Decoder Installation in
The following has been contributed by Ulrich Albrecht, firstname.lastname@example.org
General information for all decoder installations: Remember to always remove all capacitor and chokes connected to the motor brushes. They are not needed in DCC and may actually cause problems running back-emf and silent decoders.
I started to buy Fleischmann engines in
the early eighties,
and my experiences are limited to these engines and newer ones. The
engines have a motor shield made from some type of plastic, covered
thin layer of metal. If one has one of these, the conversion is possible
remark, Fleischmann locos are not very DCC friendly. Even those that
have sufficient space for decoders, may not
have space for
the wiring, e.g. BR55 where the bar connecting the loco and tender
channels for the wires, but the standard decoder wires barely fit.
In all installation, the two motor brushes need to be
isolated from the
frame and the wheels. The motor shield is divided into three (for the
older), respectively four (for newer engines) areas. In either case
two areas on the right hold the right brush and the wire connected
The left brush is the tricky part: In the newer engines,
the brush is
sitting on a area of metal like on the right side. In addition, there
a fourth area of the motor-shield which is touching the left srew
In older motors, the two areas on the left are one, and
need to be separated. Take a sharp hobby knife, and cut a 1mm wide
metal on the right and left side of the left brush from the top to
bottom of the shield. The cut on the right needs to pass between the
Here is a summary of the decoder connections based on DCC standard colors:
Black Wire: Part of the motor shield which connected to the frame (or Fleischmann black wire)
Red Wire: Fleischmann red wire
Orange Wire: Right Brush
Gray Wire: Left Brush
White Wire: Front Light
Yellow Wire: Back Light
Do not use the blue wire, since the lights are not isolated
from the frame. Some locomotives have small selen discs stuck behind
lightbulbs to facilitate changing lights under DC. They need to be
removed. Another possibility is to connect the lights directly to
wipers. They cannot be turned on/off but installation becomes more
simple, especially in small engines without space for the wires going
the lights, e.g. BR53, BR89. Fleischmann offers 24V bulbs. I used them
As far as decoders are concerned, any 1Amp decoder should work. I successfully used the DZ123/DZ143 if space is tight, as well as TCS T1’s. The TCS M1 is another choice. The last two come with a one-year no questions asked warranty.
Here is a list of locos I have converted:
Motor isolation is much easier as
in the Fleischmann
case. However, engines may have a rather high stall current of around
1.6Amp. Always use a decoder that supports a 2.0 Amp peak current.
Maerklin locos are easily to convert because there is ample space
Some older Rivarossi locos are also current hogs, use the LE1835 in them. However, you may need to adjust back-bemf. In my BR39, I needed to set CV53 to a value of “1” in order to get smooth performance.
Piko/Lima/Liliput: For these, the remarks about Roco locos apply. Space might be a problem, so use a Z-scale decoder with a peak current of 2.0 Amp.
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