Converting Bachmann DCC to DC?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by chessie4155, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    OK, I know, you probably think I'm crazy for wanting to do this , but is there a way to convert Bachmann DCC engines to DC? I have a few Bachmann GPs that are DCC but, I am still using DC. Till DCC becomes dirt cheap, as in they are giving it away, I'll be using DC, have for the past 25 years now anyways. They still run on DC but are very sluggish and do not play well with others (DC units). I'm not at all familiar with DCC and do not want to mess things up by just diving in and cutting wires or removing things. Any help is appreciated, Thanks.
  2. CRed

    CRed Member

    I believe you can remove the DCC board and/or use a dummy plug.I am not familiar with the diesels though,I had a 2-10-2 and that's how it worked for that.

  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    That's correct on the dummy plugs. If you just pull the decoder out of the socket...It's the same as cutting the wire which runs from the wheels to the motor. So you need a plug which will complete the circuit.
  4. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    OK, Thanks for the Info, I'll try that.. uh ,one more question, Where do I get the plugs? or can I make my own? Thanks,
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'm not sure the plugs are available, they are usually an item that is installed in dcc ready locomotives at the factory. I think most manufacturers don't think a person would pay extra for the dcc locomotive and then convert it to dc. Bachmann is a special situation because they have made some inexpensive diesels that come standard with dcc installed. The color code for the dcc decoder wires is part of the NMRA standard I think. I don't remember the color code and all of my train stuff is packed away while our house is being remodeled, but if you unplug the decoder and trace the wires, you can make jumpers out of the correct gauge of solid wire bent in "U" shapes. You want a wire gauge that is the same diameter as the pins on the decoder plug. Jumper the wire from the track pick up to one side of the motor and the other track pick up wire to the other side of the motor. If the engine runs forward when it should be reverse and vice versa, swap the wires. If it is necessary for the jumper wires to cross and they are not insulated, make one longer than needed slightly to allow a small air gap between the wires where they cross each other. Put a small drop of silicone sealer between the wires for an insulator and allow it to set up completely.
  6. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    Thanks Russ. I didn't order them that way. They came in that way, Mix up in the numbers I guess, so I took them anyways...Thinking I could convert them to DC and keep the decorders, just in case a miracle would happen and we could go DCC. Thanks again for the Info you guys, Much Appreciated.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...The plug where the socket fits should have numbers next to each of the holes. #'s 4 & 8 are power inputs, wires black and red. Outputs to motor are #'s 1 and 5 - wires orange and gray. Just use jumpers as described above & you'll be good to go..:wave:
  8. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    Gus, Thank You! This will really help..
  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    Why go through all thsi trouble? Bachmann's newere decoders are dual mode. they can detect DC so that you don't have to remove them. they should run without to much trouble, since its only sound locomotives that run on DC that give you the "lag".

    If you know someone who has a DCC set, have them program CV 29 to 36, which universally turns on DC auto-detecting feature (among other things). I think you'd put in 37 if you want the same features except longhood forward.

    If you really want a plug, you can get them for a dollar from Atlas's website.
  10. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Yes I believe all the Bachmann "DCC equipped" engines will run on DC out of the box with no adjustments. I'd try it first, before making any modifications. You could always go their website and "ask the Bach-man" himself of course!!

    Bachmann Message Board - Index
  11. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    The engines run but are slower than anything else and at a higher speed they make an awful noise almost like they are being pushed or drug along the track...I was thinking that if I removed the board and hard wired them they would perform better..
  12. diesel

    diesel Member

    I wasn't gonna comment because I haven't seen the bachmann decoders but the noise u describe doesn't sound like a decoder problem. If you have a friend/know of a club that used DCC run it on that and see if you get the same noise before you do anything else.
  13. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    Thanks, but it's to late for that now. I removed the circuit board and hard wired it together . It runs better now, no noise, runs smooth and quite. There was no plugs or anything to use a jumper on..just some wires connected to a circuit board... I've seen other decoders , and this doesn't look anything like the ones I've seen. This must be about as basic as it gets, ...anyhoo, Thanks everyone for your help..
  14. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    IF you had a DCC equipped Bachmann engine, the decoder would be plugged into the board already, you would have to remove it and put in the dummy plug. (I've bought Bachmann DCC equipped engines and replaced the decoder because I wanted one with more options.)

    It sounds like you really have is just a DC engine that has a lightboard. I found when I was in DC that removing the light board did make the engine run a little faster, since the lightboard was soaking up some of the available power for a constant lighting circuit.
  15. inqzitr

    inqzitr Member

    already said...

    But just a note: the bachmann 2-8-0 that I got which was DCC equipped had clips and instructions on how to make it DC. You insert the plugs and there you go.
  16. chessie4155

    chessie4155 Active Member

    I'm not sure what these things are. They maybe a light board but it has DCC stamped on the bottom of the fuel tank...There is nothing pluged in to the board, ar anything like what I've seen of DCC. I'll try to get some pics and pst them, maybe someone will know what they are..I did remove them and hard wired everything and the engine runs a lot better...
  17. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Well a light board would normally be a medium green color, about 1/2" wide and 2-3" long, maybe 1/8" deep. On each short end it would have four silver tabs (usually with holes in them) and two silver tabs on the side. The two on the side go to the motor. On the ends with the four tabs, the middle two are for the front and rear headlight, the outside two connect to the trucks (the track power connections.)

    Most recent (last 5 years or so) lightboards will have on top somewhere two rows of four holes, taking a total space of 1/4" by 1/2". That is the "plug and play" receptacle for a DCC decoder.

    Several companies make "drop in" decoders which replace the entire light board, they look a lot like a lightboard but have many more wires and gizmos attached to the board than a lightboard does.

    Here's a link to a drop-in decoder, just to give you an pic of what one looks like: DH165A0 HO Scale Mobile Decoder
  18. ChadYelland

    ChadYelland Member

    I have 2 DCC ready spectrums, can someone suggest what type of decoder and harness i need to install DCC?
  19. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Chad...If they're DCC ready, they should have a board ready for a plug-in decoder. The choice of decoders depends on what brand DCC system you have. I use all Digitrax decoders 'cause I have a D'trax Zephyr...I've used D'trax's DH163's in all of mine.

    P.D. You really should open a new thread for this'll probably get more replies in a "dedicated" thread.
  20. ChadYelland

    ChadYelland Member

    I'll have to have a closer look, i assume the plug is in the tender? so is it a decoder with a plug right on it or a short harness? I have a digitrax empirebuilderII

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