decoder compatibility

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by joefryfry, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

    I've read that it may be possible to place an N-scale decoder into an Ho-scale loco. Is this possible? If so, are there any concerns? I am trying to put sound into a GP38-2, which is too slim for the HO scale sound decoders I am looking at. Are there sound decoders that will fit into an HO GP38-2? If so, can you recommend a good one? Thanks in advance.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Generally you can put an N scale decoder into an HO loco. I have a B'mann 4-6-0 where the tender is really tiny & cramped, so I put in a Z decoder. Just watch your power ratings, on both the loco and the decoder. If the stall current of your loco exceeds the power rating of your decoder, you run the risk of letting the smoke out of the decoder....
  3. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

    Not exactly sure what you mean. Where can I find this information? Thanks.
  4. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Joe here is some info for the TCS decoders.
    Decoder Selection
    If you look at the differant decoders it tells you how many amps the decoder is rated for. You need to know how many amps your loco draws and select a decoder that will handle that many amps. You can get the same info from other decoder makers.
  5. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

    I found two things in Model Railroader. I found how to determine my loco stall current. I'd rather just look the info up or have someone tell me if anyone has the info. My loco is a Proto 2000 GP38-2, only a couple years old. The decoder I want is the N-scale sheer brilliance form MRC. It's current capacity is only rated at .75 amps. I need a speaker that is less than 18mm, that is my problem, plus my internet connection is so slow, it is difficult for me to zoom around the internet trying to find info.
  6. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    Joe you can put N Decoders in most HO Locos,the only Engines i would be carefull with are the Older Athearns.Of course you need to check the Stall current on all your Locos before installing any decoder.I've used "Z" decoders in a few HO Locos. Harold
  7. joefryfry

    joefryfry joefryfry

    Well, it doesn't really matter much now. I got a multimeter and went to get my stall current and the engine wouldn't run. Wire was disconnected, fixed the wire, still didn't run. Might as well get a new engine with sound installed. Usually doesn't cost all that much more than a good decoder anyways. Thanks all for the input.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    "let the smoke out" is a joke about all electronics having a mysterious smoke inside them that allows them to operate. If you screw up and destroy the electonics, you have "let the smoke out" and they don't work any more.

    See also "When your light emitting diode (LED) becomes a smoke emitting diode". ;)

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I would check with Walther's about repairs or replacement of the locomotive. I think Lifelike has a warranty similar to Bachmann's on p2k locomotives. If you are going to get a new one with sound, you might want to just put a non sound decoder in the older one. Generally you don't need sound in every locomotive, just one in a consist is usually enough. If you decoder is rated at .75 amps, I think the can motor in the locomotive is rated at about .5 amps. If you add in lighting packages and sound, you may be close to the limit of the n scale decoder. If your only problem is that the speaker is too big to fit the model, you could get a smaller speaker designed for use in n scale locomotives. As long as the impedance is similar, the speakers should interchange.

    If Walther's doesn't do repairs on older p2k locomotives and it is no longer in warranty, don't give up on it. Hook up jumper wires directly from the track to the + & - termonals on the motor and power it up to see if the motor turns. If the motor turns and the locomotive moves under those conditions, you may have a bad circuit board. I think p2k uses a circuit board between the track and the loads, that distributes power to the lighting package and the motor, and also may reduce the voltage for the lighting package. I think the parts are available to replace whatever is burned out or broken.

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