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136  Discussion Boards / HO / Sound Modules for new DCC Equipped locos question on: March 26, 2012, 06:33:58 AM
OK, I may be dim, but can someone explain this, please?

I found the Tsunami SoundTraxx page in the Parts and Service section on the Bachmann website and it says:

“Beginning in late 2011 Bachmann Spectrum locomotives that are ordered with DCC come equipped with a SoundTraxx Mobile Decoder that has a 21-pin plug and a speaker already installed.”

It then says:

“Bachmann also sells a separate sound module to plug into the 21-pin connector. The sound Module and the mobile decoder plugged in together act the same as the Tsunami found in the 2009-2010 released Spectrum models.”

Now, I am looking inside my older HO sound equipped 2-8-0 tender and I see three things: a DCC decoder; a speaker; and what I take to be a sound card.  Two wires (yellow and orange) run from the sound card to the speaker (soldered connections) and seven wires (blue, white, yellow, grey, orange, red and black) run from soldered connections on the sound card to an eight-pin plug which is plugged into the main DCC decoder board.

Does the website info mean that Bachmann have now split the components / functions which I have on one sound card and put them onto two separate cards, a decoder and a sound module?  If so, does the “SoundTraxx Mobile Decoder” which now comes with each new DCC loco hold all the loco specific  information, e.g. all the sounds and instructions specific to a 2-8-0, and the “separate sound module” is a generic unit needed to make it work but the same unit can be used with any loco?

The Bachman page concludes by saying:

“Listed below are the locomotive models that currently are or will be shipped with Tsunami Digital Sound Decoders installed.  Select your model from the list to link to a quick reference document specific to that engine. “

“When referencing CV defaults for locomotives built after Spetember 2011, the values in Italics are only applicable if the sound module is plugged into the decoder. “

The list includes the 2-8-0, but no CVs in the document relating to the 2-8-0 are in italics.  That almost seems to read as if all the 2-8-0 sound functions will work without the additional “Sound Module”. 

There is a picture atop the 2-8-0 sheet of Western Maryland #744, but the WM 2-8-0 currently available is #760 (Bachmann 51307).  There is no mention of any sound equipment in the description of Bachmann 51307 on the website product information.  It would be very helpful in the website product information said in the entry for each loco “To fit this loco with sound you need to buy component xxxx”.

I have only found two “Sound Modules” listed in the Bachmann product information, one for the B&O EM-1 2-8-8-4, and one for the 14-Ton Two-Truck Stearns-Heisler.  Where is the module for the DCC 2-8-0?  They are not in the “Parts and Service” section either.  And I don’t see these modules listed by retailers such as MB Klein either.

TIA for enlightenment!
Bill.
137  Discussion Boards / HO / Q for the B-Man? Will the Sound Tender from the 2-10-0 connect to the 2-8-0? on: March 12, 2012, 05:08:45 AM
Here’s the situation:

I have a small shunting layout built for diesels which I am adapting to Ma & Pa steam 1952 (year I was born and the last 4-4-0 (#6) was retired), with DCC and sound. 

The Ma & Pa still had three Baldwin 2-8-0s (#41, 42, 43) which it retired between 1952-57.  They looked quite close to the Bachmann 2-8-0 (except for the headlight being on top of the smokebox), but seem from photos to have had a shorter tender.

The crucial headshunt in my yard will only hold the Bachmann 2-8-0 plus a 40’ boxcar (I have a Western Maryland 2-8-0). If the tender were a bit shorter a 2-8-0 could shunt a 50’ boxcar.

The 2-10-0 and the high boiler Baldwin 4-6-0 both have a tender which looks shorter and would not disgrace a 2-8-0 on a shortline, though it is not quite the same as the Ma & Pa 2-8-0 tender, so I am thinking of acquiring one of these to pair with an unlettered 2-8-0.  It would also make a contrast with the WM “visitor” (the WM met the Ma & Pa at York, PA).

My questions are: 

Are the 2-10-0 and high-boiler 4-6-0 tenders the same? They look quite similar, but the unlettered, sound equipped  4-6-0 seems hard to find now, whilst the unlettered, sound equipped 2-10-0s seem more available and cheaper.

