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31  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Three truck shay,factory sound on: January 06, 2017, 02:32:36 AM
If it's DCC-equipped, to convert it to battery power, you need only add batteries and something like Airwire's "Convertr" or Tam Valley Depot's "DRS1 Hi-Power" receiver. Both work with Airwire's transmitters. You would hook the battery to the Convertr or Tam Valley receiver, then attach the output of the to the track inputs on the Shay. There's ample room in the tender over the third truck for batteries.

Later,

K
32  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: Opinion Please! on: January 01, 2017, 03:09:24 PM
I put this together the other day on Facebook comparing the tie sizes of the various commercial tracks:

Micro Engineering code 83 - 6' long, 6" wide, 21" center-to-center
Peco On30 code 100 - 5' long, 9" wide, 21" center-to-center
Atlas HO code 83 - 4' 6" long, 4" wide, 9" center-to-center
Atlas HO code 100 - 4' 6" long, 6" wide, 14" center-to-center

For a little perspective on the prototypes, I couldn't find a whole lot of reference for 2' gauge ties, but the WW&F went with 5' long ties that had a width and depth of 5" (The author of the sources referred to them as "5x5x5"). They had originally tried 4' long ties, but they proved too unstable.

The 3' gauge ties ranged from 5' - 7' long seemingly depending on availability. There was a chart published in the Narrow Gauge Gazette which surveyed the ties used by western narrow gauge lines. There was little (if any) consistency on any one railroad.

Later,

K
33  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: January 01, 2017, 02:43:58 PM
They have e-mail and live chat options at the top of their web page. It'd be worth asking about shipping to down under. I'd imagine they have surface options, or maybe can point you to a dealer in your neck of the woods.

Later,

K
34  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: December 31, 2016, 02:21:01 AM
If your battery car allows for easy access to the batteries, I'd get two of these and just swap the charged one for the discharged one.

http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148v2200mahrechargeablebatterypackwithpcbprotection.aspx

It's 14.8 volts, 2200 mAh, which should run the Climax for a good 3 hours.

If you can't easily get inside the battery car, then I'd go for a higher capacity battery (4400mAh) such as this:

http://www.all-battery.com/li-ion18650148v4400mahpcbpreotectedrechargeablebatterywithbareleads.aspx

or this one, 5200 mAh, which is about $13 more:

http://www.all-battery.com/AT_Tenergy_Li-Ion_18650_14.8V_5200mAhRectangularBatteryPackWithPCB-31892.aspx

You'll get 6 - 7 hours run time out of the 4400 mAh pack and probably in the neighborhood of 8 hours with the 5200 mAh pack. They're the same size, just slightly higher-capacity cells. I'm not convinced the extra capacity is needed; I've got the 4400 mAh pack in a few locos of mine, and I've yet to run the battery flat unless I'm running the loco a lot (multiple operating sessions) and forget how long it's been since I charged it.

The charger I'd recommend for either pack can be found here:

http://www.all-battery.com/universalfastsmarttlp3000chargerforli-ionli-polymerbatterypack148v4cells.aspx

There are fancier chargers, but this is all I've ever used and I've been using Li-Ion batteries since 2009. I've only had 2 (so far) stop holding a charge.

Later,

K
35  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Gen 2 climax dcc factory sound!ANY SUGGESTIONS! ! on: December 30, 2016, 04:47:24 AM
If you want to use the factory DCC decoder, I'd get either a Tam Valley Depot DRS1 Hi-Power receiver or Airwire 6-amp Convertr and put it in a battery car. Run two wires forward, and plug them into the battery input on the PC board. The Tam Valley Depot and Convertr receivers take power from the battery, combine it with the DCC signal being transmitted via the transmitter, and send a standard DCC signal to the decoder. Since the Climax already has the DCC decoder onboard, just set your transmitter to the apporpriate loco address (whatever that is; by default it's 3 until you reprorgram it), and you're off and running. The advantage of this arrangement is that there's no re-wiring of the loco necessary; just a pigtail 2-pin connector to go between the Climax and battery car connected to the screw terminals. If you want to run the Climax on track power, simply throw the switch from "battery" back to "track" and you're off and running on traditional track-powered DCC.

