Any S-Gaugers out there??

I have several sets of American Flyer trains and am getting ready to start designing a layout. Any help is greatly appreciated. I would also like to convert the engines over to use DCC. Any thoughts on this too!!



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I am also starting to work on a layout for my AF equipment that I have from my boyhood and acquired the last couple of years. Been having fun with 3rdPlanIt software as well as getting ideas form THORs trains web site.

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As to use of DCC, I have converted one of my sets to DC operation using something called a Fricko Converto(this goes way back). Basically, what is done is using AC bridges to convert to DC out of the power pack and adding one to the universal motor terminals and putting in a reversing switch and you operate just like a DC HO set. As to going to DCC, I would think the issue would be needing a DECODER that has the oompf to push as AF engine. I suspect something that would work on O or G scale would work. That is something I am thinking of doing. There are a number of other WEB sites on S scale including how to do the AC to DC conversion but I can't find it right now. Seach on American Flyer and you might find a lot of information. I lost al lot of the URL's 'cause of a computer crash and I haven't built it up again. Hope this helps.

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fred mueller

ready to start

thoughts on


Converting AF steam locos with the reversing unit in the tender to DCC isn't all that hard.

First you have to convert them to DC motors, which is really simple since TIMKO makes a drop in can motor that has the correct worm gear and fly-wheel* built in. Depending on where you get them they run $25 - $30 each. If you are converting straight to DCC get the one that does NOT include the full-wave rectifier. You only need it if you will be converting to straight DC operation.

Just remove the original armature and field coil, then replace with the new can motor. I'm not a big fan of cloth covered wiring, so I remove the reversing unit and all existing wiring from the tender.

You'll need to fabricate a mounting for the decoder. I can't remember the number off the top of my head, but I've used the Digitrax two motor G-scale decoder with pretty good success. Since these locos have a built in 'chuff' with the smoke unit I haven't tried any Soundtrax decoders.

There are a few ways to wire the loco. The most basic is to connect the tender truck pick-ups to the decoder, the headlight, and the smoke unit. Then connect the motor to the decoder for DCC control.

Another option with the two motor decoder is the same as above, except connect the headlight to the 2nd motor output. This allows the brightness of the headlight to be controlled.

Or you can wire the smoke unit and/or headlight through relays to pick up track power. Then use decoder function controls to trigger the relays, allowing the smoke and/or headlight to be turned on and off.

There are other options, like adding a back-up light, that are only limited by your imagination.

*Note: TIMKO also makes these AF drop-in can motors without the fly-wheels. Personally, I don't recommend them as starts and stops are noticably more abrupt.

-- Len Head Rust Scraper KL&B Eastern Lines RR Museum

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Mentioned the TIMKO DC motors in my reply about converting AF locos to DCC and forgot to give the contact info for TIMKO.

You can contract them at:

Phone: (937) 429-1461


349 Grange Hall Rd Beavercreek, OH 45430


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John wrote: I have several sets of American Flyer trains and am getting ready to start designing a layout. Any help is greatly appreciated. I would also like to convert the engines over to use DCC. Any thoughts on this too!!


Here are a few sites that should be helpful:

Thor's All-Gauge Page (outstanding):

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Penn Western S Scale:
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Grandpa John & Colin's S Gauge:
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Paul Yorke's S-Train (great site with lots of S gauge/scale links):

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Hope you enjoy your trains!

Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:

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History of N Scale:
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Links to over 700 helpful sites:
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