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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
I'm about to go completely over to DCC having bought a Dynamis and installed a couple of Lenz standard decoders, but I want to fit sound to some of my steam locos.
Looking at Howes and SWD it seems you can have either the Loksound 3.5v or the Micro. I gather the Micro is intended for N gauge, but as I want to get a decoder in the loco rather than the tender wherever possible (accepting that the speaker will have to go in the tender), is the Micro up to the job of powering , say, a Bachmann Hall, 43xx, Standard 5 or Hornby Black 5, Brit, Grange?
I'm not bothered about the plug as I'll hard-wire and I'm happy enough to cut sections of chassis block away if needed (already done a 43XX split frame) so that the decoder will fit. I want to do this as I don't fancy having permanent fixed wiring between loco and tender. Arranging a 2-pin plug and socket for the speaker seems a much better arrangement, but I don't want to do it only to find that the Micro is short on amps and I should have gone "3.5v in the tender"
 

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only consider the micro as a last resort. It will not have the power to pull a large tender engine and a rake 6+ coaches for long with out cooking. Volume is poor too.

Personally, I find it easier to have the chip and speaker in the tender.
 

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I'm looking at using a micro in tank engines as it will fit and the J94's only draw 0.43amps when stalled so within the range of the 1/2 amp micro. I would go for the standard loksound in a tender loco though for the bigger speaker and sound quality even if it means extra wires to the tender.
 

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QUOTE (PaulRhB @ 23 Jan 2008, 20:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm looking at using a micro in tank engines as it will fit and the J94's only draw 0.43amps when stalled so within the range of the 1/2 amp micro. I would go for the standard loksound in a tender loco though for the bigger speaker and sound quality even if it means extra wires to the tender.

***Paul

The Micro can sound really good BUT you must work with it to give u the best.... and it IS at limit in a hard used 4mm scale loco.

If U use a micro be sure to create a perfectly sealed enclosure for the suppplied oval speaker - a couple of MM wider and longer than the speaker and ideally about 1cm deep. Card, stiff plastic or anything is OK, but perfect seal means totally airtight, including the holes where the wires come out.

Think about how well air-sealed a container would need to be if it had a nasty bio-chemical inside - and you'll be on the right track. sealed means sealed to help these tiny speakers!!

Set volume at about 90% and no higher (about 58 out of 64 max)... this keeps the audio section cooler and there'll be b-all volume difference anyway.

Option....if U want more... sealed still applies plus....

You can parallel two speakers to gain energy (this gives 50 ohms load which is ok...just) but if you do this be aware you will have everything stressed at max with no headroom at all... to keep it cool, you MUST couple the LS Micro decoder firmly (with heat conductive grease between chassis and decoder) to the chassis (it acts as a heatsink) and make sure it has some free air on all the other faces... AND - most important, set volume no higher than 55 (max is 64).

Don't be tempted to strap it to the motor.

Re motor power - stay aware of the limits of the decoder - in a 4mm scle loco, no huge trains and no long ones on long gradients - heat kills and heat is cumulative.

You'll be quite OK with prototypical loads for a while - but again, no endurance runs! say 1/2 an hour then rest it for a while.

Regards

Richard
DCC concepts
 

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Yep I've done a bit of prep for this and the 25mm box speaker is a snug fit in the bunker which will form all but one side of the sealed enclosure. The Micro will sit in a recess of the large cast ballast weight slightly enlarged for it to fit with air room too.
Thanks for the advice on settings that will prove useful, as the locos will be for a industrial layout they will be working for short periods and they are well within the 0.5 amp loading when stalled and way under when slipping so cumulative heat shouldn't pose too many problems.
Will let you know how the poject goes when I get round to it. Just finished the Swiss layout overhead so time for something different!
 

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QUOTE (talyllyn1 @ 22 Jan 2008, 17:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Arranging a 2-pin plug and socket for the speaker seems a much better arrangement, but I don't want to do it only to find that the Micro is short on amps and I should have gone "3.5v in the tender"


Rather than all these mini snap connectors which are a pain to take apart try some of the in line micro connectors, split the connecting wires into two pairs and the are less obtrusive as you can run them either side of the drawbar making it easy to insert a standard 3.5 in the tender with the speakers. Remember you only need 4 wires for this anyway if you intend putting the speaker in the tender, 2 for the pickups and two for the motor. (5 if you want to install a chuff synch cam)
I would like to see speakers and sound enclosures built into the smokebox even with loss of weight, (how about a separate pice that can be removed for those wanting sound?), so that the sound comes from the right end. On my big US articulated it does sound a little silly close up when the front passes and the speaker is over 12 inches behind!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Many thanks to you all for your replies, I'm most grateful. Leaning towards chickening out with the micro now - I don't want to kill £100 worth of decoder!
It's just a shame that all those wires will have to bridge the gap, particularly as I want to have a go at using an LED for a flickering firebox. Has anybody successfully arranged 5 or 6 wires with connectors, or do you just live with the loco and tender being permanently coupled?
 

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QUOTE (talyllyn1 @ 24 Jan 2008, 04:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Many thanks to you all for your replies, I'm most grateful. Leaning towards chickening out with the micro now - I don't want to kill £100 worth of decoder!
It's just a shame that all those wires will have to bridge the gap, particularly as I want to have a go at using an LED for a flickering firebox. Has anybody successfully arranged 5 or 6 wires with connectors, or do you just live with the loco and tender being permanently coupled?

*** Bromsgrove have some 4 and 6 way connectors that work well ex stock, and they are worth using.

However, you will find that its good to use them AND to not bother separating loco and tender unless you need to for service or modification etc...

For years I've always permanently coupled loco and tender and it really is no problem to live with.... How often do you take a running loco off the track anyway?

Regards

Richard
 

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QUOTE (talyllyn1 @ 23 Jan 2008, 19:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Has anybody successfully arranged 5 or 6 wires with connectors, or do you just live with the loco and tender being permanently coupled?
Most of my US steamers came with 8 wires across the gap from the factory as all the decoder sockets are in the tenders and some of these needed the wiring modifying as out of the box it kept lifting the tender of the track on corners as there wasn't enough movement, I've also done it myself on a couple and the main thing is to avoid snagging on anything.
There are two options, (handy hint - Obviously black wires are best but you can still use colour coded wires and then paint black using paint intended for lexan RC car bodyshells as it doesn't flake off unless you actually scratch it)
Use small flexible wire.

Option 1 If there is enough room under the drawbar a single connector with wires running almost flat across the divide, allow a bit extra for flexing in corners. You could go throught the cab but the wiring is a lot more noticeable.

Option 2 Split into two connectors and mount right under the cab either side of the drawbar with a small loop of wire, sort of 'U' shape, between to allow flexing on corners, they will look like the water pipes from the tender and brake pipes so it's not unprototypical.
 
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