Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TCS CN-GP in a Life Like GP60

Recently I saw on the TCS web site that the CN-GP decoder would fit in the Life Like GP60 and as I had a couple of those to do I thought I would give it a try.  I've installed wired decoders in several of these models before but had to have the frames milled.  That type of installation was presented in the post Digitrax DZ123 in a Life Like GP60.

In that earlier post I had not mentioned removing the shell so I will cover it here.

The shell fits rather tightly on this model and the best way I have found to remove them is to pry the shell up from the tab located under the rear of the cab on each side with a jewelers screwdriver.

This installation is going to be similar to the others using the CN or CN-GP decoders. If I seem to skip over something or something is not clear I suggest also checking the other posts that use these decoders.  After getting the shell off I fully dis-assemble the mechanism.  This is necessary because the decoder wires are going to need to be connected to the motor.  When removing the motor, I always mark the top to keep the polarity correct.

The TCS web site seem to suggest that no frame modification at all was needed.  After carefully examining things I came up with the steps shown in this photo as being the minimum needed to ensure a solid installation.

A pinched wire may not show up for quite some time until the insulation breaks down and the conductor comes in contact with the frame.

It only took me a few minutes with a Dermal tool and cut off wheel. I smoothed things out with a jewelers file. The areas I worked on are pointed out by the blue arrows in this photo. The two areas near the ends can be done on either frame half. The frame needs to be free of any loose metal filings. I use a stiff brush and low pressure air to do this.

I like to remove the orange and gray wires from the decoder and connect them to the motor brush caps first.  This motor does not use a plastic saddle so it's a tight fit between the motor and the shell.  I file the groove to recess the gray wire into the motor body.

There is just a small amount of space between the motor brush caps and the frame so I wrap around the motor 1 and 1/2 times with Kapton tape with the overlap being at the top.  It's been my experience that Kapton tape sticks best to itself so that why the extra 1/2 turn.  The wires are folded under the tape then a slot is cut to allow them to come through on the top.

After re-installing the worm gear assemblies, the frame halves can be put back together using the bushings, screws, and nuts and this is what it should look like.

At this point I will apply the output of a DC throttle to the orange and gray wires and check how the motor is running before proceeding with the final steps.

Plug both decoder boards into the frame.  If needed to get a snug fit on the front board, tap lightly with a small hammer on the tabs with the board out, then plug in again. On the rear board use the solder method on the bottom of the board if needed to get a snug fit.  Connect the wires as shown and test run.

These engine don't have any kind of a hood or light shield around the inside of the cab windows and the LED's mounted on these decoders are quite bright so I ended up removing the cab and painting the inside of the windows with 2 coats of Floquil engine black.