DCC in a athearn locomotive

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Ernest Lafleur, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. Ernest Lafleur

    Ernest Lafleur Member

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    Hi Train lovers,:wave:

    First of all, a very happy easter to you all, and I hope you all had a very nice
    easter weekend.:thumb:

    I have a question, Can anybody tell me how I can build a decoder into a Athearn locomotive? you know thoes with the great big strip of iron whitch goes from the rear pickup, over the motor and stops at the light in the front.:D

    The biggest problem is the one at the bottom of the motor, how do I insulate that one from the body.:rolleyes:

    Has anybody ever done this and if so can you please tell me how it is done.:curse:
    Ernest.
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Just pop the motor off the frame and cut the little fingers off of the bottom clip after carefully removing it from the motor. Solder your grey wire to the clip and remount it to the motor. Remove the top steel strap and discard it then remove the top motor clip. Solder the orange lead to this then replace it. Place a small piece of electrical tape to the framme where the motor mounts, over the spot that has no paint, this is where it used to have the power pickup from those little "fingers". Solder a wire from each truck contact where the steel strap used to touch then solder the red lead to one of those contacts. Drill a small hole near the motor into the frame then drive a small brass self tapping screw into the frame at this point. Solder the black lead to this. I remove the light clip and place 1.5mm LEDs into each light port front and rear, wiring them in series then placing a 750 ohm 1/4 watt resistor into the series. Then I solder the blue lead to the positive side of the front and rear lights, the white lead to the negative of the front lights and the yellow to the rear.

    More can be found at www.loystoys.com.:thumb:
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

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    the only thing I'd do different than Bob it to bend fingers flat that way if you ever want to return loco to DC you just have to bend down again.
  4. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    You're right, Jim. Most of my later Athearn conversions I've flattened the fingers should I ever decide to return them to DC ops. It helps that I already have a small drwaer ful of those little boogers in case I decide to go back on all of them.:thumb:
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    You're right, Jim. Most of my later Athearn conversions I've flattened the fingers should I ever decide to return them to DC ops. It helps that I already have a small drawer ful of those little boogers in case I decide to go back on all of them.:thumb:
  6. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

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    Digitrax makes two decoders that has the motor clips that will snap right onto Blue Box Athearns without soldering, the DH123AT and the DH163AT.

    No fuss no muss!
  7. Ernest Lafleur

    Ernest Lafleur Member

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    Thank you guys,

    You have all been a great help,
    Every time i opend up a Athearn loc, I thort "no it is not possible.:cry:

    Thanks to you I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.:thumb:

    Happy railroading

    Ernest
  8. RevnJeff

    RevnJeff New Member

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    Only thing I would add is taking liquid electrical tape and covering the bottom of the chassis, as well as the bottom strip. That worked well in my SW1500 that I converted.

    Also, if you can solder a wire then use a regular decoder. Solder the grey and orange wire to the motor leads, remove the strip between the two trucks, replace with a wire. One wire soldered to truck, the other one to the frame...easy as pie.