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I have a customer who is migrating to DCC and wants to add sound to his layout. We're thinking the best thing to do is get a sound decoder and small speaker and mount them in a box car pulled behind the diesel engines. Anyone have experience with sound decoders in N scale?
 

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I have a PCM E7 with sound. The best way to get into sound is to buy a locomotive with a sound decoder. But this is far from the cheapest way. The Athearn BigBoy and Challenger are nice. (Do you have any challengers left Josh?).

If you want to upgrade a loco you already have to DCC with sound, and you're not a machinist, you usually need to buy replacement frames that have been milled to accept both the decoder and the speaker. http://www.aztectrains.com/pages/DCCFrames2.html

If you have Kato F units, there is now a drop-in sound decoder for them from MRC http://www.modelrec.com/search/product-view.asp?ID=8051

If you already have a DCC decoder in your loco then the sound only decoder in a trailing car is a good solution. However, I would prefer to put it in a dummy loco to a boxcar... if you can find a dummy loco. They aren't made as much as they used to be.
 

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I haven't found any GP40's in N scale that are both sound and DCC ready. The only N scale stuff we have with sound are FB units and Locomotives with tenders. You're right about the dummy units, although the selection on those is surprisingly limited as well.
 

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I have a friend who owns a PCM E-7 also,and since I've seen and heard it,I felt I have to have sound in a diesel or two,or more maybe....But then I found that fitting a sound decoder in an N scale loco is no easy chore.Not much spare room in there for the speaker.And milling the frame reduces the loco's weight thus it's pulling capacity.And even worse,the only sound decoders made for diesels are MRC,wich are notoriously unreliable,with a very high failure rate.
Then I got this idea too...buying a dummy engine...but got doubts about finding one and if I did,would it have the electrical paths from wheels to frame as powered locos do?I don't know.So I elected to take a bottom line loco (Life-Like or other),strip all the traction gears and motor away so that I can mill all the room I need away to fit both a "sound only" decoder and it's speaker.The plus side is that it will have it's own adress so that it can be consisted in whatever combination I wish and the accompanying locos would all "seem" to have sound.
I've thought of the Digitrax SFX0416 for the purpose.It should fit and comes complete with resistor,speaker,etc.At MSRP of $59.99,add to this the price of a low cost loco or better still and older loco that I don't use anyway,and it's an attractive option.Any other ideas welcome.
 
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