Installing a DCC decoder in a Hornby 4-6-0 Patriot Class Loco

Click on each image for a more detailed view.

Hornby Patriot Loco

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

The intention was to install a TCS-M1UK decoder (illustrated) into this locomotive.

Remove body from tender

This is a tender drive loco, so the motor and NMRA socket in the DCC ready model are located in the tender.

It is necessary to separate the top part of the tender body from the chassis. There are no screws securing the body to the chassis. Gently insert a flat ended screwdriver into the space at the front of the tender (as shown in the photograph) and twist the screwdriver to lever up the front end of the tender body. Once the body starts to move apart from the chassis, slide the screwdriver further to the left between the two parts and twist to lever evenly along the front edge. Once the front end of the body has separated from the chassis it should be straightforward to just gently pull the two apart.

Installing a decoder into a Hornby Patriot DCC Ready Loco - Step 3

Once the body has been lifted clear the NMRA socket is visible. Remove the DC board from the socket, again using a flat ended screwdriver, being careful not to damage any of the wires.

Installing a decoder into a Hornby Patriot DCC Ready Loco - Step 4

When the dummy plug has been removed the location of pin 1 (orange wire) can be clearly seen.


Installing a decoder into a Hornby Patriot DCC Ready Loco - Step 5

If you wish to remove the capacitor this can be done by just cutting out the device, as shown. This particular model ran better with the capacitor removed.

Installing a decoder into a Hornby Patriot DCC Ready Loco - Step 6

The intention had been to use a TCS M1-UK decoder, as this fits most UK locos and is especially designed for UK steam locos. However, the harness is not long enough to enable the decoder to sit on the block at the rear of the tender, the only suitable place for the decoder to reside. Instead, a TCS M1-P, fitted with a medium length harness was used (as shown).

It is usually possible to secure decoders to the chassis using Sticky-Fixer pads. However, the clearance between body and decoder is insufficient to allow for the thickness of one of these pads, so double sided carpet tape was used instead. This tape is of negligible thickness but has very good securing qualities.

It is suggested that you do any programming of the decoder on the programming track at this point, before replacing the body, to ensure that the installation is sound.

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