Product Update: Museum Quality EMD SDL39 Locomotive

Product Update: Museum Quality EMD SDL39 Locomotive
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Product Update: Museum Quality EMD SDL39 Locomotive

Each locomotive we offer is handcrafted from hundreds of individual parts. For the Museum Quality HO SDL39, over 1,000,000 parts were hand-painted, hand-assembled, and hand-inspected during the manufacturing process.  Because of the high number of parts and human touches, we expect a small percentage of models (normally less than 1%) to slip through the quality control process. If you’d like to learn more about how much effort goes into creating railroad, road number, and era-specific model trains, please watch this video.



When something goes awry, our Product Support team is happy to help find a resolution.

"Drooping Pilots"

For the SDL39, a higher-than-normal percentage of locomotives have front and/or rear “drooping pilots." Like you, we do not believe you should have to make adjustments to an all-new model that you just purchased.  Unfortunately, the horse is out of the barn so to speak. We apologize for falling short of your expectations and ours.

Thankfully, it’s an easy fix that should require less than 10-minutes of time, some small washers we can supply, and a small Phillips screwdriver. Please watch the video below for details.

If you have not paid for your preorder because you’re concerned about this issue, we’re now inspecting all SDL39s prior to shipping to ensure they do not have “drooping pilots." Please allow three (3) to five (5) business days for shipping SDL39 locomotive orders.

In addition, we’ve been working with our factory and have identified what is causing some pilots to droop.  Our factory has already made tooling changes and sent us a sample for evaluation. Future production runs will not have this issue.

If you’re uncomfortable working on your locomotive or would like us to send washers, please click the button below and complete the form. We’re happy to help.

Installing a NON-ESU DCC Decoder

In 2020, the NMRA updated the standards for 21-pin (21MTC interface) DCC decoders so up to 12 function outputs can be used.

The SDL39 has numerous lighting features that utilize all outputs on a 21MTC interface decoder. We recently learned most US-focused DCC manufacturers have not updated their decoders to the latest NMRA S9.1.1.2 standard which means all 12 function outputs are not available on their decoders. When a non-ESU decoder is installed in an SDL39, the lighting functions will likely not work.

To compensate for other DCC manufacturers not adopting these new standards, we’ve developed a workaround for customers who prefer to utilize other brands of DCC decoders. Basically, a small wire bridge needs to be installed on the SDL39 main board to enable the AUX9 output, pin 5 on the 21MTC interface (AUX12 on ESU decoders). This output is connected to Pin 16 (V+) on the interface to turn on the internal voltage regulator.

Please watch the video for step-by-step instructions.


Note: ScaleTrains is not responsible if the mainboard and/or DCC decoder are damaged while completing this solution.

If you are not comfortable soldering the jumper wire onto the mainboard, you’re welcome to ship your SDL39 to our service department., Inc.
Attn: SDL39 Jumper Wire
7598 Highway 411
Benton, TN  37307

We will install the jumper wire for $20 including return shipping.  We will email an invoice for payment prior to performing work.


 We’re Here to Help

We’re not perfect. We’re human and make mistakes.  That’s how God made us. If a model ever falls short of your expectations, please contact our Product Support team at 844-987-2467, extension 2, or Support We’re happy to help find resolutions.

As always, we truly appreciate your support and business. Without you, we would not be able to do what we love – create model trains to the best of our abilities.