I read somewhere on this forum what Joe recommended as a fairly low cost decoder to use for the Athearn SD units, a decoder that can do the light effects and run the loco's well. Might have been TCS brand? I currently don't have a layout but do have a Digitrax Radio Chief system in the box and hope to use it in the next couple years, and will need to outfit my growing fleet of loco's. I tried to find the posts where Joe discussed Athearn RTR SD decoders but it my be burried deep in that long topic.
Super! I needed the Decoder model # for when I order some. And thanks verifying it is what Joe recommended for the Athearn RTR tunnel motors. I think he said those decoders have a good gyra light circuit in them and were economical too.
I have a growing fleet of Athearn tunnel motors and SD45's (about 22 and growing), and will eventually need to outfit them all with decoders. Athearn has been very prolific and yet more are on their way next year too! Sweet models and a great time to be an SP and D&RGW model RRer. Rio Grande - The Action Road
Joe, those TCS T1 decoders look like they have gone up in price over the last couple years from $15 ea in bunches to $17-18, but they do look to be the best for the Athearn RTR tunnel motor line of diesels. I'll try to see my way clear to a few to get me started on my growing fleet. The video you linked was a good demonstration!
The one thing that confused me is the first gyra light example was labled the TCS T1 and the gyra lights barely flickered, but in the second example it was labeled the cheaper NCE decoder "what you see is what you get" but it looked pretty good. Were the examples backwards because the gyra light in the first example didn't look very impressive.
I have a question about which TCS-T1 decoder to order. There are three listed: 1) Harnessed, 2) Harnessed with NMRA plug, and 3) without harness. I assume one of these will plug right into an Athearn SD40T-2 DCC plug built into the loco out of the box. So... which one is it? If its the NMRA plug decoder, these are a good deal more expensive per decoder. Anyway, an explanation about these variations would be very helpful.
Here is a place that is selling the TCS-T1A (no harness) for $15 - would this one work?
Joined: Tue Feb 14 2006, 11:04AM Location: Glendora, California Posts: 114
Do you recommend the TCS T1 for all Athearn RTR units? What about blue box Athearns? How are those Digitrax DH163AT, has anyone used them and liked what they got? I'm just bring the Digitrax decoder up because it is set up with the clips and everything for the Blue Boxes. --Zak Gardner