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Model Railroading > DCC question for a Genesis F7a


Date: 02/11/20 20:11
DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: superfleet

A truly rookie question, I have an Athearn Genesis F7a from a year or so ago, it is standard DC and I wish to install a decoder/speaker into it in the same manner as it would have came from the factory with.  Is this possible?  I will start buying my motive power with factory DCC and sound, can I convert this one easily and cleanly or should sell it and get one already with DCC/sound?  I don't want to cut anything or solder anything....

Thanks

dan



Date: 02/11/20 20:57
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: chakk

The answer is: "it depends".  If the locomotive is "DCC ready", then it will have an 8-pin and/or 9-pin connector plug inside on the top of the chassis.  You could then purchase a DCC decoder with sound speaker with a compatible 8-pin or 9-pin jumper plug attached.  You would then simply remove the shell,  plug the decoder into the compatible plug and hold the decoder down on the top of the chassis with double-faced tape. Put the shell back on and you should be good to go.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/20 17:37 by chakk.



Date: 02/11/20 21:41
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: KA7008

Take a look at this and consider if you're up for it.  You don't have to install the keep alive unit and 2nd speaker which could simplify things for you.

https://tonystrains.com/news/video-installation-soundtraxx-tsunami2-tcs-k4-athearn-genesis-emd-f7/

As for not soldering, that could be the deal breaker.  Perhaps using the plastic clips that are included with the motherboard will work but I'd recommend soldering to avoid issues down the line.



Date: 02/12/20 05:59
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: Floridarailfan

I was faced with the same issue and decided in favor of buying DCC equipment on a go forward basis rather than try to retrofit DCC to my existing equipment, but be in a hurry to get rid of your DC equipment (if you like it).  My DC  stuff often runs on an interior Branch Line while DCC trains run on the main lines.



Date: 02/12/20 06:55
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: Floridarailfan

Another thought for using your DC F unit would be to lash it up with something like an RS 3 or a GP 9, both readily available in DC. This creates an interesting consist for use in combination with DCC equipment running on other tracks.

I use Bachmann EZ Command controls (my layout only runs during the Christmas Holiday season), which makes it easy to choose between DC or DCC operations.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/12/20 10:44
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: WrongWayMurphy

There were a couple versions of this F7, if you posted a photo of the unit with the shell off,
we could guide you to an appropriate answer.



Date: 02/12/20 12:18
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: TCnR

Consider whether you will run the F-unit by itself or with a consist and then whether you want sound in every unit in the consist. I'm reading that some Layouts run with only the lead unit as the sound unit, turning sound off on the trailing units, which makes sense to me. That would make an easier conversion to DCC, technically easier but also an 8-pin decoder for 25 bucks compared to a 100 dollar sound retro-kit.The next purchase would be a full DCC/Sound unit to run with the existing F-unit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/20 14:51 by TCnR.



Date: 02/13/20 04:59
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: SPDRGWfan

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Consider whether you will run the F-unit by itself
> or with a consist and then whether you want sound
> in every unit in the consist. I'm reading that
> some Layouts run with only the lead unit as the
> sound unit, turning sound off on the trailing
> units, which makes sense to me. That would make an
> easier conversion to DCC, technically easier but
> also an 8-pin decoder for 25 bucks compared to a
> 100 dollar sound retro-kit.The next purchase would
> be a full DCC/Sound unit to run with the existing
> F-unit.

Of course it's very handy to have DCC/Sound factory installed, but I find it too costly to purchase only DCC/sound engines although I do try to afford some engines that way.  So I plan to only use one sound engine in a consist and the rest to have standard (silent) DCC decoders.

Since most engines come DCC ready, it's often not too difficult to purchase a decent quality $25 decoder for the non sound engines I buy.

Back to the original discussion, I do own a number of Genesis F units, most of them manufactured between 2002 and 2010, so I am following this topic with interest as they will need decoders installed.

