Swapping decoders

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tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I've got 2 Athearn Genesis SD70ACe's. One is Tsunami DCC/Sound fitted, the other is DCC ready. What difficulties (if any) would I encounter in swapping the decoder and lighting boards between them.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I've got 2 Athearn Genesis SD70ACe's. One is Tsunami DCC/Sound fitted, the other is DCC ready. What difficulties (if any) would I encounter in swapping the decoder and lighting boards between them.
??? Seems a strange request. ??? Why do you want to do this. Or if they are painted different or something just swap the bodies...

But regardless, I would be worried the DCC ready one might not have the slots, notches, or supports needed for the speakers.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes it is that they are painted differently and it's the opposite I'm wanting to keep. The lights are the same and in the same position, but not sure if the tsunami decoder will have different voltage bulbs to the DCC ready. If not then it's just a matter of unclipping the light wires etc from the boards when swapping and bob's your uncle (or aunty if so inclined), otherwise might be more of a mission (not something I've attempted). Yes and the speaker mountings would be another issue as well, so I am trying to pre-empt the effort of taking both apart first by picking the collective experience of the knowledgable.
 

PaulB

Member
Yes it is that they are painted differently and it's the opposite I'm wanting to keep. The lights are the same and in the same position, but not sure if the tsunami decoder will have different voltage bulbs to the DCC ready. If not then it's just a matter of unclipping the light wires etc from the boards when swapping and bob's your uncle (or aunty if so inclined), otherwise might be more of a mission (not something I've attempted). Yes and the speaker mountings would be another issue as well, so I am trying to pre-empt the effort of taking both apart first by picking the collective experience of the knowledgable.

Hmm, seems like a good opportunity to change the globes for LEDs.
 

PaulB

Member
There is one fellow at the club who solders up those tiny surface mount LEDs. Jaycars have opened a shop in Strathpine. There should be one in Caboolture too. They sell a range of LEDs including a nice and bright 3 mm LED which seems to be favoured by modern modellers. I might have some optic fibre around somewhere.

What sort of lights are we talking? Headlights, ditch lights, number boards?
 

bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
I swap shells so I can use the sound equipped mechanism under a silent shell. The bulbs will be the same, as will the shell. If the fuel tanks are a different color, or if the trucks are, they can be swapped.All these things would be easier to do than swapping the board, speaker, and wiring for them.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Yes it is that they are painted differently and it's the opposite I'm wanting to keep. The lights are the same and in the same position, but not sure if the tsunami decoder will have different voltage bulbs to the DCC ready. If not then it's just a matter of unclipping the light wires etc from the boards when swapping and bob's your uncle (or aunty if so inclined), otherwise might be more of a mission (not something I've attempted). Yes and the speaker mountings would be another issue as well, so I am trying to pre-empt the effort of taking both apart first by picking the collective experience of the knowledgable.
Yes you can swap the boards. The Tsunami has built in resistors correct for the Athearn factory bulbs. I do this all the time with my Genesis locos as I buy them DCC ready and install my Tsunamis later
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes you can swap the boards. The Tsunami has built in resistors correct for the Athearn factory bulbs. I do this all the time with my Genesis locos as I buy them DCC ready and install my Tsunamis later
Thanks for that info. I'm planning on offering the UP to a young bloke at my old club who I know can't afford DCC sound but wants a SD70ACE in UP, and then I can run my BNSF at my new club that does have DCC (NCE).
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
There is one fellow at the club who solders up those tiny surface mount LEDs. Jaycars have opened a shop in Strathpine. There should be one in Caboolture too. They sell a range of LEDs including a nice and bright 3 mm LED which seems to be favoured by modern modellers. I might have some optic fibre around somewhere.

What sort of lights are we talking? Headlights, ditch lights, number boards?
I'll have to pull the shell off and check the ditch lights, they could be fibre (probably get some from the NBN firesale that Tony will no doubt have soon)(bit of local political sarcasm for those not in the know). LED's might be a bit bright for #boards etc, I got a P2K GP20 a while back and I suspect they're fitted everywhere 'cause the whole nose glows.

There's a Jaycar shop just over the train line from me, so I'll go and see, thanks for reminding me to look there, always slips my mind.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
the downside to the athearn tsunami boards is that they are set up with 1.5 volt outputs for the lights, so they wont light up a 3 volt led. unless there is a way that i do not know about, or cant seem to find.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
the downside to the athearn tsunami boards is that they are set up with 1.5 volt outputs for the lights, so they wont light up a 3 volt led. unless there is a way that i do not know about, or cant seem to find.
Another piece of interesting, could be vital info, sort-of puts a whole new perspective on whether to do this swap or wait and get new decoders and LED's to do the job once. I have read posts before from people who prefer to retrofit decoders to DCC ready locos because of extra functions that aftermarket dedoders reputedly had but that's the first time to my recollection of a mention of the lighting voltage being different. I have to say that LED's for H/lights in particular and ditch lights if possible do look much more realistic. Hmmm, you've got me thinking.
 

