For many DCC decoder installations, it makes sense to simply plug your decoder into the provided DCC socket and
off you go! However, there are some situations where you may want to put your butcher's hat on and chop out some of
the factory-provided components in your loco...
The first bit of surgeory is to remove any capacitors, which are often attached across the motor terminals. Designed
primarily to reduce interference with TVs, these capacitors are not necessary in DCC, as the decoders don't produce the
same disturbance as you would get with analogue/DC operation.
Removal of capacitors is usually a simple job of snipping the capacitor legs off, retaining any other connection wires.
The effect on DCC is often a positive one too - the decoder may respond to programming better, and may also run smoother. This
improved running is because many decoders use an effect called 'Back EMF' to feedback information from the motor on how it
is physically performing, and the decoder automatically adjusts the motor output to get a smoother operation - with the
capacitors still there, this can affect the Back EMF data, confusing the decoder a little and sometimes resulting in
more stuttery movement. Some decoder manufacturers even suggest that leaving the capacitor in place can potentially cause
damage to the decoder, so best snip it out!
You will find these capacitors on older models too, including those that are not DCC-Ready, and the same rule
applies... snip them out!
Where a loco does not have much space inside, and your decoder (and/or other equipment such as speaker) simply wont fit,
it may be necessary to remove the factory-fit DCC socket altogether and hard-wire your decoder.
Of course this means that you wont be able to undo your install, but on the whole, once you go DCC, you're unlikely to go
back to analogue/DC operation anyway!
If you feel the need to remove the DCC socket, simply unscrew it, snip the wires and hard-wire your decoder directly to
those wires. Be careful to remember which wires go together, as there will often be multiple wires on each side that
The decoder's black and red wires are the pickups - it doesn't matter which way around you connect them.
The orange and grey wires go off to the motor terminals. If the
loco runs backwards, simply switch the orange and grey wires around on the motor terminals.
The location of the DCC 8-pin socket in steam locos is often very useful for placing a speaker, such as the CT sugar-cube
speaker shown here... so the benefits of removing the socket and hard-wiring the decoder mean that DCC sound fitting
becomes a doddle in many steam locos!