NOTE: This installation has since been outdated by the introduction of the AZL4 decoder. To see the installation procedure for the American Z Lines GP7 using the AZL4, click HERE
This installation documentation is for the American Z Lines GP7. This installation uses the Z2 decoder, and was performed by TCS.
First remove the shell.
Next remove the copper clips from the lighting board.
Next slip out the lighting board.
The following steps are necessary to prevent a possible short circuit which would damage the decoder. In this locomotive there is an extra pad on the supplied AZL lighting board. The motor tab will short the motor drive to the track power and burn out the decoder if this pad is left in place. Please follow the next few steps very carefully to prevent losing your decoder to this.
Please locate the pad highlighted below on the underside of the lighting board and remove it with a hobby knife or Dremel tool as demonstrated below.
The pad circled in red needs to be removed.
It can be scraped off with a hobby knife as shown above, or ground off with a Dremel tool.
Now the pad is removed and it cannot short out the decoder.
NOTE: While there will still be a spot in the center from the via as long as it is flush, or slightly below the surface of the board you should be safe from shorts. Removing this pad is crucial to prevent your decoder from shorting the motor tab to the track power. Cut the blue wire off.
Now solder the wires to the board (as shown above) and fit the decoder snuggly beneath the long lead LED.
NOTE: When soldering, do not put the wires through the holes in the board because they can short against the frame. Just solder them to the pads and you will be good to go. The following solder method is recommended: First tin each pad on the board, next cut the wires to an adequate length, now strip 1/64" of insulation off each wire, next tin each wire (carefully so as not to shrink back the insulation), and finally solder each tinned wire to the pad shown above.
Red is Pin 3
Orange is Pin 1
Yellow is Pin 6
White is Pin 5
Grey is Pin 2
Black is Pin 4
Blue wire is not used, cut it off.
While you have the board out please check for metal flashing (as shown highlighted in red above) that can short against the motor tabs. While this is not in every locomotive, if it is there it must be removed to prevent the motor from shorting to the frame and consequently damaging the decoder. If it is there you will need to split the frame and remove the flashing with a small file.
Finally, slide the lighting board back in while keeping the Z2 decoder underneath the LED.
As you can see the Z2 decoder fits well inside the AZL Z scale locomotive, making it a true Z-Scale decoder.
Here is what your installation will look like in the end. Your AZL GP7 is now TCS-equipped!
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 than a 1/32 of an inch. When the wire gets tinned with solder, the insulation will shrink back more. Try to not expose any more wire than 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