I have an Atlas SD-35 (cat. # 6810-1) that I purchased in 2000 (it was released in 2000 and was bought new ) and it has TMCC and Railsounds 4.0.  Everything on this engine is factory and no modifications have ever been made.  I would like to upgrade to cruise if possible using one of ERR's upgrades.  I need to know if I can buy just the Cruise Commander "M", or if I need the full Cruise Commander which as I understand replaces the existing motherboard and is a more extensive upgrade than the CC "M".    My Atlas does have the Lionel boards including a Lionel motherboard and a R2LC07 radio board.  However, I was told by a Lionel service technician that an ERR upgrade may not work and he recommended that I call Atlas which I did yesterday.  Atlas said the Cruise Commander "M" should work, but that I would have to buy another radio board as the R2LC07 is not compatible.  Atlas said a R2LC-C08 or a R4LC should work.  If that is the case, then Lionel has the following available on their webiste:
691R2LCC08R2LC / RADIO RECEIVER (C08 CODE)
 
I have also attached some pics of the motherboard on my Atlas as well as the Railsounds board version as I was told that some Railsounds boards are not compatible with the newer ERR upgrades.  So there are a few variables that may or may not allow me to upgrade to cruise by installing just the Cruise Commander "M".  I would not want to invest the money that it would take if I had to upgrade almost everything to get cruise.
Any experience upgrading a 20 year old Atlas diesel like mine to cruise?
 
Thanks in advance!

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Original Post

Thanks for the pictures.

You need a cruise commander 'M' and a R2lC-08 radio board.

The Rail sounds in your loco should work just fine.

Last edited by RoyBoy

One other thing to check is the length of the DCDR motor driver. This is what the Cruise M replaces but the Cruise M is about a 1/8th inch longer. Sometimes this small increase in length makes it difficult to fit. Make aure you have this extra space. Atlas engines tend to be filled to the brim.

Pete

Pete speaks the truth, and it's not only Atlas engines!  I recently replaced the DCDR with a CC-M in a Lionel C-420, the extra 1/8" was a major PITA!  I had to reroute a bunch of wiring to get it all in, the wiring they ran over the top of the DCDR was a no-go with the taller board!

It' even more fun to put the CC-M into the Lionel TMCC Camelback!

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
RoyBoy posted:

Thanks for the pictures.

You need a cruise commander 'M' and a R2lC-08 radio board.

The Rail sounds in your loco should work just fine.

Thank you sir for the confirmation!

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Pete speaks the truth, and it's not only Atlas engines!  I recently replaced the DCDR with a CC-M in a Lionel C-420, the extra 1/8" was a major PITA!  I had to reroute a bunch of wiring to get it all in, the wiring they ran over the top of the DCDR was a no-go with the taller board!

It' even more fun to put the CC-M into the Lionel TMCC Camelback!

 

 

thank you sir—I’m going to make some measurements tomorrow of my DCDR and compare to the dimensions for the CC M.  I just want to be sure that the hassle of upgrading and the expense (~$150) will be worth the performance enhancement.

Norton posted:

One other thing to check is the length of the DCDR motor driver. This is what the Cruise M replaces but the Cruise M is about a 1/8th inch longer. Sometimes this small increase in length makes it difficult to fit. Make aure you have this extra space. Atlas engines tend to be filled to the brim.

Pete

 

 

 

Pete—thank you sir for the heads up as I did not realize 1/8” would make a difference.  I’ll make some measurements tomorrow and see where I’m at.

I did this exact upgrade several years ago.  The only things that stood out were the width of the board interfering with the shell and having to replace the 07 radio board with an 08 version.  Even with having to screw around with the placement of the board, the whole project only took about an hour,  It made a notable improvement in the operation of the locomotive.  Well worth the time and expense,

Tom

It certainly is a huge improvement, if you're running multiple locomotives, having cruise makes all the difference in the world.

I'm confused about the width being an issue, the board is the same width as the DCDR it replaces.

The length is where the usual fit issues arise.  Another issue is the connector placement, and the extra 10-pin connector.  Finally,there's the large bridge sticking up in the middle, that is frequently where the wires were routed for the DCDR.  I know in the Camelback, the connector positions dictated a lot of screwing around to get the CC-M in.  I actually had to remove a connector from the motherboard for clearance and hard wire some stuff.

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gunrunnerjohn posted:

It certainly is a huge improvement, if you're running multiple locomotives, having cruise makes all the difference in the world.

I'm confused about the width being an issue, the board is the same width as the DCDR it replaces.

