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Converting the Tenshodo SPUD to DCC

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  • Converting the Tenshodo SPUD to DCC

    There have been a number of questions on this topic lately so here is my how to.

    I will continue on a reply to allow future edits.

  • #2
    Here is the whole drive, thanks for the picture Tom

    Here is the drive broken down to it's parts. You access the motor from the bottom of the drive. There may be a small screw at one end that needs to be removed and then a clip in each corner on the side of the drive that has to be wiggled loose.

    Note the location of the wheel pick ups and where they touch the motor. Ignore the black line.

    Note that you now need to make sure the wheel pickups do not contact the motor. I bent my contacts back as I wanted to solder the red and black decoder leads to the tabs to avoid melting the plastic motor mount.

    In the next picture you can see tabs that extend up from the motor to the top of the truck. They were intended to use to attach lights to the truck. Any lights you will need can be powered from the decoder.

    Here is the drive back together with the decoder wires soldered on. I used a TCS M1 decoder as it is the smallest I have found. This drive will go in a railcar.

    The orange and grey wires are soldered to the motor pick ups in top of the Spud. The red and black wires are soldered to the metal wheel pick ups on the side. Yellow, blue and white will be used to attach to LED's.

    This was a very quick project but it required my sons help to hold the spud and solder. I worked the soldering iron and adjusted the wires. Boy four hands are better than two and my son AKA Gomez Adams owed be for dropping an engine earlier this week .

    Feel free to ask questions.


    • #3
      Glad you did this Larry.. this makes it possible for us to have a lot of little critters running around on the rails (someday for me)- makes things more interesting.



      • #4
        Bravo Larry!! I cant believe my eye!!!

        Great job....



        • #5
          hanks BigLars. I guess As soon as mine arrives in the mail I will start on my own, now that I know what the heck I am doing.


          • #6

            Thanks for the 1,2,3, step install. Very easy. No fuss, no muss .... [:-spin] that 3rd and 4th hand are nice to have.

            Give Gomez a :up:

            I've been running my 35 mm spud around the rails on DC. Very nice unit. [:-bouncy] :up:
            Tom M.


            • #7
              Outstanding how-to Larry. And it's a more permanent installation. Now you know why I done mine by soldering the decoder's motor wires to thin strips of shim brass that would fit down into the slots, insulated on one side, between the pick-up/wiper metal and the motor's lugs. As stated here; It saves taking apart the motor unit and needing four hands. I took the easy way out, but you have for sure made a nice permanent install. Well done!

              Louis L&R Western Railroad
              Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


              • #8
                Thanks to all.


                I liked your idea, and was going to try it; I just did not have any brass shims on hand.

                Incase anyone needs to know the spud was very easy to take apart and put back together again.

                I think that this conversion is one of the easiest non plug and plays I have ever tackled (if you have help for two minutes from two extra hands).

                The whole conversion took me 5 minutes (good thing as that is the full length of my 13 year old son's attention span).

                I just wish it was easier to get these drives in the North America; they have so much potential for ON30 critters.

                I am waiting to see some other builds with these drives. I know four of you have them on your to do list.



                • #9
                  Where can one purchase Tenshodo SPUDS? I have not seen them in a hobby shop in many years.



                  • #10
                    Larry I agree, I wish we could get them easy here in the US. Aren't we suspose to get anything and everything in the US?

                    DavidB,as Tom forum member (Tommatthews)has posted before the motors can be found at'

                    Louis L&R Western Railroad
                    Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


                    • #11

                      Thanks for link...



                      • #12
                        I received mine in 8 days which is excellent service for mail order to here .....
                        Tom M.


                        • #13
                          Thanks for how to Larry....made it easy!

                          I took one apart this morning -

                          Fairly easy, just remove one screw and get the bottom plate off. It slides one way and then pops off.

                          After removing the wheels, bend the "ears" straight on the top of the mech and lift the motor assy out.

                          Carefully pry the wheel pick-up ears out and fold back over the frame.

                          After you do that, put the motor assy back in, sliding the ears through the two accomodating slots in the frame.

                          It's tricky, but lay the assembly on its back (top down) and put each wheel assembly back in, carefully meshing the gears. Make sure each set of contacts are behindthe wheels.

                          You might want to tape one set down, once you have it in.

                          Replace the bottom cap and return the tiniest screw to its proper place on the frame.

                          Take your VOM and check the tabs:

                          Both sides should be independent of pick-up from each other, and the motor should be isolated.

                          Orange and Gray wires go to the "ears" on the motor, and the Black & Red wires go to the tabs that you previously bent outward.

                          If I can do it with one eye, you should be able to get it done in about 20 minutes.....

                          Sorry for no Pictures.....Best I could do.


                          • #14
                            Good stuff Geezer are you having fun now driving the spud?


                            • #15
                              Larry - I hafta wait for the tiny decoder and I have to plan something

                              to put it in...mebbe a open hood critter ....I dunno yet. I will post pix when I get it going....