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SRman
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In response to a request from a member on RMweb, after fitting a decoder to my first Bachmann Lord Nelson with split chassis, here is a step by step guide to how I did it, using my second LN as the example (I didn't take any photos for the first one!). This one is no. 850, Lord Nelson, renamed and renumbered from no. 864.

Some of the photos are a bit blurred as I was trying to hold the model and operate the phone camera at the same time, but I think the results are sufficiently clear to show what I was doing or what I am talking about.

To start with, remove the body from the chassis. This is retained by one screw under the cab and with a tab on the chassis slotting into the body under the smokebox at the front.








Next I removed the two remaining screws holding the chassis wheel keeper plate / spring and brake block detail (I'll refer to this as the base plate from here on), after springing out the brake rodding (note that I actually took the screws out before lifting the body off - this doesn't affect the process).





After this, I removed the cylinders, which are simply a force fit on metal extensions from the chassis. Then I levered the motion supports off; these are also simply a force fit, like the cylinders.






There are three screws holding the chassis halves together. One of them also holds the solder tags on to the front end of the chassis. Before we remove the base plate / axle retainer, I prefer to remove the front screw, pull out the plastic plug from the other side and release the two solder tags. I didn't do this on the first conversion and ended up breaking one of the wires coming up from the bogie.

You might wish to mark which tag is on which side, perhaps with an ink marker pen. This will assist identification for reassembly and connection of the decoder wires later.

If you have a later release LN from Bachmann, these tags may not be present as Bachmann quietly dropped the extra pickups from the specification. In that case, you may wish to add some brass or copper tags later when reassembling the chassis, to ease the job of connecting the decoder track wires.




Now lever the front end of the base plate up, just behind the bogie, lifting it and moving it backwards slightly to unhook the rear part that hooks over the chassis end.






This leaves the wheels, axles and valve gear free to be lifted out of the chassis.




The remaining two screws can be undone to allow the split chassis halves to be separated. Watch out for the plastic spacers: two white rectangular ones at the bottom and two black plastic washers around the upper two plastic plugs (that the screws go into). Also ensure you don't lose the plastic gear.






I actually use a little black-tack (or mastic material) to retain the spacers in their places so they don't get lost and don't shift when reassembling the chassis.




The motor just lifts out, but keep an eye on the two black plastic cup washers that go over the end bearings. Also, make sure the thrust bearing stays put (it is wedged into the chassis where the worm gear touches it). Note also that the motor has a small red spot marking the bottom which was connected to the right-hand chassis side - this brush will get the orange wire from the decoder. As an extra precaution, I chose to wrap the motor in insulating tape but this is not really necessary.

Remove the two copper/brass (or whatever!) springs that bore on the brush tags.






Now prepare the decoder. This one is a TCS M1, which is very compact yet able to handle over 1 amp loads. These give reasonable running qualities at good prices and are covered by TCS' 'goof-proof' warranty, which means that if something goes wrong with this installation, they will replace it with no quibbles. I bared and tinned the grey and orange wires. Don't forget to thread on some heat-shrink tubing before soldering the wires to the motor brushes: orange to the red tagged brush, grey to the other one.

Slide the heat-shrink tubes over the bare wire ends and brush tags and apply heat.








Now resite the motor in the chassis half. The decoder wires are only just long enough and are routed through the gap between chassis halves.




The chassis halves can be reunited, ensuring all the plastic spacers are in place (a bit of black-tack stops them moving or dropping out during handling, as mentioned earlier). I replaced two of the screws but not the one at the smokebox end (yet). I did temporarily push the plastic plug into the smokebox end hole to align the spacer washer.

Next I replaced the wheel sets in the chassis and clipped the motion supports and cylinders back in.




Next I clipped the base plate back in, hooking it onto the rear of the chassis first then sliding it up and pushing it home at the front, and replaced the two screws.




