Q & A Forum
Turnout Control
CD-ROM of Site
Block Detection
Wire Resistance
Site Map / Index
DCC for Beginners
DCC in the Garden
HO RR Photos
DCC Topics
Garden RR Photos

Locomotive Installation Notes


This installation note assumes you have read the section on Wiring Specific Locomotives. It also assumes you have read the section on Sound. Lastly, it assumes you have read the section on DCC in the Garden.

More Important:

It's more important than ever that you do the above, each and every time you go to refer to these notes and do an installation. Here's why. (I knew you were going to ask.) Changes (improvements!) occur that may supersede what is written in the write-ups below. For example, the filter circuit shown on the G-scale sound installations is now no longer needed with all decoders. Also, I think up new and better ways to do things.

It's not practical to review and rewrite these every time this happens. Especially for the older locomotives, I don't even know if anyone is using them.

So be sure to check the above sections and look for new, higher section numbers since the last time you visited. You may find something new and useful!

Don't see your locomotive?

Look for another locomotive made by the same manufacturer. Often manufacturers use the same approach to building their other locomotives.

Make sure your motor is isolated from the power pick-up wheels. This usually means the motor should be isolated from the metal frame. If you are not sure about whether the motor needs isolation from the metal frame, isolate it. This is not a waste of time. In only rare cases can the motor remain attached to a metal frame.

If you are not sure what you need to do with the headlight, then replace it with a grain of wheat bulb. This is not a waste of time, either. I have found that it can take a lot of work to properly isolate a light bulb from the frame. A grain of wheat bulb only costs a quarter or so. Keeping the existing headlight often isn't worth the trouble.

Table of Contents

All write-ups are written by myself unless otherwise noted.  Those with sound are in bold.

Many thanks to all contributing authors!

                 HO  Atlas                  RS-1 or RS-3 ,
                 HO  Atlas                  RS-3 or similar by John V Baum
                 HO  Stewart              F-3 by John V Baum
                 HO  Atlas                  S-2 Adapted by John V. Baum.
                                                         Original by Robert Savard and produced by Loy's Toys.
                 HO  Athearn              PA-1 A&B
                 HO  Bachmann          GP-30 by John V Baum
                 HO  Bachmann          F40 by Jim Kirwan
                 HO European Locomotives by Ulrich Albrecht                            
                 HO  Proto 2000        E7 w/sound
                 HO Proto 2000         GP-9 by Robert Petit Duneland DCC
                 HO Proto 2000         GP-60 by Robert Petit Duneland DCC
                 HO Proto 1000          RS-2 by Ralph DeBlasi
                 HO Proto 1000          RDC by Robert Petit Duneland DCC
                 G     LGB                  Track Cleaning Locomotive
                 G     LGB                   F-7A
                 #1   Aristo Craft         Doodlebug
                 N     Kato                  F40PH  by Troy S.
                 N    Intermountain      SD40T   by Troy S.
                 Z    Microtrains           F7      by Glen Chenier

            HO IHC                     GG-1 by Jeff Kandra

                 HO European Locomotives by Ulrich Albrecht 
                 HO IHC                  2-6-0   by Michael Shelley
                 HO  IHC                 2-8-0       Consolidation with all 8 driver pick-up by Mike Ochs
                 HO  Mantua            2-8-2       Mikado 
                 HO  Powerhouse     2-8-8-2    Mallet
                 HO  Rivarossi          4-8-8-4   Big Boy
                 HO  Rivarossi          4-6-6-4   Challenger
                 HO  Rivarossi          4-6-6-4   Challenger w/sound 
                 HO  Rivarossi          4-8-4      FEF 
                 HO  Rivarossi         4-8-4    by Kevin C. Ceroky PE
                 HO  IHC                  4-8-2       Mountain
                 HO  Bachmann        4-8-4      GS-4   SP 4449 Daylight w/sound
  08/14/03 HO  Rivarossi          Opening the Centipede Tender w/o a jack-hammer, radial arm
                                                                    saw, nut cracker, or whack-a-mole mallet!
                                                                    (Darn. That last one almost sounds fun!)
                 N      Kato                Mikado   by Mike Mogensen
 12/05/10  G     Aristo-Craft      C-16        Wireless, battery-powered, non-DCC w/sound
                 G     LGB                2-6-6-2   Unitah & Sumpter Valley Mallets w/sound
                 G     Generic Decoder and Sierra Sound Installation
                 G     LGB                2-6-0  C&S Mogul adding Sierra Sound       
                 G     Bachmann        2-Truck Shay w/sound
  05/28/02 G     Bachmann        External Frame Consolidation w/sound
  06/04/02 G     Bachmann        American 4-4-0 w/sound
 12/04/10 HO  Walthers             Trainline   FA-1  by Bob Farace
  04/17/16 HO  BLI                    N&W Aux Water Tender

  02/24/97                   Adding A Tender Headlight
                                   Using Miniature Lamps

Other Locomotive Write-Ups on the WWW

 N     Life Like            GP18 DN93  By  Springhaven Shops 

HO Kato NW2 GP 35
HO Atlas RS-1

  By Wolfgang Dudler
HO P2K 0-8-0 Adding power pick-ups to tender By Wolfgang Dudler
 HO   IHC                  2-8-0 New IHC with all 8 drivers picking up. By Mike Ochs
On30 Bachmann       2-6-0   By Harold Minkwitz
Various locomotives   By Gateway NMRA

Digitrax information on installing their decoders in locomotives.

Tried & True Trains information on installing decoders in LGB locomotives.

If you would like to do a locomotive decoder installation, please write me.


Copyright by Allan Gartner 1996 - 2010 © All rights reserved. You may print this for your own, personal, non-commercial use. Non-commercial, non-personal reproduction may be requested by visiting . All users, commercial and non-commercial, may link only to this site at

Thanks to all who contribute to this site and the Q&A forum!