The number one tip for successful DCC upgrades: Sunday Scribbles

loco servicing

Want great running DCC conversions of your analogue trains? He’s an often overlooked tip that will dramatically improve DCC conversion performance.

This tip has nothing to do with soldering.

Or the selection of decoders. You won’t be reading about Lenz, Digitrax, Hornby or Gaugemaster here.

Neither does it involve programming CVs.

No, this tip is about preparation — before you even start on the DCC modification itself.

Simply put: make sure your DC (analogue) engine is working flawlessly, and in both directions, before the fitting DCC chip.

To explain.  If a loco doesn’t work well on analogue, it’ll work poorly — perhaps even worse — on DCC.

And before anyone comments… Yes, fitting DCC to a previously analogue motor will generally improve its slow running performance but I’m talking about the basic motor function. Starting, stopping and smooth running in both directions. If your locomotive struggles with basic operation, DCC won’t help and you’ll get disappointing digital operation.

As such, my tip is to always service locos before DCC upgrades. Since I started doing this the quality of my DCC running experience has improved no end.

In particular, focus on the electrical path from the track to the motor so the electricity and DCC signals pass without interruption from the track to the circuitry and back.

I’ve covered servicing before so I won’t dwell on it here. But clean the wheels, the pickups, wiring connections, the motor brushes and return path.

If you do this you’ll get much better performance from your DCC upgrade.

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