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inobu

Kato EF210 3034 DCC Digitrax DN163K0A

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inobu

OK,

I'm going DCC now and always knew it was going to be challenging but I like challenges. Lucky for me I picked the EF210   :sad:. It was hard off the bat but I learned a lot   :grin.

This is a plug and play type of board although the install was not plug and play. Over all it is a straight forward install with some modifications but doable.  

Troubleshooting if pretty much straight forward if you run into problems.

Motor not working is most likely no connections from brass motor clips to board.
Motor heating up is most likely a poor connection to the motor.

Try to avoid loose or poor connection this will always cause you serious problems. You need good contact between metal surfaces to conduct properly. So make sure it good and tight. Tint the motor clip with solder to give it more contact surface allowing the plastic clip to lock in better.  

The next issue will be closing the unit back up. This is where I ran into trouble. The components on the board are a few mm higher than the stock board and causes the shell to bind when snapping it back together. It also causes the board to tweak and you may lose contact to the motor clip creating that dead motor symptom again.

This is what I did to remedy it.

I cut out the area where the chip and resistors were binding against the roof. This was an simple remedy because the EF210 has a two piece roof which covers the holes and you'll never know the hole are there.
gallery_153_24_1357005263_797.jpg

If you wants to get a bearing of my cuts the left side of the hole around the gray clip is original. Measure from there and you can duplicate the cuts.

I have to make a good assessment before I start the next one. The 500.    

Inobu


Boy did this need editing.  



 

Edited by inobu
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inobu

Potential problem:

When you remove material from the roof it compromises the body. The body is allowed to flex and may not connect or latch onto the chassis securely. I was trying to get the perfect fit and remove more of the roof line. Although the body fits good it comes apart easy. You can grab the body and the chassis drops out. (Not good)

I had to use super thin double sided tape on the body to secure it. Never place tape on the plastic motor housing. If you ever take the body off it will rip the plastic motor mount apart. Always use a really small strip and place it along the metal part of the frame. That way you can remove the body if need be.

Here is what I had to do.

gallery_153_24_14104.jpg

I hate install/butchering like this but I guess you live and learn.
Inobu     

Edited by inobu
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CaptOblivious

That is very good information to know, and sounds like you found the best solution for it. Thanks!

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inobu

Mardon,

 

Here are the images/step.

 

Remove the pantographs. I use a small screw driver or needle to pry them up. Starting in the center and slow tweak them off.

 

gallery_153_24_148854.jpg

 

Separate the shell from the chassis. You need to use your thumb nails to wedge the shell apart then use your index finder and slide the chassis out. It is hard to describe in writing. Be very careful as this shell is really thin and will distort easy.

 

Next you need to pop the gray roof panel out. There are 6 tabs that hold it in place. 2 on the ends and 2 in the center. The end tabs are the primary tabs that holds in on. Take a small screw driver and push the tab inward and it will pop one side out. Then do the other one. It is a 4 step process. One tab at a time. The center will pop out itself. 

 

gallery_153_24_17317.jpg

 

 

The decoder install was your typical install but I had to solder the motor leads in place. You should tin these

leads first and it will allow you to quickly solder the leads with out melting anything.

 

gallery_153_24_31383.jpg

 

 

I also had to tape the other end down to maintain good boards and pickup contact. 

 

gallery_153_24_114929.jpg

 

As I stated above removing the shell on and off plus the trimming of the shell compromised the structure a bit not

allowing a good snap to lock the chassis in place. So I added a small piece of thin double sided tape (You can see it on the wall of the shell). It holds it in place but small enough

to allow the separation of the shell and chassis.

 

gallery_153_24_107833.jpg

 

 

Here is a view of the components and how they are just tall enough to prevent you from snapping the

shell on. It is just a few mm to tall.

gallery_153_24_156917.jpg

 

gallery_153_24_95334.jpg

 

 

Using the images here you may be able to make neater cuts as you can see which components have contact issues.

