Size of decoder?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by BrownMouse, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. BrownMouse

    BrownMouse New Member

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    Ok, here is a silly one. How big are decoders? I am planning to scratchbuild a 4-4-0 American, and would like to leave the option of fitting a DCC decoder at some future date open, but I have not been able to find out the answer to that rather basic question. Thanks,
    Elnathan
  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    BrownMouse:wav: , your question is NOT silly, but rather complex:119: . heres the problem, there is no "standard" decoder size, in fact the same brand, like MRC for example has at least 5 different decoder sizes:eeki: . Digitrax, and others ALSO have different sizes, it just depends on the decoder you want, what you want it to do, and what brand you want to buy:winki: . I'm sorry it doesn't seem like much help, but the cold hard fact is like i said, there IS NO standard size:winki: .

    in a steamer, your best bet would be to put the decoder in the tender, then you should have enough room in there to put just about any decoder you choose:winki: .
    :deano: -Deano
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Are you talking HO, or ???. I think you may have to go tender mounting for your decoder if so. Most manufacturers of decoders list the physical size of their equipment.
  4. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

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    To expound upon UP SD40-2's response, you can also use a decoder meant for a smaller scale if space is at a premium. I had to resort to using an N-scale decoder on a particularly tight HO loco. It works fine. The loco isn't one likely to see any huge loads and so a 1 amp decoder was fine. In your case, a 4-4-0 isn't likely to haul a great number of cars and should be fine with a smaller decoder.
    One way to test I've read about requires using an ammeter in series with the track and power pack. Hold the loco still and apply pressure until it stalls. That amperage is the required decoder size. I've never had to try it myself.
  5. BrownMouse

    BrownMouse New Member

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    Thank you all. The problem is that the motor is likely to be in the tender too (since the 1850's locos are so small), but I guess I can manage an N sized decoder if necessary. IIRC, the motor I am planning to mount draws .5 amp at stall, so I should be fine...

    Elnathan
  6. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

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    If the motor is in the tender, I'd wager you'd have room in the boiler for the decoder. Lenz, Digitrax, Zimo and NCE all make some remarkably small decoders. Once you know the size of your space, navigate over to one of the larger DCC-specialists like Tonys Trains, Loys Toys or the like and compare the physical dimensions of the various brands to see what will fit that space. Good Luck!
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

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    People have managed to squeeze decoders into Z scale hood units, so I don't think there'll be any HO boiler too small for a decoder.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    For a 4-4-0, you probably don't need many extra functions (mars lights, or even headlights) so a low-end decoder should do. and no mounting socket. But can someone take a ruler to a decoder and say how small or big they can be?
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Go to Tony's Train Exchange website. Find "Decoder Comparison Matrix". Length, width and height are listed for most brands of decoder, along with other details. Lots of other info regarding DCC on the website also.
  10. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

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  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Thanks Jim and Fluesheet. Now we need to put that link where we can find it ...
  12. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    i put the link in the "DCC Helpful Links" sticky at the top of the page here in the DCC section of this forum:winki: . :deano: -Deano