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Kato 3069 "EF57" with NGDCC DE29x2_56K 16V


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Being on a roll today, I actually converted another Loco for DCC with the convenient help of an NGDCC Decoder. This time a Kato EF57 with an DE29x2_56K 16V Pre-made decoder board. Again I hope this report will be of any use to whoever might consider converting the Loco.

To start we remove the outer shell of the Loco, and will find the stock lightboard.


remove the plastic tab that holds the stock board into place, and gently remove it from the shell. Be careful to not bend or break the motor connection tabs, which come off as well.


Remove the motor connection tabs and put them aside for now, we need them again later.


Place the stock lightboard and the decoder board next to each other to check for any needs of adjusting the length. luckily, we don't need to do that here. Also, mark the position where the LEDs are soldered on the stock lightboard on your decoder board, so you can solder them to the same place later.


Now if you want like me to re-use the existing LEDs, its time to unsolder them and put them aside. I usually check positive side on the LEDs with a Multimeter tool, and mark them with a red marker, just to be extra sure.


As the EF57 model is a metal cast shell and as such is used to pass the current from the wheels to the board, you need to prevent short circuits on the decoder board. I usually am overly carefill with this step, as I burned my fair share of decoders missing a spot that would have needed isolation. So I just slap kapton tape over the full lenght of the bottom side of the decoder that will be placed on the cast shell later, as the power collection is on the upper side later anyway.




Now I check if the board will fit the top shell later, to prevent the top shell adding pressure to the new decoder board once placed on top, wich not only can bend the board and give you connectivity issues, worst case it will bend so much you again have to deal with short circuits.



sadly as you may spot on the pictures, the decoder board will not snuggly fit into the shell, so we have to modify it in order to fit the decoder. But as luck will have it, the EF57 has a second top shell for the roof installations, so we remove that. Carefull with the Pantographs when doing that.


now just cut out the parts where the decoder has to fit its additional circuitry, and try to stay within the boundaries that the roof installations give you. This way you can add them afterwards again, and hide all the ugly cutting you did.


Now its time to finally solder the LEDs onto your decoder board. Make sure you solder them at the same place they where fittet on the stock lightboard.


Now, add the motor collection tabs to your decoder board, and fit it all back into your train.



Dont worry if the holding bracket will no longer fit, put the outer shell back on, and voila, you have an DCC fitted EF57!


I hope this report helps anyone in the future!



















Edited by Wolf
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Nicely done.    Not on an EF57 but I've burned my share of decoders as well by not being careful so I applaud the careful work done.


I've found the biggest thing on these light board or also hard wired decoder installs is to not rush it.   Every time I am in a hurry I forget something and let the magic smoke out.

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