Author Topic: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s  (Read 762 times)

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Lemosteam

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First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« on: January 20, 2017, 10:20:43 PM »
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So this will be my first time installing a sound decoder into a locomotive.  I am installing two identical installs on mine and a friernd's GHB Brass PRR L1s.

Decoder is Soundtraxx Econami for Steam, reasonable price for a first timer and for my friend.

Speaker is a Soberton 8x12 with my Keystone Detail speaker enclosures.

I will use run of the mill LED's to replace the incandescent's on the models.

I will use TCS 30 ga. wire.

Before anyone goes off lamenting on my choices-they are what they are.

i also have a lot of tweaking to do on these models- they were the blowout versions that need rewiring, re-gauging, etc.

I will be posting install pics and likely will have questions, so bear with me and wish me luck!

Soooo..
Question number one- is the speaker best facing up through the coal pile or down through the bottom of the tender?

Q2- should I get the optional current keeper PNP?

Q3- does the Econami have built in LED resistance?  the literature that comes with the decoder is sparse, but I will still research as well.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!



chicken45

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 10:42:03 PM »
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No, THIS is a Q2.


And there was no Q3  :trollface: :trollface: :trollface: :trollface: :ashat: :ashat: :ashat: :D :D

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 12:04:13 AM »
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John, I'm not going to be much help on the Tsunami decoder (I have never worked with that one), but I also have one of those poorly-made GHB L1s.  I have not gotten to the point where I took mine fully apart but I'm pretty sure that the headlights are LEDs (not bulbs).  They are yellow (not white) LEDs. But I guess in the grand scheme of things this doesn't matter since warm white LEDs will look much better.

The other very interesting feature of this locomotive (and the only one I have ever seen in an N scale model) is that it has a chuff cam installed on one of the driver axles. I don't know if the cam wiper is already installed inside the frame, but even if it isn't, it shouldn't be too hard to install one. Using a cam will assure always-perfect chuff synchronization.

If "current keeper PNP" is a Super Cap circuit then if you have room it would be a welcome addition to any DCC locomotive.

I would also assume that the function outputs on the decoder do not have current-limiting resistors installed. Even if they do, then adding another resistor won't blow up anything
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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 12:21:03 AM »
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My GHQ Kato conversion L1 has it facing up through the coal because that was the easiest for me to do. I installed that one myself with the standard TSU750. It was less effort.


All my factory steam with sound has them facing down out the bottom of the tender.
The HH1, the K4, the M1 all are floor models.
I'm not sure what's up for my diesels.

 You should ask someone who has a factory one which way the speaker goes.
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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2017, 03:50:38 AM »
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My GHQ Kato conversion L1 has it facing up through the coal because that was the easiest for me to do. I installed that one myself with the standard TSU750. It was less effort.


All my factory steam with sound has them facing down out the bottom of the tender.
The HH1, the K4, the M1 all are floor models.
I'm not sure what's up for my diesels.

 You should ask someone who has a factory one which way the speaker goes.

It doesn't make much difference which way the speaker is facing (as long as one side is in an air-tight enclosure).  If possible I like the speaker facing up through the coal load, but many locos have track-facing speakers.  Either way, it will work well.
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Mike C

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2017, 06:06:33 PM »
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I have a few Econami's . Yes you will need to wire a resistor for the light .I would definitely use some type of KA , I've got a couple locos without them , but they need very clean track without the KA . Speaker placement really dosent matter, I've got a couple in the rear of the tender with the stock speaker hole between the trucks . The Eco's sound pretty good , but they lack the reverb feature and the whistles suffer some because of that . The Tsunami 2 is very similar to the Eco but it has the reverb . The difference is very noticeable !

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 01:59:56 PM »
+1
Hey John,


With the speaker enclosure you have and the speaker holes in the tender floor, you'll be fine just having it anywhere in the tender. The main thing is having the enclosure - that makes the biggest difference. Also, generally speaking, you want the speaker or speaker holes facing down, so the sound will reflect off the track. You'll get better sound that way, and the factory already provided down-facing speaker holes. The factory wires are brittle, so plan on rewiring everything, and ditch the socket in the process. I used a TCS 6-pin micro-connector. It's a "good" version of what came in the locomotive. I've been very happy with the small Econami decoders.


