Is it really that simple?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by tetters, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I picked up four of the Digitrax DH163L0 HO Scale Mobile Decoder for my P2k GP 7/9's. Is the installation really that simple? I mean, take off the shell, unplug/unscrew the DC chip, orient the plugs and the decoder chip, plug in tape down and viola! Conversion to DCC done? Can't help but feel like I've missed something. Is that all there is to it?

    Unfortunately, I can't try it out yet as I haven't purchased the Zepher unit I plan to use on my layout. In due time though.


  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    * In most cases! ;)

    Actually it is a lot easier than most people expect, especially with the plug and play decoders that go into the 8 pin "jack". The main thing is to get the orientation right - since the jack is symmetrical, it is possible to plug it in two ways - both will work, but only one way is actually correct.

    The way to find out is to test, which is the step you are missing ;). Then put the shell back on after.

  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Yeah no kidding. Those bloddy shells are a P.I.T.A. to get off and then back on. Specifically the coupler installation. I just didn't want to have it sitting around with the shell off. Suppose I could have put it back in the box though.

  4. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Yup, it usually is that simple.

    One word of caution. The 8 pin board may not be wired correctly for the lights. You may have to do a bit of research on the Internet to see if there are any problems. Earlier versions of these boards included a short between two of the pins in the plug. The plug was okay for analog but if one hard wired a decoder (ie didn't use the plug'n'play), the light side of the decoder would blow.

    Also, you should check out the specs on the headlights. If the headlight is of low voltage, a decoder may blow the headlights with its full 16 volts. I don't know if the DH163LO has the low voltage output for the lights. You should check this out. If it does have the low voltage, you should nevertheless install a couple of current limiting resistors to protect the lights against current surge, whether they are for DCC or for analog.

    Once you've done your research, you will have the answers to your questions.

    A good place to ask these questions is on the digitrax@yahoogroups discussion forum.

    Bob M.
  5. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks bob. I did do a bit of research and these decoders should be o.k. with the stock lights as per the instructions. There are methods one could use to change the voltage restrictions, by modifying the decoder by bridging some gaps with solder, but I'm not ready to get into it that much yet.

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