In at the DCC Deep End

My big recent hobby related purchase was a DCC system. Since the incumbent control solution is an MRC Tech II 2500, moving to an ESU CabControl system skips about 30 years of progress. With the cart firmly in front of the horse, I set off to develop a decoder solution for Comstock Road’s singular non-DCC ready Atlas O SW-8. Which will also be my very first decoder installation.

After some research, I elected to keep giving ESU Loksound my business and went with the following:

  • LokSound L Select decoder (with recently available EMD 567CR sound file for correct 8-cylinder 567 sound!)
  • TSU large oval speaker that almost exactly fits the opening under the top grill.
  • LokSound PowerPack Maxi

One of the big advantages of standard gauge O scale is that there is buckets of room inside a diesel shell for you to put a decoder. No milling frames or faffing about trying to isolate the motor from the frame.

After playing hide and seek to figure out where I hid my sheet of .040″ styrene, I was off. Credit for the general approach goes to a post by “Bob, Curator of the A&O Historical Society” on the O Gauge Railroading forum.

Over the course of Sunday, I got the loco apart, the platform made, platform and decoder fixed in place and the leads for the track pickups and motor soldered. This is the minimum to actually run the loco so of course, I did.

Not pretty but there was a soothing lack of magic smoke containment failure and the DCC age dawned on Comstock Road as the shell-less chassis trundled back and forth on a traverser track. Sound, electrical resilience and wire management pending.


One thought on “In at the DCC Deep End”

  1. Congrats on the install, Mark. It really is simple to do – but I say that as someone who has let the smoke out of his fair share of decoders so I’m pleased you had a good first experience with it.
    I look forward to your report on fitting the sound. That will really make the locomotive come alive. And, of course, you will have a lot of fun ahead, fiddling with various decoder settings to get the locomotive working exactly the way you want it. As you know, I can help with that part of it, as I have the required gear for ESU decoder programming.
    – Trevor


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