P2K GP7 installation...

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by trainwhiz20, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

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    Hey again,

    Okay, as some of you may have seen in another thread, I was finally able to get the shell down and the engine running on my test track.

    It's a Life-Like Proto 2000 Series GP7. I have the Atlas Master DCC system. I know the instructions included with the Digitrax decoder will hopefully explain everything.

    I have not installed DCC in any of my locos, so I am definately a newbie. The Soundtraxx decoder I'm getting for my Bachmann 2-8-0 looks incredibly easy. (Seriously, you just plug it in...)

    My questions:

    The hobby shop said they'd call me when they got the $20 Digitrax decoder in. He told me it was model 123 something. He had the DH163LO, but I didn't need all the extra functions, much less pay the extra $10. He said the one they were getting in was a Plug n' Play one, and that's all I know. Anybody have any idea what model it is? Maybe the DH123P? (or DH123PS, what's the difference?)

    Do I have to replace the lightbulbs or something? If so, what kind do I need?

    Sorry bout this. I just feel much more comfortable asking you guys cause you know what your talking about. Nor do I want the engine to blow up when I try to plug the decoder in. Thanks for answering my *dumb* questions!:D

    trainwhiz20

    EDIT: Does this: http://home.neo.rr.com/mrwithdcc/llgp7.html mean anything? I certainly can translate the technical terms... :confused:
  2. Alan B

    Alan B Member

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    Go to www.digitrax.com they will explain all the differences.

    For DCC on your P2k, you will need to either replace the bulbs with 12 volt bulbs, put in a resistor or replace the bulbs with LEDs and a resistor. For replacing the bulbs follow the Lifelike instructions. My personal preference is to use the Miniatronics Yellow Glow LEDs with a 1K, 1/4 watt resistor.

    HTH
    Alan
  3. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

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    Thanks Alan.

    Newbie question: From experience, are the lightbulbs hard to replace? (I haven't even looked at them...)

    :D

    trainwhiz20
  4. Alan B

    Alan B Member

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    You're welcome. They aren't hard to replace. Away from the locomotive, I prepare the LED for a resistor. If you are using a 12 volt incandescent, there is no preparation at all. For a LED, you will need the proper resistor. Solder it to the LED. Then put heat shrink tubing over the appropriate color decoder wire. Solder one end to the LED. Slide the heat shrink tubing over the LED and solder joints. Shrink it down with a hair dryer or use the side of your soldering iron. Then connect the leads to the decoder following the manufacturers instructions to the DCC connector PC board. I solder the leads and then slide the LL plastic covers back on. LL says you don't need to solder. But, I figure I'm soldering anyway, why not a couple of more? If you are using 12 volt incandescents, just solder the leads to the DCC connector PC board and put the plastic clips back. The wires and lights lay in a trough. My only issue here is picking a LED or bulb that fits comfortably in the trough.

    It's really a simple operation. The P2K is well designed to hold the lights in the right place. Unlike the Athearn locos, which require either installing brass tubes or building towers to hold the lights. I will admit that my DCC decoder installations are all Lenz units. The goof proof warranty is great. If the magic blue smoke escapes, just send the decoder back to Lenz and they send you a replacement. Debbie never fusses about that kind of stuff. The price is right too. But that's for another thread.

    HTH
    Alan
  5. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

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    :eek:

    Woah! I don't even know how to solder! *lol*

    Sounds complicated. Maybe I just need to get the stuff and sit down and look at it...

    Thanks Alan.
  6. Alan B

    Alan B Member

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    If you've never soldered before, get some wire and practice before doing it with a decoder. For your first decoder, definitely use a Lenz. A soldering iron is cheap, $8 +/- at Radio Shack. You can find a book at your public library. They teach this in 8th grade shop, so it's really not a too tough. You'll find that soldering is a very useful skill around the layout.

    HTH
    Alan
  7. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

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    Trainwhiz, any Digitrax decoder with an "LO" suffix is made for LifeLike locos. It has circuitry which allows you to leave the original lights intact and not worry about resistors. I'm not sure but think that Digitrax only offers the LO package in their high end decoders (163 series) not in the 123 series. But check their site to be sure. Developing soldering skills would be a great idea and will save you money on decoders and allow installation in older locos, as well as improve electrical contact. I prefer solder joints over slip on connectors.

    Good luck, Gary