2015-07.5: Decoder install in Athearn Blue Box

31 Jul 2015

Average: 4.3 (22 votes)
37:42 - Jul 2015 Bonus - Decoder install in Athearn Blue Box (2015)

Roger Chrysler returns to the TrainMasters TV studio to demonstrate the installation of a DCC decoder in an Athearn "blue box" F7 locomotive, including a replacement LED headlight.  This clinic is designed for beginner to intermediate hobbyists who might find a hard-wire install a bit intimidating.  Follow Roger step-by-step as he shows us tips for reliable operation.  Basic skills such as stripping wire, soldering and gluing are required.

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Also attached below is a helpful DCC wire colors and LED leads chart - download and print it out!


Georonn's picture

you did a great job of showing just how easy it can be to install a decoder in an older locomotive.  I have done several like this and can attest to the ease of installation.  I can also confirm that you are correct in saying this is not a cure for a poor running locomotive.


I'm very interested in learning all I can about decoder installation. As one who hasn't yet taken the plunge into that technical pool, I look forward in the near future to setting something I wired up on the track and have it function more or less as it should. All the info in this video is very helpful to the beginner/novice (that's me!) and looks like it's easy to do without blowing something up. Unfortunately, said info is being presented by the mono-toned and hesitant Roger Chrysler. Although a little less stage-frightened than his last how-to disaster, he still manages to to interject an "um" or "ah" at least three or four times into a single sentence, which, combined with a cautious monotonous tone overall makes me nervous, edgy, and slightly bored all at once. Clark's not a lot of help either, unfortunately; he manages to fill up slow-moving sentences of his own with the same interjections. I realize it's tough to be in the camera's eye; for a long time I was a professional musician playing for the public, and using a microphone (in front of people) was part of the job. No one should expect perfect diction and a dynamic radio-announcer voice in a how-to, but the info once again gets lost in the verbal shuffle. It's all too long and too vague in places. Some research into on-camera presentation might help. (Model Railroader's videos with David Popp come vividly to mind.)

Kudos to Mr. Chrysler for knowing his stuff - not so much for presenting it. (How to get to Carnegie Hall- practice, practice, practice...)

                                                   Fred Barrett