The length is where the usual fit issues arise.  Another issue is the connector placement, and the extra 10-pin connector.  Finally,there's the large bridge sticking up in the middle, that is frequently where the wires were routed for the DCDR.  I know in the Camelback, the connector positions dictated a lot of screwing around to get the CC-M in.  I actually had to remove a connector from the motherboard for clearance and hard wire some stuff

Morning Gunrunnerjohn,

Appreciate the further insight!  I did some measurements last night of my existing DCDR board and the dimensions appear to be right in line with the dimensions of the CC M board per ERR’s website.  ERR lists the CC M as being  1.95" L  x  1.27" W  x  1.0" H.   I have attached some pics of my existing DCDR in my SD-35 so you can take a look at them and let me know if you think mine looks like a routine easy replacement or a PITA... ; ) 

I was hoping there was a screw on the bottom of the chassis (none that I can see) that holds the heat sink in place so I could remove the entire heat sink / DCDR board together.  I know I can remove the DCDR board by removing the two screws on each side of the heat sink, but it looks as if it will be next to impossible to put the two bottom nuts back in place when I go to install the new CC M and try to put the bottom screws in place that will attach the heat sink to the new CC M.  

It appears that my existing DCDR only has a 4 pin motor phase/direction input and the 4 pin Molex connector with no serial input from the R2LC.  This is the other challenge as I will have to figure out how my old DCDR received the serial input from the R2LC as I know the serial input from the R2LC on the new CC M has to go to the connector 1 on the new 10 pin connector.  

I believe the investment will definitely be worth it as the existing performance at low speeds is much to be desired relative to my newer engines that creep around the board at a constant speed.  

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Your old DCDR didn't receive serial data, so I'd stop looking for the link!

In your situation, I'd carefully measure the height of the board and how much clearance you have to the top of the shell.  The width should be fine, and it appears there's enough room for the connectors.

 

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Your old DCDR didn't receive serial data, so I'd stop looking for the link!

In your situation, I'd carefully measure the height of the board and how much clearance you have to the top of the shell.  The width should be find, and it appears there's enough room for the connectors.

 

One way to check clearance is to put some modeling clay on top of the board and put the shell back on and screw it down. Take the shell off and see how thick the clay is. 

As for the hidden screw holding the heat sink down its likely under the black molex connector at the bottom. With luck maybe you can access it from underneath.

I personally dislike working on Atlas diesels. Most are a major PITA to work on.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

You can also just remove the four screws on the heatsink and slide the DCDR out and use the old heatsink to mount the CC-M.  Just apply a little heatsink compound to the FET's on the CC-M.  That way you don't have to take the heatsink off at all.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

You can also just remove the four screws on the heatsink and slide the DCDR out and use the old heatsink to mount the CC-M.  Just apply a little heatsink compound to the FET's on the CC-M.  That way you don't have to take the heatsink off at all.

 

Would you recommend this heatsink compound?

https://www.amazon.com/ARCTIC-...aps%2C153&sr=8-4

I’m done minor electronics work in the past, but mostly I’ve done residential wiring.  So, I’ve never had a need for heatsink compound before.   This one has a thermal conductivity of 8.5 W/m-K which should be sufficient correct?

When I get my CC-M in, I may need to ask you to assist me in identifying my serial input which might be somewhere on my motherboard as per the ERR / CC-M install instructions below.  It also says I may have to connect the serial line directly to the R2LC board.  I can’t wait to get this installed in my SD-35.  Thanks again for your help!

 

 

 

 

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Truthfully, you don't have to break the bank buying the heatsink compound. 

Here's a lifetime supply: GENNEL 20g Grey Thermal Compound

This isn't that critical an application, but some thermal compound is needed.  Also, you'll get this stuff in a few days, not in a few weeks.

 

I finally had a chance to open up my SD35 and refresh my memory.  The board width is not the problem.  It is the orientation of the connectors that caused my problems.

Here is the OP's photo of the original DCDR.  Notice how the connector at the top of the board is orientated horizontally.  Also note the location of the screw hole in the frame of the locomotive.

DSC04173

This is my upgraded SD35.  Note how the connector is oriented vertically and its position directly over the screw hole.  This is where I ran into trouble.  The connector interferes with the mounting post on the shell of the locomotive.  If I try to bypass the connector by moving the shell forward or backward there is interference in other areas.  I found it easiest to slide the shell forward and pry the sides out slightly.  It still takes plenty of patience and a few choice words, but it will eventually go down.  I don't know if the connector can be eliminated and the serial data wire soldered directly to the pin as that is the only wire running to this connector.  What do you think, John?  That would definitely free things up.

DSC04176

You can see how the paint is rubbed off the mounting post where I had to force it past the connector.

Other than this issue, it was a pretty straight forward conversion.  Definitely well worth the cost and effort.

Tom 

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You certainly could remove the connector and solder the wire in.  I have never had to do this, but obviously the electrons won't know the difference.

FWIW, I had to remove connectors in the TMCC Camelback to fit the CC-M in, that was a Royal PITA to upgrade!

