August 14, 1999
The latest decoder from Digitrax finally makes it possible to run the Life-Like GP20's under DCC. The DZ121 Decoder is the smallest decoder that Digitrax has supplied to date, measuring under 3/8" x 5/8" x 1/8". The width of the decoder (0.575") is narrower than the inside shell dimension of most engines including the GP20. I will detail here how to install the decoder where the rear light board would normally sit. By looking at the picture below you can tell that the decoder will nearly fit without modification, but I found it much simpler to install if you cut away a portion of the frame.
NOTE: This installation procedure will void the warranty of the Life-Like GP20 engine, make sure the engine runs well and you are completely happy with it before proceeding. N Scale Supply will not take any responsibility for the engine or decoder.
Since you lose the rear light during the installation, I have programmed the decoder to turn directional lighting off and leave the headlight on all the time. It would not take too much extra work to install a beacon on the roof if you would desire. My first attempt took me about two hours to complete.
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