BN 97 Decoder Install


I’ve briefly mentioned BN 97, it’s a Walthers SW1 (old one, not the currently available one) that I found on eBay with the thinking of scavenging it for parts. Being a sucker for EMD switchers I just couldn’t. It’s a pretty cool model but could use some fixes and upgrades, in the meantime it runs well enough and just needed a decoder.

In the Soo 320 I had installed a TCS T1 as some searching around led to a couple of write-ups that claimed it to be the best option for the SW1. I managed to get it shoehorned into the cab just barely so for BN97 I decided to do a little more looking and basically ended up with the Digitrax DZ126.


I think it’s going fit a little better, so much so that I’m going to re-do Soo 320 with the same decoder as it’s going to be much easier to fit.


In fact it almost looks like it was designed to be there, this is where the old light bulb lived, since I’m using 0603 LEDs I don’t need that much space.


All I had to do was trim the PCB board that held the light (as I wouldn’t need the end of it that held the light) and build some supports so it wouldn’t interfere with the drive.


It’s not terribly clear but that vertical piece of styrene on the far left of the picture is set back slightly from the edge to make a cavity for the LED.


Things obviously start to get a little messier as wires are actually hooked up but I was able to get the hood down on it. All that’s left on the decoder is to install a rear light which will involve an enclosure for the LED and then plumbing the wires back. I just didn’t feel like it today and once I do that the cab will become tethered to the rest of it so maybe I’ll save that for one of the last projects.

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