Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digitrax DZ123 in a Life Like GP60

This how-to page first appeared on my old web site in December of 2004.

The Life Like GP60 is really a great model but did not come with a provision to install a DCC decoder. To get DCC into this model we will use the Aztec Mfg TM3031 Trackmaster frame and a Digitrax DZ123 decoder. A Train Control System M1 would also work very well in this application. Start by completely disassembling the engine and marking the top of the motor. I always recommend testing a new decoder before cutting any of the wires so do that
now if you have not already. Then cut the wires to the lengths listed below. 
2 - 1/8" - Red, Black, & White wires
1 - 3/4" - Gray wire
1 - 1/8" - Orange & Yellow wires

The diagram to the left shows the modifications to the rear PC board and where to connect the yellow wire.

The diagram below shows the modifications to the front PC board and where to connect the red, black, and white wires.

Remove the motor brushes from the motor and solder the orange and gray wires to the motor brush caps.  Next file a groove down the right side of the motor as shown in the photo on the left.  This will be for the gray wire.
This photo shows the front PC board after the engine is re-assembled.
This photo shows the rear PC board after the engine is re-assembled.
To get the gray wire down to the lower part of the motor use a needle file again to notch a groove into the side of the motor housing as shown in the photo. I did this on the right side of the motor but it could be done on either side. Be careful not to get any debris inside the motor.

After the mechanism is re-assembled this is what you will have. The DZ123 is a fit tight. fit.  The TCS M1 is a little narrower and the fit will be easy. The fact that the frame has an undercut that the decoder fits into makes it secure and you will not need any tape to hold it in place. This model has nice locking bumps on the frame like some of the Kato models to align the shell.

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