Author Topic: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)  (Read 1079 times)

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Jim Starbuck

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Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« on: October 09, 2018, 10:33:35 AM »
+8
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and decided to go ahead with it as a proof of concept. It’s also my first sound decoder install.
I also wanted to make it repeatable with parts readily available without much if any frame milling.

It starts with a 7mm coreless motor and holder from a Bachmann S4. The small diameter motor mounts in the frame low enough to make room for a 73800 Loksound Select Micro above.
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The motor holder is actually intended to snap down as a cover in the Bachmann S4 but it’s inverted here and fit where the L/L motor saddle came out by sanding off a few thousands of length ant trimming off the protrusions. The motor is simply taped to the holder with 1/2” laptop tape.

I used Tomix wire worms because of the small diameter and they also match the teeth of th stock L/L truck worm gear so no truck gear modifications were required.
The motor shafts are 1mm od so brass bushings from Nortwest Shortline were used to adapt to the 1.5 mm id worm springs.
On subsequent builds I’m going to use brass worms however. Most of this install was experiment as you go.

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The speaker is a Soberton 8 x 12 in a Shapeways enclosure by Wutter. It fits the cab perfectly although the wires need to be routed in from the bottom.
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There’s room for 3 16v 100mf capacitors on the front shelf where the stock light board was.
Track pickup was done by trimming the stock light board plugged into the original location and soldering the leads to it.
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3k SMD resistors reside above the power pickup for the forward and rear lights.
The lights are 603 LEDs glued into the shell and connected with magnet wire. I know that bothers some people to glue them into the shell but I’ve done many like that without any problems.

The engine runs well and sounds good. It’s quite loud actually.
I still need to tweak the programming but all in all I’m happy with it.

I’ll post a video of it running as soon as I can figure out how to get it into the proper file format.


Jim
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 11:44:21 AM by Jim Starbuck »
Modutrak- Iowa Division
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tehachapifan

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 12:31:02 PM »
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Wow! Nice work! :o For a first sound install, that sure is quite the undertaking!
Russ

jdcolombo

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 12:37:11 PM »
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That's truly amazing . . . !

I forget if Atlas now owns the rights to this loco, but if they do, they need to take a very good look at this installation . . .

John C.

peteski

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 02:31:25 PM »
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Very clever Jim.  I figured that the only way to get sound in this model would be to replace the stock motor with a small coreless one (the gain clearance for the decoder.  Using the spring "worms", due to their small diameter" also gains you some additional clearance over the motor.  If you use "real" worms on the motor shafts, the motor will end up sitting higher in the chassis.

Seeing how extensively this chassis has to be modified to fit a sound decoder, I wouldn't hold my breath that Atlas will modify their chassis.

You can't upload videos (in any format) to  the Railwire - need to host them external on Youtube or other video hosting site.
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Jim Starbuck

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 05:01:47 PM »
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Seeing how extensively this chassis has to be modified to fit a sound decoder, I wouldn't hold my breath that Atlas will modify their chassis.

You can't upload videos (in any format) to  the Railwire - need to host them external on Youtube or other video hosting site.

Thanks for the tip on uploading the video. I haven’t had occasion to do that here before.

Actually there is almost no modification to the Lifelike chassis for this install. Only four small strips in the motor opening need clipped out the make room for the decoder.

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peteski

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 05:48:45 PM »
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Thanks for the tip on uploading the video. I haven’t had occasion to do that here before.

Actually there is almost no modification to the Lifelike chassis for this install. Only four small strips in the motor opening need clipped out the make room for the decoder.

Sure, for you it is easy, but for them  that would mean modifying the chassis molds, sourcing a new motor and worms they have not used in the past, and making a new mold for the motor bracket. Plus there is the decoder and all the electrical connections. I'm sure they would prefer a wire-free install (so probably a whole new decoder design. And then there are the headlights (I don't see them using SMD LEDs, magnet wire, and glue on production quantity models).  It is not a simple upgrade (like just replacing a light board with a decoder board).  I too hope that Atlas makes this mods, but I won't hold my breath for it.  Maybe they'll surprise me.

