Installing a DCC chip in a Hornby Castle Steam Loco that is DCC Ready

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Hornby Castle

This installation really is not difficult as the engine is DCC ready. The most difficult part is refitting the body on to the chassis ensuring that the spring at the rear is seated properly.

You will need both Phillips and flat headed screwdrivers as both types of screw are used to secure the body to the chassis.

Before installing chip into any loco it is advisable to check the current being drawn by the loco.

Removing the body from the Castle


The body is secured to the chassis with 3 screws, one at the rear (square drive screw) and two at the front (Phillips screws). The rear screw also holds in place the bar pulling the tender. When the rear screw has been removed, slide this bar out from between the chassis and the body. There is also a spring between the chassis and the body that presses against the bar - make sure when the body is lifted away from the chassis that the spring doesn't!

The front bogie assembly is secured with a small Phillips screw. Undo this and slide out the bar with the bogie attached. Undo the screw holding the angled copper strip which helps to keep the bogie on the track.

The body can be easily lifted away from the chassis. Be careful not to create too much movement of the chassis or else you will dislodge the cylinder assembly.


Location of NMRA socket in Castle

The loco is DCC ready, having a socket installed in the middle of the loco. Gently lever the dummy plug out of the socket.

There is very little space inside the loco. This installation used a TCS M1 UK decoder, one of the smallest decoders on the market, with a short harness for UK locos. However, a TCS DP2X-UK decoder could have been used, having no wires and just replacing the DC blanking plug.


Castle with decoder wires tidied

Firmly push the plug attached to the decoder into the socket, being careful not to bend the pins. Make sure the decoder is correctly orientated, with the orange wire at the front left.

It is also possible to disable the capacitor by cutting through one of the legs securing the capacitor to the motor with a pair of wire cutters. This action is recommended to improve the performance of the loco with a decoder installed, but be aware that disabling the capacitor may invalidate your warranty.

It is suggested that you do any programming of the decoder, before replacing the body.

The decoder wires will need to be folded so that the decoder can be located on top of the NMRA plug. The TCS M1-UK decoder is already insulated so the protective sleeve provided is not required.

Replace the body carefully making sure that the spring at the rear is correctly seated, and position the bar linking the loco to the tender in the available slot in the body and between the spring and the chassis, before replacing the screw. Fix and secure the copper strip in place at the front of the chassis, then slide the front bogie assembly into the chassis and fix with the remaining screw.


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