Author Topic: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation  (Read 2306 times)

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jdcolombo

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ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« on: July 26, 2015, 10:29:24 AM »
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Hi everyone.

Over the past several months I've been updating sound installations that I did years ago in my steam locos - before ESU LokSound came out with their v.4 and Select Micro decoders, and long before I discovered Knowles Acoustics and their line of cell-phone type speakers.  I just completed an update in my Bachmann 2-8-0, and thought you might like to see how I did it and how it turned out.

First, as usual when I post these "tutorials," I'll cut to the chase.  Here's a video of the completed project:

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And here's how I did it.   This version of the Consolidation is the one released in 2001; it was DCC ready, with space in the boiler area to fit a small decoder, but it did not have wiring running to the tender as does the most recent version (the DCC-equipped version, released in 2010).  However, I bought a couple of DCC-ready tenders from Bachmann shortly after buying these engines, so this particular Connie had the Bachmann DCC-ready tender, which had a circuit board inside for connecting a decoder.

Because I wanted to keep a way to detach the tender from the engine if I needed to, I decided to use a 4-wire TCS wiring harness with micro connectors on each end to connect the engine to the tender.   TCS makes a variety of these harnesses, some with mini-connectors, some 6 wire, some color coded.  I chose the micro connector (smaller than the mini connector) to save space in the tender, and didn't use a color-coded harness - the one I have has three black wires and one white wire (so you can plug the harness together in the right orientation).  If I were using more than 4 wires, I'd use a color-coded harness just to keep all the wires straight.

Photos 1 and 2 below show how to route the harness and wire it to the engine.  I removed the shell and desoldered the motor wires along with the wires going to the headlight circuit board.   This engine used a yellow LED as the headlight; I decided to change this to a “sunny white” 3mm LED from Richmond Controls.  I routed two of the four wires on each side of the engine; the middle two wires of the harness are the motor wires.  If you label the wires starting with the white wire as 1 (for the white wire), 2, 3, and 4, then wire 2 is soldered to the engineer side motor brush and will eventually hook to the orange decoder wire.  Wire 3 goes to the fireman side motor brush, and the gray decoder wire.  Wire 1 (the white wire) goes to the cathode (negative) of the LED; I have wired a 1/8-watt, 1K-ohm resistor in-line with this as a dropping resistor for the LED (you might be able to see the bulge in the heat-shrink tubing at the end of the white wire in Photo 2; this is where the resistor is).  Wire #4 goes to the anode (positive) of the LED, and eventually to the blue decoder wire.  I left about 2” of the harness hanging from the back of the engine – this will connect to the other end of the harness (wired to the ESU decoder) inside the tender – and then cut the ends of the wires to the necessary length for wiring to the motor and LED.





After completing the engine wiring harness, I put the shell back on and set the engine aside.  Then it was time to work on the tender.  The tender is a DCC-ready medium tender from Bachmann that came with a circuit board installed.  I took out the circuit board by removing the two screws holding it on and desoldering the wires to the phosphor bronze pickup strips.  The following photo shows the stripped-down tender:



I drilled some #70 holes in the coal load for sound egress and then wired the other end of the 4-wire harness to the ESU’s white, orange, gray and blue wires, to match to the engine harness.  I cut off the yellow, green and violet function wires, since I didn’t need them for this installation.  I also installed two 16v, 220uf tantalum caps wired in parallel for keep alive (WARNING: I keep my track voltage at 11.5v; if you don’t know your track voltage or will be running the engine on other layouts, I recommend using 100uf 20v caps instead; you can fit three of these in the space where I have my two located and that should be plenty to avoid momentary dropouts).  The positive (stripe) end of the caps is wired to the blue decoder wire; the negative end is wired to a blank pad on the “back” side of the decoder directly opposite the blue wire; I used the greed wire I had cut from the decoder for this connection.   
The photo below shows the ESU decoder installed in the back of the tender shell with the TCS harness wired in and the connections to the caps which are immediately to the decoder’s left.  The red and black wires have been stripped and tinned, and the brown wires await connection to the speaker.



