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Conversion: Brass Locomotive to DCC, VH S2a

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  • Member since
    October 2005
  • 885 posts
Conversion: Brass Locomotive to DCC, VH S2a
Posted by betamax on Sunday, March 16, 2008 4:45 PM
I just bought an CPR S2a (Santa Fe) locomotive. My next project will be to convert it to DCC operation, with sound. The tender is a little small (oil burner) but it already has holes drilled in the floor for a speaker.

Of course, the real issue is conversion to DCC. This unit already has a can motor. I was told that conversion shouldn't be a big problem, as the motor is isolated. I haven't poked around with my multimeter yet, so I am not 100% certain on that.

First problem: Instructions. I have none. Does anyone have a set they can scan and email to me, so I know how to disassemble things in order to get to the lights, motor, etc., ? I don't want to be removing screws that don't need to be removed. Makes life a lot less stressful.

Secondly, has anyone out there done a conversion of this type of locomotive, and if so, any tips or hints on doing this?

And yes, it has a lovely custom paint job, with weathering already.
  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: New Brighton, MN
  • 4,393 posts
Posted by ARTHILL on Sunday, March 16, 2008 6:33 PM

My one and only conversion was what you have. I bought a C&O 2-6-6-2. The Can motor was in it. I wired the head light around the frame, and that does not work. I broke a wire. I ran wires from the motor to the tender through a small connector. I put a speaker that fit into a baffle tube and wired it to the decoder. I then glued the baffle with speaker into tender. I then connected all the other wires to the connector and glued the decoder in the tender. I connected the cnnoector and the engine ran. My biggest mistake was leaving too much excess wire in case I made a mistake.  It would also benefit from additional track pickup wipers.

It was easier than I thought. It took a few days and more than one try to get things working, but the directions that came with the decoder were enough to get it working. The next one will be easier, but that will include adding the can moter and replacing a broken axel gear.

My advice, go for it. Learn as you go and ask specific questions when you get stuck. If I can do it anyone can.

If you think you have it right, your standards are too low. my photos http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a235/ARTHILL/ Art
  • Member since
    October 2005
  • 885 posts
Posted by betamax on Sunday, March 16, 2008 8:16 PM
This is the unit in question:


http://www.tlacanada.com/TLA/OTS%20CP%20Lines.htm



picture: http://www.tlacanada.com/TLA/TLA%20JPEG/CPR/CPR%20S2a%20Lft%20side.jpg



(I really wish people would not use spaces in a URL, nor should their software allow it!)

I bought it off the dealer at the Kingston Train Show this weekend.

According to his webpage:

The headlight and tender light both work. An HO Scale engineer and fireman have been installed in the cab. Marker light jewels have been installed in the marker lights. A working headlight and tender light and working Kadee couplers have been installed on the pilot and tender.

It has the improved Samhongsa gearbox and a can motor. The locomotive runs very smoothly. Wheel wear is negligible.

The model has its original box. Both the box and the foam are in fine condition. There are a few rubs or mars on the cover of the box.


Got a nice tour of Kingston in the process, including the area where the Canadian Locomotive Works once stood. Now it is being turned into condos. Surprising the number of "gated communities" they have around Kingston. ;)

I haven't run it yet, but the seller offered to do a DCC conversion when I asked if it was DCC (Ya gotta try...) That is coming, but I need to move some construction debris from the right of way first

I need to do something about the lights. They are just bulbs sticking out of the bezel. Should see about a lens with something like a light pipe. It would just look better.

If the URLs give you grief, try Googling "TLA Van Hobbies S2a"

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