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Fox Valley Models

N Scale Class A 4-4-2 Hiawatha

ESU LokSound 5 Micro

DCC Decoder Installation

Last Updated 210218

Streamlined Backshop offers a variety of services including DCC decoder installations.

I have been blessed with more work than I can accomplish and simply don't have time to accept every opportunity I am presented.

One of my favorite proverbs is "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".

With these thoughts in mind, I present this information for those who want to give it a go but struggle with the how to.

For this group of modelers, this is how I do it.

Please note, this write-up is intentionally simplified and only focuses on the "tricky stuff".  There are tons of resources on my site and around the WWW that can clarify the common details of decoder installations.

The same basic products, tools and techniques can be applied to nearly any model of the same genre so be sure to look at the forest, not just the trees.


Be sure to visit my online train store, today where you can purchase this model and everything you will need to complete the decoder installation as described!


The FVM N Scale Class A 4-4-2 "Hiawatha"

Fox Valley Models released an beautiful model of the original Hiawatha a few years.  The model has a spacious tender and the shell is easily removed to expose the circuit board which uses a NEM651 - 8-pin NMRA dummy plug making the conversion to DCC pretty simple.

Other decoder brands can be substituted for the install but you may need to make changes to this procedure as required.

Recommended Tools and Supplies

There are a few tools and supplies recommended for performing this decoder installation.
Wire Strippers
Hobby Knife
Soldering Iron
Motor Tool
SBS4DCC "Sugar Cube" Speaker 11x15mm 8 ohm 1 watt w/ Sound Chamber
LocTite Gel Control Super Glue
Tinning Flux
60/40 Rosin Core Solder

Pre-Install Preperations

The hardest part of this installation requires modification of the ESU 54671 PowerPack Mini for LokPilot V4.0 & LokSound V4.0 & LokSound 5 to fit in the available space.

Keep in mind, the ESU 54671 PowerPack Mini is not necessary but is recommended to improve the performance of the model and decoder because the loco is so small and really does not have great power pickup.

Also keep in mind that modifying the ESU 54671 PowerPack Mini as described here voids the manufacturers warranty.

But this is N Scale and sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do...

The top ESU 54671 PowerPack Mini in this photo is the stock unit as manufactured.

The bottom ESU 54671 PowerPack Mini in the photo has been modified to fit the available space in the tender.  The capacitor has been removed from the board, the leads have a Z-bend added, then it is mounted on the opposite side of the board.

After you have the PowerPack Mini modified, assemble the speaker and attach both pieces to the decoder as required (see manual or many other references on this website).

Installation and Final Assembly

I will leave it to you to get the shell off the tender floor except to say be sure to remove the handrails before trying to disassemble so as not to damage them.

The installation at this point is just a matter of removing the dummy plug, plugging in the decoder, positioning the parts as shwn and reassembling the tender.

The Test Run and Demonstration

So with that,  the install is complete.  Time to pour a glass and celebrate.

Or, if you are like me, curse, swear and try to sort out everything that wasn't quite as easy as it sounded here.

Once everything tests out and the job is done, you should be able to enjoy the sights and sounds just like the engine in this demonstration video.

N' Joy!



You can purchase most of the products used in this project today from my online train store


Streamlined Backshop Services