Author Topic: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7  (Read 1703 times)

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davefoxx

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Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« on: November 18, 2018, 11:20:33 PM »
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I’m getting a little more comfortable going inside of an HO scale locomotive, after tearing apart an IM SD40-2 last week.  So, today, I became curious about replacing the QSI DCC/sound pieces and parts in an Atlas B30-7 with an ESU LokSound Select decoder to improve the sound and allow me to install the appropriate sounds and Full Throttle features into this old locomotive.

Can the DCC geniuses here tell me what ESU LokSound Select decoder and other parts I’ll need, because I can’t find any website that gives me guidance.  The speakers are 30mm.  Should I replace them?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that I can get rid of the Atlas A-frame that holds the speakers without losing a chunk of weight.



Thanks,
DFF

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peteski

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 01:27:09 AM »
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I think QSI (Revolution and Titan) decoders are quite good (motor control, lighting effects and sound). But this looks like an earlier QSI decoder with which I have no experience. Maybe it doesn't compare favorable to the new sound decoders out there. Or maybe you're just standardizing your fleet?

With so much available space in H0 models you should be able to use pretty much any ESU sound decoder with current ratings designed for H0.
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reinhardtjh

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 01:41:54 AM »
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Pretty much any upgrade of an older Atlas loco would be the LokSound Select Direct.  http://www.esu.eu/en/products/loksound/loksound-select-direct/  But That QSI install makes me wonder if there is room.  The board is just under 2 3/4" long. Is there room between the speaker and the front?  If so, I'd go with that.  Otherwise you might have to consider the standard LokSound Select http://www.esu.eu/en/products/loksound/loksound-select/
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Jbub

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 02:18:00 AM »
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The speaker looks to be 8 ohms so it will work with a loksound. If it provides good sound to your ears then don't replace it. One question though, are the caps in the back a keep alive unit?
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davefoxx

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 06:44:00 AM »
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I think QSI (Revolution and Titan) decoders are quite good (motor control, lighting effects and sound). But this looks like an earlier QSI decoder with which I have no experience. Maybe it doesn't compare favorable to the new sound decoders out there. Or maybe you're just standardizing your fleet?

With so much available space in H0 models you should be able to use pretty much any ESU sound decoder with current ratings designed for H0.

It's a little bit about standardizing the fleet, but, in this case, it's mainly about upgrading the sound.  It's really bad.  I'm sure ten years ago, it was something to rave about, but, today, . . . ew.

DFF

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davefoxx

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 06:46:07 AM »
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The speaker looks to be 8 ohms so it will work with a loksound. If it provides good sound to your ears then don't replace it. One question though, are the caps in the back a keep alive unit?

I wondered the same thing and started worrying about whether I need to install keep-alive capacitors with this locomotive.  I have zero problems with power cut-outs in the rest of my fleet. Do keep-alive capacitors come installed with locomotives nowadays, or is it just the mass of HO scale trains causing the improvement as compared to my N scale fleet?

DFF

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davefoxx

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2018, 06:48:24 AM »
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Pretty much any upgrade of an older Atlas loco would be the LokSound Select Direct.  http://www.esu.eu/en/products/loksound/loksound-select-direct/  But That QSI install makes me wonder if there is room.  The board is just under 2 3/4" long. Is there room between the speaker and the front?  If so, I'd go with that.  Otherwise you might have to consider the standard LokSound Select http://www.esu.eu/en/products/loksound/loksound-select/

It might fit:



But, then the question becomes, do I attempt to make the existing wires long enough to work with the LokSound Direct Select or do I just go with the LokSound Select.  Since I literally just threw out a rat's nest of decoder wire that I thought I would never have a use for, that might help answer the question, too.

