This installation of TCS T1 Decoder is for HO Scale Tyco Alco Century 430 Locomotive and was performed by Thomas Gosser, Big Lake, Alaska.
The subject of this conversion is a Tyco Alco Century 430 Diesel locomotive. This Spirit of 76 locomotive was part of a large set I received for Christmas 36 years ago at the ripe old age of 12! As you can see it is still in good shape with minor weathering to the decals. It has always been a good strong runner, very dependable. I want to convert all of my older motive power to DCC and chose to start with this, my first HO locomotive. Notice I have replaced the original horn hook couplers with Kadees.
We will need to flip the locomotive over and remove to the two (2) screws holding in the weight disguised as a fuel tank. Once the screws are removed the weight simply slides out. Notice the orientation of the wheels on the front and rear trucks. The brass wheels are for electrical pickup and must be on opposite sides of one another.
With the fuel tank weight removed you can see that there is plenty of room in loco shell for a decoder. There is one black wire that runs from the rear truck to the front truck. The headlight is also tapped off of this wire. The trucks are held in by tabs that go into the sides of the shell. You will need to carefully spread the shell apart at these points to release the trucks. The rear truck has a third tab that protrudes out the rear of the loco shell. The front truck actually snaps into a two(2) piece mounting saddle(black) that mounts into the loco shell. The truck can be undone from this saddle by prying downward away from the loco shell from between the saddle halves on both sides.
The above photo shows the two(2) trucks removed. You will note the object at the top of the photo is the mounting saddle for the front truck. This was removed from the truck so that we may gain access to the screw highlighted by the red circle. This screw needs to be removed and the black wire needs to be cut....about two (2) inches from the front truck. While you have trucks out now is a good time to clean the wheels and lube the gears. I took the motor apart and cleaned it and examined the brushes while I was at it.
The screw you removed from the side of the motor. It connects one motor brush to the left rail pickup. With the screw removed rotate the tab into the position shown.
You will need the smallest ring lug that you can find. That lug needs to be attached to the black lead on the harness.
With lug attached to the black lead install it where the screw came from. Solder the yellow lead to the rotated tab. Solder the gray lead to the cut black wire. Remount truck saddle to truck.
Solder red harness wire to rear truck lead.
The white harness wire will connect to the headlight. I put a 10 Ohm resistor inline to act as a buffer. The blue wire you will solder to the light bulb holder.
Reinstall light bulb and holder as shown. Notice the truck saddle in position on truck.
The harness is all connected and the T1 Decoder is plugged in.
Install front truck assembly. Tuck and fold wires and decoder into the shell as shown. You can use double-sided tape to hold the decoder to the side of the loco shell. Leave clearance for the fuel tank weight.
Reinstall rear truck assembly. Notice pickup wheels on opposite sides. Wires are in place, slide fuel tank weight back in.
Reinstall mounting screws. Notice decoder and harness are tucked up nice and neat out of the way.
It is done! Time to test it out. With BEMF this loco runs super slow and smooth. You wont be disappointed! TCS and DCC can breath new life into your old motive power. Tyco never ran so good!
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