Replace DCC Decoder for Bachmann 4-8-4. - Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:38 AM   #1
En-TACT
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Replace DCC Decoder for Bachmann 4-8-4.

Hello - what's a recommended or the best DCC decoder (and speaker) replacement for a Bachmann 4-8-4 Northern? Looking for optimal performance and realistic sound.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:29 PM   #2
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I am going to assume this is HO scale and also that the decoder was factory installed. If so, the decoder is a "sound value" made by Soundtraxx to Bachmann specifications. I have a few and they seem alright but are lacking quite a few features. The decoder/speaker are located in the tender and hopefully a plug and play system. The Econami by Soundtraxx is a reasonable price or the top of the line one would be better still. I have no experience with the other makes, Wow, Lenz, etc. I would stay away from MRC and Digitrax though. For a speaker, get the largest that will fit. Maybe try a different speaker to start with the Sound Value decoder and see if that is acceptable. Good luck and keep us posted as to what you decided.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:44 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply Bwells. Yes, it's an HO scale 4-8-4 Northern. I have captured pictures of the decoder in this forum from the stages of me applying details and new paint. https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=24329

It's the manufacturer DCC decoder (most likely SoundTraxx) that came with the new drive train I purchased from Bachmann to replace from the original 3-pole motor and chassis back in the early 90's for my 4-8-4. However, the decoder was not equipped with sound. After years I have accepted for what it is and, now I want to upgrade it to a better decoder + sound.

I visited SoundTraxx's site. Looks like I'm geared towards to either the TSU-750 Micro-Tsunami (because of the oil tender's awkward cylindrical size, this may work) or the TSU-1000.

Curious to know if you know if ESU Loki decoder are good?
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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I was close on my assumptions. If the decoder is a Bachmann non sound it is not made by Soundtraxx and is a Bachmann produced decoder. They rank in the lower level of quality and adjusting the CV's can be harder than picking cotton candy off your balls. I have no experience with the Loksound decoders but have heard good things about them. By the way, nice work on your rebuild thread. Not sure how I missed it.
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Old 04-21-2019, 05:55 AM   #5
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If you want the best sound ESU is hard to beat. Functions for the decoder programming are practically unlimited too.

Loksound V4.0, and Loksound V5.0 is now available.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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I plan to do this myself. How difficult is it to swap the Bachmann decoder for a SoundTraxx Tsunami? Does SoundTraxx provide good wiring instructions - or will I have to research on the net?
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