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DCC decoder Testers

This section list various decoder testers that have been or still are in production.

At a minimum a decoder tester job is to allow you to pretest a decoder to see if it working correctly BEFORE you install it into a locomotive.  It can also be used to test an UNKNOWN decoder to see what works and what does not.  Most testers will also allow the given decoder to be pre-programmed and verified.

Decoder testers vary in many ways.

1) The type of motor load used
2) The number of function outputs that can be tested.
3) The number of unique type of decoder-engine connection systems (plug/socket/wire) that are supported.
4) Sound support.


Below is a table of decoder testers and what they can do.

MFG
Model #Motor
Load
Motor Direction Indicator
?
# of
functions tested
Speaker
 supported ?
Speaker
Load
Ohms Ω
Wire
Terminals?
6 Pin
(NEM-651)
?
NMRA
8 Pin
(NEM-652)?
NMRA
9 Pin
(JST)
?
21 Pin
Versions
?
Other
sockets
?
Retail
Price
$
Notes
NCE
DTKBulb
2 LEDs
Red/Grn
4
No
N/A
Yes (1)
No
Yes
Yes
None
None
$24.95Tester is not suitable or programming BEMF motor decoder settings.  Use a motor decoder tester.
Includes NMRA 9 Pin JST Harness.
Ulrich
DT01None2 LEDs
Red/Grn
6
No
N/A
Yes
No
Yes
Yes (1)None
None
$49.95Tester cannot be used in Programming Track Mode.
Tester cannot be used to program BEMF motor decoder settings.

Use instead DT01-Mot which has motor.
LEDs indicates DC track power.
Optional ultra flexible 8 conductor spring clip harness allows connection to almost any decoder for $20. 
Ulrich

DT01-MOT Motor
2 LEDs
Red/Grn
6
No
N/A
Yes
No
Yes
Yes (1)
None
None
$70DT01 + Motor allows full programming Support.
LEDs indicates DC track power.
Optional ultra flexible 8 conductor spring clip harness allows connection to almost any decoder for $20. 
ESU51900
V1.0
MotorNone4Yes100ΩYesYesYesYes(1)MTCPluX-22??Discontinued.
ESU
51900
V2.0
Motor
None6
Yes
Off
100Ω
16Ω
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes (1)
MTC
PluX-22
~$53Discontinued.
V1 + 2 more functions (6 total) + 16 Ohm Speaker load.
ESU51900
V3.0
MotorNone6YesOff
100Ω
16Ω
YesYesYesYes (1)MTCNeXT-18
PluX-22
~$58V2 + NeXT-18
ESU53900
"Profi"
V1
Micro Motor2 LEDs9YesOff
100Ω
16Ω
YesYesYesYes (1)MTCNeXT-18
PluX-22
SUSI
??Discontinued
Flexible Track Power Input Options.  
LEDs indicates if DC or DCC track power is present.  
Optional ESU 53901 Tester Extension docking board support L & XL V4.0 decoders for an additional $43. 
ESU53900
"Profi"
V2
Micro Motor2 LEDs9YesOff
100Ω
16Ω
YesYesYesYes (1)MTCNeXT-18
PluX-22
SUSI
~$56Same as Above.  Cannot identify difference.
TCS
1595Kato
Motor
None8
Yes

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes (1)

MTC
NMRA
TCS-21*
NeXT-18
PluX-22
MC*
FL2*
WAUX*
Keep-Alive*
$149.95

* MC, FL2, WAUX, NMRA 9 pin (JST) & Keep Alive
all require expansion card DT-AUX for an additional $63
Using the NMRA 9 pin JST will require harness.
Loys Toys

None2 LEDs6
No
N/A
Yes
No
Yes
Yes (1)
None
None
??Discontinued
Company out of business.  
Same Ulrich DT01.
NOTES:

1) Possible with purchase of adapter harness -or- making your own adapter harness plugging into 8 pin socket or Wire Terminals on tester.



TABLE TITLE DESCRIPTIONS

Type of Load for motor
List the type of load the decoder will see on it motor terminals when connected to the tester.

Motor Direction Indicator?
Does the tester show the direction of the motor?

# of functions tested
List the total number of function outputs from the decoder that can be tested.  A LED is used as an indication.  The order of what function is tested is as follows.
1) F0F (Forward Headlight)
2) F0R (Rear Headlight)
3) F1
4) F2
5) F3
6) F4
7) F5
8) F6
9) F7

Speaker Supported
The decoder tester provides a speaker to test sound decoders.

Speaker Load Ohms Ω
The Speaker Impedance in Ohms Ω offered. 8 Ohms is a command value and is compatible with almost all DCC sound decoders.  Anything higher will still produce sound but at a lower volume.

Wire Terminals?
Decoder tester allows direct connection of wires from a wire only decoder.

NEM-651 6 Pin?  For more information go here: Decoder Plugs/Sockets
N or smaller scale decoder socket.  Popular in Europe.

NMRA/NEM-652 8 Pin?  For more information go here: Decoder Plugs/Sockets
The original DCC decoder socket.  Very common HO engine socket especially in locomotives made for the US market.  No sound support.

NMRA 9 Pin (JST)? F or more information go here: Decoder Plugs/Sockets
The DCC socket that that is replacing the 8 pin standard.  Lower cost and offers 1 more function output than the 8 pin.  NO sound support.

21 Pin Version  For more information go here: Decoder Plugs/Sockets
The 21 Pin Connector is not single standard.  Complex history and at the time of this writing, there are 3 versions in play. None of them agree with each other.  The DCC standards groups is just now attempting to work towards a single common DCC version.  The 3 versions are:

a) MTC (Marklin-Trix Connector)
b) NEM-660  (European DCC standard)
c) NMRA & TCS-21


Other sockets?
Less popular decoder sockets or proprietary sockets and connectors.

9/2/2015
3/4/2017