Everything on model trains, model railroads, model railways, locomotives, model train layouts, scenery, wiring, DCC and more. Enjoy the world's best hobby... model railroading!

background buildings model trains

DC to DCC and DCC to DC?

Jim models in HO scale and asks readers:

“This is an interesting question, at least to me. A lot of the modelers are either already running DCC or are switching to DCC. I have seen many videos about how to take a DC engine, install a computer card on the engine and make it able to run as a DCC engine. Here’s the question — can a DCC engine be striped down (DCC card and chip removed )and rewired as a DC engine and then run on a DC layout?????”

Please contribute your thoughts below.

7 Responses to DC to DCC and DCC to DC?

  • Dale says:

    It can be done but generally isn’t necessary. Most currently available decoders can be set to DC operation. You do need a DCC system to set the decoder to DC but after that it should run fine on DC.

  • Bill says:

    Dale is correct but if you intend to run continuously a DC layout then you are better off to return the locos to their original DC format. Wiring the motor is relatively easy. The track pickup wires will have to be connected to the motor wires and you will be good to go. The issue will be the lights. Most locos have a light board to control the light intensity when they came from the factory. This is not needed for DCC operation as the decoder looks after this. If you have the original board put it in but if you do not you can try to find one on the internet or if the loco is not too old perhaps the manufacturer can help. You can always wire them directly if they are incandescent, but if they are led then you will need to add resistors to avoid burning them out.

    • Jim Myrhum says:

      Just so’s you know, there is a product on the market from Evans Design that has LEDs that do not require any assembly. Go to ModelTrainSoftware.com for more info.
      Bought a couple packs of them ( ready to go ) and they work and look good.

  • Frank B says:

    Any DCC trader at a model exhibtion will probably be happy to reset the decoder for you to run on DC.   Many DCC locos are sold with the decoder already set to be able run on DC.

  • Jay Ross says:

    As far as I know, all Dcc locomotives with run on Dc, but they have to be configured to do so if they aren’t already. If you don’t know how to do it, I suggest you find someone who can. If you remove the decoders, you will lessen the value of the locomotives if you ever decide to sell them. Also, removing the decoders will change how the lights function. The decoder supplies the voltage and current to the lights, removing the decoder, you will have to insure that you won’t need to add resistors to protect the lights from too much direct track power.

  • Nigel says:

    Removing the decoder completely as explained by Bill rather than relying on changing the CV settings is definitely a better way to go. If the decoder is in a socket on the locomotive, it may just be a case of removing the decoder and inserting an inexpensive blanking plate.

    Leaving the decoder in and relying on the CV settings will work with decent quality controllers but the cheap train set type may well burn out the decoder – don’t ask me how I know!

  • Frank B says:

    Many modern DC controllers use PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation), which may cause problems with DCC decoders. 
     If you are running a DCC loco on a DC layout, 1) make sure the decoder is set for DC running, and 2) make sure your controller provides a smooth DC voltage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add a photo or image related to your comment (JPEG only)


Download Your Free Catalog

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers

N Scale Track Plans

Watch Video

Model Train DCC HELP

Model Train Help Ebook


FREE Tour Inside Club

Take a FREE tour inside the club.

Scenery Techniques Explained

Scenery & Layout Ideas

Reader Poll

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Model Railroading Blog Archive