NSW Diesels

NSW Steam

41 Austrains

32 Trainorama

42 Trainorama

35 Austrains

421 Austrains

36 Austrains

44 Trainorama

442 Austrains

45 AR Kits

45 Auscision

47 Trainorama

D50 Eureka Models

C30T Wombat Models


48 Latest Powerline

48 Latest Powerline

NSW Electric

48 Powerline

48 Trainorama

  46 Auscision

49 Trainorama


80 Austrains

49 Trainorama

80 Austrains


Interubans U Boats


NR Austrains

SOUND Soundtraxx

Tsunami in a C36

NR Austrains



N scale decoders in HO locos.



Lima XPT Conversion


S. Era Black Beetle




Other States



930 Trainorama 

C Class Austrains

T Class Austrains





N Class Auscision




















Decoder Installations into Aussie Locos.


See also Decoder Definitions, Selection & Installation.

Decoder types, sizes, current, functions etc.

Lights for DCC Problems with original lamps


NOTE I have removed the locos instalations that were on other web sites that no longer exist.

I have installed sound decoders into many DJH Kit locos, I did not have time to photograph the installation as I was doing it. All these previously listed locos, used “universal” harness types of decoders, follow the procedure below.  


“Universal” Harness Decoder Installation Notes.


In a lot of cases our NSW and Aussie locos, are made by Lima, Powerline, Austrains, Trainorama, AR Kits, DJH, brass and others, the mechanisms are only specific to Australia. Most of these locos will need a general purpose/Universal  DCC decoder.


For the “earlier” locos like the Limas and Powerline 48s etc that don’t have a DCC Ready plug, they’ll need a “harness” type decoder, where the decoder’s wires are connected to the appropriate loco wires etc.


Later model locos like the Trainorama 44, 47, 49, C32, Austrains NRs, later C36s and C35s etc have an NMRA 8 Pin socket, where all the loco’s wiring has been terminated, at. This makes for an easy “Plug & Play” installation, using decoders like NCE’s N14IP, Lenz Silver and Loksound sound decoders, plug into. These don’t require any soldering except to connect the speakers, if necessary.


Installing sound decoders with up to 6 light functions, will require making solder connections necessary, even in a loco with a DCC Ready Circuit Board like in the Trainorama 44. Installing sound decoders due to their larger size and thickness, may require the removal of these Circuit Boards. These installations are more complex especially if using the supplied 1.5 Volt Incandescent Lamps.  


Lights can be an issue, see the article on Lights in DCC. Any lights in the loco will need to be checked for what voltage they operate on. Late model locos use 1.5 Volt lamps. These will need to be connected to the decoder with a voltage dropping resistor. Due to the brilliance of incandescent lamps being very poor, I replace them with LEDs and wire in a 1,000 Ohm into one of the leads. See my “Lights for DCC” article. Generally, the testing/replacing and the wiring up of lights, is the difficult part of installing DCC in a loco. Without lights, a decoder installation takes about 30 minutes.


The list to the left shows the locos that I have “chipped”.


Many of them include sound decoders. Any brand of decoder and type will do, so long as the current capacity for that decoder is capable of handling the loco’s current and obviously if you can fit it into the loco.


Installing a “General Purpose” decoder with a harness.


The most important factor when installing decoders is, there must be NO circuit from the wheels to the motor except via the decoder. The decoder controls the motor current. The motor terminals MUST be completely insulated from the rest of the loco. Early "open frame" motors that are common in brass locos, in a lot of cases have one terminal "going to" the frame. If you are not sure that the motor terminals are insulated, use a "multimeter", selected to OHMS and make sure that there no "continuity" (open circuit, resistance in the range of more than 100,000 Ohms).


  1. Ascertain the actual current that the loco draws by “holding onto” the loco with 12 Volts DC applied to the loco. This is at maximum volts and the loco’s wheels slipping and I call this current “value” the SLIPPING current.
  2. Select a decoder from my list or any DCC manufacturer’s or hobby shop list.
  3. Connect the appropriate decoder’s wires to:
    1. Black – L/H track/rail pick up.
    2. Red – R/H track/rail pick up

                                         i.    It does NOT matter if you “interchange” or “swap” the red and black wires around when connecting to the pickups, only that when the “chipped” loco was placed on a DC powered layout, it may go in the wrong direction. Direction in DCC is determined by orange and grey wires to the loco’s motor or can be changed in CV 29.

    1. Remove any SUPPRESSION components from the loco’s motor terminals that are fitted.
    2. Orange – the + or top Motor connection.
    3. Grey – the – or bottom Motor connection.

                                         i.    DO NOT TRIM the wires to the motor connections yet, the loco may go in the WRONG direction compared to the throttle’s display.

    1. Secure the left over, Blue, White, Yellow, Green, Purple etc wires out of the way and they are not touching any metal.
  1. Place the loco on the Program Track and attempt to read a CV Value, for example CV 1, according to your DCC system manual.
  2. If the DCC system displays “3” for CV 1 etc, then there are no short circuits in the loco. It is now ok to operate.
  3. Place the loco “On the Main” and select loco “3” on your throttle, making sure that FORWARD is displayed on the throttle.
  4. Operate the loco.
  5. If the loco went forward, the POLARITY of wiring to the motor is correct. If the loco went BACKWARDS then you’ll need to SWAP over the Orange and Grey wires to the motor.
  6. Complete the wiring up of the decoder by:
    1. Trimming and or swapping over the Orange and Grey wires to the motor (from Step 8 above).
    2. If you are NOT connecting any lights to the decoder, trim the Blue, White, Yellow etc wire to a very short length and make sure the ends are insulated from the metal body and from each other. You may connect lights later so don’t trim these wires right back to the decoder.
    3. If you want to connect the installed lights or fit lights, see Lights in DCC.


For a typical decoder installation with both a harness and plug in types of decoders, see my NR page.


DCC manufacturers are always releasing new versions of the same decoder, decoders with more features, smaller size and cheaper cost, the standard fit decoder for our locos is always changing. Another determining factor of what decoder to fit is the space available in the loco. With a large loco like the Lima 422 diesel that has heaps of room, then a larger decoder that is generally cheaper is all that is needed. There are always specials on and quantity buys that are suitable for a club, but I would not recommend buying only the decoders you need NOW and pay a little more because you could not justify the 10 of price. A classic example is a modeller, and there are plenty of them out there, who have still some of their first purchased decoders because they bough a quantity when they first went DCC but are fitting later newer decoders that are smaller, more features and certainly cheaper. One reason that we are not fitting the older decoders is that the earlier decoders were not silent running that all the new ones now (June 05). These older decoders caused our locos hum/buzz hence the term noisy. This was due to the frequency of the PWM voltage was about 200 2,000 Hz that is very audible, to decoders now 16,000 26,000 Hz that dont cause a hum/buzz hence the name silent running etc decoder.


So there are plenty of reasons for fitting a particular decoder, current capacity, silent, features, number of functions, size, Back EMF and finally cost. So the decision is still up to you.


In the accompanying above lists, these are some of the installations I and others have done to give you a guide. The locos that could cause some problems, I have given greater detail to. For example the Austrains NR 422 & 700 with the possibility of an incorrectly wired DCC Ready Plug and the Austrains 36 with the procedure to isolate the motor connections, I have given a detailed method of decoder installation.