Just to throw another cruise variable, what I have done is to replace the driver board with a Lionel 691DCDEB01; its a back emf driver that fits into the same heat sink; believe Jon Z developed this for Lionel; have installed in engines that use the Lionel modular electronics as in your Atlas SD loco.  Get nice cruise from this at a good price.  Sure Guns and others have done the same mod.   Just another idea as it is a plug in upgrade as the ERR M.  Falcon70

Falcon70 posted:

Just to throw another cruise variable, what I have done is to replace the driver board with a Lionel 691DCDEB01; its a back emf driver that fits into the same heat sink; believe Jon Z developed this for Lionel; have installed in engines that use the Lionel modular electronics as in your Atlas SD loco.  Get nice cruise from this at a good price.  Sure Guns and others have done the same mod.   Just another idea as it is a plug in upgrade as the ERR M.  Falcon70

Falcon70—Your reply has definitely peaked my interest.  Are you saying that I can replace my current DCDR board on my circa 2000 Atlas SD35, with this driver board (691DCDEB01) you mention in lieu of the CC-M?  Would I also have to replace my existing R2LC-07 radio board with a R2LC-08 like I do if I end up going with the ERR CC-M ?  My current R2LC-07 is not compatible with the ERR CC-M.    The 691DCDEB01 per Lionel’s website is only $40 and if I don’t have to replace my R2LC-07 then that would save me another $40.  Thanks, DawgTrainman

You can, sort of.  The driver mentioned sometimes has issues with the serial data and needs a serial data buffer to function correctly.  It's not quite the drop-in that the ERR Cruise Commander M is.

You know; I have never had an issue with the serial data; as to the R2LC going to a 08 is a good idea; as to the serial data buffer, I am aware of it but have not had to use it; as I recall one may have to use the DCDS to feed serial data out to the railsounds board; very doable but again, I defer to Guns.  I have used this mod on several non odyssey diesels from Lionel and also the 1st generation Odyssey "lurch" versions.  Personally I find this change to be easier than the Cruise M; but Guns has done many more and he should know; I went with the lesser cost and have not been disappointed.  Falcon70

Trainman, look for this thread on the serial data buffer

R2LC Serial Data Buffer

by Gunrunner; he found this issue on the Cruise M picking up an RS4 by ERR; great solution; simply put sometimes the serial data from the R2LC does not have enough muscle to carry the DCDS and railsounds; Guns has a great solution.  Keep in mind I use ERR Cruise Cmdr when there are no Lionel modular boards to improve.  Guns is a wizard;  have fun and good luck; Falcon70

Falcon70 posted:

Personally I find this change to be easier than the Cruise M; but Guns has done many more and he should know; I went with the lesser cost and have not been disappointed.  Falcon70

Not sure how it could be easier than the CC-M, it's the exact same job as long as you don't have serial data issues.  You still need to supply the 10-pin connector and run the serial data to the R2LC, just like the CC-M.  The board is the exact same size as the CC-M as well.  So, I'm dying of curiosity, how is it easier?

Less cost is easier for me; John, there are ants and there are elephants; guess i prefer the elephants at my age!  Different solution to adding cruise; take care; Falcon

I'll yield on the low cost comment.

I've had enough oddities with these that I don't fool around with them for customers.  George (GGG) has a couple of real horror stories about trying to get a couple of these working.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
Tom Densel posted:

I finally had a chance to open up my SD35 and refresh my memory.  The board width is not the problem.  It is the orientation of the connectors that caused my problems.

Here is the OP's photo of the original DCDR.  Notice how the connector at the top of the board is orientated horizontally.  Also note the location of the screw hole in the frame of the locomotive.

DSC04173

This is my upgraded SD35.  Note how the connector is oriented vertically and its position directly over the screw hole.  This is where I ran into trouble.  The connector interferes with the mounting post on the shell of the locomotive.  If I try to bypass the connector by moving the shell forward or backward there is interference in other areas.  I found it easiest to slide the shell forward and pry the sides out slightly.  It still takes plenty of patience and a few choice words, but it will eventually go down.  I don't know if the connector can be eliminated and the serial data wire soldered directly to the pin as that is the only wire running to this connector.  What do you think, John?  That would definitely free things up.

DSC04176

You can see how the paint is rubbed off the mounting post where I had to force it past the connector.

Other than this issue, it was a pretty straight forward conversion.  Definitely well worth the cost and effort.

Tom

Tom—thanks for opening back up your SD35 and giving me a heads up on the potential of the 10 pin connector on the CC-M interfering with the mounting post on the engine shell.  

Truthfully, you don't have to break the bank buying the heatsink compound. 

Here's a lifetime supply: GENNEL 20g Grey Thermal Compound

This isn't that critical an application, but some thermal compound is needed.  Also, you'll get this stuff in a few days, not in a few weeks.

