Skip to main content

I bought a Weaver VO 1000 recently and it was described as having DCC installed.  I got a good deal so I figured I would need to do some work on it.  Anyway, I put it on the track and the sound came on...I think Great!  I turn the throttle and it moves..I am happy and think my deal was really good...then it stops the cab lights blink 3-4 or more times (not sure) then it resets itself and I try again..same thing.  So today I open it up and I find a rats nest of wires with electrical tape on most wires, etc.  As I pull the shell off 2 wires on the decoder snap off.  I am sure they can be resoldered...annoying but I need to clean up the inside anyway.

Did Weaver follow NMRA standards on motor wiring color code?

There are no identifying marks on the decoder, so I have no idea what brand it is or if it is even large enough to run an O scale engine.  Anyone recognize the decoder?  I don't want to spend $150 on an ESU decoder, but maybe that will be the best resolution...or I sell it  buy the RY  Brass Baldwin S12 I have my eye on.   

I also have another Weaver engine I bought that I am now afraid to open for the same rats nest.  Thoughts and recommendations welcomed.




Images (2)
  • IMG_20200531_130336275
  • IMG_20200531_131354056
Last edited by Rich Melvin
Original Post

Thanks is a mystery.  

@Rich Melvin @PRR Man  --No markings on the decoders at all.  I agree a botched job at best.  Best part is I have another Weaver that I assume will be the same way once I take it apart.

I love the VO-1000 so I will clean it up and if I need to buy a new decoder I will do that.  No sense in doing something halfway!  I want the engine to be reliable and on the tracks not the workbench.

@Dave_C  I have 1 Atlas GP35 I converted from TMCC to DCC and I have another I need to do the same to...those I can handle, this weaver will eventually be fine, I just need to snip wires and identify what goes to what.


That does not look like something weaver would do.  I do not have any Weaver locos with DCC however.    ON the other hand that particular model was done in China I think, and might be similar to DCC installs done for other importers if it were factory.    But that looks like someone did their own install.

I have some SoundTraxx decoders that are wrapped in the same Shrinkwrap color.    These are older model soundtraxx but to my ear quite good sound.    Mine have no marking either but one is still sealed in the original Soundtraxx package.     These would be models before the Tsunami and Econami series they are selling now.

If it were me, I would try to salvage the decoder,    That might be two decoders - one a sound oonly and one for motor control.    IF the motor one is not working, you could use the sound one and just put an NCE D408SR in for motor and lights.   

The fact that it ran and had sound means it might still be alive.    I would clean up the wiring and check it all out to avoid shorts and what not.   

I don't think this was factory.  I think it was an individual that just didn't know how to solder or do a clean install.  I found under the electrical tape wires just twisted at least it will be easy to undo the wiring.  

No harm in trying to reuse the decoder...I will take it all out and start over.  I am thinking of wiring the 2 motors in series for slow speed since I am going to use it as a switcher.  

Good idea on the NCE decoder if only the sound decoder works...

At least I am always learning!

Yes, if you do not have any shorts,  you can read the CVs on the decoder on some programming tracks.   Since it is a sound decoder, it may not read on all programming tracks.    However, it will read if  you use a SPROG or some other powered programming device and DecoderPRO from JMRI.

Since that is a newer model, I am guessing that the current draw is really low and will be lower with series wiring.    So as Dave mentioned you probably will not need a 4 amp D408.    When you pull out the decoder, hook the motors directly to DC on a test stand or upside down on a bench and measure the current draw at 12 volts and then hold a wheel set for stall and see what it spikes to.     I would do this before the series wiring.

I have a couple of MTH locos and 2 weaver RS11s that I rewired in Series and it works really well.   I smooths out starts and stops in addition to reducting speed by about half,

I looked again at the decoder with that shrink wrap I have in a package and it is TSU-750 - which is a Tsunami.    It is smaller than what is shown.   I have some others installed that look more like yours and they are TSU-1000 decoders.   

By the way I have asked some questions of the Soundtraxx support desk and they were very helpful and friendly.

Andy, I agree with the other posts here: Likely a Soundtraxx Tsunami "HO-sized" decoder, older TSU1 or newer TSU2, and a Soundtraxx keep alive. If so, the decoder probably has a 1A or 1.5A continuous run capability. I think the TSU2 has a logo printed on the flat side that seems to have been taped to a piece of styrene (or is it metal)?

If you can get the loco on a programming track you may be able to read the decoder type CVs with your throttle. You would be able to read at least some manufacturer/type info with JMRI DecoderPro. You might have to disconnect the keep alive unit from the decoder to read it.  Reading CV7 and CV8 might give you a clue as to make and model.

