Author Topic: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review  (Read 1864 times)

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Nato

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Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« on: September 06, 2015, 03:40:31 PM »
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 :|          I received yesterday the two MRC / Model Power  DCC Sound Equipped 2-8-2 locomotives I have had on order one SP and one UP. This is only a partial review as my home layout is DC only and I have to wait until the Wasatch N Scale layout is set up to test full DCC functions, but all I can say so far is wozzers!  First off let me say the locomotives look the same as their old DC version, no detail to be road specific like Bachmann, the Plain Jane Southern Railway Pacific in the Model Railroader advert makes that clear, but road specific features are present like on the old models, red cab windows on the SP locomotive, oil SP tender, Coal UP tender, even the small data markings on the tender sides near the front are readable. Now for the operational review. On DC the locomotives run very smoothly straight out of the box, the steam sound (chuff, chug) is very loud and full . Did they use a large speaker in the Vanderbilt Tender? Now for all the interesting good ( no great stuff) . The coupler on the rear of the tender is a semi automatic design, that is height adjustable, yes height adjustable. An instruction sheet is included just about this feature, and how to reassemble it if it comes apart in shipping. The front coupler like on previous models is a pivoting dummy to allow for double heading, these are a bit stiff, but could be lubricated. There is an amazing wealth of decoder information on a two sided sheet, to list all the CV values would take up a book (no a novel). Just to list a few key ones, 10 types of synchronized chuff sounds, 17different types of whistles, 8 different types of bell, programmable individual volumes (64-levels), programmable master sound volumes (64-levels), supports full read back of address and CV Values .........I could go on and on. A complete CV programming chart. A separate parts sheet with diagrams and part numbers. All this and a "One Year Warranty". No the backup light on the tender is a dummy, but the headlight in default mode does go out when backing up. If you have DCC key five produces a brake release hiss sound before starting up, I know this because it is mentioned in the getting started in DCC instructions. Now if MRC / MP would do Union Pacific in two tone gray regular locomotive, not their wrong  Semi-Streamlined version. Finally the nice packaging that MP used has been wisely retained. Outer cardboard box with side view diagrams of locos with both standard USRA and vandy tenders on the top, the nice marking system on the box ends so you can tell which locomotive is inside. The foam lined plastic storage cases are the same with raised "MODEL POWER" lettering, and thankfully a return to the nice flat grayish-black color, not to horrid bright green used by MP on their smaller steamers 4-4-0 etc. Nate Goodman (Nato)    :|.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 06:44:11 AM by GaryHinshaw »

robert3985

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2015, 12:43:01 AM »
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Looking forward to seeing those tomorrow!

Bob Gilmore

TVRR

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2015, 07:20:16 PM »
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This is encouraging, thanks Nate. I have been leaning towards installing my own DCC with sound but what you describe may suit just fine. Any chance of a video with sound to show us?

Nato

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2015, 01:07:35 PM »
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 :(      Sorry, but I do not have a phone camera or veido camera execpt long out of use VHS Camcorder, so I cannot provide sound pix, providing views of the Locomotives is possible, but they look like the older MP locomotives so there is not much to see different detailwise.                   Nate Goodman (Nato).     :(

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2016, 11:58:28 AM »
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Bump.
Now that the improved MRC DCC sound equipped 4-4-0 and 2-6-0's have been announced, I'm very curious about the sound quality of their speaker/decoders. I only know about their older decoders and don't like them. Surprisingly, there's  been very little written here that I can find about last year's MRC sound equipped releases (other than this short thread). Nato, or anyone, is there any more collective experience with these?
Curious, Otto K.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 01:40:40 PM »
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Well, having no luck here, I ordered one anyway, with the new sound decoder, and it arrived last night. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the purchase yet, it's such a mixed bag...

First the good stuff: it runs great, nice and smooth, and pulls like an ox. Walked away easily with a 25-car train up a 2.2% grade (this is ironically not good news for me as I was planning to use it in pusher service and it has way too much power for that). The Undec model comes with both oil and coal bunkers, and with two trailing truck frames (Hodge? and a Delta). The loco weighs a ton, well 3.2 oz., which is a ton for a smallish WWI era engine model.

The sound decoder: Spookshow calls it a 1961 but I can't find anything in the loco documentation, and the MRC website shows the 1956 is the most recent offering, unless I'm missing something. In any case, not having been a fan of MRC decoders, this one is pretty good. The motor control is very respectable and there are literally tons of bells and whistles, as well as many chuff choices, each individually controlled for volume. Although some of the choices are bordering on the erie, I was able to find several I like. The decoder/speaker combo is plenty loud, I did tone mine down quite a bit. The 16 bit sound allows multiple tracks to play, providing a nice depth. The only problem with the sound, and it's a major one in my book, is that the chuff is on pretty much the same level even when decelerating; it should go all mushy or quiet (the Tsunamis DDE functions, with a lot of momentum, do this well). Maybe there is a way to program this on this decoder, but I've been unable to figure out how.