Note--I'm betting that by default the DCC decoder on the Climax is set to run on analog DC track power as well. With the Airwire Convertr, you will want to change that so that it does not run on analog DC. (It's one of the bits in CV29). Here's why... if you turn on the power to the locomotive before the transmitter is turned on, the Convertr won't recognize a legitimate DCC signal, and will simply pass the battery voltage forward to the decoder. The decoder sees a linear DC voltage, thinks it's analog DC track power, and your loco takes off down the track at 14.8 volts (or whatever your pack is rated at). When you turn on the transmitter, it will see the valid DCC signal and the loco will stop, but it does create a few moments of panic. Likewise, if the loco was to run out of range of the transmitter, you'd get the same behavior.

I do not know if the Tam Valley Depot receiver does this or not.

Any of the Airwire transmitters will work with both receivers. I'd recommend the T-5000, as it's very easy to use, and using the on-screen menu to program CVs on the decoder is a tremendous improvement over previous versions.

Later,

K
36  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Plugin interface board wires for Bachmann C-19 on: December 24, 2016, 02:38:43 AM
They should be labeled on the plug-in adapter board. At least they are on mine. If they aren't, here's the pin-out diagram.

http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/dwg/dwgs/LS_C-19.pin_assignment.pdf

All the documentation for the C-19 is on the Parts, Service & Information page on the web site here if you ever get stuck. It's very simple to use the wired plug-in interface to connect with a DCC decoder. I dropped a QSI decoder into the new Bachmann mogul for the product review; it took me all of 5 minutes to wire everything up.

Later,

K
37  Discussion Boards / On30 / Re: How steep a grade is reasonable for most On30 locomotives on: December 17, 2016, 11:20:17 PM
I found my Bachmann mogul didn't like pulling 5 cars up anything steeper than 3%. I had to tweak the height of one section of my railroad to allow the loco to pull the train between the two without slipping.

Later,

K
38  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: SPECTRUM G SCALE 83196 2-8-0 on: December 06, 2016, 03:37:22 AM
Flare, the diagrams you link are to the older outside frame 2-8-0, not the C-19.

There are two plug-in boards that come with the C-19. They get plugged into "the socket" which is in the tender. The first (which comes installed from the factory) is what's called the "dummy plug." It allows the loco to run on analog DC track power. The second plug--the one of near identical size but with a ton of wires sticking off either end--is the interface board which can be used to wire in any 3rd-party onboard throttle control. (DCC decoder, battery R/C throttle, etc.) You would use this when the particular throttle you wish to use does not come in a "plug-and-play" format.

Later,

K
39  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Passenger Car Population on: November 29, 2016, 09:33:40 PM
Look for poster mounting putty. It's often called "ticky-tack" or similar (poster tack, mounting putty). Scotch and Elmer's make it, among others. It usually comes in rectangular strips. If you have trouble finding it, ask a teacher. They swear by the stuff.

Later,

K
40  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New Spectrum Mogul 2-6-0 plug and play pcb on: November 24, 2016, 03:24:18 AM
One advantage to putting the receiver between the battery and the main PC board as Stan describes is that the DCC decoder itself is connected to the power input pins on the socket. That means you can use the track/battery switch to toggle between using the Convertr or Tam Valley receiver (battery power) or "traditional" track-powered DCC. You could even run the loco on analog DC track power if the decoder was programmed to run on analog DC as well as DCC.

That sounds ideal, but there's one caveat, at least if you're using the Convertr. If the Convertr is receiving power from the battery but is not receiving a signal from the transmitter, it will pass full linear DC through to the decoder instead of a DCC bi-polar wave. If the decoder is set to run on analog DC, it will see this linear DC signal and take off at full voltage. If your transmitter is on, but not broadcasting on that frequency, then it will also take off. (Ask me how I learned that one...) I seem to recall it also taking off if you set your transmitter to another DCC address, but my memory is shaky on that one.

Also, if you put the Convertr or Tam Valley receiver before the PC board, you'll want to install a power switch between the battery and the receiver, lest you constantly power the receiver so long as the battery is plugged in.

