KB165: Recommended Tools for Decoder Installation

This article was last updated on May 14, 2012, 7:36 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

You'll need a few simple tools when you begin installing decoders:

  • A soldering iron, preferably temperature controlled. Though many installations do not require soldering, you may still need to use a soldering iron to install extras like lamps for special lighting effects.
  • Solder.
  • A small screwdriver for disassembling your loco.
  • Small diagonal cutters for cutting & stripping small wire.
  • Tweezers to pick up small loco parts.
  • Heat shrink tubing for protecting wire connections, this is better than electrical tape.

1. Read the instructions FIRST and PLAN your installation. Have the proper tools on hand.

2. Choose a locomotive that runs well on regular DC.

3. Choose the appropriate decoder for your installation.

4. Test the decoder before installation.

5. Carefully disassemble the loco.

6. Isolate the motor!

7. Follow the decoder's wiring diagram or installation instructions.

8. Test the installation first on DC then on DCC. (If the lights are flashing the first time you apply power, remove the loco from the track and locate the short circuit in your installation.)

9. Customize your decoder by programming selected CVs.

10. Tape for securing wires and the decoder inside the locomotive.

11. Decoder installation should be done in a reasonably static free environment. We recommend that you do all installations on a nonmetallic surface.

Digitrax decoders are not overly sensitive to static electricity & with a little common sense, you won't have problems.

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