Fitting a decoder to the LGB 3019N Post Van


Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
This model has power pickups on all four wheels and uses the track power to light two rear red lights and two internal cabin lights. The lights as supplied are bulbs not LEDs. It works on DC or DCC track.

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One issue with this simple approach is that a) the lights are always on even if the van is parked in a siding and b) the rear lights are always on regardless which direction the van is travelling.

I had a spare Massoth M decoder lying around so I decided to use that to enable me to control the lights from my DCC handset. The Massoth M comes with power pickup leads (brown and white) and motor leads (green and yellow) already attached. I soldered on some more leads, red for the common, orange for the front and rear lights and blue for A1, see picture.

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I only really needed a front light lead but I had a notion that I might fit lights to the other end of the van sometime in the future. I opened up the van (see below). I unsoldered all the wires and reattached them to the leads of the decoder, all the common returns to the red, the roof and “desk” light to blue and two rear lights to orange. I soldered the brown and white leads to the brass strips that take the power from the track.

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Before I fitted the decoder I programmed it by temporarily attaching a small Hornby motor to the green and yellow leads. I set the address to 3019 otherwise all default settings. Since the picture was taken I have added a connection to the A2 output to provide power to a passenger car connected to the post van by the external power socket.

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This is a bit of a rat’s nest but happily all the leads and the decoder fit neatly behind the desk wall. I covered up the exposed brass strips inside the van with some green insulating tape, not a great colour match but better than the glaring brass,

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I fitted an LGB 68333 Interior Lighting set to my passenger coach. This has leads that plug into the connectors you find on most LGB locos, however the 3019N has old style track power connectors.
I soldered the wires from decoder output A2 to the two pins on the spare connector that came with the 68333 set.

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I trimmed the spare connector from the 68333 set so that it would fit in the slot of the roof, see picture below, which also shows the old style brass power connector.

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Once reassembled I can turn the rear lights with F0 and interior lights on with F1 independently, and F2 can provide power to the adjacent passenger car interior.

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As someone has mentioned in another thread, the wheels of the 3019N have deep flanges and it does bounce over points and crossings, which causes the lights to go out momentarily. This could be fixed with a “stay alive” capacitor which I might do if this eventually irks me enough!
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