The alternative is to use what I'll call the "porcupine board" plug-in interface to hook up the receiver and decoder. (You'll have to do this anyway if your decoder isn't a "plug-and-play" format). If you do this, then the track/battery switch becomes a de facto power switch. The catch is that if you use this as a power switch and you have the switch set to "track," you need to make sure you don't set your loco on a live track, as you'll be feeding this voltage to the receiver. The Convertr is NOT polarity protected, and if it gets reverse polarity, you will release the magic smoke. The Tam Valley receiver likewise has no polarity protection, but if I recall, reversed polarity won't hurt it, it just won't power up.

" Also means that any decoder and Phoenix sound is also an option."

I would suggest that such a combination would be unnecessarily expensive, and to be frank, antiquated when compared to today's modern motor/sound decoders. Even if you had a Phoenix board already on hand, I'd sooner use a newer decoder. The integration of sound response to what the motor is doing is increasingly difficult to match with Phoenix.

Later,

K
41  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New Spectrum Mogul 2-6-0 plug and play pcb on: November 23, 2016, 01:49:06 AM
Looking at CVP's web site, their new Convertr, called the "Convertr-60" is listed as being available from their dealers. You can also use the DRS1 Hi-Power receiver from Tam Valley Depot. Both can be run from an Airwire transmitter.

Convertr-60 - http://www.cvpusa.com/airwire_convrtr_series.php#convrtrinfo

DRS1 Hi-Power - http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/products/drs1deadrailcomponents.html

The big difference between the two (besides $40--the Tam Valley Depot receiver is cheaper) is that the Airwire receiver will work on all 17 Airwire frequencies. The Tam valley Depot receiver is limited to Airwire's channel 16.

Which to use? If you frequently have more than one operator on the railroad, then you may find the ability to use different frequencies to be advantageous, as each operator can run independently. Know that to select the frequency on the Airwire Convertr, you must program a CV on the receiver to do so (CV 58). When you set CV 58 on the Airwire, you need a way to isolate it from the QSI (or whatever decoder you have attached) lest you program CV58 on that board as well. The Convertr must also be set to the same DCC address as the decoder plugged into it. (All part of the programming.)

The Tam Valley Depot receiver is limited to one frequency (Airwire channel 16), but does not have a specific DCC address. You can plug it into any DCC decoder, and so long as your transmitter is set to the decoder's address, it will control it. The trouble with having all your receivers on the same frequency is that you're limited to one operator, or if you have multiple operators, you need to make sure the transmitters don't interfere with each other. Airwire's T-5000 throttle has a "transmitter power" setting which will allow you to dial the transmitter power back so your range is around 10' at most, so that will mitigate interference problems if you've got more than one transmitter on the same frequency.

Later,

K
42  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New Spectrum Mogul 2-6-0 plug and play pcb on: November 22, 2016, 01:38:13 AM
You've got a few options for sound systems with single-chime whistles.

With QSI, you have around 6 single-chime whistles to choose from, depending on which version of the software you're using. The older Q2 steam sound file will allow you to select which whistle you want via CV. It comes with two dozen or more whistles pre-loaded; you just choose the CV for the whistle you want and you're off and running. The newer Q3 sound files also give you the option of choosing which whistle you want, but you need to use the Quantum Upgrade software and QSI's interface to do so. Essentially you select the sounds you want (whistle, bell, airpump, etc) from the choices available in the sound file on your PC, then upload the specific sounds to the QSI decoder. It's not as convenient as having all the sounds on the decoder itself, but the sound quality of the Q3 files is definitely superior to the older Q2 files, so if you have the programming interface, that's the route I'd take with QSI. (And I heartily recommend getting the programming interface if you're going to be a regular customer of QSI.)

Soundtraxx's Econami is another option for you. It's available in a 4-amp capacity. It has 3 single-chime whistles to choose from; high, mid, and low pitch. It's "big brother" Tsunami2 board has 9 single-chime whistles, but as of this writing, the high-current version of the board is not yet available. In both of these cases, you can select the whistle via CV.

