10 (or 11) ways to blow up a decoder

It’s crucial to know what NOT to do while setting up a decoder

A locomotive shell with multiple colors of wires coming from a decoder

How do you blow up a decoder?

A collection of compact DCC sound decoders on a white background

  1. Are unsuccessful to isolate the motor, making a useless quick.
    Various older locomotives made use of the chassis as portion of the electrical power pathway to one particular of the motor brushes, earning the chassis is electrically reside. This can be quickly fixed with insulating tape positioned below the motor and plastic or nylon mounting screws. This is only one particular way to blow up a decoder.

    The frame of a locomotive with blue tape on the bottom and motor next to the frame
    To isolate the motor, Larry 1st wanted to utilize a layer of vinyl electrical tape to the motor-mount area on the chassis. Larry Puckett picture

  2. Install the decoder without the need of testing the stall latest (or examining it in a MR evaluation) and utilizing a decoder with way too lower of an amperage ranking.
    Older motors, specifically open frame a few pole sorts, may perhaps attract in extra of one amp of existing. These demand a decoder capable of providing that amount of present or the components could be harmed. Greater still set up a present day replacement motor.
  3. Put in a new decoder and location the locomotive instantly on the major keep track of in advance of screening the installation on the programming observe.
    Programming monitor existing is confined to 250 milliamps to stop destruction to a decoder in situation of a shorter.
  4. Put in a decoder in an more mature locomotive without the need of giving it a full overhaul, in particular when coming out of storage.
    Old locomotives remaining sitting down in a box could operate poorly and draw extreme present-day which can destruction a decoder. Equipment lube in unique might harden more than time and reduce the motor from turning generating an extreme existing demand.
  5. Drop a totally free or uncovered wire on the rails or stay chassis while providing the installation a “quick” examination.
    However modelers are all way too usually in this kind of a hurry to take a look at a new decoder that they will right away area it on the observe to see how it runs even ahead of defending solder joints and exposed wires. One particular split next of inattention can blow up a decoder.
  6. Use cellophane or black electrical tape rather of heat shrink tubing to insulate wire solder joints or are unsuccessful to insulate them at all.
    Cellophane and electrical tape are not made for these kinds of installations and will soften and drop off soon just after set up, ensuing in the likely for a brief circuit. Use heat shrink tubing as a substitute.
  7. Fall short to use couplers with insulated shanks on locomotives that use the chassis as section of the electrical path and have human body-mounted coupler packing containers.
    Older locomotives such as people made by Athearn, Atlas, and LifeLike utilised the chassis as part of the electrical pathway. If a steel coupler is set up in a draft gear box solid into the chassis, it can result in a limited among locomotives and probably hurt decoders.
  8. Established the quantity also superior and overdrive the onboard audio amplifier.
    When possibly the incorrect speaker is set up or is not mounted correctly it might give insufficient quantity and modelers may maximize the volume placing to compensate. If established way too significant for the speaker, the audio components on the decoder could are unsuccessful.
  9. Put in a 4-ohm speaker with a decoder rated for 8 ohms.
    Most decoders are intended for use with eight-ohm speakers and individuals rated at only 4 ohms may perhaps overtax the skill of the decoder factors resulting in failure. Also two 8-ohm speakers wired in parallel consequence in only 4 ohms whereas in collection they are 16 ohms, which is actually simpler on the decoder.
  10. Use a a single-watt speaker with a decoder rated at two watts devoid of decreasing the volume appropriately.
    Some decoders now supply two watts for speaker electricity, however quite a few speakers are rated at a person watt or fewer. To stop detrimental the speaker you should both locate a two-watt speaker or cut down the quantity environment by fifty percent.
  11. Are unsuccessful to provide safety from voltages spikes and current surges on the monitor.
    Mainly because of the special electrical homes of DCC and the rather big amperages used, it is attainable through on-keep track of quick circuits for big voltage and current spikes to manifest which can hurt decoders. Power management gadgets such as DCC Specialties’ PSXX and NCE EB-1 and surge suppressors have particular circuitry which filters these out stopping destruction in most scenarios.
A locomotive shell with multiple colors of wires coming from a decoder
The decoder is set up and has been analyzed with persistence. Note the Kapton tape being used to hold the wires down instead of electrical or cellophane tape. Larry Puckett picture