Graham Farish's 'Poole' Class 44 and Class 45 'Peak' diesels in N gauge present some challenges, as it is an older design and thus not DCC-ready
with very limited space. So what can be done to drag it into the world of DCC...?
Without too many modifications, the first example (a blue Class 45) uses a Zimo MX621 4-function decoder, along with some YouChoos-built head/tail lights,
cab lights and crew - some very welcome and neat additions to bring this old boy into the DCC era. This kit can all be added without any compromise to
the model, its weight, or its running ability.
The second example (green Class 44) takes the plunge with some major chassis modifications in order to shoe-horn DCC Sound (CT Elektronik SL75 decoder)
as well as all of the lighting options found in the first example (cab lights, 8x head/tail lights, crew). The compromise is theoretically in structural
strength/weight, but actually the extra equipment counters all the weight loss and running is just as good as the original! The speaker is CT's
'sugar-cube' with a custom-built fully sealed enclosure in the roof of the loco, which kicks out the usual massive volume expected from this tiny device.
Both the Zimo and CT decoders provide surreal slow/smooth running, and the motor is up to the job of supporting it very well.
The best DCC sound results, however, are using a Zimo MX648 and heavily modified SugarCube speaker. Running is excellent and sound reproduction
of the Zimo is superb. Some very serious rework of the chassis is required (not for the faint hearted), but the eventual results speak for themselves.