Walthers did modelers a great favor by adding an NMRA 8-pin plug to the latest version of its HO scale Proto 1000 F3 locomotives. However, those of us with pre-Walthers F3ís and a soldering phobia might still have our locos on the shelf.
Itís time to bring those early issue P1K F3ís into the DCC era using the Train Control Systems A4X decoder. Itís an easy task.
After you get the body shell off, remove the two screws holding the factory circuit board in place, then detach the wires, saving the black plastic wire-retainer clips. Following the wiring diagram on the A4X instruction sheet, attach the loco wires to the proper nodes of the decoder using the black plastic clips.
Attach the wires of a new 14-volt, 30mA light bulb to the decoder in the same fashion. Yes, youíll be one plastic clip short; I ordered some extras from Walthers, but perhaps some liquid electrical tape will be enough to hold the wire in place (the light worked just fine during a test run with the second bulb wire just stuck through the hole, but it should be insulated to protect against shorting). Make sure you orient the A4X as shown in the photos or youíll wind up with a backup light like I did the first time.
Replace the body shell and the front coupler, and youíre ready to roll. The P1K F3ís fine mechanism runs even more smoothly under DCC control. The job is even simpler in the B unit, since thereís no bulb to replace.
So there you have it ó a brand-new TCS decoder in your early P1K F3 and not a soldering iron in sight!
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