 

I used a dremmel tool and you have to be extremely careful and light handed.

 

Taking off thin layers of material a little at a time.

 

One mistake and it will cost you $75 or more so always think of that as you cut. If it takes you a few hours to do that fine because it will take you a

month to replace the shell.

 

So take your time and Good luck

 

Inobu

Edited by inobu

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macdon

Thanks for posting the pics, Inobu!

 

It gives me a bit of confidence to try and attempt my first decoder install, so Im crossing my fingers :)

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gavino200

Inobu, this is a great write up. Is that the same decoder that you used for the EH500? 

 

I'm wondering if you ever attempted another one of these conversions. Have there been any improvements to the "drop in" decoder to make it thinner? Were you ever able to work out what the critical piece of body shell was, that caused the shell to become loose? Do you think there might be a "sweet spot" where you take enough to get it to fit, but not so much that the shell becomes loose?

 

How does the double sided tape hold up over time?

 

 

 

 

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gavino200

This method looks like it might be doable. The decoder is extremely small.  The dimensions are 5 mm x  7.9 mm x 2.5 mm.  2.5 mm seems like it would be too thick but this guy got it to work, apparently.

 

http://www.clubncaldes.com/2017/06/ef210-100-kato-3034-3-digitalization-dcc.html

 

http://doehler-haass.de/cms/pages/produkte/fahrzeugdecoder/pd05a.php

 

 

Edited by gavino200

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inobu

I think the drop in decoder are still the same and I haven't done another one.

 

I hack out the top to save time for me but it gives others insight to whats inside. With the images you can see the components that will touch the roof surface. Drilling holes in those locations only

well help you from breaching the roofs integrity. If you look closely you can see that the resistors do not require full penetration through the roof. That's where you can keep the roof intact.

 

If I were to do it again I would break the roof modifications into layers. The tallest components would get their locations drilled out. Then as I worked my way down I would eventually just hone the location out.

 

The double sided tape works good. Get the quality tape not the foam stuff. It will hold. 

 

The smaller decoders today is an option and seems to work but you never know until you do it yourself

 

Inobu

 

 

 

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gavino200
1 hour ago, inobu said:

I think the drop in decoder are still the same and I haven't done another one.

 

I hack out the top to save time for me but it gives others insight to whats inside. With the images you can see the components that will touch the roof surface. Drilling holes in those locations only

well help you from breaching the roofs integrity. If you look closely you can see that the resistors do not require full penetration through the roof. That's where you can keep the roof intact.

 

If I were to do it again I would break the roof modifications into layers. The tallest components would get their locations drilled out. Then as I worked my way down I would eventually just hone the location out.

 

The double sided tape works good. Get the quality tape not the foam stuff. It will hold. 

 

The smaller decoders today is an option and seems to work but you never know until you do it yourself

 

Inobu

 

 

 

 

Thanks Inobu. I'll let you know how it goes.

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kvp
5 hours ago, inobu said:

The smaller decoders today is an option and seems to work but you never know until you do it yourself

What do you think about using a digitrax dz126 soldered to the original board and hiding it under the gray roof structure? Would that fit? (it's 3.2mm thick)

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inobu
1 hour ago, kvp said:

What do you think about using a digitrax dz126 soldered to the original board and hiding it under the gray roof structure? Would that fit? (it's 3.2mm thick)

It has a lot to do with the chipsets on the board.  That 3.2mm may cut it close.

 

There's only 2.7mm in the gray piece and the wiring has to be in the right locations.

 

medium.IMG_2437.JPG.999eda6d6722e6674f2c

 

I think I stayed away from the DZ because of heat problems. 

 

Inobu

 

 

 

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gavino200

I did this conversion today using a D&H decoder, following the Spaniard's instructions. The D&H decoder is tiny and fits between the blue and grey roof parts. I had to cut a small amount of the blue roof between the square and round holes, as in the insturctions. 