Thanks,
DFF

General Counsel to the Laurel Valley Ry.
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Steveruger45

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2018, 09:21:56 AM »
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You may want to check out the ESU 73700 LokSound Select Direct DCC Sound Decoder (Atlas style) decoder.
 :facepalm:I see John R already provided the link to this one. 
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 09:24:05 AM by Steveruger45 »
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k27463

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2018, 10:15:39 AM »
+1
Dave,

I'm doing a similar conversion on a Atlas U30B...it has a square speaker enclosure though with a slightly different frame.

It's a bit pricier, but your best solution will -likely- be a TCS "motherboard" with a ESU 21 pin decoder attached.  I don't know off the top of my head which one will fit a B30-7 (I'm not the -biggest- fan of those...) but their page is here:  http://tcsdcc.com/wowdiesel/motherboards

Most of those will be plug and play.  Keep in mind that they will be cheaper elsewhere...

I'll work through it with ya, we'll get this done somehow.  You've done N scale, this is easy :D


davefoxx

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2018, 11:14:57 AM »
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Dave,

I'm doing a similar conversion on a Atlas U30B...it has a square speaker enclosure though with a slightly different frame.

It's a bit pricier, but your best solution will -likely- be a TCS "motherboard" with a ESU 21 pin decoder attached.  I don't know off the top of my head which one will fit a B30-7 (I'm not the -biggest- fan of those...) but their page is here:  http://tcsdcc.com/wowdiesel/motherboards

Most of those will be plug and play.  Keep in mind that they will be cheaper elsewhere...

I'll work through it with ya, we'll get this done somehow.  You've done N scale, this is easy :D

I like this idea, despite the fact that going with a TCS motherboard and ESU Loksound Select decoder might cost more than other alternatives, because:
1) I see motherboards that have keep-alives!!!;
2) The only soldering would be to the motherboard (which is less expensive to replace than a sound decoder, if I screw up); and
3) I can easily plug in the LokSound Select decoder to the motherboard (and swap out later if there's a problem or an upgrade needed).

Can anyone suggest which TCS motherboard is the best choice?

As far as the LokSound Select decoder, I should just be able to buy any decoder (whether loaded with sound or not), because I have a LokProgrammer and download sound files.  Right?

DFF

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davefoxx

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2018, 11:28:48 AM »
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This one might work, but the screw holes definitely don't line up.  That causes me no concern, because I don't mind cutting a piece of styrene to replace the original circuit board and double-stick taping the mother board to that.  I'm more concerned about whether this locomotive can be plug and play, because that would make this super easy.  I'll take a closer look at the Atlas circuit board tonight.



DFF

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jdcolombo

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 12:47:07 PM »
+1
Hi Dave.

I've done a number of HO scale sound installations in Atlas and Kato engines using a hard-wire LokSound Select micro.  Yes, I know - everyone will say, "but that's an N-scale decoder!"  Yep, it is.  But it's amperage rating (3/4 continuous, 1 amp peak) is more than enough for a modern HO scale loco with a can motor, which doesn't pull much more current than a similar N scale motor.

So why do I do this?  The answer is that using the Select Micro (wired) allows me room to also wire in a TCS KA3 keep alive.  Here's a photo of how I did an installation in a Kato RS-1 loco (I just did this yesterday; this photo is before I did the final wiring):

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

From left to right in this photo you will see the KA3 (the green thing with wires taped down on top of it), then a couple of pieces of circuit board (the left-most piece is for wiring the pickups from the trucks and to the decoder and as a solder point for the blue wire from the decoder to supply the LED lights and the KA3 positive; the right one has two 1K, 1/8w resistors for LED negative supply - the white and yellow wires from the decoder), then the LokSound Select micro; then an 11x15mm speaker in a custom enclosure.  The pieces of circuit board and the decoder are resting on a strip of .030 styrene that I glued to the top of the motor (just a drop) and to the KA3 (it rests on the top part of one of the KA3's caps). You obviously don't need a speaker, but finding room for a KA3 keep alive might be worthwhile.  For some reason, all the guys around here that have large HO scale layouts don't power the frogs on their turnouts.  The result is stalls (or at least sound dropouts) on smaller-wheelbase engines like the RS-1, particularly when doing slow-speed switching moves.  The KA3 solves this problem completely.

