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Friday, December 29, 2006

Lessons Learned - DCC Decoder Zapping, the primer

True or false, you can make a decoder glow like a dim led?

If you said false, you are wrong. I know, my Tsunami glowed nicely before it smoked. And it was not the lack of the much fabled yellow Kapton tape that caused it.

How to fry a decoder:
  1. Patch the decoder into the locomotive wiring harness and insulate the splices later. If it works, you can go back and clean up the installation.
  2. All decoders are equipped to properly sense and provide the proper voltage of the lamp or LED you are using for the headlight.
  3. Using the programming track to test a new decoder installation is for dummies, just put that loco on the mainline track and tell 0003 to highball!
  4. You don't need to insulate the wire splices and connections to the headlights because the shell is plastic and will not short out.
  5. Don't cut the wires to fit in case you decide you need longer wires when you sell. This is why we have tie wraps.
  6. Decoder manufacturers always follow the color code of the NMRA so you don't need to read the manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Those wires that look like they are touching on the back of the NMRA 8 pin plug are really not touching.

Each of the items on my list have been personally tested and are guaranteed to spoil your afternoon. Not being personally content with the lesson I learned from frying my first decoder, I moved on and fried two more on other projects. At least I kept notes!

I hope everyone is aware that doing any of the things I mentioned above can result in, or in some cases guarantee you will fry your decoder or flashbulb your locomotive lights.

Joe Daddy


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