American Z Line First AZL RS-3 DCC Conversion

rray Jun 23, 2020

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  1. JuergenT

    JuergenT TrainBoard Member

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    Hi folks

    now my first ALCO RS3 run digital (DCC).
    I used an Döhler & Haas Decoder PD05A without wires.
    This decoder s smaler than the circuit board.
    For the wiring I used enamelled wire 0.1 mm.
    So the space between the board and the shell is ok.
    Also I turn around the board, so are the Leds and resistors on top.
    ALCO_RS2_01.JPG ALCO_RS2_02.JPG ALCO_RS2_03.JPG ALCO_RS2_04.JPG ALCO_RS2_05.JPG ALCO_RS2_06.JPG

    Thanks for your informations to install a decoder
     
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  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Very nice solution Juergen, I did not even know that decoder exists.
     
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  3. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Another choice! But it does not appear to be sold in USA. Nothing from eBay or Amazon, but plentiful in UK and Germany.
    I like this installation best so far!
     
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  4. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Does anyone know if the Döhler & Haas Decoder PD05A is available in the states? Maybe a shop that specializes in DCC components but doesn't advertise? I'd like to get an RS3 and DCC it. Plus I have two AZL GP7 which I need to convert to DCC.

    I've been "on the fence" about converting those GP7's because the two AZL ES44AC's I converted with TCS Z2 are not good runners, on either the light blinks and they are jerky especially on first running until they warm up, they can not be run slowly. I've had them apart many times but without success. They ran much better on the stock DC boards (meanwhile on the same track my Digitrax equipped MTL SD40 runs smoothly). Anyway, that is off topic but relates in that I would DCC all 5 with the same board if I could. New DCC conversions for an AZL RS3 as shown here and my GP7's and replacement boards for the AZL ES44AC's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  5. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    So candidates now include the DZ126T, ESU LokPilot 5 Micro, Döhler & Haas Decoder PD05A, and TCS Z2...
     
  6. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    You can find all kinds of decoders that will fit, and you can take a photo of the decoder, so you remember which wire went where, then unsolder all the stock wires, then use enamel wire on it to get the same effect as using the Döhler & Haas 5.0 x 7.9 x 2.5mm Decoder.

    The Tran CT Elektronik DCX76zD is 6.9 x 6.1 x 1.7mm
     
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  7. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Another decoder! I’m beginning to see what you mean. And finer wire than normally supplied with these makes great sense.
     
  8. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    It doesn't look like the CT Electronik or Dohler & Haas are readily available, and the DZ126 and TCS Z2 are a little large to become a "one size fits all" solution, so I ordered a few of the ESU Lokpilots to try. I should say though that he price of the DZ126 is very good and if it fits it makes sense to use it.
    I could use a link or description of the "enamel wire" you are suggesting. The thinnest color coded wire I have in my shop is just under 1mm O.D. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  9. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I found a spool of single strand wire in my shop, it looks like it has a Teflon coating, kind of translucent white. It has an O.D. of .47m/0.0185” and wire is .20mm/0.0085”
     
  10. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Well, I did get all 3 of mine converted with DZ126T's so I could use the Transponding feature for locomotive following layout sound.

    For wire I like the .28mm Micro Litz stranded wire. It's 7 strands of Tin Plated Oxygen Free Copper Core covered with PTFE (Poly Tetra Fluoroethylene). It's UL Listed UL10064 36AWG wire with 200C heat rated insulation that's easy to strip and can carry 30 volt and 200 milliamps. The strands make it flexible and less likely to break, and at $15 for 100m or 300 feet, it's very economical to use. I started wiring structure lighting with this stuff, and wires are about 10 thousandths of an inch outside diameter which is a Z scale 2.2" and is close enough to represent conduit. It also takes paint well without beading.

    Black
    1.jpg

    Red
    2.jpg

    I am currently using this wire to wire the lighting in the final version of my Lester WA Coal Dock:
    3.jpg
     
  11. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you very much! Plenty of info there to insure I get the right stuff. I was concerned that single strand wire would be prone to breaking over time.
     
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  12. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Found the wire on ebay and got a spool coming, thank you. I got white so I can color code it with felt markers.
     
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  13. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Many have wired with "magnet" wire, typically that orange-red stuff. It hasn't been a problem with the random wire shorting. Much of it crosses edges of the chassis and is commonly stuffed in after wiring outside. The pain is that classic magnet wire has to be scraped to remove the enamel, which most use Xacto knives to scrape it, which knicks and weakens the single copper strand. The 'newer' better stuff just needs heat so you can 'try' to solder to it and it will burn off and then take the solder. Super easy.
    But all of these decoders should be able to be wired with small PVC insulated wires, like TCS uses. I have the D&H decoders coming but both the D&H and ESU LokPilot 5 Micro need to be be soldered on the 'side' of the board and routed. This has an advantage that all can be in place and wired. However, many of the European decoders are multi format, many-many more functions and capabilities. Some need a programmer and many don't have JMRI sheets 9or current). But, the still seem to be able to program on the 'Program' Track of NMRA DCC as it is only a few changes. Documentation (English) has gotten better. For CT Tran, an Austrian SMALL size decoder maker, it was translated by a reseller to English for almost 8-10 years.

    Getting workbench readied for the new ones, to check if the D&H or LokPilot will better than the TCS. I have good confidence that I can make the TCS work. Easier to get ahold of.

    Lets talk tomorrow on Zoom 12 PST
     
  14. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Ok I’ll have my zoom app open at noon.
     
  15. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Darn, I fell asleep surfing the web, while waiting for Zoom meeting time!
     
  16. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I fell asleep during the meeting!
    Just kidding it was cool to be with other Z scale enthusiasts for a little while :)
     
  17. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I'll have to get some of that fine solder for this kind of work.
     
  18. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    I couldn't find the PD05A so I got some Lokpilot Micro V5.0 #59820 to try. I like your solution to flip the board and trim it on the side for the side mounted wires on the PD05A (and LokPilot). I am waiting on my UP RS2 but hope to have a conversion of my own to add here soon.
     
  19. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Received my UP RS2 today, nice loco! I was surprised how very similar in size and shape they are to my GP7's, they may be different under the hood, but they are birds of a feather. Mine is running really well! I'll have to dig out my history books to see how closely they were used in actual practice.
    I asked about the choice of body mounted couplers for them on the AZL forum. In my limited experience they are troublesome, my RS2 throws cars off the track on my 195R loop. The couplers are either too limited in side to side movement or the spring force is too stiff.
     
  20. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I agree the couplers need a little work. I will be reworking mine before using them. That bump plastic above the pocket is suspect, maybe should be a dent instead.
     
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