Athearn FP7 Decoder Installation featuring the GEN-MB1 Motherboard with Keep-Alive™, 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.

Athearn FP7 before installation.


First, remove the front coupler box screw and the coupler box. Next, remove the rear screws as shown above from the rear of the chassis.
Gently remove the shell by pulling out on either side, separating the shell from the chassis and lift up. Take care to allow the rear coupler to pass up and out from the chassis.

Shown with the shell removed. Unclip the wire leads from the original lighting board as well as the speaker housing and remove them from the chassis.
Trim and tin the wires as neccessary to proceed with the installation. Make note of the wiring locations.

Clip the new GEN-MB1 motherboard on to the chassis and solder the track and motor leads to it.

Next, remove the original speaker shown above from it's housing and mount the 28mm Round WOWSpeaker facing into the speaker housing. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this permits the speaker wires to remain on the outside of the housing allowing for a solid seal all the way around. Because the speaker is mounted facing in there is less risk of getting glue on the speaker cone, but you should still be careful to avoid blocking the back of 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.

Next, mount this speaker assembly onto the frame in it's original location, using hot glue to secure it down. Wire the speaker leads to the motherboard.

Solder in the lighting connections from the shell to complete the wiring of your installation.
This mother board has a 1.5volt power supply to power all the original 1.5v bulbs that come with the Athearn locomotive.

To prevent wiring short and potential problems as well as for a neat and clean appearance, lace the wires into a bundle.
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 coupler 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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