What they *REALLY* need to redesign are the electric pickups for the trucks.
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jdcolombo

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 06:45:26 PM »
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You're right Pete - Atlas isn't going to copy this installation because it would be a nightmare to assemble in quantity.

But, the overall idea of a small coreless motor to make room for a decoder might be something they would consider.  Not a factory sound install, but redesign the chassis (which they should do for electrical pickup purposes anyway) to make it more "sound friendly" for those who might want to roll their own later.  And it might be possible to design such a chassis with a thin PC board and an 8-pin plug to accommodate a 73800 LokSound with an 8-pin plug.  Might have to give up the caps, but maybe not - maybe they could be added to the thin board to the left of the motor (in the photo) and put the plug where the caps are in Jim's installation.

What Jim has shown is that this is possible with the current chassis and off-the-shelf parts.  If a chassis redesign is in the cards down the road (it may not be), it might be possible to do this as part of that redesign.  Five years ago, who'd have thought we'd have factory sound in ANY N-scale diesel?  Time marches on, and there is evidence that the major manufacturers in N have decided that sound is a part of the future.  Jim has shown that it is physically possible; whether it is possible given manufacturing/assembly processes is, I agree, a completely different question.  But not a crazy question.

John C.

peteski

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 07:27:45 PM »
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I specifically pondered this type of install back in August, in this post and Jim did all the work to prove it is possible.

If brass worms will still allow the motor to sit low enough for the decoder clearance then it would give a better chance of using this design commercially.  I hope that you guys are correct that Atlas will produce a sound-equipped SW9 using similar design.
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Jim Starbuck

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 08:12:22 PM »
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Thanks for the kind words and input guys.
I’m working on v2.0 using what I learned from this proof of concept project. The worms are what I’m focusing on mostly.
I just received parts today.

Jim
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daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2018, 05:36:36 AM »
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You know it's funny, I had those exact spring worms in my watch list for the next PlazaJapan purchase. I wasn't sure if they were Atlas/LL/Kato compatible, but if they were, they looked useful. Good to know they are.

One thing I am wondering about in this installation. How will you keep the worms from flexing and skipping gear teeth under load?
You've crossed the walls, excelled
Further along through their hell
All for my heart, I watch you kill
You always have, you always will
Now spread your wings and sail out to me

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2018, 08:58:13 AM »
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One thing I am wondering about in this installation. How will you keep the worms from flexing and skipping gear teeth under load?

Good question Daniel
When I posted yesterday I overlooked that part. These type of worms usually run in a channel in the frame  that supports/ constrains them such as the old Arnold S2.
In the Lifelike frame the motor is closer to the front so the front worm is shorter and seemed to run better without support. The rear is longer so I made a support from strip brass and glued it to the frame. It just touches the worm and buffers it.
 This is all pretty primitive as I’m still experimenting but so far it works ok. I also thought of using a small v block of Delrin placed over the end of the spring.
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Jim
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Lemosteam

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2018, 10:31:00 AM »
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A nylon block made from a hardware washer screwed to the frame from the outside might work better for that purpose.  Near zero friction, particularly on what appears to be a plated spring worm.

Jim Starbuck

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 11:00:54 AM »
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Good idea John Thank you. I may retrofit my original install.

I used the springs because they were the smallest diameter and I wasn’t exactly sure how much clearance I could get using the stock trucks and gears. (Trying to keep things simple) I explored swapping out some of the truck gears which is still a possibility if needed.
I have some small diameter brass worms that match the stock truck gearing. They are slightly larger diameter than the springs and it turns out I can afford the larger diameter worms and still have clearance for the decoder.
I’m going to build another one and see how those work.
This install was a bit of a lab rat just to see if it could be done. Much was learned.

Thanks
Jim
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carlso

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2018, 06:42:11 PM »
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Good job Jim. Thanks for sharing!

Carl
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Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Lifelike SW9 Loksound installation (N scale)
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2018, 10:50:48 AM »
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Jim, I think I have a few extra Arnold S2 worm blocks if you think they would fit.

If I remember correctly, this is the only engine I slathered in grease. The wire worms seem to be happiest with a lot of heavy grease.
You've crossed the walls, excelled
Further along through their hell
All for my heart, I watch you kill
You always have, you always will
Now spread your wings and sail out to me