The hardwiring really isn't that hard if you use some pieces of circuit board to provide soldering points.  And I don't think you can fit a KA3 in an installation like this, or in your B30, if you use a circuit board with a plug.

Finally, I'd just note that I converted my BLI PA-1's from their Paragon 2 decoders to ESU.  Why?  Partly to standardize on one kind of decoder; partly because programming the Paragon was an exercise in frustration; and mostly because the ESU sound file for the Alco 244 prime mover was light-years better than the BLI file. 

My advice: do the conversion and don't look back. 

John C.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 12:53:08 PM by jdcolombo »

reinhardtjh

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2018, 01:06:33 PM »
+1
As far as the LokSound Select decoder, I should just be able to buy any decoder (whether loaded with sound or not), because I have a LokProgrammer and download sound files.  Right?

Right, mostly.  Just make sure it has the right connector, which for the 21-pin is the 73900. 

The TCS AS-MB2 or AS-MB2NC (No connectors i.e. solder on) might also work. It's shorter then the IB-MB2 so might give you more flexibility.  It has a KA4 keep alive as well.

John H. Reinhardt
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k27463

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2018, 04:21:39 PM »
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Hi Dave.

I've done a number of HO scale sound installations in Atlas and Kato engines using a hard-wire LokSound Select micro.  Yes, I know - everyone will say, "but that's an N-scale decoder!"  Yep, it is.  But it's amperage rating (3/4 continuous, 1 amp peak) is more than enough for a modern HO scale loco with a can motor, which doesn't pull much more current than a similar N scale motor.

So why do I do this?  The answer is that using the Select Micro (wired) allows me room to also wire in a TCS KA3 keep alive.  Here's a photo of how I did an installation in a Kato RS-1 loco (I just did this yesterday; this photo is before I did the final wiring):

(Attachment Link)

John,

Part of why I recommended the TCS motherboards (assuming one will fit) is that they come with a keep-alive on the board. 

I personally am using a Select Direct for my locos with double stick tape on the ones where it doesn't fit (such as Atlas stuff like this...).

From left to right in this photo you will see the KA3 (the green thing with wires taped down on top of it), then a couple of pieces of circuit board (the left-most piece is for wiring the pickups from the trucks and to the decoder and as a solder point for the blue wire from the decoder to supply the LED lights and the KA3 positive; the right one has two 1K, 1/8w resistors for LED negative supply - the white and yellow wires from the decoder), then the LokSound Select micro; then an 11x15mm speaker in a custom enclosure.  The pieces of circuit board and the decoder are resting on a strip of .030 styrene that I glued to the top of the motor (just a drop) and to the KA3 (it rests on the top part of one of the KA3's caps). You obviously don't need a speaker, but finding room for a KA3 keep alive might be worthwhile.  For some reason, all the guys around here that have large HO scale layouts don't power the frogs on their turnouts.  The result is stalls (or at least sound dropouts) on smaller-wheelbase engines like the RS-1, particularly when doing slow-speed switching moves.  The KA3 solves this problem completely.

The hardwiring really isn't that hard if you use some pieces of circuit board to provide soldering points.  And I don't think you can fit a KA3 in an installation like this, or in your B30, if you use a circuit board with a plug.

Finally, I'd just note that I converted my BLI PA-1's from their Paragon 2 decoders to ESU.  Why?  Partly to standardize on one kind of decoder; partly because programming the Paragon was an exercise in frustration; and mostly because the ESU sound file for the Alco 244 prime mover was light-years better than the BLI file. 

My advice: do the conversion and don't look back. 

John C.

jdcolombo

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Re: Want to Replace DCC Guts of HO Scale Atlas B30-7
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2018, 05:13:41 PM »
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Yes, I agree - if the boards will fit (both length and height - the caps on the board give a significant amount of thickness there), that would be a simpler solution.

John C.