PaulB

Member
the downside to the athearn tsunami boards is that they are set up with 1.5 volt outputs for the lights, so they wont light up a 3 volt led. unless there is a way that i do not know about, or cant seem to find.

Hmm, I was thinking about getting an Athearn GP-9 with sound to patch as an RSS loco. Just changed my mind. I'll go for the DCC ready version now.


tootnkumin said:
LED's might be a bit bright for #boards etc,...

If you want to use the globes for number boards, cab light, step lights or whatever else, it might be worth using a resistor to dim them to a 1 volt output. That will look better and the globes will last a lot longer.

I agree the bright LEDs are much better for headlights and ditch lights. It is possible to use LEDs throughout but with stronger resistors for the lights you want to dim.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hmm, I was thinking about getting an Athearn GP-9 with sound to patch as an RSS loco. Just changed my mind. I'll go for the DCC ready version now.
Yes I'm in the same boat now, I've now got several Tsunami DCC/sound locos and 2 more on the way (Genesis ES44AC's). Always thought, with my limited experience of decoders it would be the best way to go, have no problem with soldering though (Aussie pronunciation there), and always with the intention of upgrading to LED's. Bit of a blow actually.

The P2K GP20 was a bit of a surprise, it being stated as Standard DC. Being a new release, it never occured to me that it may not be DCC ready. That bloke Laurie McLean (youtube) I mentioned, converted a P2K GP60 Std DC (also new release) to Tsunami, so the motor may be insulated. The surprise with the GP20 is that the DC and DCC/sound versions have totally different frames and motor setups. The Std DC has the normal double flywheel and a frame without spaces or mounts for decoder or speaker, the DCC/sound has only 1 flywheel at the front of the motor with a space above the rear truck for the decoder and a tentlike structure above where the rear flywheel would normally be which houses 2 large diam speakers facing outward, so a much bigger challenge to convert.
 

bigB

Active Member
the downside to the athearn tsunami boards is that they are set up with 1.5 volt outputs for the lights, so they wont light up a 3 volt led. unless there is a way that i do not know about, or cant seem to find.
They will light LEDs no problem. Just wire the positive leads all to the whole marked "14v" and put 1000 ohm resistors on the function pads on the decoder and solder the negative leads to thm. Done, never burn out, 5000+ hours of use.
 

RCShadow

Member
Yep and set bit 7 to compensate if you like...

CV 49-52

Hyperlight Effect Select
Description
Used to set the Hyperlight lighting effect and control mode for their respective output:
CV 49, Headlight Effect Select
CV 50, Backup Light Effect Select
CV 51, FX5 Effect Select
CV 52, FX6 Effect Select
Bits 0-3: EF[0..3] Effect Type Select
0 = On/Off output
1 = Rule 17 Dimmable headlight
2 = Mars Light
3 = Pyle Gyralite
4 = Oscillating Headlight
5 = Single Flash Strobe
6 = Double Flash Strobe
7 = Western Cullen D312 Rotary Beacon
8 = Prime Stratolite
9 = Type I Ditch Light
10 = Type II Ditch Light
11 = FRED (End of Train flasher)
12 = Engine Exhaust Flicker
13 = Firebox Flicker
14 = Smart Firebox Flicker
15 = Dyno-Light
Most of the effects are self-descriptive. However a few need some additional notes:
Dimmable Headlight - The function output is normally an on/off output. If the output is on, the output level will be reduced about 60% whenever the dimmer function is on.
Type I and Type II Ditch Lights - These are identical when operating. However, if the grade crossing logic is enabled, the Type I ditch light will revert to a steady on state when it is not flashing whereas the Type II lights will turn off.
Lighting Effect CVs Bit 7 Bit 0 LED R17 XING PHSE EF3 EF2 EF1 EF0Tsunami Diesel Technical Reference Page 44
Engine Exhaust - This effect produces a random flicker whose intensity is proportional to the engine RPMs. It is best used by placing a red/ orange lamp under the model’s exhaust port, out of direct view. As the engine is revved up, it will glow brighter, imitating unmuffled exhaust gases and sparks.
Dyno-Light - This effect for diesel locomotives softly fades the lamp brightness on and off to simulate the heating and cooling of the bulb filament.
Bit 4: PHSE, Phase Select Bit
0 = Phase A
1 = Phase B
Phase Select Bit - Alters the timing of the effect so that it is 180 degrees out of phase with the other effects. This allows you to have two light effects that blink back and forth if desired. Set one effect to phase A and the other to phase B.
Bit 5: XING, Grade Crossing Logic Enable
0 = Crossing Logic disabled
1 = Crossing Logic enabled when Horn function is on.
Grade Crossing Logic Bit - Causes the lighting effect to become active only when the horn has been sounded (and the corresponding lighting function key is also on). A typical use would be to cause the ditch lights to flash at a grade crossing. The grade crossing logic can be used with almost all the Hyperlight effects. The on/off, dimmable headlight, FRED, engine exhaust, and firebox flicker effects will not be affected. The other effects will either turn off (strobes and beacons) or revert to a steady on state (mars light, ditch lights, etc.) as appropriate to prototype practice.
Bit 6: R17, Rule 17 Mode
0 = Rule 17 Mode disabled
1 = Rule 17 Mode enabled
Rule 17 Mode - Converts the headlight and backup light to independent, non-directional lights. When this mode is active, the headlight is controlled as if it were FX5 and the backup light as FX6 and vice-versa.
Bit 7: LED, LED Compensation Enable
0 = Incandescent Compatible Lighting Outputs enabled
1 = LED Compatible Lighting Outputs enabled
LED Compensation - Improves lighting effect contrast when using LEDs instead of incandescent lamps.

