Author Topic: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )  (Read 1390 times)

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carlso

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My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:21:22 PM »
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Two or 3 years ago I purchased an Athearn Big Boy in Analog DC version with idea of installing ESU sound into it. When I received the locomotive I found the tender was mucked up and I elected to fix the loco myself. I changed the tender 100% and had to rewire a couple of places under the boiler shell. This pic is the inside of the tender showing top notch QUALTY work by the manufacturer....



At any rate, I got it running very well and proceeded with sound. I am tired of waiting on ESU's new v5 micro so I put an ESU 73100 with 73856 sound file and an 11x15 speaker with DIY enclosure. Here is what I did.................................

1st install with 9x16 speaker


Other side


Did not care for the sound from the 9x16 so I pulled it and made a new "sound module" with an 11x15 speaker ( don't remember manufacturer of speaker). Here is one side........


Other side of "sound module".........


Here it is just sitting on tender chassis..........


Finally here is 4014 sitting on my DIY test stand (for large steam).........


I know, call me crazy, I can live with that, but don't call me a quitter.

Here is an 8 minute YT. Please check it out and I always appreciate suggestions.

Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

woodone

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2019, 08:35:36 AM »
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Don’t you just love having to re-wire an OEM locomotive. You wonder how that soldering job in the tender ever left the shop. The hard part of this install is to preserve the three screw mounts that the tender shell attaches to, and still get the decoder and speaker stuffed inside. Cool how you made what you had to work in the space.
Wonder when the LokSound  Micro V-5 will get to us.
Keep up the thinking out of the box!

jdcolombo

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2019, 04:46:40 PM »
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You don't actually need all 3 posts to hold the shell.

I got rid of the front and rear ones, and left just the middle one.  That holds the shell just fine, particularly since the rear end of the shell locks into the back piece which has it's own screws underneath (or at least, my 1st generation one did).

That's how I made room for a 13x18 speaker (front post gone), a keep alive, and a Select Micro (wired).

John C.

Ogden Rails

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 02:46:20 AM »
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Carl,

I am converting my Big Boy by removing the original MRC decoder and installing a Tsunami2 Model TSU-1100 decoder Part No. 884001 for steam models.
I have progressed this installation and have traced all wires for connection to the decoder.
This includes the single LED light wire from the boiler to the tender in which I have installed a 560 ohm resistor for connection to the white decoder wire. There were originally five wires between the engine and tender, two for engine pick up. two for the motor, and one for the LED light.
However, I cannot find the second light wire for connection to the blue decoder wire.
Did you run an additional wire from the tender to the LED?

Thanks,
John

carlso

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 10:38:49 AM »
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John,

Thanks for looking at my strange project. It is a different install for sure. The soldering was so poor on this loco straight from the factory that I "fixed" most all of it including tender and boiler.

So to answer your question, yes I ran the blue and white from a new LED through the boiler and attached to a new 6 pin plug. Some people use the blue pickup off of the chassis. I do not. The original light did not work, so I drilled it out and installed a new 0402 LED.

I hope this helps and again thanks for the look see,
Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

peteski

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 12:18:38 PM »
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There is also an easy alternative to derive the "blue" common positive voltage from the track pickups using 2 diodes (or a dual diode in a small surface-mount package).  That way no extra wire is needed.

See https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=42938.msg544287#msg544287
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Ogden Rails

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2019, 07:49:59 PM »
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Thank you Carl and Peteski for your replies. Very much appreciated.

John

conrad

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 10:48:42 AM »
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I have an older Athearn Challenger with a burned out headlamp.  2 years ago I replaced the burned out (plus melted tender coal load) MRC decoder with Tsunami's TSU-4664 decoder but was never able to fix the light problem. I don't really care about controlling the light, I just need it lit.  Blue wires, white wires, pink wires, it's the !*x(* light I'd like to replace.  Sorry for rant.  Question is - how do I actually get to the headlamp?

Conrad

peteski

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2019, 01:37:26 PM »
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I had to do that on my friend's Athearn Big Boy last year.  Boy, what a pain it was!  I had to pretty much disassemble half of the locomotive, including breaking some glue joints on the pilot to finally be able to extract the headlight LED.   I don't remember all the details - I just kept removing more and more parts. But I remember lots of cussing.   This model is not at all designed to be servicing-friendly.  It sucked!
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conrad

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 04:11:51 PM »
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Peteski,

Thanks for the info.  After all my hair pulling in replacing the half melted decoder connector in my MRC to Tsunami install, I think I'll just run the Challenger in reverse and use the tender light!  Maybe some silver paint on the headlight.

Conrad

PS  Again, thanks for all the good advice you give.

woodone

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 03:54:46 PM »
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Drill out the old bulb-LED and replace with an 603 LED with small wires already attached. Glue in the new LED, after feeding the small wires threw the opening, after glue dries you can work your wires around until you get them where you need to. Then paint them black. The paint will hide the wires and hold them in place. If you want the lens effect fill, H/L the opening with clear epoxy.

conrad

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2019, 09:07:05 PM »
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"Drill out the old bulb-LED and replace with an 603 LED with small wires already attached"

Never thought of that.  Sounds like a good snowy winter evening project.

Thank you

Conrad

carlso

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2019, 11:10:05 PM »
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Conrad,

I will second Woody's suggestion but I would use 0402 LED with magnet wires attached. Much smaller hole to drill.

Carl

PS: keep in mind that with an LED you will need to add a resistor into the LED circuit. Right
           Peteski ? ?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 11:12:55 PM by carlso »
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

peteski

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 02:21:07 AM »
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PS: keep in mind that with an LED you will need to add a resistor into the LED circuit. Right
           Peteski ? ?

The factory-installed headlight LED is located in a small PC board buried in the pilot's metal frame. It is not even shown in the exploded diagram in the model's manual.  But I don't recall id that PC board also houses the resistor.  I think that it did.  If not, the resistor would be either in the circuit board inside the locomotive, or on the decoder.  But I don't recall where the resistor is (since I simply replaced the LED on that tiny PC board in the pilot frame.

As for the magnet wires, since the pilot is articulated, they will flex while the model is running. I suppose that thin enough magnet wires should be able to withstand that.

I also found it unusual that the LED malfunctioned in my friend's model, and now in this model.   LEDs normally should last the lifetime of the model.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 02:23:09 AM by peteski »
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conrad

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Re: My unorthodox Sound install ( Athearn Big Boy )
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2019, 12:28:38 PM »
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Thanks for the advice and info.

I got my Challenger Jan 2009.  As I remember i has an incandescent lamp.  As I said, I'm waiting for a snowy winter day to tackle this.

I've used magnet wire in the past.  Mostly for body to shell connections.  Not much flexing but some when removing/installing the shell.  I guess it depends on the wire size, frequency of flex, radius of curvature where the flex occurs, etc.  This could be a real mechanical engineering, metallurgical exercise for someone.  However, think of the flex connectors on laptops and old flip phones.

As for the ever needed current limiting led resistor, I am pretty sure there is not one in the Tsunami TSU-4664N decoder.  My memory is that my original out of loco test of the Tsunami on my homemade decoder tester showed full brightness on the tester's leds.  This means, to me, only one current limiting source - my tester's resistor.

I have bookmarked this thread and will give a "winter" report on what happens.

Conrad

PS for Woodone: What is "H/L" the opening with clear epoxy?  Apologies if it's a really dumb question.