Would these tenders plug directly into the 2-8-0?  I have read on this board that the wiring of the connector pins differs between Bachmann loco classes, and I do not want to plug it in and fry the decoder.  What wiring changes would I need to make?

Are the sounds pre-programmed into the 2-10-0 tender “meatier” than those programmed into the 4-6-0 tender, as might befit the bigger engine?

Alternately, as Bachmann already seem to have made quite an investment in the Ma & Pa, how about you issue the 2-8-0 with the shorter tender in Ma & Pa livery, even if only as a special edition run, to complete the fleet?  It would be nice if you could move the headlamp rather than me have to do it!  (It just needs the lamp from the 4-4-0 or 4-6-0).  And a painted tender would be so much better than waterslide transfers from the Ma & Pa Society.

Hoping you or fellow steam railroad CEOs can help with advice, if not with a special run Ma & Pa 2-8-0!

TIA, Bill.
138  Discussion Boards / General Discussion / Is there a list of Bachmann past products on this site or on the web somewhere? on: February 26, 2012, 02:20:11 PM
It would be very helpful to have a list of Bachmann past products with product numbers.  This would help in searching for an out of production item on google, ebay, etc.

For example, I am currently trying to find a list of HO high boiler 4-6-0s with sound, without sound, and DCC ready, to see if any would be of interest to me.

It would also help in identifying an item seen for sale, especially when the seller does not know much about it.  For example I have recently seen a 2-8-0 on ebay with a product number (11412) which bears no relation to the current catalogue series, and I am having difficulty in finding out if it is DCC ready, as it is sealed in its original shrink wrap and the seller does not want to break the seal.

Bachmann Europe produces a list of all past products in OO and N scales for the British market which it updates annually. (http://www.bachmann.co.uk/past_and_present.php).  But I cannot find anything similar for Bachmann US.

Is there such a list?  Bachmann must have the info in their records.

Or can anyone privide a comprehensive list of the HO Baldwin 4-6-0s?

TIA for info,
Bill.
139  Discussion Boards / HO / More Doodlebug questions - did it have to be turned? on: February 19, 2012, 04:09:03 PM
Hi, more dumb questions!  Did the Doodlebug as modelled by Bachmann have to be turned? And did this mean turning the motor car and the trailer car? Or could it run backwards like an RDC.  I have not bought the model yet, but see no form of rear driving position, but if it needed turning it would be little use on minor lines without a sizeable turntable.

TIA,
Bill.
140  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Sound for the Doodlebug? on: February 17, 2012, 12:31:16 PM
Thanks for your replies. 

I wish to avoid buying the DCC Ma & Pa Doodlebug without sound if I just have to wait a while, even a year or two, for a version with approppriate sound to appear.  Maybe the Bach-Man can say or at least gaze into his crystal ball?

The Doodlebugs had petrol engines.  I have never heard one.  Would a diesel pass for one?

And I assume they had both horns and bells for different purposes, but were these similar to sounds available on the cards you mention or were they quite distinctive?  I think that several Doodlebugs have been preserved, so maybe someone here knows?

Regards,
Bill.
141  Discussion Boards / HO / Sound for the Doodlebug? on: February 17, 2012, 06:32:59 AM
The Doodlebug is in the Spectrum range but none appear to have sound.  Has there been or will there be a sound version?  Or is there a suitable sound kit for this model?  (Presumably the Doodlebug had a sound all its own!).

Thanks,
Bill.
142  Discussion Boards / HO / Richmond 4-4-0 with and without sound - tender swaps? And Q for the Bachmann. on: February 17, 2012, 06:28:56 AM
Hi, the Ma & Pa 4-4-0 has sound with the steel cab version but not with the wood cab versions.   Can a wood cab be given sound just by swapping tenders, or is it more complicated than that?

And does this apply to any Bachmann locos of the same class which have both plain DCC and DCC sound versions?

And as the tenders look the same, is it just a matter of time before a wood cab Ma & Pa #4 or #5 appears with sound?

TIA,
Bill.
143  Discussion Boards / HO / Cable management between 4-6-0 and 2-8-0 loco and tender? on: February 11, 2012, 01:02:12 AM
Hi, sorry if this is a repeat, but I posted this question a few hours ago and then could not find it, so here goes again!

