DCC Install Complete-ish

Here is the full installation less wire tidying and any lighting connections. I don’t plan to hook up any of the lights because stripping the shell is in the near future so I don’t see the point.

This shot is very similar to the previous post except for the addition of the TCS speaker and LokSound PowerPack. Getting those soldered on was not any more difficult than the basic motor and pickup connections but my haste and ignorance did result in a bit of comedy.


Firstly, I have hooked up the ESU CabControl system but I haven’t read anything but the Quick Start card nor have I operated with the system elsewhere often enough to know it. I can just about remember that the first three function keys are light, bell and horn. So, first heart stopping moment was when I applied track power after hooking up the speaker and got… nothing, nichts, nada. (no smoke, either). But then I tested the controls and the loco moved so no fried decoder. Eventually, I figured out that I have to F8 to “start” the loco and the room filled with the glorious sound of a 567 winding up. After noodling back and forth enjoying the sound, I was off to apply the keep alive capacitor.

The connections for the keep alive are on the side of the bottom board so I removed the decoder proper to get clear access to the relevant pads. Soldering the three connections was easy and I excitedly put the loco back on the track for the big test of the full system. And nothing at all. Not even movement. A bit of checking of documentation (does it need to charge or something?), connections (did I short something this late in the game?) and head scratching later I realized that I had a very good view of the soldered connections. Almost like the decoder wasn’t blocking the view. After plugging the decoder back into the board, all was well and the family was summoned for the big demonstration run.

I then did a bit of switching of my test tank car back and forth between two approach tracks and the traverser. I now have strong motivation to get the wiring sorted so more extensive running can be done. And also so I can move the DCC base unit off of its precarious perch on top of the layout.

4 thoughts on “DCC Install Complete-ish”

  1. That’s funny: I had the same experience with my first ESU LokSound decoder installation. I couldn’t figure out why I had no sound. Then I hit F8 and ta-da! I think most other manufacturers have the default for F8 set to “Sound On”. It does make sense, however, to start with it off. For one thing, it means you get to start up the locomotive when you need it, and enjoy that start-up sound. For another, it helps manage the cacophony in the layout room!
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64, Achievable Layouts)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my thinking, too. It doesn’t make any difference on my one loco layout but it is something else again on a layout like Rick’s Fillmore Roundhouse.


  2. Your knowledge of DCC far out passes mine. I know what the letters stand for, but little else. I will follow your blog to learn more. Please continue to share and maybe you might follow my blog too!


    1. Everyone is an expert on the internet, Joe! This is my one and only installation attempt so I pretend to no expertise, I just followed what others have done. One of my aims is to encourage others by describing what I have done and how well it worked.
      I do have a fancy digital soldering station with an assortment of tips. The soldering of tiny wires was the challenging part of the install. Weller soldering guns need not apply. 🙂


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