Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by brakie, May 12, 2008.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I am thinking on building a small N Scale layout and more then likely use basic DCC with a Bachmann E-Z Command system-its made by Lentz.

    My current plan calls for 4 locomotives and will use 2 at a time on a rotation bases..

    If memory serves the Atlas frame needs to be milled for a decoder..However..I see they have "drop in" decoders for the GP9s..

    Now..Seeing that DCC equipped GP9s sell for $87.95(street price) I am wondering which would be the lessor of the 2 evils since I have never installed a decoder in a N Scale loco and I am not sure if my older Atlas/China GP9s(got 'em in 2002) is DCC ready.

    How easy is it to install these "drop in" decoders?

    Gracias mi amigos
  2. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I just popped mine open to have a look.

    You have to get the shell off. And you have to be willing to separate the frame halves, but not really disassemble the whole thing. It really isn't too bad. The aftermarket decoders (I used an NCE) are more functional than the Atlas installed decoders.
  3. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    What's the part number?
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Here's the one I have in mind.

    N Scale Supply - North Coast Engineering

    I would like to use the locomotives I already have but,don't want to disassemble the drive.

    Any information is deeply appreciated.
  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    That's the one I used.

    You don't disassemble the drive. You just lift one frame half off, swap in the decoder, and then put the frame back together.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    OK..I removed half the frame on my "guinea pig" drive(I need to order a new shell from Atlas) in order to take a look see..AHA! Looks simple and there appears to be no soldering involved.:thumb:

    A side note..Of course I got my expected results-both trucks fell off.wall1
    Happy to report I reassembled the drive and all is well and running when I test the drive.

    The reason I am thinking DCC on a small N Scale layout is I want to be able to run a train while I am working the yard..Of course I can do this in DC as well but,would need to buy the second power pack(I have a MRC CM20) and at least 3 Atlas selectors and thats roughly the same price as the E-Z Command system..Doable at best.Of course I will need 4 of those NCE drop in decoders as well but,it would save block location and wiring hassles.

    Thanks for your invaluable help.:thumb:
  7. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I think you will be happy with your DCC choice.

    The trucks will fall off when you separate the halves, if you don't pull them off when you remove the shell!

    No soldering involved, it really is straightforward. The decoders come with instructions besides!
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have use DCC in HO and installed decoders and I know the bare basics but,never used DCC or installed a decoder in N Scale and to be honest I was gun shy since the last time I took a N Scale engine apart(around 25 years ago) I never could get it to run right.:eek:

    Thanks to you I cracked open the frame and seen how easy it will be should I move forward with the N Scale layout idea and it seems to be materializing better then I thought as far as the needed items such as industries and certain types of freight cars...

    Thanks again!:thumb:
  9. You still have any of that HO DCC stuff laying around that you don't want, you could send it my way.

    Anything UP or GN, that is. lol
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I have 12 DCC equipped locomotives in Chessie(C&O)(5) and C&O(7) that I will be using at one club since we went DCC.As of now I don't plan on adding any more decoders to my HO locomotives.

    I *might* be selling some of my excess HO cars...
  11. Meh, of course you're still using I was joking anyways.

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