Default Value: 15 (CV 49, 50), 1 (Varies)
Related CVs: See also CV 59, CV 60
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
They will light LEDs no problem. Just wire the positive leads all to the whole marked "14v" and put 1000 ohm resistors on the function pads on the decoder and solder the negative leads to thm. Done, never burn out, 5000+ hours of use.
Aha! We're beginning to extract the info, I can see there's nothing else for it, I'm going to have to get my hands dirty and pull them apart.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yep and set bit 7 to compensate if you like...

CV 49-52

Hyperlight Effect Select
Description
Used to set the Hyperlight lighting effect and control mode for their respective output:
CV 49, Headlight Effect Select
CV 50, Backup Light Effect Select
CV 51, FX5 Effect Select
CV 52, FX6 Effect Select
Bits 0-3: EF[0..3] Effect Type Select
0 = On/Off output
1 = Rule 17 Dimmable headlight
2 = Mars Light
3 = Pyle Gyralite
4 = Oscillating Headlight
5 = Single Flash Strobe
6 = Double Flash Strobe
7 = Western Cullen D312 Rotary Beacon
8 = Prime Stratolite
9 = Type I Ditch Light
10 = Type II Ditch Light
11 = FRED (End of Train flasher)
12 = Engine Exhaust Flicker
13 = Firebox Flicker
14 = Smart Firebox Flicker
15 = Dyno-Light
Most of the effects are self-descriptive. However a few need some additional notes:
Dimmable Headlight - The function output is normally an on/off output. If the output is on, the output level will be reduced about 60% whenever the dimmer function is on.
Type I and Type II Ditch Lights - These are identical when operating. However, if the grade crossing logic is enabled, the Type I ditch light will revert to a steady on state when it is not flashing whereas the Type II lights will turn off.
Lighting Effect CVs Bit 7 Bit 0 LED R17 XING PHSE EF3 EF2 EF1 EF0Tsunami Diesel Technical Reference Page 44
Engine Exhaust - This effect produces a random flicker whose intensity is proportional to the engine RPMs. It is best used by placing a red/ orange lamp under the model’s exhaust port, out of direct view. As the engine is revved up, it will glow brighter, imitating unmuffled exhaust gases and sparks.
Dyno-Light - This effect for diesel locomotives softly fades the lamp brightness on and off to simulate the heating and cooling of the bulb filament.
Bit 4: PHSE, Phase Select Bit
0 = Phase A
1 = Phase B
Phase Select Bit - Alters the timing of the effect so that it is 180 degrees out of phase with the other effects. This allows you to have two light effects that blink back and forth if desired. Set one effect to phase A and the other to phase B.
Bit 5: XING, Grade Crossing Logic Enable
0 = Crossing Logic disabled
1 = Crossing Logic enabled when Horn function is on.
Grade Crossing Logic Bit - Causes the lighting effect to become active only when the horn has been sounded (and the corresponding lighting function key is also on). A typical use would be to cause the ditch lights to flash at a grade crossing. The grade crossing logic can be used with almost all the Hyperlight effects. The on/off, dimmable headlight, FRED, engine exhaust, and firebox flicker effects will not be affected. The other effects will either turn off (strobes and beacons) or revert to a steady on state (mars light, ditch lights, etc.) as appropriate to prototype practice.
Bit 6: R17, Rule 17 Mode
0 = Rule 17 Mode disabled
1 = Rule 17 Mode enabled
Rule 17 Mode - Converts the headlight and backup light to independent, non-directional lights. When this mode is active, the headlight is controlled as if it were FX5 and the backup light as FX6 and vice-versa.
Bit 7: LED, LED Compensation Enable
0 = Incandescent Compatible Lighting Outputs enabled
1 = LED Compatible Lighting Outputs enabled
LED Compensation - Improves lighting effect contrast when using LEDs instead of incandescent lamps.
Default Value: 15 (CV 49, 50), 1 (Varies)
Related CVs: See also CV 59, CV 60
WARNING, WARNING!! WILL ROBINSON! BRAIN OVERLOAD APPROACHING

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