TCS's WowSound decoders are also on the "will be available for large scale imminently" list. Like Soundtraxx, they've got a long list of whistles pre-programmed onto the board. With the TCS, you can either select them via CVs, or use the "rotate whistle" feature and just scroll to the whistle of your choosing using the function keys. (Default F9)

In terms of sound quality, the Soundtraxx, TCS, and QSI boards (latest Q3 files) are all very good. All three boards have dynamic steam exhaust which changes with respect to acceleration, speed, and load. They also feature multiple chuffs (light, medium, and heavy, and subtle variations in between). You can really customize the sound to each specific locomotive.

The Soundtraxx boards do not have an external chuff trigger. You have to program the chuff rate to key off of the motor's BEMF. At first, I was not happy with that, but it's really good. I put an Econami in my K-27, and I just finished programming a Tsunami2 in my On30 C-16. The chuff is dead-nuts accurate to the quarter throughout the speed range on both locos.

The TCS and QSI boards both offer BEMF-controlled chuff, but also have the option for an external cam trigger. Because the TCS board for large scale isn't yet available, I don't know how it will play with Bachmann's optical chuff trigger. I put a QSI board in my 2-6-0 for a review, and once I programmed the QSI to look for the chuff trigger instead of BEMF, it started chuffing as it should.

Hopefully that gives you some food for thought. Like you, I found about 5 or 6 whistles that Phoenix offers which I find suitable for my locos, so I'm quite pleased to have an ever-broadening array of alternatives.

Later,

K
43  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: New Spectrum Mogul 2-6-0 plug and play pcb on: November 14, 2016, 04:11:45 AM
If you're looking to convert the 2-6-0 to Airwire, I'd consider not going with the plug-and-play/Phoenix combination at all. I'd go with the Airwire Convertr receiver feeding a Soundtraxx or QSI decoder instead. If the QSI is plug-and-play, then feed the output of the Convertr into the battery input of the stock board in the tender. That will pass the DCC signal to the QSI decoder and it will work well with no tweaking. If your decoder is not plug-and-play, then use the porcupine-looking adapter board to interface with the decoder.

The Convertr can handle 2.5 amps continuous, which should be sufficient for the 2-6-0. They're also releasing a high-current version of the Convertr very soon. Airwire had a mock-up of the board at the narrow gauge convention back in September.

Alternatively, you can use the Tam Valley Depot DRS1 Hi-Power receiver. It can handle 3 amps continuous.

If you've got the wood-burning version, you can fit an 11.1v battery up under the wood load without any trouble, and a 14.8 volt battery under there with only minor cutting to the wood load. There's ample room in the tender, then, for the DCC board and receiver.

Later,

K
44  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Does the C-19 have an NMRA 8-pin connection point for DCC decoders? on: November 11, 2016, 08:01:15 PM
No. It has a 23-pin connector ("standard" for large scale in that both Aristo-Craft and Bachmann use it). QSI, ESU, and Zimo make plug-and-play decoders for this socket. Bachmann includes a plug-in interface board which plugs into this socket with a whole bunch of wires that you would use to connect to any other DCC decoder.

Know that the C-19 draws upwards of 4 amps at full stall, so you're going to want to use a DCC decoder which can handle that much current. None of the DCC boards with the NMRA-standard 8-pin connector can handle that much current anyway, so it's no big deal that Bachmann wouldn't use that 8-pin interface in their larger locos.

Later,

K
45  Discussion Boards / Large / Re: Stall and Slip current for a C-19 on: November 08, 2016, 08:21:23 PM
From my review for Garden Railways:

"With no load, the locomotive draws around 0.5 amps. At full slip, that current draw increases to 1.5 amps. Stall current at 14V is 3.5 amps, which increases to 5 amps at 24V. (I mention both voltages because people who run battery power—especially narrow-gauge modelers—tend to use 14V battery packs, while those using track power gravitate toward 24V, regardless of prototype.) Drawbar pull measured just shy of two pounds, or the equivalent of around 26 average freight cars on straight, level track. "

Stand-alone sound systems (those which work on analog DC or with non-DCC command/control systems) would include Phoenix, Dallee, and MyLocoSound. Any of those would work with the C-19. In most cases, you connect track power to the sound board, then connect the speaker to the sound board. In analog DC installations, there will likely be a back-up battery connected to the sound board to provide power to the board when the track voltage drops.

Later,

K
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