Now for the final connections. I shortened the black and red wires from the decoder, stripped the ends and tinned them. Note that I have also cut short the function wires (white, yellow and blue - green and purple additionally if using a TCS M4 decoder as I did with Lord Anson) and "tied" them up with a section of heat-shrink tubing. If you are going to fit lights or firebox glows, or other extra functions, these are the wires you will need in addition - that's beyond the scope of this essay.




Solder those red and black wires to the solder tags attached to the bogie pickup wires. Make sure you identify the right-hand wire (as you look from the back towards the front of the loco) and solder the red wire to that. The black wire goes to the left-hand tag.Now you can pull the black plug back ut of the chassis at the smokebox end, insert it through the left-hand solder tag and then through the chassis. Insert the screw through the right-hand tag then screw it into the plug through the chassis.

Finally, add a section of double-sided tape to stick the decoder to the very front of the chassis.




Now test on the programming track. Mine read back properly so I reprogrammed the decoder to number 850, tweaked the inertia and momentum settings (CV3 = 20, CV4 = 15 as a starting point for my tastes - yours may be quite different), then gave it a track test. Again all was well, so it was back to the workbench to refit the body.

Note: I also used the opportunity to lubricate the motor bearings and gears while everything was accessible earlier.Here is Lord Nelson hauling a test goods train under DCC control.






I hope this helps somebody and hasn't been too boring or laboured.

Last edited on Mon Jan 5th, 2015 08:06 am by SRman

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A great tutorial Jeff - many thanks. :thumbs

Whilst  there is little chance of ever seeing a Lord Nelson on Maxmill, watching an expert chipping split chassis locos is always interesting. 

You make it look/sound so simple but I recall my frustrations when John Dew talked me through my split chassis V2.  I think the only thing I didn't break was the weight ..................:oops::oops::oops:

I still have the odd split chassis to do and may just pluck up the courage to attempt another having seen how simple it is ...............:roll::roll::mutley:mutley

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I am with Peter in thanking you Jeff.
An excellent step by step tutorial and one for the reference book.
Thanks,
derek.

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Thanks Peter and Derek.

I realise that it is with some trepidation that one attempts their first such conversion. So far I have done two Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2Ts (the triangular motion supports are the tricky bit on these), a class 04 diesel shunter, a London Transport Pannier tank, and the two LNs. 

I wouldn't say they are dead easy but if you take things slowly and logically, and keep the various screws and spacers arranged so you know where they came from and where they need to go back to, you shouldn't have too many problems. 

The only other things to really watch for are making sure there is room to run the wires (generally, through the space between the chassis halves is a good bet), and where the decoder is going to fit in. I know of a few online contributors who actually ground away parts of the block on their 04s to make room for a decoder. My friend Doug did his 04 first and showed me that there was sufficient space to hide a small decoder (TCS M1 in his and my cases) under the cab floor. The Ivatts have largely enclosed cabs so the decoders can be taped on top of the cab floor and be barely visible.

I am eyeing off my original Bachmann Standard class 4 4-6-0 for the next split chassis conversion, but I also have a Hornby LBSC Terrier and a Hornby Hogwarts Castle I want to hard-wire. The Terrier will use a TCS Z2 decoder standing up behind the boiler backhead in the cab, like the two previous ones I have done. The Castle is a thornier problem as there is not much space for a decoder.

Last edited on Tue Jan 6th, 2015 04:48 pm by SRman

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Don't suppose you have a Bachmann Jinty or Class 39 to do ....................................:roll::roll::roll::roll::roll::roll:

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A hearty well done to Jeff for taking the trouble to show the process.  I have done three in my time, each time the operation was a success but performance suffered, so I refuse to do these. 

Peter, Bachmann's Jinty has a later chassis.  The very early models are not DCC ready (I had one but it got converted to EM and you can see my bodging in the thread) but hardwiring is not terribly difficult.  Later models are DCC ready.

John

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My Jinty is pre DCC ready John - I can't remember exactly when I bought it but I'd guess around 2006 or 2007 judging from when I bought the first DCC loco - a pannier .............

