Inspired by Pete Goss’ layout “Rowlands Castle” (see below), I really must get my WD Austerity 2-8-0 into traffic. This will also provide a good place to test out one of the OMNI decoders I bought at Hartlepool at the weekend.

The OMNI is a straightforward 4 function 8pin 1.2amp decoder, so fitting should be quite straightforward. Digitrains were selling two sizes of these, I went for the larger ones which measure about an inch by half an inch in old money  – (0.95” x 0.65” x 0.2” for those wanting to be pedantic). Bought in a 5 pack these work out at about £11 per decoder. The smaller units were a little more expensive at about £15 each, but I don’t think I’ve got any issues finding space inside the locos I want to chip for the larger units.

On face value these look like excellent units to get basic steam locos up and running in DCC, and offer the basic essentials: 4 digit addressing; Back EMF; and silent drive. In addition the locomotive will still run on DC if required (something my ZTC equipped engines wont do) so I can run it on the club layout.

There are no instructions supplied in the packet, however there is a pdf on the Gaugemaster website with full details. The small chips are coded DCC26 and the larger ones DCC25, but other than size, functionality is identical, though the mini is rated at a lower 1.1amps.

Now to open up the loco………