 

I'm not convinced it's any better or easier than inobu's method, but the D&H decoder will definitely be a useful tool for future tough conversions.

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defor

I did the conversion using the DN163K0a and I feel that it came out amazingly good.

I think I trimmed out more of the roof than any examples I've found elsewhere. Started by tracing the pcb on the top of the blue shell after removing the grey top, made it symmetrical (in the default location the PCB is not centered), did initial lengthwise cuts with Dremel, and filed out the rest.

The shell holds on very nice and tight, definitely no looser than original, perhaps using a Dremel instead of manually cutting reduces the amount of flex that inobu mentioned, because I see no difference, and still have to *pop* the shell off.

There wasn't any need to solder the motor tabs, and the install went smoothly, with the exception of the lighting.

Right now I've transplanted the LEDs from the old lighting board (polarity is correct if they're soldered to the bottom of the pcbs), and I'm quite happy with their performance, but the overall brightness, while I think plenty substantial, and actually somewhat correct for the scale, pales in comparison to the stock LEDs of the EH500.

I think this could be corrected either by:

  • repositioning the LEDs (not easy)
  • switching to the decoder board's stock LEDs (would need shaved down for clearance)
  • extending the light pipe (a bit messy probably)

So for now, I'm keeping it as it is, and may revisit in the future.

There's also a bit of light bleed to the front side windows, but I can't find any good nighttime operating videos of the EF210 to compare- the Kato inner frame usually obscures this light from the stock LED's, but why are there windows if there's not supposed to be any light? ???

 

large.IMG_5751.jpg.414ffe800acd7e10820a2efc354adcf8.jpg

large.IMG_5862.jpg.5fb65cf8da594194f609364c468c4448.jpg

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Machaing

I would like to thank Inobu for his post that guided me well for the digitalization of this locomotive.

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Dani

Hi, in my country is difficult (and very expensive) to find these drop-in decoders from Digitrax, so I always use wired decoders. For this locomotive, I used a D&H DH05. This is the smallest decoder I can find here at a good price. With it I just had to make a small hole in the shell:

 

DSC_2894.JPG

 

The tricky part was to modify the already existing board:

 

DSC_2889.JPG

 

For anyone interested in this approach here you have the complete instructions:

http://www.clubncaldes.com/2017/06/ef210-100-kato-3034-3-digitalization-dcc.html

 

Cheers,

Dani

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chadbag
3 hours ago, Dani said:

Hi, in my country is difficult (and very expensive) to find these drop-in decoders from Digitrax, so I always use wired decoders. For this locomotive, I used a D&H DH05. This is the smallest decoder I can find here at a good price. With it I just had to make a small hole in the shell:

 

DSC_2894.JPG

 

The tricky part was to modify the already existing board:

 

DSC_2889.JPG

 

For anyone interested in this approach here you have the complete instructions:

http://www.clubncaldes.com/2017/06/ef210-100-kato-3034-3-digitalization-dcc.html

 

Cheers,

Dani

 

That is not a D&H DH05.  That is a D&H PD05A.

 

 

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gavino200
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Dani said:

Hi, in my country is difficult (and very expensive) to find these drop-in decoders from Digitrax, so I always use wired decoders. For this locomotive, I used a D&H DH05. This is the smallest decoder I can find here at a good price. With it I just had to make a small hole in the shell:

 

 

 

The tricky part was to modify the already existing board:

 

 

 

For anyone interested in this approach here you have the complete instructions:

http://www.clubncaldes.com/2017/06/ef210-100-kato-3034-3-digitalization-dcc.html

 

Cheers,

Dani

 

Dani, I used your write up for my conversion. I found it with a google search. I actually made a link to it earlier in this thread. I'm delighted to have the chance to thank you for making the write up. It was very clear and easy to follow. I had also never heard of D&H decoders before reading your guide. Since, then they've become something of a favorite of mine for difficult conversions. So I have that to thank you for too. 🙂

Edited by gavino200
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chadbag
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

 

Dani, I used your write up for my conversion. I found it with a google search. I actually made a link to it earlier in this thread. I'm delighted to have the chance to thank you for making the write up. It was very clear and easy to follow. I had also never heard of D&H decoders before reading your guide. Since, then they've become something of a favorite of mine for difficult conversions. So I have that to thank you for too. 🙂

 

I'll second what Gavino200 said.