The J39, also non-DCC ready,  was purchased in 2007.

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Did you buy these new Peter?  I seem to recall that by 2007, models were routinely DCC ready.  I got mine quite a long time ago. 

I have no experience with the J39, so can't speak to that. 

John

Last edited on Tue Jan 6th, 2015 10:41 pm by Brossard

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Both new John.

I think, at that time, both versions were available but I bought mainly non DCC ready locos because I had no intention of ever going down the DCC route ..........:roll::roll:

A bit like at school - I learnt German because I'd never, ever need to speak French ...............;-);-)

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Peter, as John said, the Bachmann Jinty is a later chassis, not a split type. Find somewhere to tuck the decoder (possibly the bunker or cab), desolder and detach the wires from the brushes, then solder the grey and orange wires to the brushes and the red and black wires to the wires that came off the brushes earlier.

The J39 is a split chassis type. There is no valve gear to get in the way so is straightforward (I haven't done one but friend Doug has). The hardest thing with this one is finding somewhere to place the decoder.

Thanks for the compliments too, Peter and John.

Another hard-wiring job to do is a Bachmann 3F chassis. Now this one was actually DCC-ready but relies on a connection to the tender, where the socket is. Since I have slotted the loco chassis into my white metal Southern Q class 0-6-0, I need to rewire the connections so the decoder will be in the locomotive. I did have a Bachmann J39 chassis in this one but the 3F is much closer to the correct wheelbase and also much easier to convert to DCC.

Last edited on Wed Jan 7th, 2015 04:40 am by SRman

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Cheers Jeff.  Not a bad idea to put the decoder in the 3F body, if you can find space.  The wiring harness between loco and tender can be a royal pain the you know where.  There aren't even pickups on the tender wheels.  Something to ponder.

John

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Hi John,

Had to read the write-up twice to see where the power was coming from. The bogie pickup tabs - ingenious. An alternative is to drill and tap a split chassis (MAZAC is as soft as butter compared to hard brass or steel) for an appropriately sized round head bolt, connect the wires to the bolts (wind under the head or solder the wire to a washer) and then tap the power directly from each half. Essential if it is an 0-6-0 or similar chassis or the bogie does not have pick-ups and chassis tabs.

Nigel

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Yes, I have been lucky in that several of my chosen subjects for conversion had the extra bogie wheel pickups and therefore had the tags to solder wires to already. The Lord Nelsons (both of mine) and also the two Ivatt 2-6-2Ts I did were all cases in point.

Drilling and adding a self-tapper is the best alternative where there were no extra pickups to start with. The 04 diesel  and the split chassis LT pannier that I did fall into this category. The previously mentioned J39 split chassis would also benefit from the 'screw in hole' method.

Peter's pre-DCC-ready Jinty is much simpler to do because it doesn't have the dreaded split chassis! :lol:

Last edited on Mon Apr 13th, 2015 12:53 pm by SRman

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Hi Jeff.  I thought that I had six Pugs , but , when I sent a photo of my Shunter ( which had the same appearance as the others) I was put in my place. True they are all built on the basic chassis , but two have got side tanks, and only three have saddle tanks. I have purchased the July Model Rail which has an article on fitting DCC, this could  be prohibitive to do all six. And one of the Motors appears appears to be different. Plus the fact that the article recommends using a stay alive, which may be necessary ? But all of my Locos negotiate the electrofrog points okay.Have you got any opinions on " Stay Alive" ( nothing to do with the Bee Gees?)     All the best  Kevin

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Hi Kevin. 

As all of my points are electrofrog and have polarity switching for the frogs, I have not found any real need to use 'keep alive / stay alive" capacitors. The one and only locomotive I have fitted really didn't seem to show any noticeable benefits on my layout.

I have read where others have found it a useful facility. It looks like it's "horses for courses"; you may have to experiment a bit, using one of your locos as a guinea pig. The Hornby 'old-style' 0-4-0 chassis may well benefit, but I can say the new-style 0-4-0 as fitted to the Pecketts don't seem to need any help (at least, on my layout).