The speaker is a 9x16mm Knowles Fox (now replaced by the Knowles Wildcat, same size) that I put in a custom enclosure.  The enclosure is made from .040 styrene on the long sides and .020 on the short sides and bottom; this makes the overall length of the speaker/enclosure a perfect friction fit inside the tender, firing up at the coal load.  The depth of the enclosure is 7.5mm.  I put the speaker in place, then soldered the speaker leads to the ESU’s speaker output wires (the brown wires) and the red and black wires to the pickup strips inside the tender.   The photo below shows the completed wiring in the tender.



Then I reattached the tender (with the shell still hanging off) to the engine, connected the engine harness to the decoder harness with the micro-plug, and popped the shell back on the tender.   Here's a photo of the final result with the coal load removed so you can see what this looks like: if you look carefully at the photo with maximum enlargement, you should be able to just make out the harness wires at the bottom of the tender to the left of the speaker; to the right are the two keeper caps.



And that's it (well, I put the coal load back on!).   I know the Connie has been a very popular engine, and hope that this helps those of you who might want to add sound but have been reluctant to do so.  It's really not that hard, and if you have one of the DCC-installed units, it is even easier because Bachmann already provides the wiring back to the tender.

As always, I'm happy to answer any questions about the installation.

John C.

hminky

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2015, 11:07:05 AM »
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Never impressed with those cellphone speakers.

Used these 15mm in my HO Bachmann Old Time 4-4-0 conversion:

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/CDMG15008-03A/CDMG15008-03A-ND/1242520



Sounds like this:


That was recorded with an old analog video recorder.

Article at:

http://www.pacificcoastairlinerr.com/1879/bachmann_4-4-0/sound/

Thank you if you visit
Harold

jdcolombo

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2015, 11:24:38 AM »
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Nice!  Despite HO scale, no much more room there than in the N-scale 2-8-0, particularly after allowing for the motor.

I actually had the 15mm round in the round enclosure (just like what you have) in my 2-8-0 with a TSU-750 before I updated the installation.   To my ears, the 15mm round is just too "tinny" in its sound; the chuffs have no real weight to them.  But each ear is different (that's why some people prefer vinyl records to digital CD's, or prefer Bose speakers to JBL).  Here is an old video I took of the same 2-8-0 (different layout - this was my old spare bedroom layout before I rebuilt the NKP in my basement) with the 15mm round and the TSU-750 providing sound; I think the difference in the overall balance of the sound is quite dramatic and favors the Knowles speaker by a wide margin, but to each his/her own.  I do still think that the Tsunami bell sounds better than the LokSound's:

/>
John C.

hminky

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2015, 01:18:53 PM »
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The "tinny" exhaust isn't the speaker. 

Soundtraxx steam exhaust is tinny if you use a speaker with mostly high end.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough room for a second speaker with more mid-range:




The edition of the second speaker with mostly low end makes a world of difference.

Tried a Digitrax 144 series decoder in the 4-4-0. The chuff was better with the 15mm speaker but the other available steam sounds weren't as good.

Harold


Cajonpassfan

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 02:14:32 PM »
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Umm, Harold, how do you add a second 15" mm speaker with "mostly low end"?
In my experience, squeezing performance out of any speaker is as much about the enclosure as anything else. In N scale, we have extreme limitations, and properly baffled Knowles speakers a la Colombo squeeze out as much performance as anything. Two would be better,  but given our space, it's apples and, well, pumpkins...:)

Regards, Otto K.

carlso

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 02:32:08 PM »
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Hi Harold,

what you have done sounds great but you keep wanting to compare HO to N scale installs. Just not the same as Otto has stated. Even in the large N scale tenders ala FEF, GS4, Challenger, there is not enough room for two speakers. Speaking of speakers you stated that "the tinny exhaust isn't the speaker" but then you turned around and contradicted yourself by saying "Soundtraxx steam exhaust is tinny if you use a speaker with mostly high end". Isn't that saying the problem is the speaker or are you saying the Soundtraxx steam exhaust is less than top notch?

Respectfully,
Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

hminky

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2015, 03:47:49 PM »
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The "tinny" exhaust isn't the speaker. 

Soundtraxx steam exhaust is tinny if you use a speaker with mostly high end.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough room for a second speaker with more mid-range

Tried a Digitrax 144 series decoder in the 4-4-0. The chuff was better with the 15mm speaker but the other available steam sounds weren't as good.
Not comparing install, just stating that the Tsunami's exhaust is "tinny". The speakers Soundtraxx sells are mostly low end frequency oriented.

