DCC Decoder installation in spectrum Loco

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by YmeBP, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I have a bachman spectrum f40ph loco. I'm not sure what year it's from but upon opening it i'm sure it's pre dcc :).

    Are there dox somewhere on the internet that show how to install a decoder in this puppy and keep the strobes?

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  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    where are the pickups on the circuit board that connected the wires from the trucks, and motor?:confused: if those 4/6 wires/pickups where still attached to the circuit board, i could walk you right through it. HOWEVER, just because you kept the circuit board DOES NOT MEAN the strobes/lights wont blow out when it hits the DCC track:(. on NEWER DC engines, SOMETIMES you can save the lights by doing what you are trying to do, BUT NOT ALWAYS:eek:. i sure hope i am wrong, but from the looks of those lights, i don't think saving the circuit board is going to help:(. AGAIN, I AM SORRY, and truly hope i am wrong, but it doesn't look like it.

    i have an older Bachmann Spectrum UP DD40AX that for the heck of it, i tried to do the same thing...as soon as it hit the DCC track, GOOD NIGHT IRENE:eek:, it ended up i 86'ed the circuit board and had to replace the blown out bulbs:(. i put LokSound in it, and NEW lights, the lights and all work GREAT now:thumb:. :)-Deano
  3. oldtanker

    oldtanker Member

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    You can go to Digitrax web site, they have much better instructions that are down loadable there.

    Rick
  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    From the Digitrax site:

    If you've already pooched the circuit board, you can wire the strobes and headlights directly to the function outputs (F0, F1, etc.). If the strobes are LED's you'll need to add a 1K ohm 1/4 watt resistor to each.
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Awesome!!! Thanks!!!! I was hoping to save the lights but i think leds are cheap enough i can just go pick some up and put in new ones. The decoder i have is the 163 and from what i've read it is supposed to do strobing right out of the box so ... a.ll i have to do is solder it to the correct wire.

    So now here is another "problem" the decoder i bought has an 8 pin nrma plug on it :), i don't want to join wires so should i use this as an excuse to find a loco that the decoder fits in :). I noticed at the lhs they have a centercab in the sprectrum line that would be great for my yard switcher do you know if they have nrma 8 pin plugs?
  6. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I think i am going to disconnect the lights from the circuit board and hot glue them to the shell. Are there any reccomendations it looks like they are grain of rice type bulbs, would they get hot enough to melt the glue?

    I have a dn163 decoder that has fx lights so i can connect up the strobe etc directly to the correct wire set i assume :).
  7. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    O.k. i've installed this decoder and it is making me crazy, i can't seem to get it to work. Instead of soldeirng a jumper to the wipres i've solders the black and red to the halves of the frame. I think this is going to be the last non-dcc ready loco i purchase :(.

    I've black taped the motor to be sure it's not shorting, i've checked all my connections i've done continuity tests w/ a dvm i'm at a complete loss.

    When i put the train on the programming track it programs the decoder properly, but when i place it on the mainline it just sits there and all the lights blink. I am using a dn163 which says that it is probably a short or non isolated motor .. I have no idea what i'm missing ;).

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    Links to full sized images: http://www.skyersfamily.com/gallery/v/Trains/Depot/SpectrumF40PH/ click on the image to get the full sized image.
  8. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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  9. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    Sorry it dont look the same
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Heheh, you did the smae thing i did when i bought this loco :). I thought the one you have pictured was the one i was buying .. had i known it was an older style i probably wouldn't have purchased it :).

  11. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    so did bachman make two versions of this loco?
  12. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

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    old and new, tcsdcc.com shows it as a plug and play
  13. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    I think mine is from the 80's couldn't resist 20$ on feebay.
  14. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    YmeBP, you have picked one of the hardest engines for a beginner to install a decoder in, BUT IT CAN BE DONE;). for one, i know you said you black taped the motor, but from the pics i am seeing, its still touching the frame. SECOND, looking at the pics of your trucks, they are so far from being DCC ready, it will never work like that. OK, see the tabs on the trucks that touch against the metal frame...announce1CUT THAT PART OFF! as long as the current from the track is in contact with the frame, you are in a constant short:eek:. i am going to post the link to a GREAT tutorial that Dan Raitz did on installing decoders in Athearn BB, 90% of how he did this WILL APPLY TO YOU!;) PAY ATTENTION TO HOW HE DID THE TRUCKS, you will have to do it just about the same;). the link should be of GREAT help to you:thumb:. i have a Bachmann spectrum FM H16-44 that was set up EXACTLY the way yours is. two years ago i converted it to DCC, i ground out the frame so NONE OF IT was close to touching the motor, then made a styrene case to put around it to hold it in place:thumb:. i did the trucks THE SAME AS Don shows how to do them in his tutorial(only i did mine two years before his tutorial;)). to get that engine to run on DCC, your in for some work, BUT IT CAN BE DONE:thumb:. hope the link helps:D -Deano http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=26837
  15. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Thanks Deano!! I used that tutorial as well as a youtube video to install my first decoder into my athearn bb :). I guess i was jus tbeing lazy .. haha, I have on eof those board type decoders i may use that instead of the dn163. I'll have to look up the dox again.

    Awesome thanks!! I think im going to go try it tonight see what i come up with.
  16. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    WAIT!!!!!!! THE DECODER YOU HAVE WILL WORK!!!! NO NEED TO GET ANOTHER!!! the wires are color coded, just set the wires up as per the instructions that came with the decoder:thumb:. no need to waste money, THAT DECODER YOU HAVE WILL WORK!!!;) :D -Deano
  17. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Oh i know i have 2 i bought a decoder for a kato engine i also bought but the kato had the 8pin medium plug so i ended up having this board w/ no use for it. The board will fit nicely on top of the engine casing and i can wire my lights etc better to it than on the dn163. I'd like to keep the blinkers and front and rear lights but i want them on individual funcitons :). Not sure if i should tackle it all at once or take it step by step :) i guess the best first step is getting the engine to actually move when i put it on the lay out hahaha.
  18. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

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    Brilliant!!!! it works!! Now all i have to do is figure out how to get the lights soldered up to those tiny pads :0.

    THANK YOU!!!! I've been bangin gmy head against the wall for days!!! wall1

  19. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    YmeBP:wave:, NO PROBLEM!:D GLAD to have been of help:thumb:. THANKS!:D -Deano
  20. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

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    Nice to see this turned out good. Makes me happy to do group buys and give back in another way. :)

    Gotta love The Gauge! :)