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Hi Kevin,

I'm with Jeff on stay-alives. With electrofrogs, wired point rails, clean rails/wheels (tread and backs) and wheel wiper contacts you shouldn't need them (0-2-0 excepted, and they're far and few), as the largest gap is the rail joint. Easiest way to make sure is a scheduled cleaning (every month).

Nigel

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Hi Kevin

None of the frogs on either of my layouts are switched.  Clean wheels and clean rails are the go.  I remember John Dew (who uses the Lenz stay alive decoders), fitted a piece of dead track to a spur and his loco ran on a foot or so and hit the buffers.

The DCC Concepts decoders in my wagons come with capacitors attached, but they don't help when the tracks and/or wheels are dirty.  Proper stay alive devices use super capacitors of around 1 Farad.  Commercial bolt on devices typically only have a fraction of that capacity.

I think that they are an urban myth.  :lol:

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Hi Max.   Thank you for your reply. As a" Newbie" to DCC. This time around,    DC was more straight forward, I am willing to have a go at DCC. And when I heard about the article in "Model Rail " August  2017, I went straight out and purchased a copy. Just to read the article by George Dent. And his shopping list for the job was: DCC concepts  Zen  ZN8H Decoder with stay alive £22.95 . BR/LNER DML-LNER locomotive lamps, red aspect £19.95.
Ditto lamps with White Aspect. Purchased from Gaugemaster. And as the author prefers to use 8 pin Decoder sockets( and has some already?) rather than hard Wire Decoders . I already have the 0-4-0 loco in question , one of the "Dirty half Dozen". From eBay . I thought that I would give it a go, and I am always willing to take expert advice.
I don't know if you have read this article? But it looks good to me.  All the best   Kevin

Last edited on Sun Jul 2nd, 2017 02:26 pm by Passed Driver

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Hi Nigel.  Thank you.  But when I hooked up my "entry level" DC Decoder to the Puzzle Yard track all of the dirty"Half Dozen" eBay locos had no trouble negotiating the points at a "Crawl Pace" . But I prefer the sound of Locos either the Steam locos Chuffing along or Gurgling (or whatever you call it) as the Diesels do.All the best. Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

Max has the nail on the head (it's in Bristol), stay alive capacitors are really designed to keep the sound from spluttering out and then in (or having that diesel start up again), not to keep the locomotive moving for anything but a few inches. Read somewhere that a decent one will be the size of a goods van. I believe most decoders are designed to only accept current for a few seconds from a capacitor. If you want a locomotive to run on dead track it's LiPo battery power (or the finger from the sky). Better off spending a few minutes a month making sure it's all clean and oil-free, and that the track is actually conducting the electrickery.

Nigel


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Hi Nigel. Thank you for your reply. In my answer to Max, I outlined the reason for this,I was "just following the shopping list in the Model Rail". Being an amateur in fitting DCC to non ready Hornby Locos, I did not want to "Screw Up" a brand new Decoder before I got it to work. I do believe the "stay alive is built into the Decoder , not a separate entity". The fitting of the DCC.socket, and plugging in the the Decoder, gives Heavy Handed beginners like myself a fair chance too. But of course that is why I joined the forum, to get expert opinions. All the best. Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

A decoder with an integrated capacitor is going to be small and is definitely there to keep the sound and lights going and not much else. A decent sized capacitor such as the ESU 54671 with 1F is big enough to power lights, sound and the motor and keep the locomotive going for quite some time. That can be problematic if you have dead track sections at the end of sidings or signals that cut track power when red to prevent collisions and your attention and controller is looking after another locomotive. That locomotive just keeps on running (unless you have ABC). It also has to be soldered to the decoder (that's a job for the steady of hand and nerves of steel), and getting it into the body shell could be problematic.(according to ESU it's 15.7 mm x 9.7 mm x 13 mm, definitely a job for the big file or the mill on most locomotives, and it costs $40 over here, add that to the cost of the decoder...).

