A tutorial into the basics of iTrain and using a computer to control your DCC layout.
Last time in the DCC Fitting series I looked at the Bachmann Class 03, and although it was a breeze to fit the chip, the performance left much to be desired. Let’s have a look at what’s next in line:
Class 25 by Bachmann
Bachmann really know how to make a good motor mechanism and on analogue, like the 03, this was one of my top 5 runners. More on that later, let’s start with the fitting process:
How Easy Is It To Fit?
I’m happy to report that like the 03, this too is a doddle to get into… Simply remove the 4 screws shown…
Hold the under-frame steady, and the body should come right off.
Bromsgrove Models talk of an 8-pin socket and also adding some insulator tape between the PCB board and the chassis. My edition however seems to be a later version and accepts a 4 function 21-pin decoder, and needed no further modifications. If you’ve got the 8-pin model, follow the link above for some additional advice.
The manual that comes with the loco (and the one that comes with the chip) should also help you figure out which way to insert the chip. It’s also made obvious by the PCB board having a helpful chip shaped rectangle printed on it as a clue.
It’s worth pointing out at this stage that it’s always best to test and address your freshly chipped loco before you put it back together (if possible). In the case of some models, like the 25, you might not be able to test the lights at this stage as the accompanying circuitry detaches with the body.
Carefully place the shell back on the under-frame and replace screws. It’s that simple.
Fitting Score: 10/10 I feel there’s not much that could be done to make this easier, it’s a well designed setup that also doesn’t compromise an excellently detailed model in any way.
How Does It Run?
Once again I’ve opted for a Bachmann EZ Command chip (The 21-pin variant has reference no. 36-557), again on the basis it’s a Bachmann chip it should work perfectly with a Bachmann loco. It’s also the default brand I get given when I ask my local model shop for a 21-pin chip without specifying a make.
This time round I’m not disappointed. The loco, already fairly silky smooth on DC, glides effortlessly over the rails without so much as a whisper. The slow speed performance, which lets face it – is one of the best parts of DCC operation, is incredibly impressive.
The lights shines nice and brightly, yet not too much to burn-out the legibility of the headcode.
Is there anything negative to say? Well not really. I mean if I was being super picky, it would be good if there was a cab light, or if you could turn off the tail lights individually but this is more down to the design of the model rather than the installation of the chip.
DCC Chip/Running Score: 10/10 Even though some Forums shy away from the cheaper Bachmann chip, the combo seems to work perfectly. Job done!
Overall Score: 10/10 This was actually the first loco I chipped. So why didn’t I start the series with this post I hear you cry? I didn’t want to come straight out the starting blocks without a bad word to say for the DCC fitting process, especially as I know that the results have differed wildly. If I’d started by saying everything was hunky-dory then perhaps you wouldn’t have come back! The Class 03 was a good starting point as it instantly highlighted both the good (easy fitting) and the bad (cheap chip giving average performance) of DCC conversion. The Class 25 sets the bar high for DCC conversion. So was it all down hill from there?
Other Locos in the DCC Fitting Series
- Class 03
- Class 17 (coming soon)
- Class 47 (coming soon)
- Class 128 (coming soon)
– Andy Carter