Now the not so good: The "improved" electrical pickup sucks. The tiniest imperfection in trackwork (where other locos perform flawlessly) will stop this thing in its tracks. The tender pickups, one side only on each truck, are pretty much useless...one wire against each axle....really? This thing needs all wheel tender pickup, and more weight over the trucks. In theory, the engine drivers should provide reliable pickup, but I suspect the rear, traction tire equipped driver lifts the driver wheelbase and as a result only the front pair is fully engaged. The result, out of the box, is a great running engine, if and when it has continuous electrical power....and that's a rare occurrence.

I also had a notion I'd modify the boiler and replace the USRA domes and cast on handrails, but given the way this is built, the "boiler" casting is not exactly removable, and the motor and gears are contained within it...looks like a major surgery with outcome uncertain. Got to think about that... if I'm going to put so much effort into something, I'd like the end result to be better than a mediocre model. I think I'll start with the tender pickups and see from there.

The frustrating part is that this could be a very nice performer if the pickup design wasn't such crap.
Otto K.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 01:44:54 PM by Cajonpassfan »

Mike C

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2016, 06:42:38 PM »
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You'll probably have to replace the tender trucks with Bachmann or Kato to get the performance .  I was just looking at the decoder manual and didn't see any DDE type CV's.  Looks kinda like the stripped down Tsunami that Bachmann uses . Not the same just similar .  I ended up replacing all of the stripped down B-mans with Econamies to get the DDE effects of the Tsunamis .   Sucks having to spend more money for something that could have been done better in the first place .

jdcolombo

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2016, 10:54:56 PM »
+2
Hi Otto.

Yes, the electrical pickup pretty much still sucks.  I solved the problem by installing an ESU LokSound in my DCC-ready (non-sound-equipped) unit and using 1000uf of keep-alive capacitance wired to the LokSound.  There's room in the tender to do this using 220uf 16v tantalum chip caps wired in parallel.  I used 5.  Video of mine:

/>
Apparently, MRC has updated other Model Power designs (e.g., the 4-6-0) with the Bachmann/Kato style tender trucks.  Maybe they will update the 2-8-2's tender pickup as well, and make parts available for those of us that have the old design (you can put Bachmann trucks under the tender with some work; I think there is an article in one of the N-Trak steam annuals about doing this, but I'd rather just buy a new tender if I can).

I will say that the MRC/MP 2-8-2 is a beast when it comes to tractive effort.   It out-pulls everything on my layout except the Athearn Big Boy, Challenger, and Bachmann EM-1.  A single MRC/MP unit out-pulls TWO Kato Heavy Mikes double-headed, each with traction tires (!).  The NKP had a ton of light Mikes, a few of which lasted until the end of steam; I'd easily buy a couple more if they fix the electrical pickup issues . . .

John C.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 10:57:55 PM by jdcolombo »

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2016, 10:06:33 AM »
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Hi Otto.

Yes, the electrical pickup pretty much still sucks.  I solved the problem by installing an ESU LokSound in my DCC-ready (non-sound-equipped) unit and using 1000uf of keep-alive capacitance wired to the LokSound.  There's room in the tender to do this using 220uf 16v tantalum chip caps wired in parallel.  I used 5. .....

John C.

Great video, John, you do such nice work. Thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately, mine has the small Vandy version and I don't think there's room for caps without removing or reducing the lead weight (and the tender is too light as is). Installing all wheel pickup Bachmann trucks may be a better idea, but looking at it, it won't be easy either. Anyone out there who's done it?
Otto K.


nickelplate759

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2016, 10:16:25 AM »
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John - Nice job!

What happened to the tender of #915?

George
George

NKPH&TS #3628

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

jdcolombo

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2016, 04:27:40 PM »
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John - Nice job!

What happened to the tender of #915?

George

It suffered a tantalum cap explosion inside.  The only one I've had fail, and I've installed hundreds of 'em.  I was going to replace the shell, but . . . now it's sort of grown on me . . .

John

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2016, 02:06:20 PM »
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The original run came without traction tires, and then I'm told MP made traction tire wheelsets available for conversion.
I'd like o get rid of my TT driver set and replace it with one without the TT.
Does anyone out there have the original set to sell or trade?
Otto K.


glakedylan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2016, 10:47:03 PM »
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Does anyone out there have the original set to sell or trade?
Otto K.

will be glad for a trade
yours for mine
PM me if interested
sincerely
Gary
"...that each may live for all,
and all may care for each..."

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Model Power / MRC 2-8-2 DCC Sound Partial Review
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2016, 04:45:37 PM »
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So Gary and I PM'd each other and Gary graciously agreed that perhaps a better idea is for me try to find a replacement driver (without the TT) and make sure it will work before giving up the TT driver that does work.
So it's no longer a "buy or trade" proposition...just buy or otherwise obtain. I did post a thread in the Trading Post.
Thanks anyway Gary.
Otto K.