I used to have an old Mainline Warship with DCC sound that had pick up on 2 wheels on one side at one end, the opposite 2 wheels on the other (it now has power from all wheels). Absolutely no problems with powered frogs.Same for my old LIMA diesel railcars. Long insulfrogs would stop them both dead however. I've also used short wheelbase 0-4-0 Tenshodo SPUDs and 0-4-0 Black Beetle power trucks successfully with DCC sound, again, live frogs are fine, dead ones need to be shorter than the wheelbase. So short 0-4-0 (or 0-6-0) drives really don't need capacitors as long as there is electrical continuity. Bit of planning and consideration to the wheelbase of what will be running pays off here.

Clean track, wheels and pick-ups, and electrical continuity up to DCC standards through turnouts and the frogs is cheaper. Seems to be a bit of a band-aid solution to an easily addressed problem.

Nigel

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Passed Driver wrote: Hi Nigel.  Thank you.  But when I hooked up my "entry level" DC Decoder to the Puzzle Yard track all of the dirty"Half Dozen" eBay locos had no trouble negotiating the points at a "Crawl Pace" . But I prefer the sound of Locos either the Steam locos Chuffing along or Gurgling (or whatever you call it) as the Diesels do.All the best. KevinHi Nigel.  Thank you for your reply.   My mention of the "Stay Alive" only came from the George Dent article in the magazine Model Rail .As far as running two or more Locos at one time is concerned , I totally agree with your advice. I did write in one thread about a second Loco in another siding "Creeping Forward" Unexpected.But I am , it would seem, to be "light years away" from having a layout any bigger that either of my Portable puzzle Planks. The larger of the two being 14inches by 48 inches. After the purchase of the Lanarkshire Models track cleaner along with the I P A. And of course , I nearly forgot the Woodland Scenis wheel cleaner, the Pugs really run  up and down that. The fact that the Pugs run through the points without trouble, can't be that bad. By the way my planks haven't got nor likely to have signals, that luxury would come with a big layout, but while I suffer from the confines, as many U K Rail fans suffer, a large Layout room/ Man Cave is unlikely. This ABC you mention? I don't know what that is about, there was a funny story about ABC when Barbara Castle was minister of transport, but I sure she didn't have anything to do with model railways. I will have to Google that.   All the best. Kevin

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I'm going to throw a spanner in the works here.

Paul Chetter, of this parish, fitted a Zimo decoder and "super cap" into a Hornby Class 08 shunter and, for half the time, it doesn't need power !!!

My track laying is far from perfect and cleanliness is about as far from Maxmill as Godliness is.  It's in an attic with loads of dust, is seldom cleaned properly and loco wheels look like non-stick pans............

Put the 08 on the rails and she goes like a dream.  The chip is set for prototype slow running but I can even lift it off the rails and she'll continue to run on the baseboard for at least 12 inches, if not further.

I also have a "Paul Chetter" Pannier but there was no room for the "super cap".  It runs well enough but doesn't come close to the 08.  He also did a Hornby J50 for me, again without "super cap", and that alas, is disappointing on my track.

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Passed Driver wrote: Hi Nigel.  Thank you.  But when I hooked up my "entry level" DC Decoder to the Puzzle Yard track all of the dirty"Half Dozen" eBay locos had no trouble negotiating the points at a "Crawl Pace" . But I prefer the sound of Locos either the Steam locos Chuffing along or Gurgling (or whatever you call it) as the Diesels do.All the best. KevinHi Petermac.   I don't want to sound repetive?? But, Considering my "China Made" 0-4-0 Railroad Loco's have no trouble in negotiating my pointwork.My only mention of "stay alive" was per the Model Rail article. Which incidently includes Head and Tail Lamps.
 It would seem that the stay alive is just for the Lamps.   All the best. Kevin

PS.  Another view on Hornby 0-4-0. Pug, or Pug type Loco and DCC has come my way, please do excuse my ignorance, but if you type. robsrailwaymodelling.co.uk/rrm/hornby-class06dccconversion/  In the correct place you will find a similar job with words and photos. By thr author. Kevin

Last edited on Sun Jul 9th, 2017 02:29 pm by Passed Driver

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Petermac wrote: I'm going to throw a spanner in the works here.

