Following up from the review of Hornby M7 class tank engine, I thought a DCC fitting guide might be useful to some of you out there. This particular model is DCC Ready, so you do not have to worry about using a soldering iron. So, I hear you say, this is an easier proposition? Well, yes and no. This model suffers from a lack of space and with a standard DCC chip, removable of weight from the tanks is necessary. Details of how to do this are shown on Hornby’s website and also comes included in the M7 box. But wait! Before clicking on the link and following those instructions, there’s an easier and better solution! Unfortunately, removing the weights will affect the performance of a model that is a light on its feet at the best of times. For this reason I would like to introduce you to a DCC chip that provides a solution that doesn’t undermine the models performance.
The TCS DP2X-UK is a remarkably small chip. It is slightly bigger than a DCC blanking plate, with no cables to worry about. The chip is useful for any model that has an 8-pin socket but very limited space (the Bachmann 57xx/8750 comes to mind.) So, step one is to purchase one of these beauties.
Separate the body from the chassis. This is done by removing two screws, one under the rear bogey and the other under the front NEM pocket, which sometimes (such as this) contains the vac tank moulding. Be very careful whilst unscrewing the screw through the bogey to not knock it from side to side with any force.
To remove the vac tank moulding, gently insert a small screwdriver and move it side to side until it falls out. The front screw will then be revealed.
Once both screws are removed, very gently prise apart the chassis from the body. The body has much fine detail that is very fragile, so be very careful!
Replace the 8 pin DCC chip with the DCC chip. Spot the difference between these before and after pictures!
Now test it on the track and check everything ok.
Put the body and chassis back together. When you do this, you’ll soon realise that although DCC chip is barely bigger than the blanking plate it replaced, if it were any bigger it wouldn’t fit in the body. Be careful with the wires around the chip, I found that the wores that couldn’t be tidied could be fed into the body with a small screwdriver first. Be sure that the body is pushed together properly before re-screwing and replacing the vac tank moulding (if necessary.) Remember, it is a tight fit and may require pressure to get it right. And of course, not so much pressure to do any damage and pressure applied to non-fragile parts of the body.
And that’s it! A fairly simple process, as far as DCC fitting goes, providing you have the right chip ready to fit!