If the decoder's not damaged and it is a 1A or 1.5A Tsunami, it should be fine to run that loco with the motors wired in series and pulling 10 or so cars on level track.     

Good luck!


Last edited by Pete M

@DaveJfr0  Thanks...that helps a lot!  Once I started playing with it I thought it was a current keeper, since the sound stayed on for quite a while after I turned power off...I want to say 5 seconds or longer.  I will take a look at Soundtraxx website and narrow it down.

@prrjim  Since I took the shell off and a wire got pulled, it won't run at all.  When power is supplied, I get start up sounds, but nothing else.  Also, I "assume" since it was running sporadically and lights blinking it wasn't hooked up right anyway.  I will look at the TSU-1000 on the website and go from there.  Knowing what brand helps tremendously.  I will take everything out and test the engine and then rewire and go from there.


@Jim Scorse  Thanks Jim! 

If I do put an NCE decoder in it, I was under the impression I couldn't put sound in it.  Is that not true?  I have read different answers.  Who makes just a sound board that is decent quality that would be compatible?

@PRR Man  Thanks, I thought it might have been a short, but makes more sense if it is drawing too much juice, since the power supply should trip for a short.

Andy, I would check for sure that the motors are wired in series before using that decoder. If the motors are in parallel that could allow too much current draw and cause the shutdown.  As well make sure the motors turn freely by hand and the grease n the drivetrains hasn't caked up.

I have some old D408SR and Soundtraxx DSX decoders that I've pulled out when I did coreless motor upgrades. But I only have EMD and Alco sounds. I could dig them out and send you a pair if of any interest.


@PRR Man  Thanks...very interesting.  The things I learn on this website are awesome!

@Pete M  I think that is what is happening..I think (without testing yet) the engines are not in series and are drawing too much power.

Thank you!  Yes,  I am definitely interested.  My other Weaver is an Alco RS2, it isn't running correctly either... Your email isn't listed, so email me and we can discuss!  I REALLY appreciate it.

Three rail comment:   There were early TAS, (Train America Studio), Lionel TMCC, SAW and SAW Gen2 boards.  (SAW) ( Lionel licensed components for, Sunset 3rd rail, Atlas, Weaver) that had a lot of different gingerbread functions, but the board design failed, and often.  TAS increased mother board design to a full 8 amps to solve the problem. O scale, two can motor, models don't appear to draw more than 2 or 3 amps, but start/stall amperage is probably a good bit more.  You may be seeing the same problem with your decoders.  Board dissipation of heat another concern.  The second time around on design, a much larger heat sink was added to dissipate heat.  At 8 amps, the motors will fry first, been there, done that. You can also melt plastic with this amount of energy.    IMO, Mike CT.  

Add note:   There were a few Atlas O-scale two rail models equipped with Lionel TMCC boards, Dave C mentioned this.   An attempt at O-scale AC two rail.  20 years ago.  

There are three component boards.  Drive board (R2LC), Sound board, Sound power board  Modular board plugged-in to a larger mother board. 

Atlas SW model with TMCC.   Note the large aluminum heat sink, located to the front of the model, before the front truck tower.  

Last edited by Mike CT

I still think the first step is to figure out what the current draw is on the engines.    As I mentioned earlier, I have a pair of the Weaver RS11s which have a similar drive and have very low current decoders.    I think they are the NCE DS13 decoder.     They are wired in series and not problems with them at all.    These I believer are a much earlier import than the VO1000.

Once you figure out the current draw, you can decide what options area available for decoders.     As I mentioned, the magenta/purple casing on the decoder indicates Soundtraxx and it looks like a TSU1000 (Tsunami) to me.   If the current draw with motors in series is down under an amp, which is possible, you could probably just use that decoder with some cleaned up wiring.

Well his DSX are EMD and Alco and that is a Baldwin.    IF you go that route, I would use the Alco, it has more of the baldwin sound than the EMD.     I'm not sure how many people can tell them all apart.    The Alcos do have a rather rattling type idle sound which makes them quite fun.   

I have some Weaver RS3s and FAs that I could use some DSX for also.    I have a couple from a friend and they work fine.    I wish they still made them.   

Both Digtrax and MRC still make a sound only decoder.   I have a couple of each and they each aboug 6 different diesels on them.    I like the MRC sound better.   Not sure if either have a baldwin.

I find the 408 is a really great decoder for motor control and can drive about 6 other options for lights and what not.    There is an amp limit on the options however.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.