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DCC Decoder Installation: Kato SD80/90MAC
06/14/01: I've had my brand new Kato SD90/43MACs for about a week now and its killing me that I can't run these on DCC. As far as I know Digitrax has not announced a new decoder to fit these beasts. Recently N Scale Supply has become a dealer for Lenz DigitalPlus DCC equipment. Lenz has an incredible two function decoder which we are selling for $22.50, the LE077XF. This decoder is tiny: 0.53" x 0.37" x 0.13". After a little research it appeared that this would easily fit in the SD90. Installation takes me about 20-30 minutes. The best thing, the install uses the existing light board, keeps the white LEDs and is easy to remove for maintenance of the locomotive.

NOTE: The LE077XF has been replaced by the LE0511XF decoder, all aspects of the decoder install are identical.

NOTE: The LE0521XF will also work using the same directions. The most significant difference between the two decoders is the LE0521XF has Back EMF and will hold the engine speed constant
even going up and down grades.

Following are the instructions for performing this install. Its pretty straight forward using standard tools and a soldering iron.

-Scott Phillips
Bill of Materials:
  • Lenz LE077XF or LE010XF Decoder
  • Two 560 ohm 1/8 watt resistors. Make sure they are 1/8 watt, a 1/4 watt will be too large to get the shell back on
  • About 2" of Kapton tape or other thin tape to use for electrical isolation
  • 3/8" of a very small diameter heat shrink tubing, 3/64" works very well. This is available in the Miniatronics Heat Shrink assortment (Part #MIN-HST).
Table of Contents - All Steps
Step 1: Preparation
Step 2: The Light Board
Step 3: Decoder Preparation
Step 4: Attaching the Decoder
Step 5: Installing the Light Board
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