DCC Dummy Locomotive?

Can you add DCC to a dummy locomotive and get correct lighting and sound, even a coupler?  What do I need to be able to do that, and have it work correctly with the powered unit it'll run with?  It's a A-B locomotive set.

Original Post

Hi Sinclair,

the short answer is yes, however not knowing the specifics there are likely some things that need to be addressed. Depending on the loco some modifications may be necessary to get electrical pickup from the rails. You will also need to simulate a motor load as to not damage the decoder, such as using an appropriately sized resistor. Otherwise the dummy loco should function as any powered units. Hope this helps.


What I have is the MTH PS-1 UP Big Blow Turbine locomotive.  I want to use ESU LokSound L decoder as they have sound files for it, but they say you need a decoder in each unit for it to sound right, but th eMTH model only has motors in the A unit.  I also am not sure how I would set up the each units' decoder so that one give the correct diesel sounds while the other gives the correct turbine sounds all at the correct times.

Sinclair -

You can install a Select L or V4L in the A cab unit and a less-expensive HO decoder in the B turbine unit, since the B is a dummy. Install good-quality speakers in each, such as Tang Band.

To program them, you only need a resistor to simulate a motor in the B unit if you want to be able to read back CVs in DecoderPro or on a programming track. No physical damage will occur to the decoder without such a resistor. (That damage will occur is a myth.) With a LokProgrammer you do not need a resistor in the B unit.

I loaded Select file 75303 into LokProgrammer and found that there are separate volume controls for the EMD hostler engine (in the A unit) and the turbine (in the B unit.) So set the turbine volume in the A unit to 0 and the hostler engine to 0 in the B unit.

Since this is O scale, it should be easy to hear each engine sound coming from the appropriate unit. 

All the best!

This is good to hear.  I'll have to make sure I grab the right sound file.  A LokProgrammer is in my future, probably buy it the same time I buy the decoders for this engine.  When I get to that point, I'm sure I'll have more questions.  One I can think of right now is do I assign the two decoders the same ID, or separate IDs and make a consist?


If you intend to do all programming with LokProgrammer, then you could assign both decoders the same short or long address (if I recall, all UP turbines were < 100).

However, if you want to tweak sound volumes using programming on the main, then you would either need to assign the A and B different addresses, so you could individually program each, or just remove one from the track while programming the other.

All the best!

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