Author Topic: ESU Direct Installs  (Read 3232 times)

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Mark W

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ESU Direct Installs
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:02:08 PM »
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I performed several upgrades last week, replacing old decoders with ESU LokPilot and LokSound boards.  The target units are Kato SD70ACe and ES44AC, and a FVM ES44AC.

While the Direct boards are not a straight drop-in for these units, they can be with minimal frame modification!  Here are my results.

First up is the Kato ES44AC using a LokSound Direct.


https://i.imgur.com/C40f7r2.jpg

As you can see, very minimal frame modification.  A layer off the back to clear some components on the bottom of the board, and a notch out of the front of the center tower block, to allow the board clearance when installing/removing.  Very easy install!

https://i.imgur.com/WjWX9D8.jpg

Next up, the Kato SD70ACe and LokPilot Direct


https://i.imgur.com/GvtgKFC.jpg

This one is my most sloppy install.  I did a second ACe with about 1/4 less frame modification, but that requires separating the frame to remove the decoder.
But again, a few layers off the back and a sort of trench above the front flywheel to provide clearance for 'bottom of the board' components.  I also notched the insides of the center posts as the board is wider than that channel. Above, you can see I added a few styrene shims to ensure electrical contact.

https://i.imgur.com/CxsO3dX.jpg


Last up, the FVM ES44AC and LokPilot Direct.


https://i.imgur.com/O4E6nDS.jpg

At first, this was looking to be the easiest of them all, needing only a small trim off the back for BotB clearance.  Unfortunately, you can see a whole mess along the center there...

https://i.imgur.com/L2YMnVX.jpg


With the board easily installed, that one pesky little component there sitting above the straight edge between the two frame posts prevents the shell from seating.

https://i.imgur.com/cyRnv1z.jpg

I shared this with @RBrodzinsky who wisely suggested simply flipping the board so that the tall component faces down, since it's acceptable to cut clearance in the frame rather than have the component poke through the shell.  At this point though, I had already begun cutting the trough on the frame, which allows the board to bend/sag and the shell properly seat. It's not elegant, but it works, though I'll start with a flipped board on the next FVM ES44 upgrade.


The final note for all installs, you'll notice I'm using the motor paddles from the DC Boards.  If you do this also, be extra extra careful when soldering them to the board. 
Those two contact pads I have covered in Kapton tape, they're the frame/track power pads.  Yes, exposed and located fraction of a millimeter from the motor output pads.  With 8 other pads available, I wish ESU would have just covered these with the solder mask. 

https://i.imgur.com/33txtzb.jpg


So there it is.  Hope this show & tell is useful.

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Steveruger45

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 04:21:59 PM »
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Nice work.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

ryan_wilkerson

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 04:32:54 PM »
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Excellent Mark! Thank you for sharing your variety of installs.

Do you have any plans to install into Atlas locomotives? I'm wanting to do a variety: SD9, GP15, GP40, B30-7 and B40-8.

jdcolombo

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 04:35:45 PM »
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Agree!  Nice work.

How big is the speaker enclosure, and what speaker did you use?

John C.

Mark W

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 04:50:29 PM »
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Excellent Mark! Thank you for sharing your variety of installs.

Do you have any plans to install into Atlas locomotives? I'm wanting to do a variety: SD9, GP15, GP40, B30-7 and B40-8.

Thanks Ryan,

I don't have any plans for Atlas units in the near future.  The closest would be a pair of GP-38's for yard duty, but I'll likely just trade them off when the new factory sound equipped units arrive.
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Mark W

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 04:54:43 PM »
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Agree!  Nice work.

How big is the speaker enclosure, and what speaker did you use?

John C.

Thanks John,

It's the Sobertron 8x12 in a crude styrene box.  As you can see, there's quite a bit of extra room yet.  As is, it sounds good, but I may re-build the enclosure to take advantage of the full space.  I may even try a dual speaker with how much room is available. 
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ryan_wilkerson

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 05:33:58 PM »
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I wonder if the new Atlas frame design will accommodate dropping in these "Direct" boards. Anyone hear or know about that?

Thanks Ryan,

I don't have any plans for Atlas units in the near future.  The closest would be a pair of GP-38's for yard duty, but I'll likely just trade them off when the new factory sound equipped units arrive.

Steveruger45

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 04:55:28 AM »
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https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=43563.0

I have done a good number of various locos with the slide in lokpilot including a B40-8. Check out the attached thread link.
In short, it can be done relatively easily with a little frame modification using simple tools.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

jdcolombo

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 12:12:29 PM »
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Thanks John,

It's the Sobertron 8x12 in a crude styrene box.  As you can see, there's quite a bit of extra room yet.  As is, it sounds good, but I may re-build the enclosure to take advantage of the full space.  I may even try a dual speaker with how much room is available.

