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The AS6 is a six-function, drop-in mobile decoder for the HO-Scale, Atlas Alco Switchers (S1, S2, S3, S4). This decoder will replace the lighting board currently in the locomotive and allow you to quickly begin running your Atlas Alco Switcher on DCC.
The AS6 was initially discontinued due to some "irreconcilable differences" (to put it politely) between our designers and the rear LED on the board. It dangled off the back dangerously, threatening to snap off at any point during shipping or installation. TCS and the AS6 decided it might be for the best to go our separate ways.
But the people spoke, and they spoke loudly. "We want the AS6 decoder back for our fleets of ALCO S-units!"
...What choice did we have?
A mediated discussion between our designers and the AS6 was held. Though tensions were high, a clever re-design of the LED mounting was agreed to - providing the AS6 with maximum strength LED adhesion.
Now the AS6 is back and looking better than ever before. They're available now, so stop by your local hobby shop and pick up enough to power your entire armada of Alcos!
In order to provide a realistic in-the-cab experience, every TCS WOWSound decoder comes programmed with prototypical Mainline momentum settings. We’ve also developed a braking feature to be used in conjunction with Mainline momentum mode that gives you the same precision braking control that you'd find in the real thing.
Watch the video above to learn more, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up to date with the latest news, products, and feature highlights from TCS!
TCS decoders come equipped with two momentum modes. Our decoders default to "In the Cab" prototypical locomotive operation with "Mainline momentum," and changing to "Switching momentum" is fast and easy. Watch the video above to learn more!
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John and J.D. from TCS headed to Amtrak's Ivy City Yard in Washington, DC last August to record the ACS-64 sounds you'll hear on the WOWSound decoders. Working with Amtrak officials was a breeze - they helped with everything on their end to secure the shoot date and available locomotives. We recorded several locomotives as they became available throughout the day.
Several challenges awaited the crew as they crawled around and through the locomotive to record the required sounds. Rain showers threatened to drown the entire project, but our crew dodged around the raindrops with microphones in tow. Catenary power also disappeared for a bit, but the Amtrak yard crews worked diligently - quickly restoring power and getting us up and recording again.
Through we ran out of time during the first engineers' shift, Amtrak officials graciously approved us to continue recording through a second shift, providing us the opportunity to perfectly capture the sounds of the Siemens ACS-64.
At the end of a long recording day, we headed home with a comprehensive library of sounds that you'll find on every Bachmann ACS-64. We are grateful for the excellent support of Amtrak throughout this process.
The much-awaited Bachmann ACS-64 is shipping now and will soon be available from retailers and hobby shops across the country! Make sure to find a home for this amazing model on your layout!
Check out all the cool behind-the-scenes photos from our recording trip below:
As we entered the offices at the Ivy City Shops in Washington D.C. we came across this beautiful inlaid floor tile (~1' x 2') celebrating the work they do here.
Though we started recording on engine #621 part way through the day we had to switch to engine #600. #621 was required for servicing in the shop.
Here you can see JD from TCS in the cab setting up the recording equipment again.
How would you like to troubleshoot that wiring?
We were able to obtain clean recordings of the sounds of the pantograph going up and down from the service walkways. It was cool to hear the crack of the arc jump when the pantrographs engaged the wire. And oh yes, we got that sound included in the decoder as well!
Turntables still exist in modern locomotive facilities as evidenced by this beautiful one in the Ivy City yard.
In case you were curious about the inside of the ACS-64. Above left is the view from the cab down the center walkway through the belly of the ACS-64. The door at the far-end is the entrance to the other cab. Above right is the lavatory which is located along the hallway.
Nathan Airchime horns atop the ACS-64.
Cab view of the ACS-64 #600.
We commend Amtrak's gracious salute to our Veterans with this commemorative locomotive.