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Dani

@chadbag, you are absolutely right! It is a D&H PD05A.

 

I didn't realize my post was linked, thanks a lot for your words, it encourages me to continue writing!!! 

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chadbag
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Dani said:

@chadbag, you are absolutely right! It is a D&H PD05A.

 

I didn't realize my post was linked, thanks a lot for your words, it encourages me to continue writing!!! 

 

@Dani  I know you knew that and had just mistyped it. I just did not want anyone to see it and buy the wrong thing.   

Edited by chadbag
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GCRailways

I realize this is an old post, but I just completed this conversion myself, using this thread as reference.  I was careful about cutting the roof, as is mentioned, so I started off by drilling holes over the spots where I expected the components to poke through, then “connected the dots” with a hobby knife.  I also cut the LEDs off, leaving the leads long enough to equal the length of the original light board, then transferred the light board LEDs to them.

 

BAE2814D-E4F0-4021-A521-CBB7192AE242.thumb.jpeg.39690da8a33991d820668862557ea915.jpeg

 

Now I need to do the same thing to my EF66 and EF81!

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Kiha66
2 hours ago, GCRailways said:

Now I need to do the same thing to my EF66 and EF81!

 

Looks good!  Unfortunately the EF66 has the motor contacts under the board rather than on top, which means that the plastic clip doesn't quite hold the board down enough to ensure contact.  The issue I've found is that the digitrax boards are thicker than the kato ones, so the clip just isnt long enough to actually snap in and hold everything together.  I still want to upgrade my EF58 and EF66 so I've been meaning to order some NGDCC decoders in the hopes that they can match the kato board thickness.

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GCRailways
Posted (edited)

Actually,  this EF210 also had the motor contacts underneath.  I rerouted them over and soldered them to the top of the board (they just barely touched the decoder!).

 

I read about the board thickness problem, and looked closer at the assembly.  I found some tiny plastic projections that the light board is cut to fit around (see red circles in photo).  Trimming these off will allow the decoder to fit flush like the original board, and allow the clip to properly seat.  You still have to trim the roof, though.

 

0CFF5992-33C4-471B-BD06-E4DAA2BE2ACA.thumb.jpeg.a9d4e9dea9b0770587934f2107ff8da8.jpeg

 

  I was having a lot of trouble trying to get the decoder to respond (both lights and motor), but I later discovered it was mostly me not reading the instructions, so the contact reroute may have actually been unnecessary.  I’ll see if I get different results on my next install (note: that’s my EF81 in the photo above—also with contacts underneath the board).

Edited by GCRailways
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GCRailways

New decoders came in a couple days ago. I test-fit the decoder in my EF81, removing those projections, and tested it correctly this time.  Worked flawlessly, so I can conclude that all the contact soldering trouble I went through was unnecessary.

 

This photo show the lower profile of how the decoder now sits.  Note that the brass strips may now want to pop out all over the place, but once the decoder is installed, it will hold them securely in place.

 

8E895E36-9604-4174-91DF-1A5FD7C0364F.thumb.jpeg.2262afec7e35450887ac6cefb349d686.jpeg

 

 

This one shows the thickness of both boards.  To my surprise, the Digitrax board is actually thinner than the Kato one!

 

2F5C6520-B5C5-4091-8279-7C6BAA34AD67.thumb.jpeg.c316b6e92dd58fc70add5e7ffb4af4fa.jpeg

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Kiha66

Thanks for trying this!  I guess I'll have to try the modifications in my other kato units!

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