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DCC for Kato 3 light DD51?


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I found a spare Digitrax DN163K1D tonight and took my Kato 7008-8 three headlight DD51 apart to install it and discovered that Kato has changed the circuit board.  It is shorter than previous DD51's and the LEDs are in different locations.  I've looked at a few other similar decoders I have but none are a match for Kato's new board and going by the photos on his web page none of NGDCC's decoders seem to match either.  Kato have frustrated me quite a bit lately by redesigning boards so they look like an easy conversion but they are just different enough that nothing fits.


If anyone has put DCC in this loco and knows what deocder will fit?


New DD51 with Digitrax decoder below.


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Take a look to digitrax DN163K4a spec

maybe it could be your solution

I thought of that but although it looks like it is the same size the LED on the right hand end in my photo is right at the very end of the decoder but on the loco's board it is set back quite a bit from the end.  I'll see if I can get a look at a DN163K4a in person at the club meeting on the weekend but it looks like, as I said in the first post, close but just different enough to be of no use.

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Let me know, I have ordered one but it's just leaving japan so I don't think I'll see it before 3 weeks at least


To me it looks compatible but it's better to verify first hand, maybe you just need to cut the lightpipe to solve the issue of the led position




It's a pity that TCS has not a compatible decoder yet, I usually prefer TCS over Digitrax due to Railcom support

Edited by Melandir
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the whole upper sheel of that model was a new mould/cast.  So it wouldn't surprise me if the liglt pipes were different also.  Check to see if the DE10 board fits.

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The DE10 decoder is a possible fit but again the LEDs are in the wrong place as katoftw says the hoods and light pipes of the new DD51 are new tooling.


I think I may have cracked it however.  I just noticed the number on the DD51's light board is the catalog number of the EF56, so NGDCC's DE29x2 decoder will do the job.  I will have to remove the two raised parts of the frame circled in yellow to fit the wide part of the decoder.  I had dismissed it at first glance because it looked like it would not fit but it now seems to be the easiest solution.



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It's the normal material Kato use for frames, should only take a few minutes with a grinding disc in a motor tool or even just a file.  The longest part of the job should be taking the mechanism apart and putting it back together but I'll wait until I have the decoder before I start attacking the loco.

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I just purchased a Kato 7008-C DD51 1043. Digitrax DN163K4A fit with a minor modification. The decoder came with Kapton tape in the right place, but I also had to trim the tape to get it to fit. I also found I needed to put tape on the outside of the motot tabs to insulate them from the shell.

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