Review: Digitising a 3048 steamer with ESU LokPilotDCC

The ESU LokPilot and LokPilotDCC decoders are good multifunction decoders with load control and many configurable settings, for example, the light intensity of lights, various flashing patterns, etc. The only reason these decoders do not get 5 stars is their extreme sensitivity to momentary loss of power - which can happen if the track is dirty.

This is a sequence of photographs showing how I installed an ESU LokPolotDCC decoder into my Märklin 3048 steamer that has the old motor type with the large flat commutator. Also shown is the relay I added for the smoke unit.

3048 Loco made in the mid 1960s, ESU LokPilotDCC Decoder and HAMO magnet are ready to be united. HAMO magnet is from ESU part number 51960

Old brushes, wiring and electromagnet still in place

Old mechanical reversing mechanism that will be replaced by the decoder

Underside of old reverser

Motor cover is now off and reveals a filthy interior made up of carbon dust, old oil and dirt

Rotor and motor cover have now been cleaned with rubbing alcohol

Gears are pretty worn and now they are clean

Get it really nice and clean !

The 3 pole rotor is pretty worn but I do not have a replacement

The new permanent magnet fits perfectly

The light and smoke unit were electrically coupled and I want to be able to switch the light and smoke unit independently

The old parts of the light holder in exploded view show how the base of the smoke unit contact touched the light bulb socket

By inserting some insulation (from an old M-Track turnout) between the light socket and the smoke unit contact I can deliver power to each independently

The light fixture with my additional insulation in place

The new decoder as it comes. I cut off the plug.

After lubricating the gears, the new magnet is put in place, then the clean rotor and then the motor cover holds it all in place.

The decoder has now replaced the old reverser and is wired up. The black tape is holding the unused wires out of the way.

Motor wiring is in place

In order to use the original analog smoke generator, I install a relay on F1 such that the function switches the relay and the relay switches the track voltage to the smoke unit.

The relay is ready to be installed (12V DC)

Relay is now installed

Housing is back on, loco is tested and runs fine.

The actual speed curve as measured by my calibration software