In this and the following post to come I will show you how to convert to DCC the complete SL Banetsu Monogatari train. It is composed by the steam locomotive C57-180 (KATO 2013) and the set of 6 cars KATO 10-403.
I think this is one of the easiest steam locomotives to convert as it has plenty of space in the tender, and everything seems designed to be able to install a decoder. There is even a hole to pass the wires from tender to the main body and space under the lead ballast. You can see here how to disassemble it:
The space in the ballast is perfect for a ZIMO MX616, but even bigger decoders fit in it:
Here you can see how to open the main body. Check carefully that you are unscrewing the right screws. They are in the extremes and between the frame and wheels. DO NOT unscrew the visible ones under the carriage because those screws are holding the gears part and you don't want to mount it again....
Starting to solder the decoder: you can clip off the cooper strips and solder current wires as in the image above:
There is a hole to pass the wires and rerouting them as in the photo you will be able to close it without problems. I left the white wire as I planned to pass it to the front of the locomotive to drive the light, but you will see later on I removed it. I tend to be too much enthusiastic....
To connect wires to the motor trim them to the right length. Cut the tabs of the motor and solder there the motor wires. And the most important and difficult part, isolate the motor COMPLETELY using KAPTON tape. I insist in this last sentence as I had many problems causing short circuits. But this has been a good demonstration that ZIMO decoders are more resistant than other brands. D&H or Digitrax had blown up for sure.
Check the following photo because until I isolated all metallic parts of the motor it didn't work. It's not only the motor wires and contacts:
Then install number plates, details, and SL Banetsu Monogatari sign in the front, and the job is finished. I'll try to make a video in the following post.