TCS MC4 Decoder Installation for HO-Scale Fleischmann HO BR 218.
This is a rear driven locomotive with power pickups on 8 wheels.
The best method to disassemble the locomotive is to turn it upside down.
There is only 1 screw (A) holding the body to the chassis , there is however tabs that run around the body that need to be pressed apart with gentle pressure.
The bogies can be removed by squeezing the sides of the bogie in gently and the will come out of the guides that hold the to the chassis.
Once the bogies are removed there are modifications to be made to the motor backplate. The backplate is electrically connected to the body and the Negative motor brush and the original positive connection is bridged over the near side pickups and the connection for the Positive motor brush. Using a cutting disk on a small rotary drill (like a Dremel) cut away the link (then check with a multimeter).
The original Blue wire has been soldered across the two metal areas, the two links need to be cut to isolate the motor from the track pickups and the body of the motor.
This picture shows a new Black and Red colored wire soldered to connections for the motorized bogie’s pickups. This wire is connected to the non-motorized bogie’s pickups. The Grey and Orange wires from the decoder harness have been soldered in place on the Motor brush terminals.
The Red and Black wires from the decoder harness are soldered on to the pickups of the non-motorized bogie.
The original lighting has been replaced with Warm White and Red LEDs, just visible on the circuit board with Green, White and Blue wires attached and the LED backs painted Black.
Bogies are back in place, power for the LEDs must have a resistor in the circuit, I use a 1K Ohm. Visible at each end are clear plastic light pipes , one with a dot of Dark Red paint and one with a dot of White (this helps reflect some of the light back down for the lower front Headlights) The plastic pipes have been glued to the ends of the LEDs to extend them to the area the original bulbs illuminated.
The Decoder held in place with some double-sided tape.
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