Decoder woes!



I just purchased two Bachman engines one 44 Ton swithcer, and a USRA Light 4-8-2 DCC ready, but no instructions as to make them work on a DCC layout, both engines are workin on the DC setting. any clues? Ther are clips on the decoder, but I don't know what to do with them.
I just purchased two Bachman engines one 44 Ton swithcer, and a USRA Light 4-8-2 DCC ready, but no instructions as to make them work on a DCC layout, both engines are workin on the DC setting. any clues? Ther are clips on the decoder, but I don't know what to do with them.

DCC Ready means that provisions have been made to add a decoder. It does not mean that a decoder is included. I just went to Bachmann Trains website
Bachmann Trains
and they don't list either of these locomotives as having a DCC decoder. They do list them as DCC Ready.

You say there are "clips on the decoder". What exactly do you mean? I would guess that what you are seeing is the dummy plug. Normally you would remove this plug and plug a DCC decoder into the socket. You may or may not need to add resistors to the lights to prevent them from burning out.

You may want to go to the Bachmann website and post a question on their forum "Bach Man".

I hope this helps. If you need more help, please ask.

Yes, I think David's correct. DCC ready means you can install a DCC decoder. Sad to say that means you're going to have to spend some more money before your locos are truly DCC compatible.

They're a good investment if you plan on going to DCC but can't afford to do it right now. If you can afford it though, you may find buying a unit with the DCC already installed is cheaper in the long run.
The Bachmann 4-8-2 has it DCC connection in the tender. You need to buy a Decoder, possibly a 2-4 function decoder that has an 8-pin plug that replaces the dummy plug that is on top of the board. then it will be a matter of putting the tender back together and programming the decoder. Usually a Decoder for that engine is around $25.00. Bring it into a LHS that sells decoders. they would be able to help you. Digitrax, lenz, NCE and TCS all make one to fit.

The 44 tonner may require an Z scale decoder to fit. Simply because of the room. I believe that one you have to wire in because there isn't a plug, but 7 holes to connect the wires too. Not easy unless you understand the wiring scheme.
Thanks for the come back, I thought that all you had to do was set it on the programing track and set it up. I'm new to this, I just rewired part of my layout for DCC, I purchased the EZ DCC controll for this layout it came with an engine, then I bought the second EZ DCC controll and it also came with an engin and they both work fine on the DCC system, Then I found that my hobby dealer is going out of busines and I purchesd the other two engines, I was told that thye where DCC ready, but there are no instructions as to what to do. I had not looked at the USRA Steamer yet the plugs fit under the cab from the tender, the 44 ton switcher has a decoder installed with two bras ckips on the 867 holes and on the 34 holes, I just don't know what to do with those clips, all the wires are solderd on the decoder, so I don't know what to de sodder or re sodder.
the plug that fits between the engine and the tender is just a quick disconnect so you can separate the two pieces. that is not the decoder connection. It is inside the tender walls. You will see a plug with 8 connections on it and that is what is disconnected and replaced by a decoder plug.

As far as the 44 tonner is concerned that green board on top of the engine is not a decoder. You need to purchase a separate decoder as well for that.

I wish i had either one of those units to take pictures of, but i do know that the 44 tonner is going to require some delicate soldering to put the decoder in.
First, I'm going to assume that you don't have the instruction sheet for your 44 tonner. If you do, follow along on the back, the exploded diagram. In the lower left corner, it shows the DCC decoder hookup diagram. I looked on Bachmann's website but couldn't find access to "instruction manuals".

Before you start, you'll need two items: your decoder (an NCE D15SR or Lenz LE1014W should work, I'm not familiar with Digitrax) and a low wattage (25 to 35 watt), fine tip soldering pencil. No, a "soldering iron" or "soldering gun" won't do. Once you see the size of the holes you need to solder, you'll understand.

Now, step by step, do the following:

1) Remove the body shell by removing the two screws in the "fuel tanks".

2) Place the chassis in front of you so that the writing on the PCB on top of the motor is right side up (white H800X-PCB01 SDIE A). I'll refer to the edge with that lettering as the "front". The other edge, with a green H800X in the right hand corner will be the "top".

3) Gently!, bend the two capacitors (the yellow components with two leads) towards you so they lay flat against the circuit board.

4) Remove the two very small brass clips on the left top edge. This will expose 7 holes along the edge. This is where you will connect the decoder.

5) Solder the leads from the decoder to the circuit board as follows: (you will need to refer to the decoder manual to tell you which color wire goes with which function)

a) Left most hole (#8) - power pickup right
b) Next hole to the right (#1) - motor positive (+)
c) Next " (#2) - reverse light
d) Next " (#4) - power pickup left
e) Next " (#5) - motor negative (-)
f) Next " (#6) - forward light
g) Next " (#7) - light common

Note 1: there is no hole #3.

Note 2: While soldering, be very careful not to create "solder bridges". That's were you use too much solder and it flows from one pad and bridges over to an adjacent pad.

Now you're hooked up. Put a piece of electrical tape on the bottom of the decoder and settle it on top of the PCB. Spongy double stick would work well. That done, it's time to test before you put the shell back on.

If this sounds beyond where you are now, or you don't have the necessary equipment, try to find a friendly, local modeler to help you.

Good luck and enjoy!
Digitrax makes a decoder with a plug already installed. No soldering required. Caution Will Robinson! I assume the lamps are 12V bulbs. If not, make sure the headlights have some sort of in-line resistor in place.

I took a look at the Digitrax decoders on their web site. All those that had images use the standard "NMRA" 8-pin plug (2 rows of 4 pins). Unless this is a new model of the 44 tonner not described on Bachmann's web page, this is a solder job. The PCB contacts are a set of 7 in-line pads: no socket to plug into. Oh well. I checked the instruction sheet for the 4-8-2. It does use the "NMRA" plug. So for this one, buy a decoder with the plug attached. Neither instruction sheet specifies the lamp voltage.

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If I remember right the Bachmann come with an 8 pin NMRA socet with a dummy plug in it for regular DC operations. You have to take that plug out and plug a DCC decoder into the socket. You can use a Train Control System T1. This is a 2 function reliable decoder for around 19.95 retail. You can get them cheaper. You would have to buy the 8 pin NMRA harness to plug into the T1 then into the dummy plug on the electronics board in the tender.

The reason is you don't need a decoder with a lot of function controls on it for a steam engine or a diesel with one head light like an F-unit. You can also use a NCE D13SRP that has this 8 pin NMRA plug already on it. I have 3 of these Mountain 4-8-2's myself. Another option is to have a Soundtraxx Sound/DCC control decoder. I have the Soundtraxx decoders in mine.

Bill S.
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