Author Topic: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound  (Read 2192 times)

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BCR 570

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N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« on: September 14, 2014, 08:19:57 PM »
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I have been holding off diving into N Scale sound for several years until I could assess where it was going, and I was not seriously interested unless I could have better sound quality than I was hearing from factory installations, and I could have the correct sounds for my prime movers and airhorns.  That day seems to have arrived.  Inspired by John Colombo's tutorials and with the prospect of no less than three ESU LokSound-equipped locomotives coming to market (Atlas S-2, Intermountain SD40-2, Rapido Trains GMD-1) I decided to try one locomotive as a testbed.  I selected an Atlas GP9 special run from Prairie Shadows which required minimal conversion work and had simple lighting requirements.  it was also a mechanism which John had successfully converted for his GP7.

I began by removing the factory airhorns from the long hood and filling the holes with styrene.  I replaced them with a three chime airhorn on the short hood as well as a high hood bell, both from Miniatures By Eric.  I prepared an Eric winterization hatch to cover the forward fan, and installed a Sunrise Enterprises etched Sinclair antenna on the cab roof.  I also swapped out the factory couplers for Micro-Trains #1015 couplers.  Here is the model with the detail parts installed:




I sourced the LokSound Micro Select decoder from Tony's Train Exchange, which came pre-programmed for the correct EMD 567 prime mover.  The Star Micronics 8x12 speaker came from Litchfield Station.  It comes with a mounting gasket and plastic enclosure which were discarded:




Following John Colombo's tutorial, I attached the lead wires and enclosed the speaker with styrene.  Pictured below are an enclosed Knowles Fox speaker on the left and the Star Micronics speaker on the right:




My friend Dave Mackinnon installed the decoder and speaker largely following John's tutorial for his GP7, with a few modifications.  The decoder was mounted at an angle to clear the hood.  David Waterstreet assisted with programming the Nathan K3 airhorn and slow bell.  Here is the completed installation:




And here is the re-assembled locomotive with detail parts painted to match the hood.  The model still requires painting of the fuel tank and trucks, weahering and a final seal coat:



 
And how does it sound?  I am very impressed with the sound quality from the decoder and speaker, and the bell and horn definitely add "play value".  Also impressive is the motor control, better than my TCS-equipped locomotives I would say.  Here is a short video of the engine's recent visit to friend Mark Dance's Columbia & Western Railway:



My next goal is to convert an ALCO locomotive, proably my forthcoming build of a CN C-424.  If that goes well I will then commence retrofitting the BCR motive power fleet.  I am looking forward to hearing an ALCO 244 or 251 prime mover with the BCR's distinctive K5H horn!

A big thank you to David Mackinnon, David Waterstreet and John Colombo for all their help with this project., and to Mark for shooting the video.

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

GaryHinshaw

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 08:35:02 PM »
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Wow, that sounds surprisingly good Tim!  I look forward to hearing it in person some day.

BCR 570

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 08:51:11 PM »
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Would this coming Thursday at Mark's op session be soon enough for you?   :D

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

woodchip

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 09:42:46 PM »
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Absolutely brilliant,makes me wonder if I should change my GMD! reservation to a sound equipped one.

                                          hugh 

jdcolombo

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 10:05:57 PM »
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Sounds, looks and runs great, Tim.

The ESU recording of the EMD 567 V-16 is just terrific, IMHO.  I grew up literally across the street from an Illinois Central branch line that used GP7's and GP9's for switching duty, and I can still hear those engines in my brain.   The ESU decoder is the one that comes closest to that mental recording for me.

And your install is another example of why I've concluded that the Star Micronics 8x12mm is just as good as the larger Knowles Fox in these installations.  Unfortunately, we can't buy the Star Micronics in bulk anymore, but as you illustrated, you can still get it as the Zimo "sugar cube" speaker, and then just build a custom enclosure.

For those thinking about the GMD-1, my sense is that Rapido is working like the devil to make it sound every bit as good as my custom installs, so if you like this, you'll probably like the GMD-1.

Thanks for sharing, Tim.

John C.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 10:40:04 PM »
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Would this coming Thursday at Mark's op session be soon enough for you?   :D

A for reading between the lines.  :)

wmcbride

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 11:58:46 PM »
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Really a nice installation and super sound.

Look, John Colombo, what you have started!
Bill McBride

craigolio1

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 02:51:34 PM »
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread here,

Tim...  have you experimented with pulling power on your helix?  As you know I'm in the final stages of my dinner train which includes a decoder in CRS-20 #601.  I know I can't get the sounds that are accurate for the CAT engine, but the lighting is so complex on this locomotive that if I'm putting a decoder in it, I'm only doing it once so it may as well be with Alco sounds.

My concern is that my TLT RS18 (Atlas RS11) will have to drag it's 10 car train up my as yet un-built helix.   Removing material to accommodate the speaker and decoder will reduce weight.  Add to that that i don't have the luxury of the high hood to put the decoder.  I believe my only option is to put the decoder in the back and the speaker in the fuel tank.

Another option is to put sound in the power car, but if I want to be able to run the loco at either end of the train, as per the prototype, it would be best in the locomotive.

So back to my question about pulling power.  What can your single GP-9 pull up your helix?

Thanks, Craig

BCR 570

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 02:10:41 AM »
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No apologies required for resurrecting the thread - this is a current topic and in fact I will be presenting on the topic at Trains.

I have had two RS-3s without traction tyres pull 20 cars most with 2 x 1/4 oz weights on board up the helix.

The weight loss from removed material would be negligible I think.

I will see what the single GP-9 can pull for you.

Tim


T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

craigolio1

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Re: N Scale Atlas/Prairie Shadows GP9 with ESU LokSound
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2014, 05:49:38 AM »
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No apologies required for resurrecting the thread - this is a current topic and in fact I will be presenting on the topic at Trains.

I have had two RS-3s without traction tyres pull 20 cars most with 2 x 1/4 oz weights on board up the helix.

The weight loss from removed material would be negligible I think.

I will see what the single GP-9 can pull for you.

Tim

Thanks Tim!  Any chance I could get a video of your clinic ?