I'd like to add ditch lights to a pair of Pennsy RK E8s.  Don't know how to get it done.

Original Post

Take a look at Youtube, (O gauge LED projects)  Give you an idea of what to do.. Then go from there'... Not difficult... Get the LEDs from Evan Designs...

Drilling into the shell will be the hardest part. LEDs can be found all over the place online. The other thing to ask is do you want them to flash with the horn sound? If so, you'll have to wire them to the PS board. (I'm unsure of which you PS board you have which is why I didn't put a 2 or 3 after)

Some boards won't have the wires, so you might have to use the headlight circuit or track power.

You won't get oscillating ditch lights on PS-2 or 3 unless the Sound file supports it.  For PS-2 it is 6V bulbs off the 8 pin connector.  Look at the old PS-2 diesel upgrade instruction, but again, those outputs will not be turned on with the E-8 Sound file.  For PS-3 they would be LED, off the main harness, but you would not have the wires and again, not supported by sound file.  So if you just want light on, you can do as above.  Wire to a CV board, or off track power.  G

At the time, TAS, (Train America Studios, Mike Reagan), supplied a small kit, that could be added to TMCC, and EOB control boards, when the smoke output was not used.   

Done with 3 mm LED's, that are bipolar, (bi-directional).  Reverse DC power source, and the lights changed color. 

Last edited by Mike CT


THE Pennsy E8s are AA set  #30-20346 PS 3 .  I sometimes run the B unit  #30-20346-3.

The only light feature they had was the dummy  A tail unit would work the reverse headlight.

It would be nice to have the ditch lights fully functioning  Like a Premier .   I've been SPOILED  😈 repairing damage for a friend on a pair of Premier E8s.            However i thought it would also be easy figuring out what the winning LOTTERY numbers were.🙃

I did look on the Tube a little last night .  Saw examples of the ditch lights but didn't get too much research into an install.  I'll have to look at your examples more.  I'll probably do better looking at your instructions .   I do have some defunct steamer boards and wiring in my inventory.

I had opened the tiny marker light areas and I used GRJ's module and a strip for them with some bare incandescent bulbs installed in the holes  (  not very professional ) that I stained with red or green .  I'll have to go back on the forum to see how the strip lights can be used with the LED BULBS.  Not sure what bulbs to use. 

Great to see your help replies ,as always .

I hope you're all healthy.........and busy.

You can get LED's of all sizes and colors, I do a lot of lighting upgrades for people.  For PS/3, the lights are driven directly.  Like Dave says, the chain file and the proper sound file will enable the lights.  However, then you get to the tricky part!  The 1.0 mm connector used with PS/3 diesels is VERY finicky, and crimping those pins is really difficult.  I used pre-crimped wires for those connectors.

Here's the wiring diagram for the upgrade kit, this will show you were to connect the ditch lights, pin-5 and pin-39 on the 40-pin connector.

PS 3.0 Diesel Upgrade Kit Wiring Diagram


Images (1)
Last edited by gunrunnerjohn


I'm embarrassed 😶 to say this , but my fairly new  ( 3 year after running only conventional Lionel and Williams ) intro to amazing modern  model RR has left me in the DARK when I see info about chain files and flashing and any similar terms from all of the guys on this forum.  ❔   I like the hope that your advice instills in me on the ditch light issue for the RKs.


I'm  grateful for your insightful instruction.... so now I have to ask , where can I  get a "  model railroad electronics for DUMMIES "  publication !!??  🤕

Dj, it all sounds more difficult than it is..  Take a look at the Model Software, Evan Designs, web site.  They have already wired, AC/DC 7-19 Volts in 3MM bulbs (LED) that are perfect for what you want to do.  Here's a pic of a WIlliams F-7, I upgraded Headlights, running lights and tail lights.

No need to worry about boards.  You hook the red wire to your rollers or any red wire coming up from the trucks.  Hook the black wire, to the frame.  It's that simple.  Not brain surgery, or rocket science.  Here's the website.  No affiliation, just a satisfied customer. 


Evan Designs: Battery Powered LED Lights .




Images (2)
Quarter Gauger 48 posted:

Dj, it all sounds more difficult than it is..  Take a look at the Model Software, Evan Designs, web site.  They have already wired, AC/DC 7-19 Volts in 3MM bulbs (LED) that are perfect for what you want to do. 

They're NOT perfect for what he wants to do!  I think you should understand the application before leading someone down the garden path!

He wants to add operating ditch lights to a PS/3 locomotive.  That requires a BARE LED as that's what the PS/3 electronics expects to see.  The Evan's LED's have no place here.

Yep, they're right around $200.  You can join the MTH RR club and get a discount, that knocks about 20 off the price.  If you use multiple kits a year, you can more than pay for the $25 basic membership price. 

Hmmmmm........... I guess for horn blast fluctuating ditch lights , I'll have to be really wound up about it , eh John ?

Does the upgrade also give a smoke unit capability ?               Isn't there also a fee for loading files for the particular diesel ?

Are the BARE  LEDs  similar to the LEDs on the strip ones like your kit has ?



The upgrade only gives you smoke if you have a fan driven smoke unit.   There's no charge for downloading any MTH sound or chain files.

Bare LED's are thru-hole for the upgrade kit, also used in all PS/3 stuff and most Lionel stuff nowadays.  The one on the right is a flangeless LED, very useful to replace 3mm incandescent bulbs.



Images (2)

Add Reply

The DCS Forum is sponsored by
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653

Link copied to your clipboard.