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DCC for HO Models


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I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread dedicated to adding DCC to HO models. Thought I'd put it in the HO section, rather than the DCC section as it's dedicated to HO. 


I have been building a small collection of HO stock for several years now, in preparation for when I can eventually build a layout to run them on. Although it's still likely to be some time before I can build a layout, it would be nice to know how to dcc models, especially as quite a number of Japanese models are not at all dcc friendly!


To get the ball rolling, I recently purchased a second hand Kato de10. When I put it on the rollers to test it, the lights came on but the motor didn't run, so I took the body off to investigate, and was surprised to find an 8 pin dcc socket on the pcb.




As space it tight in the model, to fit a dcc chip I would remove the weight from the body, under the long bonnet, to allow space for the chip. I would stick a small piece of card to the chassis, on the silver coloured area at the bottom of the photo, to ensure the chip will sit clear of the mechanism. The wires will need to be arranged so not to get in the way of the LED, and the plug simply inserted into the socket.


I have not yet installed a chip, but will post some step by step photo's when I eventually do.


Please feel free to add your own advice for other models, it would be good to have a 'catalog' of dcc installs, especially for those of us with little or no knowledge about these things. 

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This locomotive looks like it was made for a decoder that doesn't have any wires, just the pins sticking out of the decoder pcb. This means you can leave the weight in and the cardboard out as the socket should keep the decoder in place and clear of everyrhing. Just plug and play.

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That space could be enough to fit at least 4 N scale decoders, so it should be enough for a smaller H0 scale one. The entire thickness of the weights are free above the socket.

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I have done a lot of DCC instalation on Tomix locomotives in Ho gauge, you can find it there:


EMU 285 Serie from Tomix

EF 510-500 from Tomix

Shinkansen E5 from Kato

EF 81 from Tomix (Work on all EF 81, not only the Twilight Express version)

Twilight Express end carriage from Tomix


I have done some more locomotives like the EF 66 and the EF 64-1000 Tomix but I don't have pictures.


I recommend for locomotives with very small free space inside (Tomix EF 66, EF 510, ED 79, Serie 115 and 455) to take the new ESU micro V4 decoder for N scale, there are very efficient and there is no problem with motor current. and for the cab and end car the nwe ESU nano V4 function decoder that is very very small and allow to fit it almost everywhere.


I hope this can help someone.


Maybe we should do a thread that list all the detailed decoder installations on japanese HO rolling stock?





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Sure, probably best to give each install it's own thread so that installs would not get mushed together. We could rename this one for the de10 and also have a general one for more universal chatter. If they got too buried in the dcc forum (not busy lately) we can put link posts in the other scales forum as well. All ho dcc post titles should have ho in them to distinguish them from the current n scale ones that don't have mention of n scale usually.


Would be great to have Japanese ho dcc install experience here as its rarer and different from the n scale.





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The entire thickness of the weights are free above the socket.


More like 3 mm, maybe 4 mm next to the socket. But that should be enough space for a small N or Z scale decoder. If I remember correctly, I used a Digitrax DN163 for mine. 

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