A very old Arnold N model that used to be on the frontpage of some ’90s catalog deserves a small update…

The original

The ET88 was an old EMU produced in the 1920’s for the Deutsche Reichsbahn and retired after WWII. More details (Wikipedia in German) here.


This is not really a legendary train in general, but it is for me. I’m sure many of us saw trains in our youth many times and always wanted them. The Arnold ET88 (and the motorless driving car ES88 converted here) used to be on Arnold old catalogs. I needed to have it, so I went to Ebay as usual.


Arnold ES88 DCC conversion

I will be trying to convert the main (motor) car with sound someday, but I don’t have time or even often access to my layout these days. So here is a quick complete revamp and DCC conversion of the ES88 driving car, Arnold part no. 2931.

Conversion details

The car already had headlights and therefore power feeders. I only needed to completely change the lighting (replace front lights with LEDs) and add interior lighting. I went for these options:

  • Doehler & Haass FH05A function decoder
  • Added capacitor to avoid flickering (330uF)
  • Use of an existing LED board that I had liying around for interior lighting
  • Custom mini LED board for the front LEDs (white and red)

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Original headlights

Original headlights

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion- Custom LED headlight board

Custom LED headlight board

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Custom LED headlight board in place

Custom LED headlight board in place

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - LED board for interior lighting

LED board for interior lighting

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Board and FH05A decoder

Board and FH05A decoder

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Tests


Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Board and added capacitor

Board and added capacitor


Now after a quick decoder programming, voilร : 20 year old driving car now with DCC and LED interior lighting and headlights! See the final result:

Arnold ES88 DCC conversion - Final result

I’m thinking about the ET88 motor car and how to convert it. Maybe a Zimo sound decoder for a change? We’ll see!