2019-08.2: Intro to Decoder Buddy

20 Aug 2019

Average: 3 (12 votes)
23:04 - August 2019 Act II - Introduction to Decoder Buddy (2019)

There are thousands of model locomotives that were made before the introduction of the 21-pin decoder. With more options for lighting and sound nowadays wiring them can be a messy affair. The Decoder Buddy is a product that makes the job easy.


bart's picture

Maybe it's just me this morning, but I was left confused.  I think this video started on the right track, but with the time restraints, I think there was far too much bantering back and forth with attempts at humor that led to some of my frustration.  Too little time left for details.

I was going to order some of these boards, but now I think I need to a bunch more research before doing so.

This is only the introduction ... some more in-depth installation examples are coming.

Bascially, this board and its plug makes installing 21-pin decoders a breeze. In our opinion, if you have 21-pin decoder installs you want to do in any loco that doesn't already have a nice 21-pin socket already, run, don't walk to getting some Decoder Buddy boards for the install. There's simply no other option nearly this easy to use.

I found the video quite confusing, with too much name dropping. The part about the LED dropping resistors still has my head spinning. After watching the video, I still don't know what the Decoder Buddy is. Is it just a break-out board?

I am also confused about the statement made regarding the 21 pin plug being standard among DCC decoder manufacturers (or maybe I misunderstood this statement - easy to do considering how confused I am about the whole video presentation)

I am no expert, but I have been under the impression that there are at least two 21 pin standards (e.g., NEM and NMRA). Refer to Mark Gurries' discussion at https://sites.google.com/site/markgurries/home/decoders/decoder-plugs-sockets/21-pin-plug-issues to see why I am confused about the statement made in the video.

The "21-pin" standard ... yes there are two different standards, but they don't affect the Decoder Buddy. That's because it just takes whatever the pin assignment is and routes it via traces to the solder pins. It's just a "straight through" routing, so whatever the pin does in the variation of the 21-pin standard, it will do the same thing with Decoder Buddy solder pad for that same pin. No change there, so you can ignore Decoder Buddy in your wiring -- pin 20 still does what pin 20 does on the decoder, and Decoder Buddy doesn't change that.

Installing a 21-pin decoder into a loco that doesn't have a 21-pin motherboard socket can be a real pain -- Decoder Buddy solves that, making 21-pin decoder installation super easy.

Even on some locomotives WITH 21-pin sockets, Decoder Buddy can be easier because it has great soldering pads for things like stay-alive and the various decoder functions. To top it off, the removable function lead socket is brilliant -- it allows wiring up all those lighting functions you've been dreaming about with a 21-pin decoder, yet unplugging the function lead pin from the Decoder Buddy makes removing the shell a total breeze!

Nice introduction, it covered most of the questions I had on the "need" to use one of these.

Looking forward to more on installations etc.