NOTE: While this installation demonstrates the use of an MC2 in this locomotive we have since added the LL8 to our decoder line. The LL8 is designed to fit the Life Like Proto series and would greatly simplify this installation.
This installation of TCS MC2 Decoder is for HO Scale LifeLike Proto 1000 F3A and was performed by A.G.
The three upper pictures show the beautiful LifeLike Proto 1000 F3A with its shell on prior to TCS MC2 decoder installation.
Using phillips screw driver, remove the front coupler. Gently unsnap tabs from circles above fuel tank on both locomotive sides. Grasping the shell at the center top of both sides (being careful not to crush the grilles), lift the shell straight up and off of the chassis.
Picture of the locomotive with its shell taken off and original light board.
Remove the original light board by unscrewing two phillips screws.
Disconnect all wires from the original light board, You should have two wires coming from the bulb, two wires (red and black) from the motor, and four power pick-up wires (two red and two black).
Use the manual and the harness that came with the TCS MC2 decoder as your basic guide. The red motor wire is to be soldered to the orange harness wire. The black motor wire is to be soldered to the gray wire of the harness. Lifelike used 3V bulbs for this model so 150 Ohm resistor needs to be placed on either blue or white harness wire to reduce the voltage supplied to the bulb. The locomotive has only forward light so we decided to use our small, 2 function decoder - MC2. Both red wires of the power pick-up needs to be solder together and then soldered to the red wire of the decoder harness. Following the same steps - both black power pick-up wires need to be connected together and then soldered to the black harness wire. Make sure all exposed, electrical wires are isolated. Kapton or Electrical tape can be used as well as shrink tubing (used in this installation).
Here is a picture of completed TCS MC2 decoder installation.
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