Example: SUSI interface as additional outputs plus power reserve
Power reserve and additional outputs on SUSI? A tip for advanced model train DIYers…
Most common N-scale decoders have up to 4 outputs: Light front, Light rear, AUX 1 & AUX 2 (the name of those last 2 may vary depending on the manufacturer). All these are “regular” outputs.
Some mini-decoders for the N-Scale also have a so-called “SUSI” connectors, with 4 soldering pads. For example:
The SUSI serial interface is actually designed to be connected to an external sound module. This is the default mode. To see an example of how connecting sound modules work, refer to the post Model train sound for beginners.
SUSI interface on Doehler & Haass DH05C and DH10C decoders
One of the 4 SUSI pads is the plus pole (aka “ZVS”/”V+”), another one is the negative pole (aka “GND”). Most decoder brands allow to connect small electronic capacitors to those pads. They will help when the track is dirty (unreliable power feeders). If you add enough capacitors (in N scale, 400uF or more), you should see greatly improved behaviour on points or at slower speeds.
Connecting capacitors to SUSI is usually possible. Check your manufacturer’s manual to see if that’s true (for some, the capacitors need to be connected elsewhere), or if some CV changes are required. For Doehler & Haass for example, it is recommended to add “2” to the value of CV137 (bit 1 = on). Otherwise, your capacitors will have no visible effect.
SUSI can be used for another purpose than connecting a sound decoder. You can deactivate the “serial interface” mode to get 2 extra logic outputs.
Beware that all brands may not allow this functionality, it needs to be configured in the decoder via CV configuration.
Also important: these 2 additional outputs are logic level outputs, also called “non amplified”. This means you cannot connect heavy loads to them, or you will destroy your decoder. Those logic outputs usually tolerate loads of 5V, with a max of 15/20mA. You could use a transistor to amplify them…or just be cautious and respect the specifications of the outputs. If you only connect a single LED with a strong enough resistor (for example to light up the driver cab in a locomotive), you can connect those to a logic output directly.
In the recent post about converting a V100 locomotive, I made use of both those possibilities (power reserves + additional outputs) on a DH05C decoder. Head on to the article for more details. In the video below, the cab driver lighting is connected to the SUSI output:
Below is the schematic of the V100 locomotive above:
I hope this will help some of you, those little N decoders offer many possibilities to motivated DIYers!
Special thanks to Eduard from nscaleblog.wordpress.com who noted that Kuehn decoders also offer the same possibilities!
In any case, remember soldering directly on a small decoder is a difficult thing. You may destroy your decoder, and I am not accepting any liability for this! The above works for sure for the mentionned Zimo, Doehler & Haass and Kuehn decoders. It may or may not work for other decoders, check your manuals before doing anything!
Thank you for posting this! I was considering to modify my Roco V200 with Kuhn decoder – and now I will 🙂
Here’s a good link to calculate the resistor value once you’ve selected the LED and got its specs: http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz
Hi again, are you for sure certain Kuhn supports capacitors and/or extra outputs on SUSI? If so don’t hesitate to confirm (which models for example), I’ll be glad to add it to the article. I’ve never used Kuhn but I know they are quite popular in Benelux/DE/AT.
Actually besides the SUSI ports, the Kuhn 45 has two extra amplified ports, ‘Function C’ and ‘Function D’. So I was planning to use those.
The SUSI can be either configured as SUSI or as Function ‘E’ and ‘F’ (the default for CV56 where it’s configured) but they are not amplified. Not sure how much power draw those will allow.
Yep, Function C and D for Kuehn are called AUX1 & AUX2 by Doehler & Haass (Zimo probably has another name). Those are regular amplified outputs indeed. But for my V100 for example I needed 5 outputs total, so I used 4 amplified + 1 SUSI (driver cabin). The Kuehn manual just says the SUSI outputs (if used as such, and not for a sound module) are “logic”. That usually means the same thing: 5V (the SUSI standard anyway), and likely 15 to 20mA loads max.
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