Overasked Question

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I'm sure this has been asked 100 times before... but :D The last time I had a layout setup, DCC wasnt around.. So Ive got some Athearn Loco's from the Early 90's that Id like to be able to use on my upcoming DCC switching layout.

These are the old athearn units with the flimsy flat metal peice that goes from the two trucks, across the top of the motor..
My Question is this, what Do I need to do to make this a DCC controlable unit. :confused: :confused: HELP ... lol any thoughts, hints, help, info ya'll can provide would be greatly appreciated.

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
I think Rico covered it well. Digitrax makes Athearn conversions easy. I've done a couple, the only issues that cropped up were that some of the harness wires broke loose during use and had to be resoldered. Other than that, smooth sailing.


Coal Shoveler
What some folks do is take the bottom clip off and switch it with the top clip, so that there's no way those little prongs can touch the frame. You know Murphy, you can clip and grind those tabs off, but....

Once you see how Digitrax's harness works, then you can do your own soldering. I have a bunch of short harnesses that I use to solder onto the clips that go on the motor. I throw away the strip that goes across to the towers; in fact, I cut down the towers and use a female spade connector to it (so I can remove the wire if need be). Most folks solder the wires onto the tower, but I don't do that. I want to be able to take the truck off if I have to.

Thanks Kennedy! It looks to be pretty simple. Alot of years in the R/C hobby has given me fairly proficent soldering skillz.
I think swapping the top/bottom bars is a good idea, whatever can go wrong...will and decoders arent something i wanna be replacing cause of a stupid simple short..


Coal Shoveler
I forgot to mention that most folks put a piece of electrical tape (cut to fit) below where the motor sits. You can tell where the shiney area is for the electrical contact.

I use the liquid electrical tape, I just slather it on. That eliminates the thickness inherent with tape. And, with the bottom bars having no tabs to possibly wear through, I think it's a better solution.

I got my liquid tape at Home Depot. $5 for the can...



Coal Shoveler
Oh, I solder the wires to the front of the clips, where it curves. That way, the solder puddles a bit. I also use double-sided tape, on a piece of strip styrene, if there's room, to hold the decoder behind the motor.


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