I have just ventured into HO steam, DCC and sound, I just received the low-boiler Baldwin 4-6-0 (84905) and the 2-8-0 (84509) by mail order so there is no easy way to ask the retailer. 

I opened the 4-6-0, looks fantastic, but when I plug the cables from the tender into the loco they seem too long and when I hook up the tender drawbar the cables loop back under the tender and foul the leading axle pickup, stop the bogie swivelling and derail the front bogie, whilst under the loco cab because the plug fit is vertical and the cable fairly stiff and springy the cable sticks down, rubs along the sleepers and fouls anything between the rails, e.g. pointwork, uncoupler magnets, etc.

I assumed this was just an assembly problem with this loco, but when I opened the 2-8-0 (also great, but not quite as beautiful as the 4-6-0), I found a similar problem.  Here the cables come from beneath the loco and plug horizontally into the tender.  Again they are so long that when the tender bar is coupled the excess lead lifts the front bogie of the tender clear off the rails.  The only way I could run the loco was by uncoupling the tender and having the loco pull it by the cable!

Different engines, different mail order house.  Am I just amazingly unlucky, or is this a common feature of loco to tender connections, with some simple solution?  I had been running an RS-1 and RS-3 on the layout, so never had this problem, as there is no external connection cable.  If this is normal, how do you do manage the excess cable?  There is no mention of the loco to tender connection in the documentation, or on the CD.  With the 4-6-0 should I dismantle the tender and pull some cable in?  But that still does not solve the problem of the springy lead sticking down from beneath the loco cab to between the rails, and I am wary of dismantling the tender, as the parts diagram looks frighteningly complex.  On the 2-8-0, should I cut off the plug and shorten the lead?  I am wary of that task, too.

I want to couple both engines to their tenders at the closest position.  What do you folks do?  Am I missing something simple? Please Help!

Bill.
144  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Asking for Steaming Sound Advice on Bachmann Soundtraxx Tsunami?.. on: February 10, 2012, 06:08:33 PM
Thanks to all.  I got the 4-6-0 and the 2-8-0, and am learning all about them.  But now I have a whole new issue with the connection between the locos and tenders, the electric lead seems much too long, so I have asked a fresh question.

Bill.
145  Discussion Boards / HO / Re: Asking for Steaming Sound Advice on Bachmann Soundtraxx Tsunami?.. on: February 06, 2012, 10:45:32 AM
Apologies for question marks in the above text where there should be dashes or apostrophes.  I drafted it in Word and the forum system has changed some of the punctuation to question marks.  I hope you can still understand it.  Lesson learned.
146  Discussion Boards / HO / Asking for Steaming Sound Advice on Bachmann Soundtraxx Tsunami?.. on: February 06, 2012, 10:35:35 AM
Hi, I am looking for some advice.  I have a small 6-ft x 2-ft HO shunting puzzle type layout which is wired for digital (i.e. all tracks are live, and all points live frog), but it has an analogue controller and operates on DC at present.  It is currently inhabited by an Atlas DC RS-1 and RS-3, but only one can be on the layout at one time, as they both move ? there are no isolated sidings. 

I am thinking of fitting a DCC controller and backdating to steam.  The aim would be to run two contrasting engines, e.g. the Spectrum MEC 4-4-0 and 2-8-0, or Ma & Pa 4-4-0 and 4-6-0.   A main purpose of this transition is to introduce sound to mainly shunting operations ? lots of whistles, bells, clanks, hisses, and slow chuffs.  All these engines are available with the Bachmann sound onboard. 

However, I have read in other threads that the Bachmann version is a limited version of the full Tsunami system.  Also, that the Bachmann instructions are based on the spec for the full system and the system as fitted will not do many of the things the instructions suggest it will, and that to get the spec for the system that Soundtraxx have actually supplied to Bachmann you have to search the Soundtraxx website library (and I have not yet found it).

The questions I have are:

What does the full spec system have that the Bachmann implementation lacks (in the context of what I need as described above)?

Would I be better to get the plain DCC versions (which would be cheaper and widens the options to include the Richmond 4-4-0s with wood cabs), and fit the full spec sound ? and is that easy to do?

