This installation is for a HO-Scale Walthers Life Like EMD E8A using a TCS WOW121-Diesel Decoder, AK-MB1 Motherboard with built in Keep Alive™ and 32mm WOWSpeaker.
We have found there are two frames for this locomotive. This is the high frame version.
The low frame version can be found on our site at here
The Walthers Life Like EMD E8A with its shell on. To remove the shell, gently pull outwards along each side and lift the shell off of the frame being careful with the couplers.
Walthers Life Like EMD E8A with the shell off.
To begin this installation, remove the two screws highlighted above in red and this original volume adjustment board. We will not be reusing this part.
Next, remove the four screws highlighted above in red from the original decoder board and clip off the connectors on the wires.
Remove this board from the frame.
Show with the original decoder board removed. Next, remove the eight screws highlighted above in red and with them the trim covering the speakers. Save the screws for reuse and remove the speakers and the rubber gasket below them. The speakers and gaskets will not be reused in this installation.
Shown with the board and speaker assemblies removed. In order to fit the new motherboard, the two rear mounting posts highlighted above in red need to be trimmed off with clippers or a small trimmer.
The rear tabs should now look similar to the area shown above afer removal.
Now, trim, tin or lengthen the wire leads as necessary. Clean the top of the frame and using double-sided foam tape, mount the
AK-MB1 motherboard to it as shown above.
Insert the 32mm WOWsound speaker into the front frame opening and solder the motor, track and speaker wire leads to the AK-MB1 motherboard according to the included wiring diagram.
In this installation, we found it necessary to add length to the front LED leads. Shown above are these wires which have been spliced in and insulated with
TCS part #1320 Black 3/64" heat shrink tubing. Solder these lighting leads to the AK-MB1 motherboard according to the included wiring diagram.
We attached the front headlight wire (shown in red) to the forward pad, the lower headlight lead (here as yellow) to the #1 pad and the marker light lead
(here as orange) to pad #2 pad. The brown was soldered to the blue pad. TCS motherboards include onboard current limit resistors for LED use.
There is no need to apply external resistors for LED use.
Shown above with all the leads routed properly and soldered to the AK-MB1 motherboard and the speaker trim reattached to the frame with the original screws. 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. Be sure to be mindful of wire routing and reassembly of the shell as to not damage or foul the installation. Your Walthers Life Like EMD E8A 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