Athearn Genesis F9A Decoder Installation featuring the GEN-MB1 Motherboard with Keep-Alive™, WOW121-Diesel Decoder, UNIV-SH2-C Speaker Kit, and Motherboard Mounting Clip 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-9 which was used for this installation.

GEN-MB1 Motherboard with Keep Alive™ WOW121-Diesel Decoder UNIV-SH2-C Speaker Kit Motherboard Mounting Clip
Click here for more information on the WDK-ATH-9 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

Featured Item:
Motherboard Mounting Clip

This installation features the Motherboard Mounting Clip for attaching your motherboard to the top of the motor. Without this additional (included in the WOWKit) item the capacitors on your motherboard will rub against the flywheels and prevent your locomotive from operating. Simply glue this plastic tray to the top of your motor and clip on your motherboard for another super easy mounting solution from TCS.

First, remove the coupler box screw and the coupler box from the front of the locomotive. Now you can lift off the shell of the locomotive.

Athearn F-Unit Note:
Athearn F-Units (F2, F3, F7, and F9) are available with sound pre-installed/sound-ready with a circle milled into the top of the rear of the frame for a speaker.

If you have the sound-ready frame (visible here in the Athearn F9A) use the WDK-ATH-9 WOWkit.

If you have the non-sound ready version (shown here in the Athearn F2A) use the WDK-ATH-3 WOWkit.

Next, remove the wires from the original lighting board including disconnecting the plug at the front of the board.


Clip off the lighting connector. These wires provide all of your connections to the two head lights. You can tie all of these bulbs together if you plan to have both headlights controlled by the same function output, or you can seperate the top and bottom headlight and use different function outputs to control each one.

With the lighting wires disconnected you can set the shell aside.

If your engine doesn't already include a speaker and housing you can simply install the 28mm speaker in the included UNIV-SH2-C speaker enclosure and mount the enclosure at the rear of the frame (where the black plastic dome can be seen below).

This next step is optional, but really increases the audio performance of the installation. Start by removing the speaker and housing from the rear of the engine.

Next, hold a heated soldering iron near the plastic tabs holding the speaker housing to the speaker and slowly bend out the tabs to release the speaker. Once the tabs are bent out you can remove the original speaker and slide in the 28mm WOWSpeaker. Using a worn out soldering tip press the bent tabs back into place.


Remount the speaker in the rear of the engine with a bit of contact cement or your preferred metal/plastic glue.

With the speaker installed we can place a motherboard motor clip on top of the motor to lift the motherboard up off the motor and keep the capacitors off of the flywheels. To mount the motherboard motor clip we placed a small amount of hot glue in on top of the motor and then pressed the curved side of the plastic clip on top of the motor. Try to center the clip as best you can over the top of the motor.

Snap your GEN-MB1 onto the motherboard motor clip and solder in the speaker, motor, track, and light wires.
This engine uses 1.5v bulbs so be sure to use the 1.5v common pad on the GEN-MB1 motherboard.

With your GEN-MB1 installed you can plug in the WOW121-Diesel decoder, replace the shell, install the coupler and you are ready to run your WOWSound equipped engine.

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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