Use DG83FX's instead of DG380 & DG580 on LGB 20670 : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

Could I use Digitrax DG83FX decoders instead of the DG380 and 580s for the 20670 track cleaner that are listed on the site here? I have a bunch of DG83FX's I can use but want to keep my 580s for my bigger trains. The DG83FX's have a 4 Amp continuos with 6 amp peak load capability (so the docs say).

-- Morgan Von Essen (, January 23, 2002



I see that the DG83FX is still listed in the Digitrax list of decoders, but they no longer have it listed as one of their decoders on their decoder detailed spec page. On the summary page that it still shows on, it is listed as a 2/4 amp decoder, not a 4/6 as you mention.

Still, I think you can use the DG83FX in the track cleaning loco.

A few other things I have learned about this locomotive:

I have found it necessary to remove the LGB built-in thermal overload on the motor. That thing was tripping out so much it nearly renders the track cleaner useless. The decoder has thermal overload for itself. I count on that to protect the decoder and provide gross protection for the motor. I definitely admit, this is not the same thing, nor as good as, an thermal overload protection on the cleaning motor. This arrangement does seem to work well enough. It still occasionally, rather than frequently, shuts down and I haven't burned up the motor. Since this is a somewhat "ugly" - from an American prototype standpoint - locomotive, I don't really care what it looks like or what I have done to it. For example, I've modified the front several times trying to make it a leave plow. In any case, you could drill the housing full of holes to cool it if you wanted to if you also don't care what it looks like.

The track cleaning wheels are about $20. I found if I used this loco to get my 500' ready for an open house, I'd use up $20. I have found that a "G-scale Bright Boy" aka a drywall sponge is just as effective and just as fast. Of course, a new drywall sponge, even a fine one, is more abrassive than you really need. No worry. It soon wears out, but still retains enough abrassiveness to clean track. I've been using the same sponges for years. So I use the track cleaning loco now just to clean tunnels. I just got tired of buying those cleaning wheels all the time!

I live in Texas. During 110 degree summer days, the decoders shut down after 20-30 minutes. So I have switched to only using the highest amperage decoders, so that they run the coolest, and whenever possible (not possible with this track cleaning loco), I mount the decoder outside the shell - in the cab or underneath, so that some air can get to them.

Just things to think about.

-- Allan Gartner (, January 26, 2002.

I've had generally poor results with DG580L decoders in a number of large scale locos. All three of the decoders that I have have either burned up (and then got repaired) or overheat or just weren't up to the task. I use NCE D408SR or Zimo MX65 decoders now. These easily handle the jobs that the Digitrax decoders could not get close to dealing with.

-- George Schreyer (, February 09, 2002.

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