Installing a DCC decoder in a Heljan Class 58

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Class 58

Before installing chip into any loco it is advisable to check the current being drawn by the loco. You should test the current drawn when the loco is stalled to find the peak current and select a decoder that will cope with that maximum current requirement.

With a plug and play decoder this is one of the most straightforward decoder installations. It was decided to use a TCS DP2X decoder for this installation.

The most difficult part of the installation is removing the body. It is a VERY tight fit. There are lugs each side securing the body to the chassis. Usually it is possible to use finger nails to lever Heljan bodies away from their chassis, but in this case it was necessary to use the end of a very small flat headed screwdriver to lever away gently at each end, prising one side away first, then the other. Once the body has been moved a little it is possible to gently move it one end at a time gently away from the chassis.

It was noted during the body removal that certain parts of the loco are susceptible to falling off, such as the bogie frame and the moulding which clips underneath the centre of the chassis. They can be easily replaced but is it a little disconcerting when they come away so easily in your hands!

Class 58 with body removed

Once the body has been removed it is obvious where the 8-pin plug on the decoder will go. Gently remove the 8-pin blanking plate from the circuit board by levering out a little from each end of the plate.

Class 58 with TCS DP2X decoder fitted

Fitting the decoder plug is straightforward. However, pin 1 is not marked, either on the decoder or on the circuit board of the loco.

If the decoder is installed the wrong way round it is not a disaster as the plug can just be removed and installed the other way round. If it has been installed the wrong way round the lights won't work.

Before replacing the body, program the CV settings as required on the programming track and test the loco on the main line or a rolling road.


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Copyright Bromsgrove Models 2006