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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I know the title is not the best in the world. Let me explain what I am sorting out now.

I have some older Athearn DC loco's which are Pre DCC-Ready era where I want to convert to DCC. In my fleet I have ABA sets which I am looking forward to running with the B unit which normally and currently is the Dummy.

So one of the requirements when converting my fleet to DCC is to maintain as much of the original train as possible including the weight. i have a CNC Router and am going to work on cutting a pocket out to locate the DCC controller in my powered unit.

With my introduction to DCC, I got a chance to play with 3 of my Athearn F7's with LokSound. OMG I am stoked on those. This is my first introduction to Sound decoders. And looking at possible ways to get sound in my older trains.

So here is the question.

In a ABA mix, where would be a good place to locate the Dummy? In most cases its the B unit. But then you have a dummy splitting 2 powered units. And is there cause or concern of derailment? A safer location may be infront or rear of the B unit.

The reason I ask is I want to put the sound decoder and such in the dummy unit. And maybe that sound unit may be better in the front A unit.

Has any one played with concept of a single sound setup in a mixed ABA set? How is the sound effects when they are coming from the center of a ABA vs the Front or Rear?

John
 

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John

The only place for a B unit in a 3 loco consist is
between the two As. The front A faces left and
the rear A faces right. The reason; the consist does
not require a wye or turntable to go back to it's
source 'forward'. There normally should
not be a derailing problem using a dummy as
the B. The speed of the 2 powered As should be
synced, however. If there is a derailing problem and
you find the trucks to be in gauge, it may be adding
some weight to the dummy would help.

Placing the sound decoder in the dummy may be
a very good idea. There should be sufficient room
for the decoder and speaker without much effort.
You would, however, have need of possibly converting
the dummy's trucks for power pickup. This often
requires replacing plastic with metal wheels and
installing wipers to collect the track power. Wires
to the decoder from the wipers.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Placing the sound decoder in the dummy may be
a very good idea. There should be sufficient room
for the decoder and speaker without much effort.
You would, however, have need of possibly converting
the dummy's trucks for power pickup. This often
requires replacing plastic with metal wheels and
installing wipers to collect the track power. Wires
to the decoder from the wipers.

Don
Thanks for the feed back. To clarify, I was not talking about moving the B unit location in the ABA config, more making the B unit a powered unit and making the front or rear A unit a dummy with LOKSOUND.

I will double check my Trucks on the dummy chassis i have. It looked like they were complete with metal wheels and pick ups already. What caught my attention was the metal tab which sticks up on the DC Athearn Blue Box F7-Units already was there. And the trucks even have gears which I am considering pulling out to see if one of my older F7s could use some new gears.
 

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John

The only place for a B unit in a 3 loco consist is
between the two As. The front A faces left and
the rear A faces right.
That's not entirely true, though there are some caveats.

Some railroads acquired "A" cab units that did not have MU connections on the nose, so then that would be true - because they could not be hooked up at the nose.

If the "A" units had nose MU, the units could be hooked up in any combination, in any order (as long as the lead unit has a cab going forward, obviously).

If the train is running to a terminal with no turning facilities, then yes, the RR would want to set up a set of power with a cab at each end. But if the power can be turned only the lead unit matters, nothing else.

And of course the F units could be combined with other units like GP9s as well.
 

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B-unit sound

Ok, so I know the title is not the best in the world. Let me explain what I am sorting out now.

I have some older Athearn DC loco's which are Pre DCC-Ready era where I want to convert to DCC. In my fleet I have ABA sets which I am looking forward to running with the B unit which normally and currently is the Dummy.

So one of the requirements when converting my fleet to DCC is to maintain as much of the original train as possible including the weight. i have a CNC Router and am going to work on cutting a pocket out to locate the DCC controller in my powered unit.

With my introduction to DCC, I got a chance to play with 3 of my Athearn F7's with LokSound. OMG I am stoked on those. This is my first introduction to Sound decoders. And looking at possible ways to get sound in my older trains.

So here is the question.

In a ABA mix, where would be a good place to locate the Dummy? In most cases its the B unit. But then you have a dummy splitting 2 powered units. And is there cause or concern of derailment? A safer location may be infront or rear of the B unit.

The reason I ask is I want to put the sound decoder and such in the dummy unit. And maybe that sound unit may be better in the front A unit.

Has any one played with concept of a single sound setup in a mixed ABA set? How is the sound effects when they are coming from the center of a ABA vs the Front or Rear?

John

John;

I have done a variant of what you're considering. I added a "drop in" sound decoder to convert an N-scale, Kato, DC, A-unit to DCC. The sound was originally from a tiny speaker mounted on the decoder circuit board facing up. The A-unit's shell muffled the sound a lot, and I'm old & part deaf. I mounted a bigger speaker in a dummy B-unit, facing down. I had removed part of the floor of the B-unit to let the sound out. I disconnected that tiny speaker on the decoder, and ran two small wires back to the dummy B-unit's new speaker. It works great this way! The sound bounces off the trackbed, and it's not all that easy to tell which unit the sound is coming from. Granted, your HO-scale units are longer, but you will also have room for two speakers, one aimed forward, and the other rearward, so maybe if you listened with your ear close enough to them you could possibly tell, but so what really?

good luck, have fun!

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So if I under stand the over all opinions here....

Having a dummy between 2 powered units is not going to increase my risk of derailment. No reason to make the front or rear A a dummy with sound and the B unit powered.

