Thursday, December 26, 2019

Kato D51-498 DCC Conversion

There are two different model number for Kato D51-495 Orient Express'88 model. The first one is the item number 2016-2, with a more detailed cabin and what seems a more detailed model. It is the newest one, but on tracks derails much easily that the old model which is the item number 2006-3. Here you can see my approach to convert to DCC both models:

Starting with the 2016-2 model, it has the very same mechanics than the 2016-9 model that you can see in my previous post:

You don't have to unscrew anything, everything is clipped, and there is plenty of space if you want to use a sound decoder like SD10A form Doehler & Haass. In this case, I decided to use a tiny Zimo MX616 decoder.

Fist of all solder the current wires of the decoder to the current plates of the tender. Don't worry about the length of the wires as there is enough space to hide it. Plates can be easily removed and mounted again with the wires already soldered.

Cabin and main body are removed easily, just with with the help of a thin screwdriver as they are only clipped.

Then pull from the motor wires and un-solder them from the strips that will appear:

Tender weights can be already mounted after passing the motor wires as seen in the following photo. Again, leaving wires too long is not an issue:

Isolate the wires once soldered with Kapton tape:

And this is finally how it looks before closing it:

And now you can compare it with the old model 2006-3, not as well detailed but with a much better behaviour on tracks. To unmount the tender you have to unscrew one of the bogies, don't pull from the tender because in this model it is not clipped. Inside you will see the following piece that is clipped. Here is were you have to solder the motor wires:

To open the main body there is a hidden screw under the very first axle. You will need to move the first axle to one side to access it. Don't unscrew any other screw or you will have a lot of work to put all gears and little pieces in place again...

After removing the motor, cut the motor current plates that are folder to the side. Cut them to do not stand out from the support and avoid a short circuit, and solder the motor wires as you can see in the following photo:

Mounting the whole thing again is a little tricky, you will need three or four hands for it but just be patient and hold everything until being able to screw the bogie under the tender so everything keeps in place. To close the tender you will have to sand a little bit the hull under the front side, where the motor wires pass from the tender to the main body:

Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas to everybody!!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Kato 7007-2 DF200-50 DCC Conversion

This Kato model has the same light board and structure than the EF66 that I already converted as described in this post. So I just followed the same instructions, but in this case using a Zimo MX616. There is no problem of space, putting the decoder in one of the sides the roof has space for this or even a bigger decoder.

Once you remove the light board, flip the motor plates in vertical position. When you insert again the light board these plates won't be under the board, but over it. You won't need neither any Kapton tape nor isolating any point.

In the following photo I'm showing how to prepare the light board:
  • Red arrow: you have to cut the track in this 3 points
  • Blue arrow: make a bridge between the cooper tracks. First remove the capacitor, and make a bridge instead.
  • Yellow arrow: soldering point, tin these 4 points and the motor plates

Here you can see the decoder soldered and in place:

And that's all, enjoy!!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

SVLocoIO firmware for Arduino updated

A new functionality has been released for SVLocoIO firmware. This is the Arduino program we use for all I/O Loconet modules. This means, it is the main Arduino software to manage sensors and outputs (street lights, layout illumination, ...).

It was missing a functionality that other boards do, which is to inform about the state of the inputs (sensors) at power on. When the command station is turned on, or the power on button of your software like Rocrail or iTrain is pressed, the module will send the current state of those ports configured as input.

With a bit more of technical detail, when a OPC_GPON command is sent throuth Loconet, the board responds a OPC_INPUT_REP message for each configured input.

If you want to deactivate this functionality, delete or comment the line in the top of the code:


I also corrected some errors when calculating the input number of a pin. It was affecting to the debug mode making the input numbers to be printed wrong. With this correction the maximum input number has been increased to 2048.

You can download it from:

If you use this firmware with GCA185 Loconet shield board, remember you don't need the pulldown resistors of the board as the program uses the Arduino internal pullup resistors.