This installation is for a HO-Scale Life Like Alco FA1 using a TCS WOW121-Diesel Decoder, RTR-MB1 Motherboard with built in Keep Alive® and 28mm WOWSpeaker Kit.
HO-Scale Life Like Alco FA1 shown prior to installation.
To start off this install, we must first remove the front screw highlighted in the above left photo in red. The entire coupler then can be carefully removed
by pulling it backwards through the coupler opening as a complete unit. The rear coupler can stay in place.
Next, carefully release and remove the bottom fuel tank and then remove the four screws highlighted above in red.
With the front coupler and these screws removed, gently pulling outwards along each side of the frame, releasing the ladder clips and lift the shell off of the frame.
Take care with the handrails as you lift off the shell so they don't break.
The Life Like Alco FA1 shown with the shell off.
Unplug and remove the wires from the original lighting board and remove the 5 screws, whose locations are highlighted above in red.
The screw located under the front light tube will require gently releasing the light tube temporarily to gain access to the screw.
With these screws removed, lift the board from the frame along with the cab interior. Save this front screw and the screw and wire on the
right side of the frame that was securing the track pickup. This wire lead will be reused.
With the board removed, first unsolder the motor lead shown above that is attached the the metal clip. As the RTR-MB1 has a convenient motor pick up clip attached to the bottom of the motherboard, this lead will be unused.
After the wire lead is removed, bend the front end of this clip straight to be able to accept the RTR-MB1 motherboard.
Next, take the cab interior and with a small cutting blade, remove the portion that is highlighted above in red. This will allow space for a proper installation
of the RTR-MB1. When complete, reinstall this piece back onto the frame and reinstall the front screw and track pickup wire and screw.
Shown ready for the RTR-MB1 motherboard. Trim, tin or lengthen the wires as necessary.
The RTR-MB1 has a motor pick up clip pre-attatched to the bottom, so mounting it onto the locomotive could not be easier.
Attach the RTR-MB1 on top of the metal clip and solder the motor and track leads to it according to the included wiring diagram.
As this locomotive has only track one pick up lead for the right side, the wire lead is jumped over as shown above. When attaching the wires to the pads,
it is not necessary to insert the wires through the holes. We recommend attaching the wires flat on top of the solder pads.
Next, to facilitate the speaker mount, clip or file off flush the small post on the rear weight highlighted above in red.
Using double sided foam tape, with the 28mm WOWSpeaker inserted into the UNIV-SH2-C housing, securely mount this assembly to the top of the
frame as shown above. Solder the leads to the RTR-MB1.
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.
Next remove the top black plastic Mars light mount by squeezing the two tabs found on the bottom of it that are inserted into the two square holes highlighted above in red. WIth this removed, lay the pre wired headlight LED into the exposed channel highlighted in blue and using a small amount of hot melt glue, secure this LED in place.
Replace the top Mars light mount and likewise, lay the pre wired Mars light LED into this channel, securing it with a small amount of hot glue as shown above.
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.
Solder these lighting leads to the RTR-MB1 according to the included wiring diagram. In this installation to allow for the Mars light function, we soldered the headlight to the FL pad as shown with a in-line 1/6 w 1k resistor and the Mars lead to pad #1. As this row of pads has built in resistors, none was needed for this LED.
TCS motherboards include on board current limit resistors for LED use. There is no need to apply external resistors for LED use.
You can now plug in your WOW121 decoder.
Lastly, in order to keep the wires neat and prevent possible shorts, lace the wires into a bundle using lacing cord.
Now you can close up the locomotive and reinstall the bottom screws and front coupler assembly. Be sure to be mindful of wire routing and reassembly of the shell as to not damage or foul the installation. Your Life Like Alco FA1 is now WOWSound equipped and ready to roll!
Important Soldering Tip
Please do not use any flux either liquid or paste on the mother board. Over time, the acidic properties of liquid or paste flux will begin eating away at the fiberglass PCB and will damage it. Use only Rosin-core solder or no-clean flux approved for electronics use.
TCS recommends the use of Kester "44" Sn63 Pb37, .015" diameter Rosin-core solder. Kester part number 24-6337-0007.
You can order this solder from the following retailers:
Digikey - PN:KE1110-ND
Techni-Tool - PN:488SO6775
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
In order to keep the wires neat and prevent possible shorts, we recommend lacing the wires into a bundle using lacing cord. Lacing cord is a wax impregnated string used for wire bundling and making harnesses. There are many choices of lacing cord available from Digikey www.digikey.com.
We use part number 802534B BK032-ND