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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve had this BNSF dash 9 for a long time now but after going to a model railroad in Indianapolis and using my only DCC engine to its fullest ability, this has left a good taste in my mouth and I’m thinking about the possibilities of coming up on my next big hit with dcc. And that is putting DCC and sound into this dash 9. It is my highest quality model as it is an Atlas silver series loco and happens to be my only locomotive with a plow, sunshades, and most importantly in this case, ditch lights. What I would do to be able to see one of my own locomotives toss two little beads of light around while screaming around a bend with its horn and bells. So, now it’s time to ask the question, what’s the first step? I need to get a system first, I know that, but if I can have some of my locomotives ready for said system by the time it gets here is in my best interest. Especially because I can run it on that club in Indy. I’ve heard of the little plugs and what not that you put into the locomotive but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. How does one get the correct sounds out the the decoder you buy? Does the amount of pins on the plug determine what features you do and don’t get? (The BNSF is an 8 pin NMRA plug according to the box) And lastly, what kind of decoder/plug do I need that is going to be the most budget friendly as possible? If I can get dcc and sound in this bad boy there will be no stopping me at the layout
 

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get your self an arduino and a motor shield then put dcc++ex on that and run JMRI on ur puter, then find the proper dcc for your loco install every thing and boom your in dcc for under $100 bucks for everything. once feet is wet get enging driver fer your phone then you can be wireless (y)cheap but very effective
 

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OP:

You have A LOT of learning ahead of you. A LOT.

Frankly, you might do better to buy the loco of your choice with dcc/sound pre-installed.

If you're serious, do this:
Take off the shell and have a look inside.
Take a few DETAILED pics, and post them here.

Before you can even think about what to do with any engine, you've got to decide what kind of dcc setup you're going to buy.

Can you tell us which one you've chosen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OP:

You have A LOT of learning ahead of you. A LOT.

Frankly, you might do better to buy the loco of your choice with dcc/sound pre-installed.

If you're serious, do this:
Take off the shell and have a look inside.
Take a few DETAILED pics, and post them here.

Before you can even think about what to do with any engine, you've got to decide what kind of dcc setup you're going to buy.

Can you tell us which one you've chosen?
I’m not for certain exactly what I need but I’ve found this. Which may or may not work. I have no idea how to take the shell off. Digitrax SFX006 Soundbug
 

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Since you are familiar with the Indy model train
club it would seem your best bet would be to
take the loco to them and ask for guidance.
It may be that one or more would volunteer
to do the sound installation for you.

You should have your DCC system on hand
before you try to install the sound decoder.
There are DCC decoder options that only
a DCC controller can do.

Digitrax, NEC, and MRC make controllers
that can do what you need done. And, again,
if you choose the DCC system that Indy club
uses you could further benefit from their
experience.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If anyone is still following this discussion, would it be easier to just install ditch lights onto a model already equipped with DCC+ Sound? It just struck me as an option
 

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I agree with Don.
The plugs (8 pin etc) needn’t be installed. The factory did that in all recent products. But you’ll want to know which type of plug as you may need an adapter. Only older locos will need soldered connections.
DCC Sound boards often replace the factory installed board as Sound boards include motor control etc. Some plug in via an 8 pin i.e. The only trick is to know which pin is designated 1 so it isn’t installed 180 degrees.
Sounds will be synchronized by the factory to motor draw etc. You shouldn’t need to change anything, but in most cases the option to do so is available to you. Case in point the Tsunami2 EMD2 board which I think is correct for the Dash 9 has I think over a dozen different horns to choose from.

Ditch lights will require an available function. I like ditch lights, but I do not like to install them. Those, if added post-out of box, will need to be programmed after being connected to F-whichever.

I agree with Don that, at this early point in education, you’d be most well served by paying a member if that club to do the installs that you desire. Get what you want, and learn in time. Before you can put the cart in front of the horse, you need to have the cart. If that club isn’t too far away, it’d probably be worth joining for a year and see how you like it (some are good, some are mostly drama, some thriving, some dying; so just go for a 1 year membership until you can gauge things better).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree with Don.
The plugs (8 pin etc) needn’t be installed. The factory did that in all recent products. But you’ll want to know which type of plug as you may need an adapter. Only older locos will need soldered connections.
DCC Sound boards often replace the factory installed board as Sound boards include motor control etc. Some plug in via an 8 pin i.e. The only trick is to know which pin is designated 1 so it isn’t installed 180 degrees.
Sounds will be synchronized by the factory to motor draw etc. You shouldn’t need to change anything, but in most cases the option to do so is available to you. Case in point the Tsunami2 EMD2 board which I think is correct for the Dash 9 has I think over a dozen different horns to choose from.

