Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

TCS - WOW 101 Diesel Sound Decoder Install...

Ok now I know why TCS put the WOW at the start of their new diesel decoders...

They are that good thats all you can say...  WOW!

The last two days I have been installing the first of the WOW Diesel decoders into a Athearn SW1500 switcher.  The switcher was previously owned by Matt Fisher and was weathered & detailed for Matt by Tom Adair.

The switcher is the typical Ready To Run model from quite a few years ago, these are generally great slow speed runners but do need a little work to make them more reliable.  If all wires are soldered to the board & truck tabs these become great runners.

For this installation I'm installing the TCS - WOW 101 Diesel Decoder.

The decoder has the 9 pin JST connection to it connects directly to the Athearn OEM board.  There is actually a fair bit of room within the shell to fit the decoder and the wiring, it does come with a capacitor which needs to be fitted into the cab inbetween the electrical cabinets.

The only alterations required to the whole switcher was to trim off some plastic at the bottom of the cab to get the capacitor through, and to trim down the LHS electrical cabinet.  I also used to opportunity to fit a Kato - Scale Engineer.

The speaker is a Soundtraxx - Small Oval Speaker (part no 810112) this fits in perfectly inside the shell and above the front truck with plenty of spare space.  I would normally place the speaker in a baffled case but the shell not being opened through the vent top works well.
At a later stage I may make one to see if there is any improvement.

The install for such a small switcher went really well, I may in the future replace the standard Athearn bulbs in the lights with LED's but they are all working so no need.  The rest of the RDG SW1500 will be getting this treatment as soon as the funds become available.  

And I can honestly say that there will be no more Soundtraxx Tsunami's in our fleet!  These things straight out of the packet, with virtually plug & play capability (I needed to solder the speaker to the wires) and the features are astounding.  The sound needs to be heard in real life to full appreciate the CD Quality as stated.

Below is a short video showing the motor, horns, bell and manual notching sounds that are produced from the decoder.  Once I've had a chance to get used to all of the functions I post another video of the switcher under load using the manual notching and switching Reading...



  1. Wow! That looks and sounds great! You are making me jealous. Hmm... I do have an MP15 that could use sound...
    Beautiful work as always. I had been a way from the hobby for a year, but I am back and it is great to see all the progress you've made. It really is great motivation to get me moving on my layout!

  2. Hey Matt, welcome back! These decoders are great, I have several MP15 (sound & non sound) Atlas switchers too. I may even change out my problematic QSI decoder in my Atlas Gold - RDG MP15 for these they are that good.

    Thanks for the kind comments too, we are getting there slowly lots more to come. Jas...

  3. You are like the Energizer Bunny - you just keep going and going and going.

    Careful with the black electrical tape. Gets all wonky and leaves goo behind once it gets warm. Kapton polyimide tape is what you want for securing decoders. I suspect you already know that but just didn't have any.

    1. It seems that way. I'm just lucky to be a shift worker and get full days off during the week while the boys are in school!

      The electrical tape is only temporary, nasty stuff when warm... I must get some Kapton tape soon. Thanks Alan. ;)