Econami does not have resistors on the function outputs, so you will need to wire them in.


For LED's, I used 603's mounted directly inside the headlight housings using Krystal Klear for the "lens" and to hold them in-place.


If I had it to do over (and if it had been available at the time), I'd install a TCS KA4 Keepalive. It's biggest advantage is its smaller size compared to other keepalives.


You'll want to replace the tender trucks with Bachmann Spectrum trucks or similar. The stock trucks have crappy pickups that either conduct but lock the wheels, or don't conduct at all. I hear some shady character on Shapeways makes replacement trucks that utilize the Bachmann pickups and axles.  :D


In the end, I rehab'd three of these things. I took up building model tanks for a while afterward. If you have questions, feel free to ask. They're great locomotives once you get all the issues fixed. It just requires a lot of patience. A LOT of patience. Bourbon doesn't hurt, either. I can send you a bottle of my employer's finest if it comes to that!  ;)


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« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 02:02:08 PM by cbroughton67 »
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peteski

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 04:46:04 PM »
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One of many things about this model which made me roll my eyes is the non-functioning brass-cast front coupler. It is as large as the Bachmann boxing glove coupler and yet, it is just for show. It is hard to believe that someone spent the time to design and cast this cosmetic-only part and make it so out-of-scale.

The other thing that seems strange is that only the 2 center drivers pick up electricity. Why not all 4?  That is something I would have expected from a model made in the '70s, not a contemporary model. I know that the tender is designed for electric pickup but still - this is N-scale and more pickup points is better.
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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2017, 07:11:57 PM »
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Thanks @cbroughton67 ! Those pics and everyone's comments are really helpful!

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2017, 09:41:21 PM »
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That is something I would have expected from a model made in the '70s, not a contemporary model.


At least a model from the '70s would run out-of-the-box...  :D
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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2017, 01:23:52 AM »
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At least a model from the '70s would run out-of-the-box...  :D

Yes, if it wasn't a Bachmann!   :D :trollface:

But in its defense, this was a defective run and sold as such.
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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2017, 06:11:24 PM »
+1
John,

All our brass loco's with sound have the speaker facing down with holes in the floor like Chris has shown in his pictures and the sound coming from that speaker is really good. the Econami does at least need the capacitor which comes with the decoder, a keep alive pack is better but not always necessary. Most of our brass steamers have improved power pickup and always an improved loco - tender connection. the normal loco - tender connection on brass locomotives doesn't provide good contact while it restricts the free movement of loco and tender. hans normally makes a new connection which also allows for 3-4 contacts.

marc
 

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Re: First Foray into a Sound decoder install- GHB Brass PRR L1s
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2017, 06:57:11 PM »
+1
Hey John,

You'll want to replace the tender trucks with Bachmann Spectrum trucks or similar. The stock trucks have crappy pickups that either conduct but lock the wheels, or don't conduct at all. I hear some shady character on Shapeways makes replacement trucks that utilize the Bachmann pickups and axles.  :D


Hello John & Chris,

I just finished up with the Soundtraxx Econami steam decoder install in an older Bachmann 2-8-0 Consolidated (Western Maryland ) and I ended up tossing the old tender & using one of the newer Bachmann DCC-Ready tenders. One issue I experienced was intermittent operation that turned out to be caused by the newer tender trucks. If you use them then please make sure you remove the phosphor bronze pickups (from the trucks) and from the middle post that sticks up thru the tender floor, bend in (VERY Slightly) the sections with the cups, towards the wheel sets. What we found was that the factory stock configuration of these cup pickups allowed slight side to side motion of the wheel sets, that causes the Econami sound decoder to intermittently stop. Once those phosphor bronze strips with the cups were modified as stated above, then all the intermittent problems went away. I first thought that installing the supplied 220uf capacitor would fix things but the issue remained until we modified those tender pickup strips. I am not using any keep alive circuit & my initial testing looks good.

BTW...That Bachmann tender crammed full of sound components, is currently the equivalent of 10 pounds of sausage stuffed into a 5 pound bag ;-) 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 07:00:54 PM by 160pennsy »
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