So, this is as hard as it gets. While this is one of the best designed and manufactured models in the business it leaves little room to add a DCC (Digital Command Control) microprocessor decoder.
There are times when the decision process takes as long or longer than the installation. This is one of those times. The first part of this series deals with those options and a discussion of the alternatives.
This is about as simple as it gets. Even the shell removal was quick. The Train Buddy shows how easy it is to install of a DCC (Digital Command Control) decoder (microprocessor) in an HO scale (1:87) working model of a Baldwin VO-1000 series railroad locomotive manufactured by Stewart Hobbies. Notice that, sometimes you have to use some common sense, even with the true “plug in” decoders for placement. Sometimes the “decoder selector” is not quite right as sometimes the manufacturer has multiple runs of the same engine type.
The Train Buddy installs another decoder but this time it is “full wire”. No plugs, no connectors, no room for error as the decoder does not have any plugs. This is one of the more difficult installs and is usually scheduled for 1 hour of work. Spoiler: it doesn’t always go as planned, even for the simpler ones. There is another engine very similar, the EMD E7 by Life Like Proto 2000 that is available on this channel just a few short months ago. Similar but it was a sound decoder install with more intricate lighting.
While this install was completed over a year ago, it demonstrates a thorough installation of a Digital Command Control (DCC) decoder/microprocessor into an HO scale model from the Athearn product line. This particular version of the chassis was introduced in 60’s. It is similar to other engines produced by Athearn since 1963. The drive train and body style was so successful that it was later copied by Life-Like Products in their Proto series model locomotives. If you ever decide to add DCC to an old Athearn model, this may be your reference. Not in our usual format, this is as close to real-time install as it gets. A 6 part series, each part has been selected to run about 30 minutes in length. WARNING: While the first 3 parts show a DH126D decoder parts 4,5 &6 show that this was not a wise choice and the final decoder was Digitrax recommended DN136D.
This video involves some unique perspectives in decoder (microprocessor) installation. The subject engine was undecorated and had to be painted and decaled before installation of the speaker. The chassis and mechanism were available for the electrical work and so this project was split over a very long time. It came in on 1/25/2019, work started on 7/24/2019, restarted (post COVID after painting) 9/17/2020 and was finished on 10/15/2020. This is not typical but what is typical this year? For those who want to be critical of the paint job, please help yourself. I am virtually hanging my head in shame as this was not something I am real proud of, but then again, you can probably count on one hand the items that I have painted. The customer asked me to do this since it was such an “easy” paint. The real difficulty was in the bottom striping believe it or not. 3 installments. Enjoy.