Knowledgebase: Installation
DCC and small scales
Posted by Andy F. on 29 April 2012 12:01 AM

DCC operation is perfectly possible in N & Z gauges, with the possible exception of sound.

Sound is a little more difficult to install due to the larger size of the decoders and speaker. Often with smaller locomotives the speaker/decoder may require installing in a carriage or wagon which will then require electrical connections to the locomotive. Larger locomotives with tenders and Multiple-units have more space, and are easier. 'Off-Loco' sound systems (such as the Surroundtraxx) are becoming available which address this problem by means of an external sound system, block detection and multiple speakers.
These systems produce realistic sounds which follow the locomotives.

Non-sound installations are usually very simple and straight forward.
Some manufacturers (e.g. Peco) supply decoders already installed, others are 'DCC Ready' and the decoder plugs into a socket. Older models require a 'hard-wired' installation, and some older Graham Farish locomotives require a Digi-Hat to ease conversion..

6 pin decoders (NEM 651) are normally used in N gauge, or if they are not DCC ready, a wired type Z gauge also requires hard-wired decoders as there is no standard.

The fact the locomotive is DCC ready will be normally be indicated on the packaging.