As usual I have been busy but not really getting much finished. Layout base board construction continues slowly (1.5 years now) and the DCC bug is still biting. I have now equipped five locomotives with sound, with a sixth, a 42 class waiting for its install. The latest sound candidate was my Classic Brass saturated 50 class. I bought this loco a few years ago from a fine modeller fellow but have hardly used it. I think the sound aspect creates more enjoyment while running. I don't know what it is but I really enjoy watching sound equipped steam locomotives. With the little saturated 50 now making sounds, it will be getting quite a work out.
I have found many people involved with DCC, whether selling or simply installing very helpful. People like Gary from MRCC, Mike from DCCSounds, Ray Pilgrim and many others have been guiding me through problems. I have overwritten my 422 sound files not once but twice with my Lokprogrammer. I felt like an idiot , especially the second time when I had to request the file again from Mike. A second blow to my technological prowess came while talking to Ray P at the MRNSW convention. I was talking about the Lokprogrammer and he mentioned that it was idiot proof. Feeling like a goose I had to admit that maybe it was not 100% idiot poof, there will always be that one guy. Unfortunately that guy was me.
Me and the Lokprogrammer are becoming better friends. No longer do I cross my fingers and toes hoping that after a write data to the loco, it will once again have a voice. Ray helped me out with a sound project for the Z13 class. Loco 1311 has undergone four sound project versions since its last appearance on this blog and I am quite happy with it at the moment. The project architecture is very good and allows for great coasting and driving qualities. The whistle still needs work but I can live with it for the moment.
I have had a few conversations regarding converting brass steam locos to DCC. There is the chance of short circuits occurring due to the nature of the material used. I have heard of the insulation material in wheels melting due to brake rigging shorting on the insulated wheel. For me, I feel power districts should be current limited to avoid damage.
When converting the 50 I switched the tender bogies around so as to make tender and locomotive the same polarity. Extra pickups have been added to the tender for the left rail. The decoder and power pack are mounted in the tender with speaker mounted in the boiler. This means that there are four wires required between loco and tender. Two for the speaker and two for the motor. The locomotive draw bar now electrically connects the locomotive and tender. I used a TSC four pin connector and have found it to be quite unobtrusive. The Loksound V4, 21 pin decoder is mounted to an ESU adapter board. I like the idea of being able to neatly mount the decoder as well as remove it easily.
|Still to add Power Pack|
For me, one of the biggest draw cards to DCC is the stay alive, keep alive or power pack option. For the 50 class I used the more expensive ESU power pack option in lieu of my normal TCS fit. The TCS units are very good, with the KA2 having more storage capacity however they need to be disconnected while programming with the Lokprogrammer. For my converted 422 and CPH I have simply converted the built in switches so I can turn the TCS keep alive on or off. For the 50 class I the ESU power pack is a good fit and for the extra $20 has been worth the hassle of not having to fit a switching method.
Once again like the Z13, I wanted the speaker in the boiler. I cut a small section out of the boiler weight, cleaned it up on the mill and mounted the Zimo sugar cube speaker to it. It makes for a neat install as the whole assembly is simply screwed back in. I am still amazed by these tiny speakers. I actually think they sound better than the large oval speaker supplied with the 422!
For the 50 I wanted to use the same project in my Z13 however didn't want it to sound the same. After a little research using the helpful bunch on the Loksound yahoo group, I started to experiment with transferring drive sound .wav files. I downloaded many different steam files from the ESU website and played around with the a, d, ad, da files. These files contain a single beat of chuff noise. I was finally able to find the right chuff sounds and transferred them across into the new 50 project. So far so good. The 50 performs really well, has a nice coasting ability and doesn't sound too bad. I took it up to the Illawarra club room last Friday night for a run around our new DCC layout. It sounded good and didn't miss a beat. All I need now is a better whistle.
Below are two short videos of the 50 in action. Sorry about the quality.
Three of the five built base board modules have been finished off. The front garage floor is now blue and four litres of Estapol has disappeared. Spraying is very messy but has saved a lot of time. The modules are sealed around the back and underneath. The front upper and lower fascia will most likely be clad with Laminex once the scenery form is completed.
The reason for sealing the layout was mainly to keep it all clean and free of splinters. I am sure it will help with environmental changes also. I am very happy to have it at this point. The turntable module is next to do and will take a little more time, as like the viaduct module, its back scene is more complex. I can now start to build track on the completed modules which will be a huge learning curve however I am very excited. Having the 50 running on it today really starts the imagination racing.
|Six Metres Finished|
|Rear of Layout|
|Under Viaduct Module|
|Turntable Module - Next to Finish|
|Last Module - A bit to do here|
I have once again made progress on my MMM LFX. The body is just about complete and I am still impressed with how the kit goes together. Although pricey they are good to build and I recommend anyone contemplating a purchase to just do it. I am still wishing/hoping for Mike to release a HCX. As Picton and the area relied so heavily on the HCX for transport it really is a must for me to get right, and for you Rob if your reading this! Ha Ha.
Anyway that will do me for now. Hope you enjoy the pictures and Video. It has been a while since I have posted anything on here and feel a little guilty as I am always left a little disappointed when there are no new blog posts written by others. Reading peoples blogs these days is as exciting for me as receiving the latest AMRM.
Catch you later,