Ditch lights will require an available function. I like ditch lights, but I do not like to install them. Those, if added post-out of box, will need to be programmed after being connected to F-whichever.

I agree with Don that, at this early point in education, you’d be most well served by paying a member if that club to do the installs that you desire. Get what you want, and learn in time. Before you can put the cart in front of the horse, you need to have the cart. If that club isn’t too far away, it’d probably be worth joining for a year and see how you like it (some are good, some are mostly drama, some thriving, some dying; so just go for a 1 year membership until you can gauge things better).
I will do that then, the club is about an hour and a half at least so it would be hard to meet the requirements. Plus I have little to no skills to offer them which is one thing im sure they consider before allowing someone in. It would be hard to even get down there to have someone do it as they still have covid restrictions for visitors. (No mask required but appointments are mandatory for all visitors when there isn’t a show)
 

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I will do that then, the club is about an hour and a half at least so it would be hard to meet the requirements. Plus I have little to no skills to offer them which is one thing im sure they consider before allowing someone in. It would be hard to even get down there to have someone do it as they still have covid restrictions for visitors. (No mask required but appointments are mandatory for all visitors when there isn’t a show)
I get the distance issue, and covid restrictions, but I suspect you are incorrect about the part I put in "bold."
I don't think I've been involved with any club, (that includes non-railroad clubs), that doesn't encourage new members to join. You wouldn't be turned away. :)
 
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So I just got done with a response in your other thread, so I'll connect the two. If you're going to to sound and ditch lights, you want a full-featured DCC system, not an EZ Command. Had you bought one, you would be quickly disappointed.

I'm a little confused how you can't scrape up the money for a full DCC system, but you can afford a full sound equipped loco.... I said it on your other thread and I'll say it here: DON'T cheap out in this hobby. Research until you know what you really need / want, then save until you can afford it.

As far as the club, they probably aren't screening members for what skills they bring to the table, but are happy to take all comers, as long as they pay their dues. You'll pick up the skills, especially if you work side by side with experienced members.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I just got done with a response in your other thread, so I'll connect the two. If you're going to to sound and ditch lights, you want a full-featured DCC system, not an EZ Command. Had you bought one, you would be quickly disappointed.

I'm a little confused how you can't scrape up the money for a full DCC system, but you can afford a full sound equipped loco.... I said it on your other thread and I'll say it here: DON'T cheap out in this hobby. Research until you know what you really need / want, then save until you can afford it.

As far as the club, they probably aren't screening members for what skills they bring to the table, but are happy to take all comers, as long as they pay their dues. You'll pick up the skills, especially if you work side by side with experienced members.
The application requires you to fill out a section rating your skills in each catagory listed out of 5. Also, I was only able to afford one or the other. I know what I’m looking for…. at least now. Money is the only issue. I am too young for an hourly job. I mow my grandparents’ lawn for 20 bucks each time but it has been dry so it doesn’t need mowed. Plus I already owe her 80 for a locomotive I had her get for me
 

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The application requires you to fill out a section rating your skills in each catagory listed out of 5. Also, I was only able to afford one or the other. I know what I’m looking for…. at least now. Money is the only issue. I am too young for an hourly job. I mow my grandparents’ lawn for 20 bucks each time but it has been dry so it doesn’t need mowed. Plus I already owe her 80 for a locomotive I had her get for me

How young are you?
This hobby like CT mentioned is not cheap so in your situation it might be best to keep the costs low but keep that in mind that there is better out there once you get life moving. You are young and have plenty of years ahead of you to collect unlike a lit of us old folk who are wanting that perfect layout before they move on so the decisions need to be best for us.
Also I would suggest going to train shows not only could you snag some good deals on stuff but seeing some of thr layouts could keep your interest in the hobby.
The hobby is expensive and yes very frustrating at times but if you like trains like most of us on here do that is the ultimate draw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
How young are you?
This hobby like CT mentioned is not cheap so in your situation it might be best to keep the costs low but keep that in mind that there is better out there once you get life moving. You are young and have plenty of years ahead of you to collect unlike a lit of us old folk who are wanting that perfect layout before they move on so the decisions need to be best for us.
Also I would suggest going to train shows not only could you snag some good deals on stuff but seeing some of thr layouts could keep your interest in the hobby.
The hobby is expensive and yes very frustrating at times but if you like trains like most of us on here do that is the ultimate draw.
I’m 14 and I’ve spent 2 years in the hobby with several more before that holding onto an interest in it before I had any models of my own. I’ve been to several train shows and have gotten those good deals before. I’ve got an atlas master locomotive for 75 bucks. I’ve spent enough already to know that it’s not cheap and I’d consider myself decently enough experienced in the purchasing part of the hobby after buying less than adequate equipment which I’m still trying to get rid of. Now that I take another look at my username it comes off that I am a newbie but I’ve learned a lesson or two now
 

