How to install DCC and LEDs into a Proto 2000 Locomotive (part 1)

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Hey guys!

This is a three part tutorial on how to install and convert your analog proto 2000 locomotive to a DCC locomotive with LED lights installed. I get my lights from Evan designs, they can be purchased from “” The decoders I use are digitrax DN143IP, but a digitrax DH123PS will work just as well if you can get it to fit. The locomotive I use in this video is a walthers proto 2000 RS27. Remember, on proto 2000 locomotives the blue wire goes to the positive lead, and the white wire is the negative. LEDS withOUT capacitors will need to be installed the right way, or it will not work. Wikipedia has a good article for information on that. The led positive lead will be the smaller piece inside the bulb, and the negative is the larger

Thanks for watching How to install DCC and LEDs!

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modeltrain9500 says:


I dont know actually. If the proto heritage instructions and electronics are the same, then yes. I have never owned or seen a proto heritage locomotive (Steam loco's right?). I imagine it would be similar, but im not sure.

modeltrain9500 says:


I think it should be in the instructions or elsewhere on the internet. However, when I find it necessary to work on my locomotives, I will be sure to include a video of how to do that.

STEELHORSE1975 says:

can u put the led's in with out having dcc????if so how?

modeltrain9500 says:


I imagine you could, however im not sure how. The DCC systems are a constant 16 volt charge going though the rails at all times. non dcc trains use different voltages i believe, so im not sure how the lighting and electronics work exactly.

jgehbrr says:

Excellent instruction and the video is superb in illustrating what is being taught

modeltrain9500 says:


Thanks for the kind words!

Michael Maass says:

Hi, I just finished watching your video on installing an LED in a Proto 2000 (1). Your LED came equipted with a resistor and capacitor. I have LEDs without resistors or capacitors. Which resister and / or capacitor are needed? Are they really needed? I was thinking that resister would do the trick. How do you know what is needed?

modeltrain9500 says:

you will need to put some type of resistor on it. To be honest I'm not really sure what type of resistor you need, but a simple google search should answer that for you. I want to say a 1000 ohm resistor will do it for you, but i cannot be sure.

modeltrain9500 says:

take out the coupler pocket screws and then the few that are under the trucks. Some have them some don't. Honestly i forget exactly, so if I were you, Id either google it or check the parts diagram. make sure you don't unscrew the motor

vellieux says:

you keep saying capacitor, dont you mean resistor?

modeltrain9500 says:

well, I know they have a resistor in them. However, I think they also have a capacitor to make it even easier for the person who is installing them. These LED's just plug and play, it doesn't matter which lead goes to positive or negative, it is all taken care of by the little resistor/capacitor thing. Im not exactly sure what it really is, but you can check it out at evan designs website

manny6584 says:

I know you posted a year ago but do you think you should be touching that bulb with your bear finger. Will the oil from your finger get hot and burn out the bulb?

modeltrain9500 says:

you raise an interesting point. On standard incandescent bulbs this might be an issue, but LED lights are much more energy efficient and put out a lot of light, and much less heat. LED lights even when illuminating for hours do not even get too hot to touch, so I doubt the oils would create a problem.

Howard Skipper says:

Make a bridge of sryrene where the original light board screwed on. Then attach everything to it. Keep up the good work.

Andrews Farm says:

?big voice difference haha your layout rules dude! keep up the good work!

Clark Neider says:

Does the shell come off in the same way on a P2K GP7 or GP9?

CSX2665 says:

can you do the same for a dcc decoder w speaker?

Twin Fun says:

Can you please upload a video on how to install a dcc decoder (9pin) into a life-like proto 2000 sd60. Thx

bqbt says:

You said capacitor, you meant to say bridge rectifier

HARPO1ME says:

Proto 2000 are the best. Built to last as long as you maintain them. Have a few first run life likes and they are still going. Always wanted one of those Rs 27's along with the p1k rs 18. They seem to have eluded me so far.

Gary Lester says:

I hope you?ve improved on your camera work and editing since you shot this one ??. Cheers ?

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