 

Thanks again for your insight into upgrading my circa 2000 Atlas SD-35 to CC-M.  I just received it, got it installed (took me about 30 min) and it runs beautifully.  The difference in performance is “night & day”!  

@Tom Densel posted:

I finally had a chance to open up my SD35 and refresh my memory.  The board width is not the problem.  It is the orientation of the connectors that caused my problems.

Here is the OP's photo of the original DCDR.  Notice how the connector at the top of the board is orientated horizontally.  Also note the location of the screw hole in the frame of the locomotive.

DSC04173

This is my upgraded SD35.  Note how the connector is oriented vertically and its position directly over the screw hole.  This is where I ran into trouble.  The connector interferes with the mounting post on the shell of the locomotive.  If I try to bypass the connector by moving the shell forward or backward there is interference in other areas.  I found it easiest to slide the shell forward and pry the sides out slightly.  It still takes plenty of patience and a few choice words, but it will eventually go down.  I don't know if the connector can be eliminated and the serial data wire soldered directly to the pin as that is the only wire running to this connector.  What do you think, John?  That would definitely free things up.

DSC04176

You can see how the paint is rubbed off the mounting post where I had to force it past the connector.

Other than this issue, it was a pretty straight forward conversion.  Definitely well worth the cost and effort.

Tom 

Tom—thanks again for your help.  I just received the CC-M, got it installed (took me about 30 min) and the performance enhancement is amazing!  Luckily enough, I did not have an issue getting that connector past the mounting post on my SD-35 shell so I guess mine had just slightly more clearance than yours.

Have two Atlas SD 35's, one, the R2LC 07 board, that failed.  I replaced it, with an R2LC08 board, available at that time.  There were some differences, associated with detail lighting, requiring small wiring changes.  IMO  Mike CT.   

Edit/add:  These models also came with a blind driver axle set, that could be swapped-out, with the installed center flanged driver axle, on the SD trucks, for operation, on smaller diameter curves.  

Last edited by Mike CT
@Mike CT posted:

Have two Atlas SD 35's, one, the R2LC 07 board, that failed.  I replaced it, with an R2LC08 board, available at that time.  There were some differences, associated with detail lighting, requiring small wiring changes.  IMO  Mike CT.   

Edit/add:  These models also came with a blind driver axle set, that could be swapped-out, with the installed center flanged driver axle, on the SD trucks, for operation, on smaller diameter curves.  

Mike—thanks for the info on your Atlas SD-35 upgrade.  You mentioned some differences with some detail lighting when you went to the R2LC-08.  I have noticed that my red marker lights do not function anymore now that I’ve done my CC-M upgrade and swapped in a new R2LC-08.  My original DCDR board did not have any connections for the marker lights and so the only wire I have going into the 10 pin connector on the new CC-M board is the serial in from the R2LC and that is connected to pin 1 of the that connector.  The CC-M directions have pins 3 through 6 as being outputs for the marker lights but again, my original DCDR did not have outputs for the marker lights so I’m at a loss as to how to get my marker lights working again.  Any insight?   

The marker lights were doubtless wired to the headlight circuit.  The R2LC-07 has a positive headlight output, the R2LC-08 has a negative headlight output.  Swap the polarity of the wiring to the markers and they'll light again.

The modular end, that connects the two marker light wires, to the board.  Left wire/Right wire.  There is a clip that requires a small metal blade, exacto-knife to release.    

@Mike CT posted:

The modular end, that connects the two marker light wires, to the board.  Left wire/Right wire.  There is a clip that requires a small metal blade, exacto-knife to release.    

 

Mike—that was certainly the problem.  There were two sets of purple wires (one set for each set of marker lights) that plugged into the motherboard.  I swapped the wires around in each plug and now I’m in business with working marker lights again!  Thanks so much!  

The marker lights were doubtless wired to the headlight circuit.  The R2LC-07 has a positive headlight output, the R2LC-08 has a negative headlight output.  Swap the polarity of the wiring to the markers and they'll light again.

John—bingo!  That did it.  I never would have figured that out without your help.  There are two sets of wires that plug into the motherboard for each set of marker lights.  They are indeed wired into the headlight circuit via the plate to the right of the motor in the picture below.  You have to make sure when the shell is being put on that the contact springs in the shell from the headlights (seen in the picture below) make contact with the plate in the body (makes it a tad tedious as I’ve had a flickering headlight before due to them not making contact just right...  . On another note, I thought I had a gremlin in my newly installed CC-M and/or new R2LC-08 as the train starting behaving erratically yesterday.  I figured out today that I had accidentally split the small bit of solder on the antenna wire where it connects to an eyelet on the antenna/small metal strip...  resoldered and is good again.  Never a dull moment!  Again appreciate the expert advice/help!   DawgTrainman

 

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