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Information about Athearn SD70ACe

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  • Member since
    September 2023
  • 4 posts
Information about Athearn SD70ACe
Posted by Rob764 on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 9:59 AM

Hello to the forum, this is the first topic I post. I am from Italy and have very little knowledge of US locos so here I am asking advice.
I found an ad on the auction site selling an Athearn SD70ACe :


Can anyone tell me if this model is upgradable to full DCC (it seems to be a DCC sound with DC driving power). Is it only a matter of changing a CV or would I have to change the decoder? And what type of decoder and how difficult is the operation?

Thank you very much  in advance! 

  • Member since
    August 2011
  • From: A Comfy Cave, New Zealand
  • 5,894 posts
Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 4:49 PM
Buongiorno, Welcometo the Forum.
That locomotive is already full DCC equipped including sound.
As long as you have a compatible DCC system, for example, NCE, Digitrax, etc, it should be just a case, if one hasn’t been set, of setting your own address. Otherwise use 3 which is the standard default address.
I know nothing of pricing in Italy, but that particular locomotive appears to be very cheap, I would be inclined to check that it is a runner?
Have Fun.
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Potomac Yard
  • 2,719 posts
Posted by NittanyLion on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 10:54 PM

There's a language and regional matter that can be confusing. 

In North America, "DCC sound" means DCC control with sound. There are very, very few models that would have sound but not DCC control. There are many models that have DCC without sound. On our side of the Atlantic, we'd read "DCC sound" without even thinking if that meant control, because that's how we most often see it. A locomotive with a DCC sound decoder but DC control almost sounds impossible. 

The same with "DC." In HO scale, there's no AC powered locomotives, unlike Europe where they are common. It isn't really something we have to take into consideration at all. But for a European modeler, it would be something to keep in mine. I had the opposite experience in Switzerland when I was considering a locomotive purchase and had to determine which were AC versus DC. 

  • Member since
    September 2023
  • 4 posts
Posted by Rob764 on Saturday, September 16, 2023 3:02 AM

Thanks a lot to all for the answers!

I actually got that loco, it was too good of one occasion to let it pass.

I received the item and tested it in DC (still don't have a DCC controller).

It behaves in a strange way...the manual says that sounds kicks in from 5V and the loco start moving at about 7.5V, however I found that in reality the sounds triggers at 7-8 V and the loco starts at 11-12V.

Is that normal? Other "DC only" locos I have starts to move at 4-5V or less...
It seems that the Tsunami decoder "eats" some voltage but that seems too much.

(I contacted the seller and he said he checked with his Roco Multimaus in DCC only and it ran fine)

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