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Big Lars' On30 0-4-2 Porter DCC Install

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  • Big Lars' On30 0-4-2 Porter DCC Install

    Moderator's Note: The following tutorial was posted by Big Larsid="black"> in the On30 Forum area. The original thread is still open for comments, questions, and discussion:

    This copy has been placed here for reference purposes.

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    Before anyone asks I am not connected with TCS.

    The M1 decoder is great for this application for two reasons. One it is small and two it has a goof proof warrantee.

    Here is a link to a previous thread discussing a cab DCC installation on a 0-4-0 Porter. Start at Page 4. Arthur did a great job on this thread.

    Also don’t ask about sound. I have been there and done that in a Porter and the amount of power interruptions resetting the decoder drove me insane. If someone else can figure out sound for this beast that will not turn off constantly please post the how to. I will send a bottle of fine wine (once they prove it works)!

    If you see two hands in the picture the photo credits go to 13 year old forum member Gomez Adams. AKA Lars JR.

    Here is the decoder beside the Porter.

    Here is a picture of the available space under the engine.

    To remove the cab press the two tabs under the cab into the center to raise the back of the cab and then slide the cab back to remove.

    The sand Lines are held in the tweezers to point them out only.

    Remove the sand lines by prying them loose from under the Porter. By not disconnecting the lines from the sand dome you will save yourself some later aggravation.

    Remove this part from each side of the Porter.

    Now remove the two small screws from the bottom of each side of the water tank. Fours screws in total.

    Wiggle the steam dome off the boiler.

    Here is all that really needs to be removed for the decoder install. I later also unscrewed the smoke stack (the screw is inside the stack) so my big paws had more space to connect wires.

    Next grab some channel locks and gently wiggle the motor free. Pull the motor out slightly so you can cut the wires running to the motor.

    You can see one black and one red wire running to the motor in this picture. Careful there are two other wires in the motor cavity that power the lights.

    Here is a better picture of the two red wires running to the headlight.

    Now ask your self a big question, do I want this Porter to be DCC with very little effort? Or do I go for the gusto and try to wire the headlight?

    I wish I had answered the question with the KISS theory "Keep it simple stupid". :erm: :erm:

    I added some 3M picture tape to the decoder and tacked it under the Porter. I kept all wires at full length for now.

    Decoder placement.

    The wires were feed up from the bottom of the Porter three on each side of the tank. Keep Red and Orange together and black and grey. For the lighting wires you are on your own if you decide to do this. You will read why later.[B)]

    I went and cut the lighting wires.

    The wires give no indication of positive or negative so you have a 50% chance of getting the lights to work directionally. When I do these installs for others I say I will only do it if you except that the lights will be constantly on.

    I hate to mess up other people equipment.

    Remember to put heat shrink tubing on the wires before you solder them and then slide the tubing over the wires and shrink the tubing to prevent a short. It is better to use the liquid version of heat shrink material but I did not have any available. If you happen to miss a piece of wire you can also paint the exposed wire with nail polish. Don't tell my wife I had to use a little on the lighting wires.

    As you will see the work area is very tight and it is a challenge to twist the wires together for soldering. It is really a lot easier if you do not mess with the lights. Just another warning.

    Here are all the wires connected.

    Decoder red to rail red

    Decoder black to rail black

    Decoder grey to motor lead

    Decoder orange to other motor lead

    Decoder blue to pick a light lead and hope for the best...[:-blindfold]

    Decoder white to pick a light lead and hope for the best...


    Gently insert the motor back in the engine. Slide. The red and black wires should fit under the motor. The grey and orange wires can slide down the sides of the motor.

    Give the engine a test run. It should work alright unless you, like I, guessed the light wires wrong. But hey I warned you. I fixed mine with much more pain and suffering.

    Next get out the Dremel tool and shave out a little bit of the front underside of the tank so you do not gut the decoder wires when you reinstall the tank. Test fit often so you do not cut out to much material.

    Attach the water tank back on with the four screws once you are sure you have enough room for the wires.

    Reinstall the steam line thingy.

    Glue the sand lines in place with a little ACC.

    You can see the wires right now but a little black paint should hide those well.

    Shazam look mom you can not see the wires or the decoder.

    This is a great way to install a decoder if you are going to cut the roof off of your porter.

    For those who wanted to see this post good luck!