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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to get a amtrak engine for my son to run on our layout. We are looking at the ge p42 because thatz what runs in our area.

Does anyone have any experience with the kato ge p42 genesis dcc ready model? Are there any others I am missing that I should consider?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think the one I was like looking at was dc not dcc. The dcc version is double and outside of the buget. Will need to look at another model of amtrak train. If I did buy dc one how hard for a beginner to upgrade it to dcc?
 

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I think the one I was like looking at was dc not dcc. The dcc version is double and outside of the buget. Will need to look at another model of amtrak train. If I did buy dc one how hard for a beginner to upgrade it to dcc?
If the locomotive is Kato, it's excellent. They don't make any other kind. If it's marked "DCC ready" that means it's a DC locomotive equipped with a plug inside that makes it super simple to convert to DCC. You simply unplug the original circuit board, or sometimes just a jumper plug, and plug in the DCC decoder. Of course to run it on DCC after the decoder is inserted, you will need a DCC controller. NCE, Digitrax, and MRC Prodigy are the three big manufacturers of DCC systems. Bachmann also makes systems but I don't recommend that brand. Stick to one of the first three.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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It is easier to just buy it with DCC sound pre-installed.

If upgrading afterward, you'll have to find a dealer for ESU or other brand, then you will have to have them program the sound file to the decoder. Not all dealers will do this. Those that do, generally do it for free if you buy it from them, but the hard part is finding one that will. Sound decoders are shipped blank unless it comes installed in the locomotive. ESU has an extensive sound library with available files downloadable for free for use with their Loksound programmer that anyone can buy, but not many do and instead either have their dealer program it, or buy the locomotive with the decoder already installed.

Will you be using DCC or is your layout wired for straight DC?

Not all functions or sound will work with a straight DC layout. At most, you might get the engine sound and the horn. Lights should work too.

BTW, you are looking at MSRP prices on the Kato website. Retail prices will be lower, but a $200 difference between a DC locomotive and a DCC version is overpriced. There shouldn't be more than about $125+/- difference in price even with a Loksound 5.0 installed. That is the top of the line sound decoder and is prevalent in Europe as they are a German company. Lenz, Zimo, and Uhlenbrock are three more high-end DCC sound decoder German manufacturers.
 

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Thanks for the reply. So would that work to upgrade one of the analog engines or would I be stuck looking at the ones with dcc cards preinstalled? HO-Scale GE P42 "Genesis" - KATO USA : Precision Railroad Models
thomashmaine;

I looked at your link, and did not actually see the words "DCC ready" in the text. They may be elsewhere. These days most DC locomotives are designed to be convertible to DCC relatively easily. They may not have the handy plug but often the DC lighting circuit board can be replaced by a DCC decoder designed specifically to fit in place of the original board. I have Kato F-7 diesel and Kato GG-1 electric locomotives that are convertible this way.

Whether you buy the loco with factory installed DCC, or convert it yourself, depends on whether or not you want sound, and of course, price. As MichaelE said, it is simplest to buy the loco with DCC installed, but it's also expensive. The ESU sound decoder is top of the line, in both sound quality and price. If you don't care about engine sounds from your model, then you can find inexpensive "motor & headlight only" decoders that will do the job and save you a little money. However, if you and your son, want diesel engine sounds, coupler clash, air horns and bells to come out of your loco, then I would save up for the factory installed sound decoder. Bear in mind that price also includes the speaker factory installed. This is not only an additional expense item if you chose to do it yourself, but can also be a pain in the butt to install.

If by "one of the analog engines" you mean some other locomotive that you already have, not the DC version of the Kato GE P42, then yes, you can upgrade it to DCC by adding a DCC decoder yourself. This is not rocket science, but if the locomotive is not the "DCC ready variety, with a plug or replaceable circuit board, then you will need to do some work on the innards. This sounds harder than it is. You will need to isolate the motor from the frame, often with tape, and do some soldering of small wires. An excellent book on DCC is available that shows how to do this, and many other aspects of DCC, in simple text & many color photos. It's "Basic DCC wiring" by Mike Polsgrove. You can order it on Amazon. The file below also has some info on DCC.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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If you ARE SURE that you "want sound", it's better to buy the version with dcc and sound factory-installed. But of course, more money.

If "sound" isn't important to you, buy the "analog" version which should have an 8-pin plug to add a dcc decoder. You can get these for about $25.

Be sure you get the paint scheme that pleases you.
The "Phase V" is what they use now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for the advice. I think putting in the dcc card could be fun and fairly easy I just don't have the time. The grandparents are going to chip in toward the engine so he gets what he wants now I can't seem to find the damn thing.
 

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Kato mechanisms are among the best available.

There was a time when Bachmann had a bad reputation, but their quality has improved greatly over time.

The Kato will probably be "the best runner".
But if it's going to be "handled" by a young-un, with the possibility of getting damaged, the Bachmann may prove to be "the wiser value"...
 

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Kato is excellent..... Bachmann is definitely not !........ Bachmann is a gamble at best. Kato is a near certainty to be good.
For many years the name "Bachmann" was synonymous with "noisy poor running junk". They have reportedly improved in recent years. I don't know, since I got so disgusted with Bachmann that I have not bought a Bachmann product in years. I often read some bad things about them on this forum now as well. Here are some examples. "Their sound decoders give off a loud hum, and have to be replaced with a better brand". "Their EZ-Track turnouts fail on an all-too-regular basis and cause many derailments". "Their service is slow and unreliable."
I strongly recommend that you go with the Kato. Even though it may cost more, Kato quality is well worth the price. I have many Kato locomotives and passenger cars, and all are top notch. I have used Kato locomotives for many years, and I am very happy with them.

Traction Fan
 

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I am curious about opinions on Bachmann. I don’t want to trash any manufacturer for the joy of it, but will say I too have not purchased a Bachmann product in years, and have often shipped things back to Philadelphia. My question is, how have things improved?
 
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