This installation is for a HO-Scale Athearn SD45 using a TCS WOW121-Diesel Decoder, RTR-MB1 motherboard with Keep Alive™
and GEN-SH1 WOWSpeaker kit by TCS.

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-8 which was used for this installation.

RTR-MB1 Motherboard with Keep Alive™ WOW121-Diesel Decoder GEN-SH1 Speaker Kit
Click here for more information on the WDK-ATH-8 and the rest of the WOWDiesel Kits line.

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

***Please Note***

The RTR-MB1 comes equipped with a motor clip already attached for a clean and easy install. This style clip was both used in Athearns present day line of Ready-To-Roll locomotives, as well as the their older blue box locomotives.

HO-Scale Athearn SD45 prior to WOW121-Diesel Decoder and RTR-MB1 installation


To begin this installation, first remove the coupler box screws and coupler boxes as shown above. Once that is complete, the shell will lift off of the chassis.
Do this by holding the fuel tank with one hand and lifting the shell off by pressing up underneath the end platforms with your other hand.

The RTR-MB1 has a motor pick up clip pre-attatched to the bottom, so mounting it onto the locomotive could not be easier.

With the shell removed, remove the wire connections and then remove original lighting board from the chassis. Mount the RTR-MB1 onto the motor mount in it's place. Remove the rear weight to allow space for the new speaker housing. Save the screws from the weight and re use them to mount the speaker enclosure.
Trim, tin and lengthen the wires as necessary.

Solder the track and motor leads to the RTR-MB1. Insert the 35mm x 16mm speaker securely in to the GEN-SH1 enclosure and using the original weight screws, mount this onto the chassis as shown above. Solder the speaker wire leads to the motherboard.

If your speaker enclosure installation covers the portholes on the enclosure, we recommend adding new port hole(s) similar to the original porting. Be sure that the new portholes are the same size and amount of the original and are vented freely into the locomotive We have found introducing a port of the correct size greatly increases the volume and sound quality of the installation. Too much or too little porting decreases the sound quality.

Attach the lighting leads to the front and rear headlight pads on the RTR-MB1 according to your included wiring diagram. For the installers convenience,
the forward and reverse headlight pads are already setup for 1.5v bulbs that Athearn uses. If you require a 12v supply, please follow the RTR-MB1's instruction
manual on how to do so.

You can now plug in your WOW121 decoder.

We have found that LED light output is brightest when shinning directly into the end of the light tube, but in some circumstances they may be placed along the length
of the tube as well with satisfactory results. In doing so, white light LED output would be least affected, while non white LED output will be more affected by placement.

We can now close up the locomotive, reinstall the coupler assemblies and your TCS WOW121-Diesel Decoder equipped Athearn SD45 is ready to roll!.

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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