Cheers, Jim



Date: 02/14/20 10:18
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: ATSF3751

SPDRGWfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TCnR Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Consider whether you will run the F-unit by
> itself
> > or with a consist and then whether you want
> sound
> > in every unit in the consist. I'm reading that
> > some Layouts run with only the lead unit as the
> > sound unit, turning sound off on the trailing
> > units, which makes sense to me. That would make
> an
> > easier conversion to DCC, technically easier
> but
> > also an 8-pin decoder for 25 bucks compared to
> a
> > 100 dollar sound retro-kit.The next purchase
> would
> > be a full DCC/Sound unit to run with the
> existing
> > F-unit.
>
> Of course it's very handy to have DCC/Sound
> factory installed, but I find it too costly to
> purchase only DCC/sound engines although I do try
> to afford some engines that way.  So I plan to
> only use one sound engine in a consist and the
> rest to have standard (silent) DCC decoders.
>
> Since most engines come DCC ready, it's often not
> too difficult to purchase a decent quality $25
> decoder for the non sound engines I buy.
>
> Back to the original discussion, I do own a number
> of Genesis F units, most of them manufactured
> between 2002 and 2010, so I am following this
> topic with interest as they will need decoders
> installed.
>
> Cheers, Jim

I upgraded a number of Genesis DC locos to Tsunami sound decoders a few years back. It was challenging at first, but with experience it became easier. Even did some Walther's UP E8's that had factory DCC that I did not particularly care for. Sold off the whole bunch. 



Date: 02/14/20 12:05
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: KA7008

I second that suggestion for non sound in some locomotives.
Generally in our ABBA consists, we run two or sometimes three locomotives with sound. DEFINITELY not all four.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/15/20 08:49
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: superfleet

Thanks for the comments and discussion, so, what is a good $25 non-sound decoder for this guy?  It has the "pin" to accept upgrading.

Dan



Date: 02/15/20 10:25
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: KA7008

https://www.litchfieldstation.com/product/mc2h104p9/

Assuming you have a 9pin plug, not the newer 21 pin.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/15/20 11:01
Re: DCC question for a Genesis F7a
Author: TCnR

There's an 8-pin, a 9 pin and a 21 pin description, very confusing and there's a few TO posts about which one is which. Not to mention that Athearn has a board with an 8-pin plug and a 9 pin connector stacked on the lighting board. That's just part of the installation confusion.

The 8-pin is usually 8 sockets soldered on or through the board in a rectangle, or two rows of 4 sockets. There should be a 'patch' circuit board in the sockets to provide continuity, the small rectangular board lifts out and an 8-pin board fits into the location.
The 9-pin is a flat off-white plug with a ribbon cable on one side.
The 21 pin is two rows of 11 metal contacts, one connection is used as a reference and not used as a contact.

For some reason many decoder circuit boards have a cable and one of the three adapters on the cable, as opposed to having the connector surface mounted on the board. I've been able to use the NCE D14SP with no cable, it does have an extension to use in tight places. I don't have info about the Athearn F unit with me. It appears that this is one of the early 'plug and play' types from years ago but has the basic motor control and lighting effects, each of the decoder manufacturers seem to offer a similar part with their own part number.
https://www.ncedcc.com/online-store/D14SR-decoder-direct-mounted-8-pin-plug-6-functions-p38322099

Try Googling DCC 8 pin decoder, or 9 pin, or 21 pin and there's another connector that's coming out as well...

It happened that I had an Amazon gift card so I used their Vendor. There's a bunch of on-line stores, brick and mortar stores, LHS options etc. Lots of info and photos on the www. There's also lots of info from the major Decoder makers, NCE, DigiTrax, Soundtrax and LokSound for example. I'm still learning this stuff so others may have better info, Youtube has Videos from many contributors on how they went about it, although much of their info is dated. Asking on TO seems like the best first step.

There's also all those conversion boards, sometimes called mother boards but those get into solder required installations.



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