While generally the US model scene seems content with just the standard 8-pin NMRA standard connector, the European scene has also long had the NEM-651 6-pin connector for use in N-scale locomotives obviating the need for a custom shaped PCB board replacement decoder.Â Recent times have seen the desire for a better connector standard produce a new 21-pin connector known as PluX22 (see comments for more info).Â This decoder connection includes many more function channels for interior lights, classification lights, speakers etc.Â This connector is now getting quite common on European (including UK) models.
Much less known is it’s N-scale equivalent, the NEM-658 PluX-12 connector.Â I’ve just ordered a loco – a model of the very common DBAG (German Railways) class BR218 Diesel locomotive – which features this connector.Â So far my efforts to find out more have come to nought.Â Simply searching Google for NEM 658 or PluX-12 produces loads of foreign language responses.Â Even asking Google to restrict results to English produces nothing relevant and in fact actually even in English on the whole first page of results – a pretty epic failure.Â So I’m going to use this blog entry to try and do something about that and to record my efforts to find out more and to get a suitable decoder for this locomotive….
Update:Â The only current decoder with this connector appears to be the CT Electronik DCX51-P12 but apparently this doesn’t fit some of the Tillig locos due to being too wide.Â The next hope is that ESU have announced one but I don’t if it’s available yet.Â Apparently a six-pin decoder can also be used if it has right-angled pins…. none of the ones I’ve seen do, but maybe they can be bent into shape.
Just a point of correction – the 21-pin connector now commonly fitted to European models is better called PluX22; the first use of it was by Maerklin and their wiring was rather “ODD” to put it mildly. They left one pin unused to force correct orientation of the connector. When the DCC crowd started working on the same thing, they left a different pin unused, so as to avoid confusion. The PluX-8 is basically the existing 8-pin connector, PluX-16 is an extended version with extra connections and PluX-22 goes the whole way. The idea apparently is that the connectors are all compatible. You can use whatever your decoder plug has – 8-pin, 16-pin or the full 21-pins and this is why the Maerklin wiring was considered bad and is now avoided. The NEM standard for Plu-X22 (on a 21-pin connector) includes backwards compatibility in a way the Maerklin implementation did not.
Still trying to get more answers about the PluX-12 version for N-scale and TT-scale models…