Installing a DCC decoder in a Bachmann Class 44/45/46 Loco
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Last updated 29 March, 2020


This is almost as easy as it gets - Bachmann have made their Class 44 DCC-Ready which means you can just plug a decoder straight in. No soldering is needed, in fact no tools at all other than the cross-head screwdriver you need to remove the body from the chassis. There isn't much of a need for these instructions, either, they're just here to show those thinking about taking the plunge how easy it can be.

Class 45 and 46 locos are similar internally so these instructions can also be used for these models.


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All you need to install a decoder into this loco is a cross-head screwdriver, a decoder with a standard NMRA plug (in this case the Lenz LE1024E) and the double-sided sticky pad supplied with it. The cutters pictured make life a bit easier, but aren't essential. If your loco is brand new like this one then it's probably a good idea to test-run it before proceeding in order to check everything is OK.

An equally suitable decoder is the TCS DP2X-UK which is a plug in decoder with no wires.

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Bachmann have sensibly joined the body to the chassis with 2 screws, found in holes underneath the chassis. Undo these screws (circled in red in the photo) with a cross-head screwdriver and put them to one side - you'll have to turn the bogies as shown to get access to the holes. Ignore any other screws you might see under the chassis, only two actually secure the body.

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Once the screws are removed the body should come away with ease if you put the loco back onto it's wheels and lift. Put the body to one side and you should now have unrestricted access to the circuit board where you'll plug the DCC decoder. For later reference the front of the loco (or number 1 end as it's known) is the end with the crew figure in the photo and the equivalent end of the body is that with the large grille and fan in the roof. After the conversion your loco should move in this direction when you tell it to go forwards.

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Remove the dummy plug from the DCC socket (you don't need pliers, they just made taking the photo easier) and you will see the actual socket (the black thing with 8 silver holes) where the DCC decoder will plug. Note that Bachmann have clearly labelled pin 1 of the socket, which helps to make fitting the decoder the right way round that little bit easier. Keep the dummy plug somewhere safe just in case you ever want to convert the loco back to conventional control.

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Remove the orange capacitor with a pair of cutters, if you've got them, or by bending it back-and-forth until the wires snap if you haven't. Capacitors (provided for interference suppression with DC operation) aren't needed under DCC and can interfere with the smooth operation of decoders.

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On of my favourite decoders for general purpose use these days is the Lenz LE1024E used here. These have Back EMF control built in to give more refined running and can be had for well under £20 each including the famous Lenz 'goof-proof' no questions asked warranty. I never buy decoders without Back EMF on the basis that I can switch it off on the rare occasion that I don't need it, but I can't switch it on if it's not there!

Plug the decoder in as shown, making sure pin 1 (the orange wire) is aligned with the pin 1 that Bachmann have thoughtfully marked on the circuit board. If you plug the decoder in the wrong way round, don't worry. The loco will run backwards but the connections of the standard plug are designed to ensure there will be no damage. Secure the decoder using the supplied double-sided sticky pad.

*Since this guide was first written by Steve a variety of alternative suitable decoders have come onto the market from a number of manufacturers but the easiest to fit into this loco is the TCS DP2X-UK which has Back EMF and no wires.

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Before putting the body back on the chassis it's as well to check that everything is working. The safest way to do this is to put the loco on the programming track and try and read information from the decoder - the instructions for your particular DCC system will tell you how to do this. If all is well (and I've never yet had a problem) then pop the body back on and secure it with the 2 screws. The only thing to watch out for is that none of the wires foul anything such as the holes for the screws.

This guide first appeared on the ElectricNose web site belonging to Steve Jones and is reproduced here with his permission


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