Conversion - Atlas RS-11 from DC to DCC (CV 3611)

This conversion uses a Train Control Systems A4X drop in decoder in a Atlas RS-11 (Central Vermont 3611)

Bought new off of eBay, I had taken this apart previously to get the lay of the land. I've had the decoder at the house for a few weeks now, and ordered it despite the fact that it's not sound, as for the price, these basic TCS decoders are really great.

I pulled out the soldering iron, and had it all warmed up as I moved the chassis to the foam work cradle. What's this? There are plastic slides that lock the wires onto the light board? No soldering? Woot! this will be a 4 minute install! Easiest ever! I smugly reached over, and turned off the soldering iron.

I pulled off the old board, and set the A4X in place.


For a trial run, I just hooked up the truck leads and motor leads. A quick turn on the programming track set the decoder address, and another one on the main line checked that it was valid and the machine would respond. So far, so good!

With that test worked out, I went ahead and added the front and rear light leads. The diagram on the packaging of the A4X shows a bit different wiring, but I just put them all back where they were on the factory board. On the mainline, and all was working as advertised.

So.... As I try to put the shell back on (which is kind of a tight squeeze on this model), I somehow managed to bend and break the motor lead off of it's soldered attachment. Doh! You can see that I had Kapton taped the other wires, but stupidly didn't do this one.

Re-heat, the soldering iron...... and re-attach the lead.

This time, it gets the kapton treatment as well.

And voila, on goes the shell.

After another quick test run to make sure it was running right, I installed a pair of Sergents, and secured the shell with the coupler pocket screws. Despite my gaff, this was a very, very DCC conversion, and thanks to TCS, very inexpensive. There is plenty of room in this shell for audio however, so I may be opening it back up sometime in the future.

It runs very smoothly, and as I couldn't resist, I consisted it with two Life Like Proto 1000k RS-11's, it's sisters 3606 and 3614. Both of those also have TCS decoders (the T1 in this case), so I'm not sure if that's the reason, but they run VERY well as a set. I haven't adjusted any CVS on any of these locos other than the decoder address, and they run without jerking or pulling. Kind of makes a handsome set!