An Atlas RS3

The source model for this is an HO Scale Atlas RS3

This was not the first attempt on this model; purchased years earlier, on its first day it took a dive off the layout and onto a concrete floor. A number of parts were replaced from a donor Canadian National model; and it was converted to DCC using a long forgotten sound decoder and hack speaker installation.

The latter wasn't too bad, actually, as at the time I shaved out the rear fan from the inside, allowing a good space for sound to escape from the model.

While the locomotive ran ok, the sound was broken - the throttle never would leave idle, despite what it was set at. As this is a favorite locomotive style, it was a likely candidate for new electronics.

Decoder Replacement

In past jobs Tsunami's were the decoder of choice, but when I was originally looking at revising this model (late Summer-Fall of 2012), there was a new QSI sound decoder hitting the market called the Titan. After a long conversation with Norman at Tony's Trains, the decision was made to order one of these new decoders, the only catch being we needed to wait for the next software release — just a few weeks away.

The weeks has turned into months, and even though I reached out in January to Tony's Trains, I had forgotten all about this decoder, and it's sister I ordered for another locomotive. In June of 2013 they showed up in the Post.

Here is what you get in the basic page for the QSI Titan sound decoder.

This was my previous handy work - I've long forgotten what make or model the decoder it was, but it had to go.

And gone.

Carefully following the instructions that came packaged with the Titan, the first step was carefully mounting the decoder, attaching the truck leads (while double checking polarity), and then soldering in the motor leads.

I was so eager to try out the stereo sound effect on this decoder that I decided to move forward with a temporary speaker installation, and come back to the lights. Here they are, now with one on each end, and the other truck weight removed for clearance (it is a narrow body).

With all of that working, I came back to the model and finished it up. Imagine my delight when I discovered that straight out of the box, the Titan didn't need a resister for the LED - it's already on the board. Thank you, QSI, for that! A couple of quick minutes, and the headlight was rigged up and working, the shell back on, and the loco getting programmed.

While I still want to play with the programming, the locomotive is more than usable at this time, and I'm very pleased with the Titan decoders. I'm not interested in super detailing this model; as you can see the shell suffered some damage from a fall, and I don't think it's worth putting the time in on this one.

Next up - a GP9!