Tried a Soundtraxx 1/2" in the 4-4-0 and the exhaust wasn't "tinny" but the other sounds were flat.

The 4-4-0 isn't a normal HO install, all that fits is a 15mm speaker, barely. Just comparing speaker sounds.

If you listen to an Bachmann HO steam locomotive with a 1" speaker the exhaust sounds "tinny".

Harold

carlso

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2015, 09:59:41 PM »
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Harold,

Just read your re-building the 4-4-0, nice work. It is a problem to find the "all around perfect sounding" speaker, especially for N scale. I have found the Knowles Acoustics speakers to work quite nicely. Not to seem hard headed (what me) but you stated you do not care for the cell phone speakers and I am wondering if you might share your thoughts regarding them. I think the two of us are very much in sync regarding an adequate enclosure for what ever speaker is used.

Regards,
Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

MVW

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2015, 11:01:45 PM »
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John, I just gotta say thanks for posting these tutorials. I haven't had the guts to undertake something like this, but your directions make success at least remotely possible for a newb like me. Someday, I'll destroy an engine trying to do what you do.  :o

Jim

jdcolombo

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 08:36:11 AM »
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John, I just gotta say thanks for posting these tutorials. I haven't had the guts to undertake something like this, but your directions make success at least remotely possible for a newb like me. Someday, I'll destroy an engine trying to do what you do.  :o

Jim

Hi Jim.

I know it looks daunting, but actually something like the 2-8-0 is a great place to start, because it's really pretty straightforward.  Even getting the shell off the engine is easy - you pull the two front ladders away from the shell, and lift up the back end while sliding forward slightly.  Not even a screw to deal with.  Once the shell is off, all the internal wiring is easy to get to - the motor brush leads are right out in the open.  Running two wires up front to light an LED for the headlight is easy-peasy.  And if you're queasy about soldering wires to motor brushes (the one place you could theoretically do some damage), not a problem - just leave the Bachmann wires in place, and attach your wires to theirs (always remember to insulate wire joints with heat-shrink tubing, though - you don't want a joint touching the frame and blowing up your installation).

In the tender, there's a little more work, but again it's nothing magic.  Unscrew the circuit board and toss it.  File down the plastic spacers that held the circuit board up away from the bottom of the tender, and you have a pretty nice flat floor, with just the tender pickup strips showing.  You can attach the rear part of the wire harness and keep alive with the decoder on the bench before installing in the tender.  Putting it in the tender shell is just a matter of attaching a piece of double-sided tape and sticking it on the underside of the top of the shell.  Now position the keep alive caps and the speaker, wire up the speaker to the brown wires on the decoder and the red/black leads from the decoder to the pickup strips, hook up the engine wire harness by plugging it to the decoder, reattach the tender to the engine, pop the shell on, and you're done.  I think that even someone who has never done an installation could do the 2-8-0 in about 4 hours.  And once you've done one, the next one gets easier, and easier, and easier.  The hardest part about these installations is usually the planning - where do I put the decoder?  How big a speaker?  How deep can the speaker's enclosure be and still fit?  That's what I try to contribute - the overall base engineering.  If you've wired up a layout; put together a kit; made up and "planted" trees, you can do this. 

So don't be afraid.  And if you run into a problem, e-mail me.  Always happy to help if I can.

John

PS - you do need three specific tools: a good 15-watt soldering iron with the smallest pencil tip available; a wire-stripper that will handle 30-gauge or smaller wire; and some decent tweezers for holding wires while soldering or de-soldering them.  Modelers usually already have tweezers; the soldering iron and wire stripper can be ordered off the 'net.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 08:47:19 AM by jdcolombo »

MVW

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 11:27:13 AM »
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Thanks for the tips, John. This is something I definitely will try ... but it will be 6 months or so from now. I have two other engines on order (the Atlas S-2 and VO-1000), but once they're paid for a Consolidation is definitely in the cards.

Do I recall you doing a sound installation in a VO-1000? TIme to search.

Jim

jdcolombo

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 06:51:27 PM »
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Yes, I did a VO-1000.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31637.0

I don't think I'd start with this one as my first sound install, though . . .

John C.

MVW

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Re: ESU LokSound in a Bachman 2-8-0 Consolidation
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 07:29:02 PM »
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Roger that. I'll have a go at a Connie first.

Jim