Forget silicon, the new balsa wood
dcc chip is much cheaper. Its one drawback is that it doesn't work. A
mockup, prior to purchase to verify that the chip will fit inside the locos.
The Gaugemaster DCC22. A very tiny
DCC controller for N Gauge. 11mm x 9mm. The Lenz Silver Mini is about
the smae size.
I attempted to fit the chip inside
the tender, but the bulk of the 4 wires and the connections and
insulation made routing of the wires difficult.
Instead, a removed sections of the
I used a hacksaw, a Stanley knife,
a grinding wheel and a steel file. The knife is very effective at
shaving the soft metal.
Testing the fit.
The chip rests on the metal weight
and against the inside of the boiler.
Strips ofcard provide a 'shelf' to
prevent the chip dropping down onto the wheels.
Insulation taper to preven
shorting. Note the rear of the weight may need taping too, it may run
close to the copper pickup strips which rise to the small circuit
board between the motor and the boiler weight.
The original wiring. Carefully
remove the motor brush caps slowly to prevent the spring from jumping
out. Desolder the vertical copper strips from the left hand end in
Unscrew the screw which provides a
connection between the left wheels and the chassis. lift off the
Unsolder and remove completely the
capacitor (under the board) and the choke coil. It is unlikely that
these will come off easily. You wont be re-using them though. Clean
up the soldered contacts and apply a new blob of solder to the front
two joints where the pickup strips will be connected.
Re-secure the circuit baord, and
re-solder the two copper pickup strips. You may need to hold the
strip down as the solder cools. The black lead needs to be
re-soldered to the right hand (far side in the picture) joint. Be
prepared for the pickup strip to spring free !
A brief word about what we are
doing here. With normal analogue control, the train picks up the
current from the track and feeds it direct to the motor. The amount
of power supplied to the track determines the speed of the motor.
With DCC, the chip is the thing
that is wired to the pickups, and the voltage supplied to the track
is constant. It is always on no matter whether the train is moving or
stationary. The chip decides how much power to send to the motor,
based on signals it receives through the pickups from the controller.
So, the motor should be
isolated from the track completely. In the case of the 9F it is easy.
The left hand side pickups are connected to the chassis by the screw
in the circuit board. The motor is connected to the chassis by the
sprung tab on the cap for the bottom motor brush. Remove this tab,
and the motor is isolated.
So we need two wires from the
DCC chip to the motor. Another 2 wires from the DCC chip to the wheel
pickups. But not just any two. DCC chips have colour coded wires. You
have to select the correct ones.
So here it is wired in. Leads
deliberately left a tad long. Better long than too short !
After writing this, the red
lead broke from the circuit board,and the grey ead broke from the
brush cap. The grey lead was easy, I had left enough length spare to
re-strip and re-solder. I successfully resoldered the red lead using
a ground down solder tip. I tinned the tip and cleaned off all
surplus solder. I taped the chip onto some tissue paper which I
soaked in water, and pressed the chip down so that the underside
circuits components were wet. I tinned the red lead, and held it in
place over the tiny blob on the board. Watching with a magnifying
glass, I lightly touched the wire with the fine soldering iron tip
until I could see the blob underneath melt, and then removed the tip
and let it cool. The chip takes a while to dry out, but the wtaer had
done its job in preventing heat from damaging the tiny components.
Close up of the connections to the
motor. Grey is the negative lead, orange the positive. With wire this
thin, I dont strip the wire with strippers. I melt the plastic at the
desired point with the soldering iron. and gently pull the covering
off betweeen thumb and finger nails to reveal the bared end. This
reduces the risk of breaking the strands to a minimum but the ends
look a bit untidy, as seen in this close-up.
Note that the brush cap with the
spring is now at the top. This prevents the motor from contacting the chassis.
Note also the correct orientation
of the motor. The two indents shown in the picture here should be uppermost.
There are two tabs that stick out
above the middle driving wheel. I have used these to connect the red
(right) and black (left) leads to the DCC chip.
The chip in place. Mine rests
against the boiler weight, supported by the thin strips of card -
these need to be painted black because they can be seen below the
boiler body. A strip of insulation tape is wrapped around the wires,
which effectively holds the chip in place. The Yellow, Blue and White
leads are for front and rear lights, which I haven't bothered to wire
in - mainly because the light uses the chassis. So does the left side
pickups and the connection to the tender. There is room above the
motor to accomodate the loose ends. Note the card / black tape cover
over the motor to ensure that the wires do not get rubbed by the worm gear
An here it is assembled again.
Note the need to paint the white card support, black. Note also, the
chip has dropped. It was after this photo that I went back and put in
place the card 'shelf'. ! The red wire also needs to be tucked out