N scale decoder installs, vol 1 - part 2 (TSG)

22 Jun 2016

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)
37:37 - N scale decoder installs, vol 1 - part 2 (TSG 2015)

FROM TSG MULTIMEDIA - Presented in HD format for TMTV members!

Want to learn how to install Digital Command Control (DCC) decoders into very small locomotives like N scale diesels? In N DCC Installs Volume 1, TSG model railroading expert Dan Cortopassi tackles real-world examples of DCC installs, covering 13 different install examples in all.

In Part 2, Dan continues with more involved installs and progresses to DCC sound installs in the last two locos. See how to deal with some more unique DCC install issues, including hard wire installs, more advanced lighting installs, and frame milling to make room for sound.

Even though this is N scale, many of Dan's clever techniques can be adapted to larger scale installs where space is at a premium.

In case you missed part 1, click here to go back and watch part 1

Here's the complete DCC Decoder install series from TSG:

- HO DCC Decoder installs, vol 1, part 1
- HO DCC Decoder installs, vol 1, part 2

- HO DCC Decoder installs, vol 2, part 1
- HO DCC Decoder installs, vol 2, part 2

- N DCC Decoder installs, vol 1, part 1
- N DCC Decoder installs, vol 1, part 2 (this video)

This video is produced by TSG Multimedia. If you would like to get this video as download-to-own, or to check out their other videos, please see the TSG website or the TSG free monthly podcast on YouTube.

NOTE: TMTV members can use the discount code found here to save 15% on TSG DVDs and downloads!

Play preview

•Vol 1 - Part 2, all chapters (38 minutes) ...


•Chapter 8 - Kato Budd RDC-2 - unique decoder install (5:27)

•Chapter 9 - Atlas EMD GP7 - unique board replacement install (5:08)

•Chapter 10 - Atlas EMD GP9 - non-DCC-ready hardwire decoder install (5:46)

•Chapter 11 - Minitrix Fairbanks-Morse H-12-44 - pre-DCC-era hardwire install (6:03)

•Chapter 12 - Kato EMD SD40-2 - DCC and sound install (5:57)

•Chapter 13 - Kato EMD SD45 pre-DCC-era hardwire sound install (9:16)

Watch part 1


I just started watching this series.

I've never installed a decoder before but am keen to learn. It was interesting to see many of the models I still own, in N scale, in these videos including some personal favourites: the Minitrix H12-44 and the Atlas GP7.

Now to get back to the series to keep learning.



Excellent videos. Particularly useful are the sound installs. Where would the very small 3/8" speaker be obtained?

You can find 3/8" round speakers (10mm) at Litchfield Station:


There are only a few videos on Youtube showing Bachmann sound decoder installs, and many of them are poorly done. You have made an excellent start on a subject we all want to know more about with this series..

Most of us have quite a few smooth running older Bachmann HO locomotives, both steam and diesel, that we would like to convert to sound and DCC. Please include a couple of segments showing sound decoder installs in these locomotives.  Also, I have found that the electrical and electronic aspect of the hobby in general, is the most frustrating part for most of us without a background or formal training on the subject. Basic model railroad electronics is a subject which you can exploit and provide a needed education to many of us.

Keep up the good work  


 I have had 2 of the Kato RDC models AND THE DECODERS sitting on my "to do" shelf for the past two years.   Seeing how to take the model apart was just the push I needed to "Get 'er done"

Thanks... I have several of these to do. Just as good though was watching them dismantled. I have a few engines that have poor connection, now that I've seen them in "pieces", I'm ready to hop in.

Excellent videos.  Decoder installation can be a challenge particularly with N scale locos being so small.  However, these videos reveal that even the most difficult installation can be easily handled with a little planning.  Time will tell, but I feel confident that when I start adding decoders to my mostly older diesels the work will go smoothly.  Thank you!

allanbishop's picture

In these older Atlas models, Does one actually have to purchase a new frame or can we modify the original one delicatley?



joef's picture

You can use a motor tool with a cutoff disk to "mill" the frame but it takes a lot of patience and a steady hand. After milling a couple frames this way, I decided buying the pre-milled frame is actually a bargain. Time and hassle is worth money too.

--Joe Fugate

tpmarshall's picture

The other option of course is to buy a hobby mill - like a Sherline - and use it to mill the frames. On the one hand, this is an expensive option that also requires an investment in time to learn how to properly and safetly use the mill. On the other hand, you'll then know how to use a mill (how cool is that?) that you will be able to use for other projects - up to and including building your own locomotives from scratch.

At some point in the near future, I hope to host a series on TrainMasters TV about milling - similar to a series on home 3D Printers that we will be sharing in the next few months. I have an expert all lined up for this - it's just a matter of co-ordinating our schedules, booking the studio time and so on. While we certainly don't expect most viewers to tear out to the store to buy a mill after watching, we hope it'll plant the seed.

This hobby offers such wonderful opportunities to learn about how to make things...


- Trevor