Andy, information is the key. N scale is small. To get the most from a DCC system you are better off getting a DCC ready, Loco. Some systems allow you to run one or two non DCC engines on a DC setup. The decoder is just the link between the electronics on the train and the system. To place the initial electronics, you would start with isolating the motor from the ground. You would have to read up on what is available from a company like MRC.
Maybe you can add to the question?
Ntrainlover may help try posting him.
It isn't easy answering a question. Normally I find the real question is asked in the 2nd or third reply.