I saw on the Soundtraxx website that they make a SurroundTraxx system where you put up to six speakers around the layout and not on-board the engines, which only then need DCC on-board  ? Would this be a better choice on such a small layout?  (I have not yet fitted the backscenes, so there is scope).  This would also permit more engines.

What would be the best controller to get the full potential from the Bachmann system?

Is a sensible course to get the Bachmann system to learn on, and then upgrade the locos? Is that fairly easy, or are there limiting factors such as how many pins the plugs have?

I have a small Atlas Y point in the middle of the layout - will the 4-6-0 or 2-8-0 have problems with this?

You will gather that I don?t know a lot about DCC and sound, but some of you do!

Thanks,
Bill.
147  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Kits for a small rural New England railroad depot? on: January 31, 2012, 07:28:21 AM
Hi, thanks to all for your advice.  Some very interesting info there:

I had not previously spotted the point about New England wood stations tending to have horizontal rather than vertical planking.

I was a bit worried that the roof shape of the Walnut Grove depot looked too specific to somewhere.  But on browsing a few New England station photos, I found a very similar roof shape on the Central Vermont at Northfield MA, which I think was built by the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad, later absorbed by the Central Vermont.

I had not considered wood kits before, but having done so I found that Branchlines make one of Cannondale station on the New Haven Danbury branch.  Still standing, and the barn red paint makes for a striking model.  Also, I think it is tab and slot construction, which may be a good introduction to wood kits.  However, I have also realised that most of the web retailers pics show the HO model, and the pic of the N-scale model on Branchlines’ own website has not been finished quite as neatly.  Maybe the small scale of N makes a good job in wood more difficult.  Still, I think that is where I will start.

Having found Branchlines I found they also do other prototypical New England structures, including the Crosby Coal and Grain kit from Danby, VT on the Rutland RR.

So, I shall have a go at wood kits, starting with the Cannondale station, knowing that if I fail I can fall back on the Atlas Maywood kit, which looks rather similar but has vertical planking, but would doubtless look good in Barn Red!

Finally, I was always less worried about the folks with webbed feet than about whatever was trying to get through the gabled window.  Nice to know that HPL is not forgotten.

Thanks,
Bill.
148  Discussion Boards / N / Kits for a small rural New England railroad depot? on: January 24, 2012, 07:39:04 AM
Hi, I'm looking for a kit for a small depot which would not look out of place in New England?  Does anyone know whether the Walthers Cornerstone Clarkesville Depot was based on a real structure, and if so, where?  The official description is the somewhat non-specific "typical of wooden depots built throughout North America after 1900", and "The kit has alternate gable support brackets for "East" and "West".  Or does anyone have a better recommendation??  Something which would look at home in a land which expects snow in winter!!  It will be visited by New Haven, Maine Central, Boston and Maine, Bangor & Aroostook and Central Vermont engines, so as you can see the precise location changes from day to day!!!!!  But passenger services are provided by New Haven Budd RDCs, so it is for a "one RDC" sized passing station, perhaps with New Haven affiliations.

Thanks,
Bill.
149  Discussion Boards / N / Are the tenders on the DCC 4-6-0 and 2-10-2 hard wired to the locos? on: January 02, 2012, 09:58:42 AM
I note that these two locos are DCC fitted, and I am wondering if the decoders are in the loco body and the tender has the usual Bachmann tender-loco electrical connection of a pair of sprung pickups, which would make it easy to swap tenders for either of these locos, or if the decoders are in the tenders, which would require a lot more work to change the tender.

TIA and
Happy New Year,
Bill.
150  Discussion Boards / N / Minimum radius curves for N-scale USRA light 2-10-2, please? (and all steamers) on: December 27, 2011, 07:20:25 AM
Hi, the product announcement / details do not say what the minimum parameters are to run this loco.  I would be grateful to know the minimum radius recommended for the visible section of the layout, and the actual minimum it will negotiate in the "off stage" areas.  I don't just mean references to Bachmann pre-formed track, but an actual minimum to take account of flexitrack.

It would be helpful if Bachmann listed these criteria as standard in the product descriptions for all of their steamers.

Thanks,
Bill.
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