New--Wary of Mistake

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by PrairieTrains, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. PrairieTrains

    PrairieTrains Member

    I believe I have this narrowed down - but just want to make sure. Just got this Proto 2000 HO ALCO PA Loco (by Walthers) that is DCC ready. From the best I can tell I need the DH163P Decoder for the PA and PB units. I was a bit confused about what they call a 9 - pin connector - clearly this unit has an 8 pin. Perhaps the nine pin plugs into the decoder and not the original pc board???

    Also - it says to replace the bulbs with a 12v/40 ma - I've read that you actually need a 14v bulb. This unit has a MARS light - does that take a special bulb?? Thank you for your help - AGAIN! Pat (I've attcahed a jpg of the unit) :wave:

    Attached Files:

  2. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    PrairieTrains, so you have a Proto 2000, thats one of the EASIEST brand of engines you could possibly install a decoder into, it will take you longer to get the shell off then it will take to install a decoder into it:winki: . they have an 8 pin socket, STAY AWAY from 9 pin plug decoders.

    I am sorry, i DON'T use Digitrax decoders, i never had good luck with them:roller: , but, thats probably just me:119: ( ..that and i only use sound decoders). Honestly, ANY HO brand decoder will fit fine in that engine as long as it has an 8 pin plug on the end of it:winki: .
    you want lighting effects, make sure the decoder comes with that function, as far as the lights go, i use Walther's 16v bulbs, just be sure NOT to let them touch the plastic, they get hot. (just for kicks, try NOT changing the bulbs out, i have done this before on P2K engines, and have lucked out a couple times:winki: ).

    If your specifically looking to use a Digitrax decoder, there are quite a few on here that use them, perhaps they will chime in with the Digitrax info you need:thumb: .
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Digitrax decoders have a 9 pin in line socket and come with a cable that is already plugged into it, which terminates in the 8 pin plug you need. I've not had any trouble with them. They make that cable in two lenghts, 2 1/2" and 5", I think.
  4. PrairieTrains

    PrairieTrains Member

    I'll let you know

    Thanks to everyone who responded. I also sent a couple of emails and got almost instant replies. I've ordered a couple of the DH163P's - probably could have got more features - but did not want to press my luck! I've also ordered some 14v bulbs. I 'm sure this isn't as daunting a task as I have imagined. I've got a lot of time to tinker and learn. I will post a final report when I get-ir done. Train Whistle While You Work - Pat :wave:
  5. woodone

    woodone Member


    You might want to look into using LEDs for lights. The LEDs will out last your locomotives. Lights will not last as near as long.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Regarding your question on the mars light, it works by having 2 bulbs installed in one fixture. The electronics on the circuit board then flashes the 2 bulbs alternately to make it look like a mars light. The bulbs are aimed in different directions to make it appear to be a rotating light. Put in 2 small enough bulbs of the correct voltage, and the unit will work fine.

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