This afternoon I got the bug to tinker with an old blue box SW1000 I bought used a while back, just when I was getting back into model railroading. With the arrival of newer and fancier power, along with DCC, it had been relegated to a shelf spot. It was time to change that.
The materials were on hand-a decoder, the tools and material for installing it, and decals to patch the unit from BN to BNSF. After pulling off the shell, I cut off the original headlight assembly and tore out the electrical clips. I soldered in a DH123 decoder using the supplied harness, and installed an LED for the headlight.
While watching the Packers and Giants, I turned to the shell. (It's hard to solder in the living room.) The decals had some green trim film that was used to cover the old road number, logo, and road name. After these set up the "BNSF" initials and new road number were applied.
I tested out the chassis, and it ran. After the game I went down, installed the headlight in the shell, mounted the decoder in the shell with double sided tape, and slapped it all together. Wonder of wonders, it still ran! Here's what it looks like now:
It's got the distinctive blue box "coffee grinder" sound, for no additional money. I also haven't figured out what to do about a rear headlight yet, but suspect it will involve a tiny SMD LED. You can see it still needs MU hoses and cables, along with couplers and weathering. And I know the road number is for an SW1500, but it's what Microscale included on the decal sheet I had. It doesn't bother me.
While not finished, I am surprised that I was able to decide to do something after lunch on a Sunday, start on it, and have the darn thing running by 7:00 PM. Most of my projects take multiple times longer than I anticipate, this one went by many times faster than I had figured on. I guess that's a good sign!