Paul Chetter, of this parish, fitted a Zimo decoder and "super cap" into a Hornby Class 08 shunter and, for half the time, it doesn't need power !!!

My track laying is far from perfect and cleanliness is about as far from Maxmill as Godliness is.  It's in an attic with loads of dust, is seldom cleaned properly and loco wheels look like non-stick pans............

Put the 08 on the rails and she goes like a dream.  The chip is set for prototype slow running but I can even lift it off the rails and she'll continue to run on the baseboard for at least 12 inches, if not further.

I also have a "Paul Chetter" Pannier but there was no room for the "super cap".  It runs well enough but doesn't come close to the 08.  He also did a Hornby J50 for me, again without "super cap", and that alas, is disappointing on my track.

Hi 'Petermac,

That I think is the big 6800 µF capacitor (at 20x15.5x5.mm it's bigger than the ESU one). You could probably get rid of 12" of track with that one (it's rated for around 1.5 seconds in OO).  I stuck a LiPo battery and associated electrickery  in my Collett Goods recently - 1 hour without power. Different energy densities.

Nigel

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Hi Nigel    This is all very well? But where are model railways going ? Clearly not round in circles.it is all getting very technical, weren't model railways meant to be child's play? a bit of fun/ recreation ? I returned to the hobby to avoid watching the repeated programmes on television . Are all these facts published in books available at the library? Or are they online somewhere?     All the best. Kevin

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Shouldn’t all these recent posts about stay alive etc. really be on a separate thread, as Jeff’s original thread was a DCC tutorial about fitting a decoder to a split chassis Bachmann Lord Nelson.


Could be a bit confusing if you pick this thread up via the DCC - Tutorials - Getting You Started forum.


Just a thought.



Ed

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Hi Ed.   Good point, but, this thread seems to have been " Hijacked all along the line". I joined in at the photo of a Loco chassis that was being converted, with my question, then it really got confused with the "stay alive".Who knows where it will go next?    All the best. Kevin

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Passed Driver wrote: Hi Ed.   Good point, but, this thread seems to have been " Hijacked all along the line". I joined in at the photo of a Loco chassis that was being converted, with my question, then it really got confused with the "stay alive".Who knows where it will go next?    All the best. Kevin
Hopefully back to Decoder fitting for a Bachmann Lord Nelson :)

Cheers everyone,

Bill

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Hi Bill.  Let's hope so? But there is more room for manoeuvre in a big Loco , don't forget the little guys, and gals.Let them get a look in?    All the best. Kevin

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Ed wrote: Shouldn’t all these recent posts about stay alive etc. really be on a separate thread, as Jeff’s original thread was a DCC tutorial about fitting a decoder to a split chassis Bachmann Lord Nelson.


Could be a bit confusing if you pick this thread up via the DCC - Tutorials - Getting You Started forum.


Just a thought.



Ed

 I was thinking along the same lines myself, Ed. Not so much because I object to my thread being hijacked (I don't! I am a notorious thread hijacker myself!), but more so that others can easily find things they know they've seen somewhere, but wouldn't think to look under "Lord Nelson".

Mods?

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Hi Jeff.   I refer you to an earlier thread? I remember about Jeffs(S R mans workbench) I enquired about a Hornby GWR Loco No 101 (Holden?) built on an unlikely 0-4-0 Pug chassis? You rightly said that it definitely wasn't DCC ready, which I knew,
and would have to be hard wired. But then somehow things went " Awry" and the Pug to DCC came along.
And as you seem to be one of the few regular DCC project contributors, the signals got crossed? And Bang! :mutley a derailment.    All the best.  Kevin

Last edited on Fri Jul 7th, 2017 02:32 pm by Passed Driver


                 

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