DCC for USA brand locomotives

Scooter

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28 Nov 2020
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I am an HO scale modeler, but recently acquired a bunch of G scale rolling stock and an Aristo Craft locomotive that is DCC ready. I plan to add a compatible decoder.
My question in about USA brand locomotives. In my research I can not find information about the USA brand locomotives related to DCC. The marketing material and photos on the internet never mention if USA trains are DCC ready. I am considering a new USA Trains GP38. I can manually wire up a decoder, but I prefer DCC ready (plug & play) if it is an option.
Can anyone tell me if USA Trains new model locomotives are DCC ready?
Thanks in advance for your help.
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
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:rofl::rofl::rofl:
In a word, no.

USA Trains and Aristocrat loco's (especially) I would describe as 'user surly'..

You will scratch your head, and can be quite confused, about how 'this particular' loco, is wired.

Greg will point you in the right direction, as I have some snow to go-clear..

PhilP
 

Greg Elmassian

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I disagree on the comment on Aristo locos, most Aristo locos have a socket and there are decoders that just plug into this socket.

USA Trains need the lights re-wired, but there is a "quick and dirty" method where it takes longer to open the loco than to fit the decoder.

Here's a whole page on USAT DCC installation techniqes:

Greg
 

Scooter

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Yes, I am good on the Aristo-Craft unit. It is pretty straight forward. Thank you for the info on USA brand. I figured this would be the best place to start digging up info on this subject. Thanks and I will keep checking in to see if anyone cares to add on. Great resources here. Thank you!
 

Greg Elmassian

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What I often do, is the quick and dirty on my USAT locos, since I have consists of them, so, that gets the whole consist up and going quickly. Then I convert the lights over bit by bit.

Makes it less painful then waiting until all the locos are done.

assembly_line.jpg
 

Scooter

Registered
28 Nov 2020
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Central Mississippi
What I often do, is the quick and dirty on my USAT locos, since I have consists of them, so, that gets the whole consist up and going quickly. Then I convert the lights over bit by bit.

Makes it less painful then waiting until all the locos are done.

assembly_line.jpg
 

Scooter

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Central Mississippi
Coming from my HO scale background, I am surprised to see a major manufacturer in 2021 not offering a clean, simple plug and play DCC ready option. Maybe it is just not a prevalent in G Scale like it is in the HO scale.
Thanks-
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
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Casino, NSW
Bachmann have always had the socket correct and Aristo have always had it wrong.
When the standards were first proposed Aristo got the connections in a mirror image which meant the original Digitrax Decoders would not work correctly in Aristo sockets. Pins had to be bent out of the way or a wiring short resulted.

This might help explain it. Socket wiring, Go to page # 2.
 
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Greg Elmassian

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I cannot agree with your assessment.

1. Aristo "invented" the socket, right or wrong, it existed way before Bachmann copied it
2. the pins that had to be bent up on the digitrax was because Aristo did not implement the smoke control pins right... the ones you don't show in your pictures, it was a crappy decoder anyway.
3. the first copy of the Aristo socket by Bachmann was flawed, and had other "improvements" that were not compatible with decoders that worked in the Aristo socket, thanks Stanley..
4. later versions like the C19 have improved, notably reasonable logic for the chuff

Aristo invented it, and if their implementation did not exactly match their drawings is irrelevant, by being the first and for a while only producer, it became a de-facto standard, warts and all.
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,219
50
Casino, NSW
If Aristo did "invent" the socket, they got it wrong from the very first. Incidentally which the first production Aristo loco was the first with one.?

Unless I can be corrected with documented proof, the first time Bachmann issued a loco fitted with a socket, was the K27.
Yes the chuff signal was inverted although not actually part of the original socket design. This was immediately corrected and issued with all future locos.
Compare that with Aristo who, as far as I know, have never had a chuff pin arrangement associated with the socket.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Yes, they did invent it, although there were some other manufacturers involved in the discussion.

around 2001 was first loco with the socket.... it's on this page along with other Aristo history


Yes, K27 first loco with that socket, although I need to check that one diesel that had the 8 pin NMRA socket...

Don't know if you can say K27 board immediately corrected, was not corrected until C19... that was not immediately!

Yes aristo never had chuff contacts, in fact really never used the second row of pins officially... and they never really made the smoke pins work on all locos... also some aristo's had the speaker wired to the socket... very inconsistent support... Bachmann has been much more consistent, once they learned from the K27... there's more politics to the story, in fact threats against aristo "missing the boat" if they did not conform to the proposed changes by a certain person. I won't go further, not necessary, but there was a minor war... And I was in the middle of it to a certain degree...

Greg
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,219
50
Casino, NSW
Don't know if you can say K27 board immediately corrected, was not corrected until C19... that was not immediately!

Greg
Hi Greg.
Thanks for the follow up, but what does that quote mean?
To start with, the chuff timer was never actually, and has never been, part of the specs for the J1 row of pins.
Once Bachmann fixed the K27 timers, they have worked correctly for every Bachmann loco socket since.
Please list exactly which Bachmann locos were fitted with chuff timers that never worked correctly.

As to socket development. As a matter of fact, I was involved just a little bit with Stan Ames who was influential enough to have Bachmann make a taller than usual coal load for the Forney so that my version of the plug battery R/C would fit. Thank you Stan.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Sorry for any confusion...

You said: "This was immediately corrected and issued with all future locos."

I said it was not fixed until the release of the C19, that is not immediately.

I think that is pretty clear, it was some years between the release of the K27 and the release of the C19.

Greg
 

beavercreek

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It is a shame that the TrainTek adapta boards are no longer available... they made adding full DCC control to USA-Trains locos a bit simpler.
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,219
50
Casino, NSW
Sorry Greg.
Wrong again.
Bachmann did fix it immediately.
If not, how come the Forney, "Mallet", and Climax etc all worked OK?
They all preceded the C19.
 

Greg Elmassian

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You are right Tony, the C19 was not the next loco with the socket. The K27 was released in early 2008, so when was the next loco released?

By the way, "immediately" does not equal "next", I have been clear in my statement that I object to that word in this context. (also the second run of the loco still had the issue)

Anyway, Mike, it is indeed too bad about the TrainTek boards, BUT they required their own replacement light boards, and the setup was far too expensive in my opinion, and that may be why they are no longer produced.

I was hoping he would have sold the lighting boards separately, and also not used that ribbon cable, but wiring with a more common connector. I did approach him about the separate sale, but he was having none of it, fearing it would take away from his main board sales.... in the end probably not the best decision.

Greg
 
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Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,219
50
Casino, NSW
Greg.
I think it was either the "Mallet" or Forney. Most likely the Forney. Anyway, soon after the K27. It had the corrected PNP socket pcb which means it must have had an immediate once only fix from the K27. Immediate as in the sense of Bachmann did not skip a model before fixing the problem.
It was a pity Bachmann didn't fix the other problems the K27 had as well.
 

Greg Elmassian

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hah! you just won't let go of the word... let's stop... you can have your own definition of immediate :D

Anyway, back to the topic, USA Trains:

Motors and track pickup easy, these are connectorized at the trucks.
Lights, pain in the butt, since several voltages are used, not all LEDs, what a mess
In addition, the stupid and non prototypical red/green LED where a classification light should be... should be white/green, but try to find a common anode white/green LED!!

Normally that light would be off anyway, very rare to have a second section on a diesel freight train.

Greg
 

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,219
50
Casino, NSW
Thank you Greg.
It takes a big man to admit when they are wrong.

As you say, back to the original subject matter.
Whilst I don't use DCC there could be another simpler way of doing it.