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90 minutes is a long distance even when gas is $3 and you’re old enough to drive yourself.
Is that really the closest club?
Perhaps there is a member of the club who lives halfway in your direction, which would save time & money by car pooling?

I think there is, or used to be, a reputable DCC website that would do installs for a fee. I never utilized it myself. I’m thinking it was TonysTrainExchange but I’m probably wrong. Someone here will know who I’m talking about & if they still do that.

I hate to say it but due to labor laws, you might want to postpone any DCC purchases until you’re 16 and can get a decent paycheck. The GOOD news is, the only cost in learning is time spent. Until you hit 18 that is lol But I’d say for cost/income reasons, keep DCC a goal on the horizon. I'm thinking of the adage of “the right time and place.” That might be a couple years out. Get the $80 paid off, and bank roll for the next two years while reading & learning.
 

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And don’t feel discouraged. We’ve all been there, we were all 14 once upon a time.
I recall when I was 15, went to a hobby shoo with my brother. Oogled & drooled over an awesome looking locomotive, a Stewart AS-616.

But…. $60. 😩

I got an Athearn BB TrainMaster instead.
Happy ending to the story though. About 8 years later, recalling that moment, I ordered a Stewart AS-616 because the $75 price was water off my back as they say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
90 minutes is a long distance even when gas is $3 and you’re old enough to drive yourself.
Is that really the closest club?
Perhaps there is a member of the club who lives halfway in your direction, which would save time & money by car pooling?

I think there is, or used to be, a reputable DCC website that would do installs for a fee. I never utilized it myself. I’m thinking it was TonysTrainExchange but I’m probably wrong. Someone here will know who I’m talking about & if they still do that.

I hate to say it but due to labor laws, you might want to postpone any DCC purchases until you’re 16 and can get a decent paycheck. The GOOD news is, the only cost in learning is time spent. Until you hit 18 that is lol But I’d say for cost/income reasons, keep DCC a goal on the horizon. I'm thinking of the adage of “the right time and place.” That might be a couple years out. Get the $80 paid off, and bank roll for the next two years while reading & learning.
Oh I-65 is a madhouse, my best chance would be taking back roads but I don’t start drivers Ed until next summer. I don’t personally know any of those guys besides one but even he I don’t know much about. He’s the only one of that club that I’ve seen the most often. Last show I went to was only the third time we had seen each other. My uncle may or may not be able to do it, he is a model railroader but there are things even he can’t do
 

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The application requires you to fill out a section rating your skills in each catagory listed out of 5. Also, I was only able to afford one or the other. I know what I’m looking for…. at least now. Money is the only issue. I am too young for an hourly job. I mow my grandparents’ lawn for 20 bucks each time but it has been dry so it doesn’t need mowed. Plus I already owe her 80 for a locomotive I had her get for me
So you're assuming that just because you have to rank your skills that they would reject your application if you put a one in everything. There's no possibility that they simply want to know what you can do? Remember, none of those guys started as an expert. They all had to learn it somewhere.

Do you get an allowance for doing chores around the house? If not, have you broached the subject with your parents? Any neighbors lawns you can mow? How about other odd jobs around the property? When my boys were your age, I would post a list of tasks on the refrigerator with a dollar figure next to each. If they did the job to my satisfaction, they got paid for it (yard work, deep cleaning around the house, minor maintenance jobs -- cleaning drains, repairing the cars' scratching post, etc.). They also got paid for being grunt labor for me on more complicated tasks (building a deck, patio furniture, pergola, etc). How about asking for gift certificates / prepaid cards for birthdays and other holidays? No, you can't get a real job, but that doesn't mean that there is no way you can get money. You seem more interested in finding reasons why you CAN'T do things than in finding ways to succeed.
 
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