Installing Decoder for Older Atlas RS11 With Lamp Bracket : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

I have several older Atlas Engines like the RS-11 that does NOT have a light board but does have what they refer to as a Lamp Bracket which only uses copper rods as connections to the motor and to a single bulb that uses a light bar to light the front and rear lights. I am getting better at DCC installation but this one has me concerned. I have several ideas of what I would like to do, but before I start I was wondering if anyone else has successfully installed a decoder in this type of Atlas engine and how they did it. Thanks..........Mike

-- Mike Burdulis (, May 25, 2003


I believe I have one of these. Mine is a 'Black Widow' Long Nose Forward RS-11. It has exactly what you describe.

The procedure is rather simple. Isolate the motor from the copper rods. Keep the copper rods installed on the gray plastic mounting boards. You will use these to connect the decoder leads to that pickup power from the track (red and black leads). Soler these leads to the copper rods. The rods make it easy connect both trucks to the decoder without 'jumper wires'. The support plastic (gray) will work perfectly to support the decoder. You must locate the decoder such that it doesn't inhibit the reinstallation of the body/shell. For the lights: Cut the light bar with a dremel tools or saw. Cut each end allowing for the light nubs to fit into their respective holes in the shell plus about 1/4 inch behind. Carefully cement the light bar sections into their respective location in the shell. Prior to to installing the light bar pieces, cement in a piece or aluminum foil (about 1/2 inch square) shiny side down into the shell in the location where the light bulbs will sit. This will keep the light bulbs (14-15 volt incandescent) from causing heat damage to the shell. Once the ligth bars are cemented in place, you will find that they are shaped to the locomoitve weights (one at each end). The light bars must be cemented in such that they align properly in the slots cut in the weights. Install the weights on the locomotive frame in their proper location. Align the shell on the frame by setting on the frame to one side such that it is not actually installed, but rather allows you to get a visually of how the items on the frame (weights, lights, decoder, etc) will fit (height wise, ect) into the shell when it is installed. mark the area where the light bars sit on the weights. The light bulbs will then be stuck on the weights directly behind them (where the light bars end) with tape (I used electrical tape rolled backwards such that it is 'sticky' all the way around). Connect the lights to the proper decoder leads, per the decoder instructions.

The motor has little taps that were attached to the copper bars. Detach them from the copper bars and gently bend them such that they are under the plastic gray copper bar support piece. Attach the proper decoder leads (orange and gray) to these coper tabs with solder. Perform this task quickly so as not to over heat the bars and/or the motor (very simple process). Feed the wire through the square hole in the center of the gray plastic copper bar support piece (where the original light bar initially sat).

Assembly of the shell. I lightly cemented the locomotive weights into their proper respective positions aafter determining that with the 'visual check' I described earlier. This way the shell could be fit over the weights and onto the frame rather then installing the weights into the shell and then both onto the frame. The shell should fit right on and 'snap' into place. Work you way around the frame with the locomoitve held in the 'upright' position and gently press the frame equally into the shell. It may be necessary to file a little material off the sides of the weights to make shell installation easier.

When finished, you should have directional lighting and 4 wheel pick up.

This is the same procedure needed for the Atlas RSD-5 locomotives and nearly all the other locomotives not dcc ready utilizing the copper bar plastic support piece (older Stewart F7's with Kato drive, etc).

Hope this helps. If you need further assistnce or clearification, don;t hesitate to drop me a line at . Be sure to state the subject matter, as my email is screen automatically for 'spam and/or junk mail'.


-- Mike Burghardt (, May 25, 2003.

Thats EXACTLY what I was looking for. Before I "hacked" up my light bar and installed lights I was wondering if thats what I should REALLY do. I like your ideas about electrical tape rolled backwards to hold them and adding the aluminum foil. I wasn't sure whether or not to trash the gray board, but now I will keep it and do as you suggest. I have six of these vintage locos to do.

I REALLY APPRECIATE your taking the time to write such a good detailed instructional piece.



-- Mike Burdulis (, May 25, 2003.


I to have some of these locos. In my opinion, I found it easier to take out the gray board and replace it with an NCE DA-SR board that is an exact fit. It has the holes already in it so it will be an exact replacement for the gray board. You will however need replacement bulbs but at least you will have forward and reserve control over the lights along with all of the other special effects offered with the decoder. I installed LEDs at the same time the effect is awsome. Just my 2 cents.

-- Dave Goodlander (, September 09, 2004.

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