The suggestion by Traction Fan was to just install a speaker or 2 in the dummy unit (In this case F7B).

Do small DCC decoders also include sound, or do I have to have a separate sound card?

What about a dedicated sound decoder in the Dummy, and let my 2 powered units just have DCC train control only? Or is that too complicated? Taking into consideration the possible work which may be required to ensure the dummy can pick up power from the track.

I am a complete NOOB with too much YouTube watching on this topic, kind of a new age Book Smart.

Any suggestions for decoders? I really like the LokSound ability to kick off a engine start and engine stop via the same function button. Which others can do that? I ask because my Tsunami engine starts when power is applied, with NO way to stop the engine. Only MUTE the complete sound.

Thanks,
John
 

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Decoders are either sound decoders or they're not. THey are not separate, nor is it something you can add-on to later down the road. You'll have to choose which you would like at the time of purchase.

You can always remove a standard decoder though and replace it with a sound decoder at a later date. More money involved. You could always move the standard decoder to another un-equipped locomotive though...until you want to upgrade that one as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Decoders are either sound decoders or they're not. THey are not separate, nor is it something you can add-on to later down the road. You'll have to choose which you would like at the time of purchase....
So I already bought a 10 Pack of NCE D13SRJ decoders with wiring harness a couple years back before they were retired.

I guess I will install those in the older loco's I have now. And install Sound Only decoders in my dummy units. A bunch of F7s and PA-1's.

And my newer loco's which are dcc-ready will get sound decoders installed.
 

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John

As I mentioned before, installing sound in a dummy
loco, be it A or B is going to be much easier than
putting it in a powered unit because the motor and
frame take up most of the space.

It really wouldn't matter whether your sound was
in an A or a B, that is simply your choice.

There is no complication involved when you have
the 2 A units powered with non sound decoders, and the B unit with a sound decoder. While some DCC systems have
special codes for such consists you could simply use,
say, 5 (or the 4 digit lead loco number) as the address for
all three decoders. The sound decoder would react
to sound commands while the non sound decoders would
simply ignore them and respond to any operational
command. The same would be true if you
put the sound in a dummy A and powered the B. One
factor to consider, the perspective of where the horn sound
is coming from. In real life it's usually the lead loco.

Further, no matter which units are powered or which
a dummy, you can run them in any order that you
please. There are no 'consist' cops out there to slap
your hands.



Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
John

...

Further, no matter which units are powered or which
a dummy, you can run them in any order that you
please. There are no 'consist' cops out there to slap
your hands.

Don
Thanks for the feed back. I am just trying to make sure I dont do something so stupid that people ask why. And it sounds like from "traction fan" that it may be hard for me to determine where the sound is coming from in the first place.

In the end I am just trying to set/keep a standard which I can utilize across my fleet so that I can get as much of a variety as possible and not "Lock" certain B units to certain A units.
 

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"...I have some older Athearn DC loco's which are Pre DCC-Ready era where I want to convert to DCC..."

This may be a project on it's own. The older Athearn had the electric motor electrically connected to the metal frame via springy motor assembly spring bronze.

You'll have to modify the electrical connections.
This video should help
 

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Their's is not to reason why

Thanks for the feed back. I am just trying to make sure I dont do something so stupid that people ask why. And it sounds like from "traction fan" that it may be hard for me to determine where the sound is coming from in the first place.

In the end I am just trying to set/keep a standard which I can utilize across my fleet so that I can get as much of a variety as possible and not "Lock" certain B units to certain A units.

johnfm3;

Model railroading is a personal hobby. The only person who really needs to know why you did something a particular way is the one you see in your mirror every morning. :)

Oh certainly, there are those who do question why, or tell you (quite unasked) that that railroad company didn't have the type of locomotive that you have lettered for it on your model, that boxcar should have more rivets, Etc., Etc., ad nauseum! :cheeky4:
We call them "nitpickers" or "rivet counters" and less polite names too. :D

Here are two ways to deal with such yayhoos.

1) Give all their insulting questions, and pompous pronouncements, the amount of careful attention that such matters truly deserve,............ none.

2) Lead them astray in a manner that may point out the "value" of their ramblings. This one is a little more complicated, so I'll use some examples.

First example]
I use micro Engineering"s beautifully-detailed, code 55, N-scale, flex track. I paint the rails & spikes with a small artist's brush. Sometimes some paint gets on the tie tops near the rail. If anyone ever points out "the error of my ways" because I got a tiny bit of paint on the tiny tie around the even tinier spikes, I simply tell them, "Oh that, that's a tie plate." :rolleyes:

Second, & more obscure, example]

A) The prototype for my model railroad is a small part of the
Pacific coast division of the Milwaukee Road.

B) I am making an N-scale model of a MILW electric
locomotive called a "Little Joe." Simply because I think
it's a really cool-looking locomotive, and I want one.

C) In real life, the MILW didn't run their Little Joes on the
coast division.

D) In 1948, one Little Joe was run on the coast division, by
General Electric, as a demonstrator.

E) If anybody ever points out their "vast knowledge" by
informing me that, "Little Joes were never run on the
coast division", I can simply tell them "It's 1948." (dummy) :smilie_auslachen:

Do everything on YOUR Railroad, the way YOU want it. Don't worry what some visiting village idiot may think of anything, It's your railroad, not theirs.

Have fun. That's all that really matters. ;)

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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