Reviving a very old thread here, but an appropriate place for my inquiry:
Wanting an RDC for my layout and very deliberately not wanting either an Athearn (too short) or Rapido (too expensive) one, I got on evilBay recently and found a P1K RDC, fully aware that it was not DCC-equipped, for a very reasonable price. When it arrived, I unboxed it, put it on the test track, and it runs like a top with my ancient Tyco power pack.
Now, to equip it for DCC. Granted, I had not done any investigation about what it takes to get DCC into one, but I figured it would not take all that much effort. Maybe I was wrong? The DCC conversion articles for this model that I have found all talk about cutting traces on the board and soldering each of the eight individual wires on a decoder to the board and even removing diodes and soldering jumpers and extra resistors and a whole lot of other rather drastic measures. Really?
Am I capable of doing that kind of stuff? Yes, I am. I know which end of a soldering iron not to touch, and in fact, very few of the locomotives I own came with DCC out of the box. I've put six-function decoders, full LED lighting, and even sound into Athearn Blue Box, Atlas Yellow Box, and other legacy locomotives many times. It's usually a pretty straightforward process that I'm very comfortable with. But do I want to go through all this PC board surgery and whatnot on this RDC? Not particularly - even finding that one resistor specified can be a pain. Not like you can just jump in the car and run down to Radio Shack... more likely you'll find it online, pay a buck for the resistor, and $10.95 for shipping. Nah, there's got to be a better way out there.
I have not yet taken the shell off and looked around the innards yet, but before I do, a few questions - what is so important about that PC board that everything I see online about DCC conversion of this model specifies keeping the thing and doing moderately serious hacking on it? Couldn't I just rip the whole PC board out altogether, figure out how to isolate the motor, and hard wire a decoder to the track and motor leads as if it was an old Athearn? Also, was there really never a "drop in light board replacement"- type DCC decoder ever made for a LL P1K RDC, and if there was, what was the manufacturer and model number? Anyone have firsthand experience with any of the above methods who can comment? Thanks!