take your pick)

This quote from your original post might give a clue...

<<Fleischmann's original Black wires from the +ve side pickup were retained and connected to the Red wire on the original tag>>


Did you by any chance perhaps remove the magnets during the conversion then accidentally reverse them when you replaced them????? This will reverse DC running....

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QUOTE (zmil @ 22 Aug 2008, 13:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi All
Turned the magnet around and it works the right way on Analog control now, but of coarse wrong on DCC
So put 7 in CV29 and changed the values of CV49 and CV50 around .
Now all is OK
I think the motor insides may have come from a different loco ( an E-Lok which are wired in reverse)

Regards Zmil

**A nice easy answer for U though, I'm pleased it fixed the DC problem for you.... DCC as you mentioned is just a CV change. Curious that you needed to change 49 and 50 though.... a CV29 fix does lights too....

QUOTE (zmil @ 28 Aug 2008, 09:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>When I first started using LEDs I wired the resistor directly to the LED
and old school soldering - good mechanical join - makes a good soldered joint
created a hook in the resistor and LED tails and crimped them together, then soldered
so the LED resistor combo was a little large , compared to the existing lamps

New technique (after looking at Martins work on the flicker free lighting unit)

Pre-tin the connections and use a Lap joint

the "helping hands" comes in handy for this.
I used the DCC Standards colour wires (as I only have Black heatshrink)

I cut the excess Tails off afterward , having the tail in place , draws heat away from the LED - while soldering
I used a small amount of heatshrink to insulate the connections
The little lamp is the OEM lamp from the loco , to give an idea of the size difference

The second LED for the Rear Light

An extra bit of shrink to hold the wires together

That's 2 down 48 to go!

I did find that the amber lens "golden White" looks great when used as a direct light (with the LED protruding from the loco) but when used internally with a transparent light director it appears quite white -OK for diesels , not so good for Steamers
I may do some experiments with different colour LED's I have some pale yellow and warm white in "water-clear " LEDs to try
And save the Golden white LEDs for direct lighting applications

More fun to be had

Regards Zmil


Nicely presented work - well soldered and neat and tidy too!

The LED shown are the original "Golden whites".

You should try our new "Prototype white" LED range - less amber when off, and a softer light overall especially when resistance is lowered. For your indirect lighting, you need to disperse the beam a little and perhaps add a different higher value resistor

If you need "dispersed light" for some of the EU locos, try the following - both work.

(1) Easy: sanding the LED with about 400 grit wet and dry all over the lens area, and use between 3 and 5k, instead of 640~1k ohms for the resistor.

(2) Harder but excellent: Pre-drill with a fine drill to give you a starter hole then use a 3mm drill and carefully drill a cone shape out of the tip of the 3mm LED. Don't go far enough in to damage the LED elements of course. (by hand is better, or at slow speed with a battery drill).

This will give a 60 degree cone which will send the light out as much to the sides as in front, and makes it much more effective for light-pipe illumination (the LED unmodified is a 20 degree forward focus). The resistor should probably stay at 1k for this application as the efficiency of the LED is lowered a lot in order to give the dispersion.


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Nice answer to mounting the LED - keeps it right in position!

Re disguising the wiring, a spirit based/permanent marker does a good quick job - the one I prefer is by staedler, and is called a "CD Pen". It seems to cover better than most and is very permanent.

QUOTE (zmil @ 12 Oct 2008, 11:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi All

I have been playing around with LED's and lighting in these Loks

The First one is an EPII BR53 with a Pale Yellow LED , Next EPIV BR64 with Golden White LED Third BR64 with a Warm White LED all loco use the transparent light directors from the light source to the headlight

I still have to play around with the LED's a bit to give a more even light

Any comments on which looks better?

Regards Zmil

***You need to put them in the same loco to make a comparison - the "Light pipe" approach of european loco's makes the result different each time, so apples aren't compared to apples. (Even a few degrees off axis and the light level will be very changed, so a differing light pipe/loco lens process makes a huge difference!)
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