I wouldn't use a dual speaker setup, because those can be very tricky to avoid phase cancellation problems.  Instead, use a 9x16.  It looks like there is plenty of room for that, and you could even extend the speaker box back below the rear side of the decoder (unless there are electrical components that stick down there that I can't see) to make more internal volume.  I've found that an enclosure of 800 cubic mm or larger with a 9x16 produces really excellent sound, and starts to give just a hint of real bass (well, more like mid-bass, but you can get down to 200hz, an octave below what usually comes out of our speakers).

Sometimes I regret the 1957 era I'm modeling; it would be fun to start converting some of these giant-sized locomotives!  Alas, the SD9 is as big as I'm going to get on the diesel front (on the other hand, I do get to run Berkshires, and even have a couple of B&O EM1 2-8-8-4's that show up occasionally with coal trains . . . )

John C.

Jbub

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2018, 01:03:10 PM »
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I wouldn't use a dual speaker setup, because those can be very tricky to avoid phase cancellation problems.  Instead, use a 9x16.  It looks like there is plenty of room for that, and you could even extend the speaker box back below the rear side of the decoder (unless there are electrical components that stick down there that I can't see) to make more internal volume.  I've found that an enclosure of 800 cubic mm or larger with a 9x16 produces really excellent sound, and starts to give just a hint of real bass (well, more like mid-bass, but you can get down to 200hz, an octave below what usually comes out of our speakers).

Sometimes I regret the 1957 era I'm modeling; it would be fun to start converting some of these giant-sized locomotives!  Alas, the SD9 is as big as I'm going to get on the diesel front (on the other hand, I do get to run Berkshires, and even have a couple of B&O EM1 2-8-8-4's that show up occasionally with coal trains . . . )

John C.
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nightmare0331

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2018, 01:36:38 PM »
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Mark-

Thanks for sharing.

For the Kato SD70ACe I'm working on coming up with fixturing for repeatability for machining the frames as I plan on using a very similar method to remove material and install ESU direct with sound decoders.

I had a sneaking suspicion they could also be fit into the ES44AC/C44-9W/AC4400 frame also with a similar method.  This just confirmed that.

Kelley.
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peteski

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2018, 04:59:14 PM »
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@nightmare0331
Kelley, with all the "Kobo" installs you are doing using ESU decoders, why doesn't Kato USA get together with ESU to produce a plug-n-play decoder (sound and non-sound) for all the Kato models (which have standardized light circuit boards)?  With all the Kato models (past, present and future) out there, this seems like a feasible idea.  I have a feeling that many of the Kato owners would love to dump their Digitrax and TCS decoders if ESU board was available.
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ednadolski

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2018, 05:07:10 PM »
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... why doesn't Kato USA get together with ESU to produce a plug-n-play decoder (sound and non-sound) for all the Kato models (which have standardized light circuit boards)?  With all the Kato models (past, present and future) out there, this seems like a feasible idea.

I'd suspect it's a control thing -- they don't want to have any dependencies on other suppliers.   Can't really fault them for that.

I have a feeling that many of the Kato owners would love to dump their Digitrax and TCS decoders if ESU board was available.

I know I would ;)

Ed


nightmare0331

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2018, 05:15:10 PM »
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@nightmare0331
Kelley, with all the "Kobo" installs you are doing using ESU decoders, why doesn't Kato USA get together with ESU to produce a plug-n-play decoder (sound and non-sound) for all the Kato models (which have standardized light circuit boards)?  With all the Kato models (past, present and future) out there, this seems like a feasible idea.  I have a feeling that many of the Kato owners would love to dump their Digitrax and TCS decoders if ESU board was available.

Have you ever argued countless times with a brick wall?  You'd have more luck...lord knows I've tried.

Creative workarounds my friend.  I find them.  ;)

Enjoy!

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jdcolombo

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Re: ESU Direct Installs
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2018, 06:20:47 PM »
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ESU doesn't need Kato to produce a Kato-compatible board.  All they have to do is buy a Kato diesel, and re-design their board with the right power-pickup pad spacing and motor connections.  I suspect they haven't done this because they are pretty busy supplying Atlas, Intermountain, etc.   The German folks really sometimes don't seem to "get" the US market - for example, their wired Micro is 10.6mm wide, which is about .6mm too wide to comfortably fit in a US-prototype hood diesel.  Think about that - .6mm.  Really?  You couldn't have designed the circuit to save half a mm in width?  Zimo did.  I just don't think they thought much about the US market until Matt Hermann took over their US operations and secured a bunch of OEM deals.

Now they may be constrained from adding new boards that would fit other models - like Kato - because they have to supply everyone else! 

John C.