QSI Revolution-A Athearn F7 Lighting and Sound Notes
Discontinued, replaced by Titan series of sound decoders.
Thanks to Steve at Ulrich Models for this comprehensive Athearn Gen F unit installation info.
The Athearn Genesis F7 is a great locomotive to add QSI revolution sound to. Not only does it add great motor control and sound, the Revolution supports all the lighting effects required to implement independent control of all headlight and Mars light functions of the Athearn F7.
The Athearn F7 is a unique model; it is the only model that supports two independent bulbs in the headlight and Mars light. Almost all other F7s use a single LED for the headlight and a single LED for the Mars light. Although LEDs offer some advantages over the Athearn lamps, the lamp configuration of the Athearn F7 is more prototypical. After presenting some background, the QSI lighting features will be discussed.
The photos below show an actual F7 and the Athearn F7 front view.
Modernized EMD F7
Athearn Model - Late Phase II F7 Prior to Complete Modernization
A Word on the F7 and Athearn Lighting
As you can see, the real F7 and the Athearn F7 are very close. Most other HO F7s use a single LED in place of the dual bulbs. The Athearn F7 presents the most prototypical Mars and headlight assemblies of the HO models made today. However, it is worthwhile to note that the Athearn F7 does not support lighted number boards while virtually every other major F unit manufacture does. Seems it would be too much to ask for one model to have it all.
Even though models using a single LED may not be as prototypical for the headlight and Mars light assemblies, there are some advantages; LEDs never needing replacement; this is a big one; LEDs can also look great when on. The models using LEDs usually mount the LEDs to the chassis so there are not any wires running from the chassis to bulbs as in the Athearn model. The shell can be removed without worrying about four wire pairs. If you have ever changed the bulbs in the Athearn F7 headlamps or Mars light, you will really appreciate the last point. It is a terrible job. The whole headlamp assembly is stuck together with a silicon adhesive which covers the back of the bulbs and wires. To make matters worse, factory Athearn bulbs are poor quality and often burn out quickly. It is recommended to change them with a high quality long life bulb at the same time you do the DCC installation. The Miniatronics 18001-10 are a good option, Lamp, Clear, 1.5 V, 15 mA, 1.2mm dia, 500 hrs.
Background of the Santa Fe F7 Red and White Mars Light
The red light and the white Mars Lights were turned on and off independently. I have been unable to find a perfectly clear explanation of how they were used but I did find some published rules that are listed a little later in this section. Some of the possible uses of the red light were: (1) Used as an emergency light or a light indicating that the locomotive is stopped and traffic should not pass until cleared by the crew. (2) The light was turned on while stopped at a station and loading and unloading passengers. (3) It was on when backing.
Here is the text I found about the light.
I looked up the use of the white and red lights in the 1959 Operating Department rules. Rule 17 includes the following:
"On engines equipped with gyrating lights, the white beam will be displayed by night in addition to the headlight. When a train, with engine so equipped, is stopped suddenly, the red beam must be immediately displayed and trains on adjacent tracks observing red beam must stop and not proceed until it is known that their track is clear."
The same portion of rule 17 in 1966 is slightly different:
“The white gyrating light on engines so equipped must be displayed by night, and will also be displayed by day during heavy fog, snow, dust storms or other weather conditions which impair vision. Should train be stopped suddenly, the red beam must be displayed immediately. Trains on adjacent tracks observing red beam must stop, and not proceed until it is known that their track is clear."
QSI Revolution Lighting and Sound Configuration for the Genesis F7
The QSI decoder has six light ports which can be assigned to about 16 different functions. The port assignments are made when the sound set is loaded into the decoder. They can be changed prior to loading the sound set into the decoder using the Quantum Programmer. The headlight and reverse light assignments are fixed and cannot be reassigned.
QSI supports two Mars light features, a front Mars light and a rear Mars light. When these two features are both assigned a port, it is possible to control and configure two independent Mars lights.
Here are the lighting assignments recommended for the Athearn F7. If you purchased the Athearn Genesis QSI Revolution (Revolution/G) decoder from us, this is how your QSI decoder is configured. By assigning both the front and rear Mars lights each to a port, the red light and white light can be gyrated and controlled independently.
Athearn F7 Assignments
Port 1 – Headlight
Port 2 – Reverse Light
Port 3 – Rear Mars Light
Port 4 – Front Cab Light
Port 5 – Front Mars Light
Port 6 – Number Boards
QSI Programmer Light Port Assignment
Next in the mapping section of the decoder, the following function assignments have been made.
- F10 = Rear (Red) Automatic Mars Light On/Off
- F12 = Front Automatic Front Mars Light On/Off
The Quantum Programmer image below shows how the Mars lights are configured. It also shows the CV numbers for the Mars features. The detailed explanation for the CVs is in the Quantum DCC Reference Manual.
As you can see, you have great control over the Mars lights. You can configure their operation for all running and stopped modes. Also, you can tailor the light cycle duration and intensity parameters.
The Athearn Genesis QSI Board from Ulrich Models
The normal Revolution-A board has current limiting resistors for one LED or one 1.5 volt 15 mA light bulb per light port. The 33-A/G-1000-000 Revolution Genesis board from Ulrich models has the headlight and reverses light resistors changed to support two 15 mA bulbs. Since most Athearn Genesis have dual bulbs, this change is required.
The QSI Revolution Athearn F7 document gives detailed installation and wiring instructions. Only a brief port wiring guide is furnished below. This is the wiring for the function lead. The other lead of each bulb must go to a 5 volt common tab.
FO-R Reverse Light
F3 Red Mars Light
F4 Cab Light
F5 White Mars Light
F6 Number Boards
The F7 Sound Set
The decoder sound set for the Athearn F7 is the High Base EMD 1st Generation sound. A variety of horns can be selected. Presently these are selected by specifying the sound set ID or contacting us by email or phone for customization. More customization options will be available on the web site in the future.
Early EMD F7s had 2 chime horns while many modernized F7s had five Chime horns. On the Santa Fe, the 5 chime horn was the Leslie S5T. The 2 Chime was the Leslie Tyfon A-200
All sound volumes are individually controlled through CVs including motor and the Turbo. Using combinations of motor volume and turbo, it is possible to tailor the locomotive sounds.
When configuring the Revolution for use in DC with a Quantum Engineer, The Red bulb should be wired to the number board output. The Quantum Engineer has a button for number boards; turning the number boards on or off controls the red light.