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There are some important precautions that must be taken when installing DCC decoders in Micro-Trains’s SW1500s.

The MTL SW1500s were welcome additions to the N Scale world. Despite their too-wide hoods, they fill a huge gap in available diesels. Even better: despite using the DCC un-friendly Life-Like designed SW1200 mechanisms, they’ve been upgraded to be able to accept a “plug and play” decoder.

There’s only one small problem: as they arrive, they require lots of additional insulation to prevent short circuits that will blow up decoders.

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The mechanism with the non-DCC light board removed.
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The mechanism disassembled.
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The removed motor in its cradle. Something about the way the wires are arranged can cause a short.
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Remove the motor from the cradle, and remove the ineffectual seeming electrical tape insulation.

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Wrap everything electrical in Kapton tape

Next turn your attention to the frame halves. Everywhere where things might touch should be insulated. This may be over-kill, but better safe than sorry.

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Don’t forget the other side too.
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Reassemble everything once insulated, and add another piece of tape under where the decoder sits. This is possibly the most important piece in the entire conversion.
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The solder pads on my decoders were too thick, so I had to give them a gentle, but firm, squeeze in some pliers to make them thin enough to fit into the slots in the mechanism.

 

 

 

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Finally, slide the decoder in and push the motor leads into the connectors.

And finally, the finished products.

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