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New Member
I have one of these. It has failed. I do not intend to return it to Athearn (or my retailer) because I am convinced the error is mine, not theirs. I suspect the fault to be with the DCC chip/board.

I have removed the body and found the DCC board. Firstly, does anyone know where I can obtain a direct replacement? Athearn say they do not supply them. Given that statement by Athearn I suspect I'm looking at a 3rd party solution any reccomendations?

What I'm not clear about is the layout of the board and chip. When I've seen other locomotives (of European manufacture) the board has a recognisable socket into which the chip will fit (in much the same way that a processor fits into a sockt on a PC motherboard). I can't see this on the Athearn board. Am I looking to replace the whole board?

Many thanks,



Lake Shore Lines

Being that MRC has made most of the Sound boards for the Athearn Genesis line, I would suspect that you might want to contact them about a replacement unit.


Railroad Joe

Engineer, RI #424

Had to chime in here too. I bought my 14 year old son one of these for christmas last year, 6 months later, the same problem.

I took the locomotive back to the shop I bought it from, they sent it back to Athearn.

Athearn, in turn replaced the decoder board with the upgraded version of the original decoder board and sent the locomotive back. All this free of charge. Didn't cost me a dime. I feel that it should be this way since it was about $180.00 to purchase this locomotive.

So far, so good. Hope this helps!!
180 bucks for an athearn?? Holy Smokes! My BLI blue line was only 126 with shipping!

Joe glad they helped ya out with your problem thou - good customer Service sounds like

Railroad Joe

Engineer, RI #424
Thanks Scott,

I have to say that when I purchased the Athearn unit, it was before BLI came out with the BlueLine equipment. It really was like $176 & some change. Better than paying MSRP of $244.00

Yes, I'm very glad Athearn was willing to help out and repair the locomotive in good faith.

As for the railroad shop I bought it at, that shop has to be the best shop in the Chicagoland area, they go beyond expectations of most shops. They even helped me get my OMI SD38-3 repaired, even though I didn't purchase it from them.

I hope you have a great railroad shop where you are.

Thanks again!!


Go make something!
Without seeing inside one of these, I would say the decoder is integral to the PCB. If it needs replacing at your expense, I would consider ESU's LokSound decoders before I would put anything from MRC in it. All the Athearn/MRC circuitry would probably need to be removed and it would need to be all hardwired and the speakers replaced too but from my experience with LokSound and with MRC, you would have a much better product with LokSound.
Joe I have a GREAT hobby shop..too bad its not local. Its a 70 mile drive one way - but Well worth it IMO. The only LHS I have is a hobbytown and their train selection is nill.. while I am good friends with the guys who work and own the store, if its not R/C Related - they dont have much patience for it, they should just take out the Train Selection. 2 Feet of Altas blister packed track, 2 feet of thrown together rail cars, a good selection of WS stuff thou too bad its 5 dollars higher than that 'other' shop. Pretty Sad IMO

It's nice to know there is still customer service out there!

I miss the Hobby Shops in the St Louis area...this one in Kirkwood especially..


New Member
I have considered sending it back to Athearn. Unfortunately, I'm in the UK. Doesn't mean it's impossible, just a little more complicated and expensive. That's probably where I'll be going next when I have an appropriate box and packaging to hand.

What did I do to blow it up? It worked as loco 3. I put it on my programming track and tried paging it - no response. I tried to change the loco number, no response. I tried paging other CVs no response. Loco 3 still worked. My DCC controller supports various methods of paging - tried them all, no response. Still worked as loco 3. So I moved to programming on the main. After several attempts to page with no response (each time checking loco 3) I tried one of the alternatives since when nothing.

I use a ZTC controller (UK made) and they refer to Paged Mode, Direct Mode but the last two have no names simply being discussed as key strokes and the one that appears to have been the final straw was <signal> <loco> loco numebr <enter right>.


Dcc~detail~diesel freak
I have to ask: Did it come with dcc, or was it dcc ready and you installed a decoder? Did you use the 9 pin socket for the decoder or try to put a 8 pin in the holes on the circuit board? The 9 pin sockets work, but the 8 pin are not completely useful. Those have to be soldered in from both sides of the board.

BNSF dude

BNSF foamer
If it has sound im guessing its the poor sounding MRC. *Throws Up and would rather get Soundtraxx, QSI or Loksound* Yes they are DCC dual modes.

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