DCC tools ...

Jeff Johnston

Hi, if this post isn't in keeping with the theme of this list, no worries of you take it down.

I'm in the midst of upgrading several brass steam locomotives from straight DCC to full sound DCC with Keep Alive/CurrentKeeper devices. The Keep Alive parts are new to me -- I'm a bit late to get into the game and am excited about the possibilities -- so I cut out styrofoam sample pieces sized to match the Soundtraxx and TCS keep alive offerings (Jeff Johnston DCC tools album, Photo folder, photo 1). I use these when making my initial assessment of what can fit inside my often-compact logging steam locos. Very handy tools.

I always test my decoders before installation and several times later as the work progresses. While I don't use the decoder lighting features all I'm concerned with is the motor drive and sound. To conveniently test these I slapped together the test unit shown in Photo #2. The micro alligator clips hot-glued to the base secure the decoder wires and avoid any shorting problems with unwanted contacts, and the paper "fan" on the quiet-running motor shows me what's going on with that component.

I realize several companies make RTR decoder testers that work very well, and have a ream of extra features (that I don't need). The unit as shown does everything I need and was really low-cost to build. It's another handy device I'll be consistently using.

Jeff Johnston

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