Athearn SD70ACe Decoder Installation featuring the GEN-MB1 Motherboard, WOW121-Diesel Decoder, and 28mm Speaker by TCS

Important Soldering Tip:
Please do not use any flux either liquid or paste on the mother board. It will damage it. Use only Rosin core solder approved for electronics use.
We recommend to use only Kester "44" rosin core, SN63PB37, .015" diameter, part number 24-6337-0007.
This can be ordered from Techni-Tool under Techni-Tool part number 488SO157
This was performed by our friends from DCC Xpress installations.
They offer high quality WOWSound installations for a flat rate complete with free return shipping!
You can find them at:

These items are available in the WDK-ATH-1 which was used for this installation.
GEN-MB1 Motherboard with Keep Alive™ WOW121-Diesel Decoder 28mm Speaker Kit
Click here for more information on the WDK-ATH-1 and the rest of the WOWDiesel Kits line.


First, remove the coupler box screws and the coupler boxes from both ends of the locomotive.

Next, to remove the shell you must remove the screws found beneath the trucks directly adjacent to the fuel tank on both ends.

With the couplers and under truck screws removed the shell should lift right off the chassis.

Remove the original lighting board from the chassis and remove the wires from the board tabs.

Next, we will prepare the speaker housing. Remove the right hand screw from inside the speaker housing.

With the right hand screw removed from the speaker housing you can thread the two purple wires for the speaker through the hole where the screw was removed and seal the speaker into the housing.

For this speaker we used 2 small dabs of hot glue on either side of the speaker for positioning and then ran a small bead of CA glue all the way around the speaker.
NOTE: You must be very careful to avoid getting glue on the speaker cone. Glue on the speaker will ultimately cause it to produce no sound and fail.

With the speaker mounted and the wires threaded through you can install the GEN-MB1 in place of the original lighting board and attach the wires to the board.

For this installation I split each of the ditch lights (4x total, 2x front, 2x back) out to separate light functions (F1, F2, F3, and F4) so independent ditch lights can be employed.

The GEN-MB1 Motherboard comes with an on board 1.5v power supply to power all the original 1.5v bulbs supplied with the locomotive, it also has 12v pads to support LED hookup.
Please be careful to use the correct solder pads when attaching the lighting wires. Connecting the light wires to the wrong pads will blow the bulbs.
Refer to the diagram supplied with the decoder for proper connection of the 1.5v bulbs.
The picture here shows all 1.5v hook up.

With the motherboard all wired up according to the wiring diagram in the manual you can install the WOW121-Diesel on the motherboard.

Finally, you can replace the shell (it should slide over the installation easily), screw the shell in with the screws beneath the trucks, and replace the couplers on the shell.

Your WOWSound equipped engine is now ready to run!

Other solder tips: When stripping wire, only strip a tiny little bit of the insulation. Strip no more then a 1/64 of an inch. When the wire gets tinned with solder the insulation will shrink back more. Try to not expose any more wire then half the length of the solder pad at most. In no case should solder or exposed wire wire ever be outside the boundary of the the solder pad you are attaching a wire to.
Click here for important information on properly Stripping and Tinning wire

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