Retro fitting tether's

Not really.

You would also have to replace all the electronics in the loco and all the electronics in the tender.

The wired tether provides power transmission, plus data communication in any/either/both directions, if required.

The optical coupler tether provides data communication in one direction only and NO power.

The two systems are completely different and not interchangeable.

RoyBoy

Possible but not practical as Roy says.  You actually wouldn't replace the electronics in the locomotive, you can drive the IR transmitter from the serial data.  At most you'd just need a simple transistor buffer to drive the IR transmitter.  Since the K-Line tender has power rollers, you don't have a power problem.

The real sticking point is the IR receiver, that vintage of electronics uses a 3-position motherboard and the AD20 board to handle the IR in the tender.

Of course, you'd also have to rig the sensors to the drawbar as well.

I've looked at this several times, but I've never wanted to spend the time and effort necessary to make it happen.  Good idea, but a lot of work.

I toyed with the idea of making a simple IR receiver board to simulate what is in the wired connections, but I didn't see the market, so I let it slide.  I suspect it would be fairly simple, but for the K-Line, you'd lose the backup light as that comes over the tether.  You'd also lose your electrocoupler, another thing that comes through the tether.  The AD20 was there to support those functions.

If you really want to do this, the hit ticket is to buy the proper and AD20 from Lionel and start wiring.

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