GE 44 Ton DCC Tutorial

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by waredbear, May 17, 2007.

  1. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    I love can find a ton of information...even stuff you didn't know that you didn't know. :confused: I want to thank everybody who posts here because you've been a wealth of information to me starting out in model railroading. Well my knowledge is very very limited but I do want to give back to our community when I can.

    I have read several posts dealing with the GE 44 Ton locomotive and how to (if you can) convert the ole girl to DCC. Being the type of person that I am...I like to see pictures. To me that speak 1000 words. Unfortunately I've only seen one post (actually a post that referred to a web site) with pictures upgrading a GE 44 Tonner to DCC and it was in N scale. So I'm going to attempt to show you how to convert an HO scale unit to DCC...with lots of pictures.

    Problem is...okay major problem is...I've never done a DCC conversion. I'm strickly going off of what I've read here and on web sites. So I NEED your help in this. This is going to be a community affair. OKAY??? :-D

    So for those of you who don't know what a GE 44 Ton baby looks like...

    As you can see I forgot to snap a picture before I took the cab off but you get the general idea.

    The first thing I had to learn was how to get the cab off. All of the other cabs I've removed were held on by just the tabs of the the cab. Not so with the GE 44 Ton. there are two screws...missing in this photo...that have to be removed..

    You can see the two holes in the middle where the screws were.

    The cab hung up on the couplers. I could have (and probably should have) removed them but I was able to cock the frame up on one end and get the guts out.


    Next Thread Please...
  2. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    Page 2

    Well this is what she looks like under the hood.


    The first picture I took of this was blurry so I had to take another one. This picture was taken later so the Truck Side Frame (the piece of black plastic covering the wheels) is already removed on the left side. You can actually see the drawing of this part in front of the right wheels.

    Here is a close-up of the right motor with what I'm going to call the high wire. If you look at the unit break down drawing (see picture somewhere below) and you will see that there are two contact plates for the power to go from the wheels to the motor. One has a clip that is high and the other is low.


    This is the left motor showing the low wire. These are going to be very important later if I can get them off without breaking something.

    This picture shows the Truck Side Frame before I removed it.

    This shows how the Truck Side Frame just pops off with a slight pry.


    Want more pictures????
  3. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    Page 3

    I will start off here with a picture of the break down...

    Hopefully you can blow this up to see the details. This is always very helpful when you are destroying...I mean dissassembling a unit.

    This shows the top of the unit and the printed circuit board. The lights and their diodes are attached to it.


    The two wires (high and low) from both motors are soldered to the circuit board.


    My next step is to mark these wires as to where they came from (front/back motor high wire or front/back motor low wire) and unsolder them from the board so I can remove the motors.

    There is a single screw in the middle of the circuit board holding it to the chassis (you can see where it was in this picture). There is also one screw holding the motor to the chassis as well (you can see the holes for that screw on the top of the motor housing and under the circuit board).


    One more page of pictures....
  4. waredbear

    waredbear Member

    Page 4

    Well the next thing to do is to take the motor assembly apart so I can start the isolation process.


    I was going to bring it to work this morning so I could look at it under the microsope to see if that would shed any light as to how to disassemble it. "DISASSEMBLE??? NO DISSASSEMBLE!!! Number 5 is alive!!!" Sorry...I had to say that. I always say that after I say the word disassemble. (That is a quote from the robot Johnny 5 in the movie "Short Circuit".) Sorry...I degress...:oops: Anyway where was I :confused: Oh yeah...but I need to remove the wires first so I can bring in just the motor. It was late last night and I didn't want to go out to the garage for my solder iron. I will do that this weekend and see where that takes me.

    The way I think this has to go is I need to insulate the contact plates from the wheels or from the motor. I don't think I will be able to isolate it from the wheels from looking at the break down picture. I might have to isolate the contact plate from the motor, connect the black wires to the DCC wires (I might replace the black wire with colored wires just to make the process easier) and then run wires from the DCC unit down to the top and bottom of the motors. Then I have to find a place to put the DCC unit. This is a small cab so there is not a lot of room.

    I've circled the contact plates in this picture to show how they are contacting the wheels.


    So the problem areas as I see them will be taking the motor assembly apart, isolating the motor from the contact plates, and finding a place to attach the DCC decoder. Am I missing anything? Please chime in and give me any advise. I will post more pictures as this process progresses. Of course I need the $$$$ to buy the DCC decoder but that is another story.

    One other thing that I forgot to mention...I bought this unit from E-Bay because the motor(s) made a lot of noise. I put it on a piece of track to see how much noise and all I got was smoke. So I'm going to put it back on with the cab off and see which motor I need to replace. I will probably replace both of them while I'm at it. I'm also going to check to see if they have an isolated motor which would make this process a lot easier. More on that later when Backmann replies to my e-mail.

    Happy Tracks...
  5. caellis

    caellis Member

    This is the older model, as mine only has one motor and was very straight forward to convert to DCC.
  6. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Reid, that would be the easiest way to rectify the problem;) .

    OR, using what you have, i would do this: take off your light circuit board, it is making contact with your ground to the engine, i see this in several of the pics you have posted, if you leave it on it will leave your engine disabled in a constant short when trying to run on DCC. on the wire harness that comes with the decoder, solder both the wires from the right side of the trucks to the red wire. solder both the wires from the left side of the trucks to the black wire. buy 2 16V bulbs, they are real cheap;) , solder one wire from the bulb to the other bulb wire, solder the Blue wire to those. on the front headlight, take the left over wire and solder it to the white wire on the decoder wire harness. on the rear light, take the left over wire and solder it to the yellow wire on the decoder wire harness.

    OK, now the hard part, make sure your motors are NOT touching ANY metal on the frame, after that is done, solder a wire from the positive wire on both motors to each other, solder the orange wire on the decoder wire harness to them. now solder a wire connecting both the negative wires from the motors to the gray wire on the decoder wire harness.

    THATS IT!:up: should work fine:up: , it's a lot of work, but thats how i have done similar engines, and had no problems;) . HONESTLY, if it were me, i would do as caellis mentioned, and just get a newer engine and convert it, it would be much easier;) , but the choice is yours. i hope this was of some help:) -Deano
  7. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I'm going to try your idea. It's along the lines of what I was thinking of, now to see if I can get it to work. I have a z scale decoder that should fit fine, and I already have a supply of 16V bulbs.
  8. ratjag

    ratjag Member

    i know some one over here who has put sound both in a 44t and a 70t as well, (both new single motor), i've seen and heard them- but he has yet to divulge how!:( :evil:
  9. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    on the newer ones, you just match up the number on the circuit board to its appropriate colors, right? and what happened to the number 3?

    its lists on my PC board 8 (with an arrow to the rear most terminal), 1,2,4,5,6,7.

    It also looks like there are brass tabs clipped to the PC board here. I assume i remove these?
  10. avlisk

    avlisk New Member

    Pin #3 is used for another function. Such as green or purple wire. If you are just doing directional headlights, and nothing else, you won't use pin #3. Regards, Ken Silva

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