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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at bidding on an N scale Atlas locomotive on eBay. It is described as "used, but good condition". Looks fine in the photos. My only problem is that it is not DCC, but I'm thinking if I can grab it at a good price, I could convert to DCC with a decoder. This is where my question comes in, as I am totally new to DCC.

Are there any DCC decoders available that are "generic", or is each decoder made to fit a certain loco, or certain brand? I have looked at the Atlas site, but finding what I need, without having more info on the specific loco model, the site is not very helpful. Same with the NCE website. I have emailed to seller asking for the manufacturing date, if he has that info, but have yet to hear a reply. Would the mfg date be on the bottom of the loco? The photo showing the bottom is quite dark, but I can make out Made in China, and it looks like there may be a year on there as well but I cannot read it. Anyway, any help or advice on converting a DC loco to a DCC loco would be helpful. I'm trying to find a decoder before I get into a bidding war with someone. Thanks.
 

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I can help with the decoder. You need to use one of these decoders on that Locomotive.

Digitrax DN163A4
TCS ASD4
NCE N12A2

Just google them and you should find them or search on ebay for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much for that quick response bewhole.
So either of them would work, that's encouraging. Like I said, DCC is totally new to me. And the manufacturing date? Does that come into play at all? I ask because I don't really know when DCC became mainstream, so I am concerned about date, although I doubt this loco is that old.
I'd like to bid on this engine and hopefully I can pick it up at a bargain. I have been having a hard time locating a GP9 or GP7 in N scale as it is, and this would be perfect to strip down and repaint to TH&B colors, and I have located and ordered a decal set for such a locomotive.
Thnaks again!
 

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This site comes in handy for me anyways.
It will tell everything you need to know about N scale locos. It says yes on the DCC and the


Release Date2010-09-01


after a bit you will get the hang of it. I did and that says a lot!! LOL
ps :That is a interesting color they have on the loco.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This site comes in handy for me anyways.
It will tell everything you need to know about N scale locos. It says yes on the DCC and the


Release Date2010-09-01


after a bit you will get the hang of it. I did and that says a lot!! LOL
ps :That is a interesting color they have on the loco.
This site comes in handy for me anyways.
It will tell everything you need to know about N scale locos. It says yes on the DCC and the


Release Date2010-09-01


after a bit you will get the hang of it. I did and that says a lot!! LOL
ps :That is a interesting color they have on the loco.
Once again, thank you very much. Bookmarked, and going straight there now.
 

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I would wait until you get the locomotive to buy a decoder. A lot of N scale models have a light-board, and there are decoders made that will replace that light board. I would just wait and see what's in there first.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So.....this is exactly the model that I want to bid on...…Atlas N Scale 48408 EMD GP9 Grand Trunk #4917. Found it on your suggested site, bewhole!
It says released in 1997, and DCC ready. I think maybe I am good to go ahead and bid. It would be even better if the seller does reply to my email with some additional information.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would wait until you get the locomotive to buy a decoder. A lot of N scale models have a light-board, and there are decoders made that will replace that light board. I would just wait and see what's in there first.
Good advice. Depends on where the bids go. Pretty cheap right now. Thanks!
 

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So.....this is exactly the model that I want to bid on...…Atlas N Scale 48408 EMD GP9 Grand Trunk #4917. Found it on your suggested site, bewhole!
It says released in 1997, and DCC ready. I think maybe I am good to go ahead and bid. It would be even better if the seller does reply to my email with some additional information.

It ends in 6 days. I see it is in Canada too. that shipping is a tad high (For me anyways)LOL
Good luck on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Coincidentally, I just received feedback from the seller. He says he's not sure about the date, but he's guessing 1997. That lines up, but he also says it is "not DCC ready" but says Digitrax recommends a DN 136D decoder, which looks quite different than any of the decoders you listed for me, bewhole. I find that curious but I have until Sunday to figure it out, though. See where the bidding goes.
 

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Coincidentally, I just received feedback from the seller. He says he's not sure about the date, but he's guessing 1997. That lines up, but he also says it is "not DCC ready" but says Digitrax recommends a DN 136D decoder, which looks quite different than any of the decoders you listed for me, bewhole. I find that curious but I have until Sunday to figure it out, though. See where the bidding goes.
That is one that you would have to solder on the loco. That would be too old unless you know what you are doing with that one. The one I pointed too has a "Slide in Board". It is much easier to do than that one.
 

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Coincidentally, I just received feedback from the seller. He says he's not sure about the date, but he's guessing 1997. That lines up, but he also says it is "not DCC ready" but says Digitrax recommends a DN 136D decoder, which looks quite different than any of the decoders you listed for me, bewhole. I find that curious but I have until Sunday to figure it out, though. See where the bidding goes.
I think the one he has looks like this.
This is the one that is the simple one.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That is one that you would have to solder on the loco. That would be too old unless you know what you are doing with that one. The one I pointed too has a "Slide in Board". It is much easier to do than that one.
For sure what you pointed to is what I would purchase, provided this locomotive will accept that. If not, then I would perhaps take a chance on my soldering abilities...;)
Depends how much I am willing to bid for the loco. I would do as flyboy2610 suggests. Buy the loco first, and then see what decoder is needed. Certainly have learned plenty here today. Thanks, you guys rock!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The wire-in one is exactly as you posted. And the video is a huge help, visually, for the board-type decoder. I'm going to "lurk" the auction, and jump in if the price stays within my justifications. You are right about shipping costs, especially when you consider that I live about 1 1/2 hours from the guy, but I may pick up something else to package together with the loco to get more mileage out of the shipping costs.
 

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This TCS decoder is made for the non DCC ready chassis.CN-GP | Train Control Systems
Still requires some soldering but not as much as a totally wired decoder like the Digitrax DN136D.
TCS is the only maker of decoder like this that I know of.
Hope this helps a little.
Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This TCS decoder is made for the non DCC ready chassis.CN-GP | Train Control Systems
Still requires some soldering but not as much as a totally wired decoder like the Digitrax DN136D.
TCS is the only maker of decoder like this that I know of.
Hope this helps a little.
Rick
Everything helps, rickbz28. This link you provided also leads to an excellent installation guide. If I do win the auction and get this loco, I will see which type of decoder I will need. And even if I do not win the auction, all this information provided will be helpful in the future, since I will always on the lookout for bargain priced N scale locomotives that can be converted to DCC. Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I just wanted to report back regarding the eBay item I was bidding on. I set my maximum bid and waited patiently, however, as is what usually happens, bids started going up considerably near the end of the auction. The loco went for far more than I was willing to pay, especially when you consider that I would need to spend another $50 to purchase a DCC decoder to install. BUT...and this is important....thanks to information I gathered from you guys who posted advice here, I learned so much on the subject of decoders and converting a DC locomotive to DCC. This was all new stuff to me. So now I feel that I am armed with the tools I need when considering purchasing or bidding on a DC locomotive for the purpose of conversion to DCC. In particular, I have found the Trovestar search database to be very helpful. I will continue watching eBay for these locos, but in a much more informed way. Thank you guys again!
 
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