GETTING CHUFFED


fitting DCC tail lights


 

Without question, the addition of working lights to our larger locomotives and railcars have really added to the excitement of County Gate operations. The working lights are particularly effective in the opened up tunnel under the hotel. It is also true to say that the additional complications of wiring up these locos can take up to an additional day's work.
 
Until now though, the red tail light at the other end of the train has remained inop.. DCC Supplies now stock the miniature train lamps produced by DCC Concepts in OZ.
 
The main chip, a Digitrax DZ125 remains in the loco. This also operates the loco light, using function 0.
 
To be able to switch on and off the carriage lights and rear lamp on the coaches, an additional chip is required. This is a Digitrax TL1 single function chip. This is very low cost luckily. Power for this is taken from the carriage track power pickups. The chip is set to the same address as the main chip and function 0 will be read, thus switching on and off the carriage lights and rear lamp when required. We install a capacitor so that if there is a short break of current, the lamp does not flicker.
 
The capacitors have a silver flash which is alongside the negative contact. The common wire should be connected to the positive side of the capacitor.
 
Fitting instructions for the TL1 can be found here
 

wiring schematic
 

The first coach to be fitted. - click on image to enlarge
 

The first batch of capacitors are far too big. Luckily, in this case, I was able to set it into the baggage car.
- click on image to enlarge
 
Self adhesive copper tape is attached to one side of each bogie (opposite sides, of course) and the live wheel fitted into the copper tape. - click on image to enlarge
 
 

The chip, and other wires are connected up. - click on image to enlarge
 
tail lamps
 
DCC Concepts in OZ produce tiny working loco lamps. In the UK, they are supplied by DCC Supplies but at over 31 for six, they are definitely not cheap. We have found the red lights seem to be very effective.
 
The wires of these lamps are very fine indeed and require careful handling. They are in fact so fine, that in many cases, they need not be hidden.
 
In order to be able to correctly adjust the intensity of the light  A resistor up to 10Kohm may be required..
 
 
programming
 
Once the installation is complete, place the coach on your programming track. Do npt programme with track power on. For some reason this stops the process. I have suffered from a number of new chips that do not work so be aware that you may have to return them.
 
I have also tried Digirails chips but they will not programme using a Zephyr: go figure!
 
Set the loco address required (CV 01) and then set CV 61 to 01 and CV 64 to 00 if you wish to operate the light using function 0 and do not require transponding. If the light does not operate on test, try reversing the white and blue leads from the chip, as the LED will only operate one way.
 
Is it all worth it? For me, yes, as the working light really does add to the scene.