Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: Alex-s-1 on January 31, 2013, 07:27:34 AM

Title: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Alex-s-1 on January 31, 2013, 07:27:34 AM
Hello Bachmann,
I like the Bachmann Trains in G-scale and in 0n30 and play with it both scales. In the summer outdoors in G-scale, in the winter (snow here in Germany) indoors with 0n30. Both Bachmann scales are nice and give me a lot of fun. But there is one difference that I canīt understand:

The Bachmann company equiped the 0n30 locomotives with a wonderfull Tsunami sound unit for analog and digital working. I, for example, work only analog. The G-scale locomotives (big haulers) are equiped with an old analog sound from 1990. The G-scale locomotives (4-6-0, 2-4-2, 0-2-0) have nearly the same prices like the 0n30 locomotives. Question: Why doesnīt Bachmann use the same Tsunami sound in the G-Scale locomotives (Big haulers) like in the 0n30 locomotives? The Tsunami sound from 0n30 is loud enough for using in both scales. Does the G-scale product manager never speak with the 0n30 product manager in the company? The 0n30 Tsunami sound should be the standard sound for all Bachmann scales! This would be a simple work but a real upgrading for all Bachmann locomotives. If Bachmann would use for all its locomotives this Tsunami sound, the price for the sound unit would be lower. The advantage of this unit is not only the powerfull an wonderfull sound, but the possibility to use it in analog and digital train working.

Best regard, Alexander Schwaab, Germany. (Please excuse my school english)

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Kevin Strong on January 31, 2013, 03:07:10 PM
Bachmann has made two 1:20 locos with DCC boards in them; the 3-truck Shay and the Climax. Bachmann offered both DCC and non-DCC versions of both. I haven't a clue how they sold comparatively. There was also a near $100 price difference between the two versions which may have impacted things as well.

By and large, DCC isn't nearly as pervasive in large scale as it is in the smaller scales. Battery R/C is still the dominant "alternative" to analog track power, and the DCC boards aren't compatible in that environment. The battery R/C guys would likely end up ripping them out anyway so they could use something that is compatible.

To their credit, Soundtraxx is (finally!) releasing a plug-and-play Tsunami 4-amp decoder for use with Bachmann's steam locos. So while not factory OEM to the locomotive, it's will be a readily-available plug-in that the user can easily add if they desire. To my thinking, that frees Bachmann from having to worry about producing and cataloging two different versions, keeps the expense of the board out of their budget, and allows the consumer to choose for himself what sound he may want.



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: JLyans on March 19, 2013, 02:40:22 AM

Do you know if  the soon-to-be released 4 amp Tsunami sound board can be used with Airwire radio control? Something along the lines of using the Airwire receiver to control the motor, lights, etc. while using the Tsunami strictly for sound? The Soundtraxx unit looks to be about half the price of a Phoenix board which would make installing sound in the C-19 much more affordable..

John Lyans

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Kevin Strong on March 19, 2013, 03:13:18 AM
Difficult question to answer. In short, yes, you can use the Airwire G-2 or G-3 to drive the Tsunami for a sound-only installation. The current G-3 instructions show how to wire an HO Tsunami to the G-3. I'm considering giving that a go as an experiment at some point just to see how the Tsunami performs.

The catch is that the 4-amp board is a plug-and-play board, so when you plug it into the socket, it's going to want to operate as a motor/sound decoder in its own right. So, if you want to use the Airwire to drive motor and lights, you'd be better off either with the HO board or use the larger Tsunami but by using an adapter instead of plugging it into the socket. What I don't know (and need to find out) is how much of the Tsunami's special effects like load/speed-sensitive chuff volume work in that environment as opposed to needing to drive the motor to get the BEMF feedback.

The alternative would be to use the G-2 as a DCC Booster to power the Tsunami for motor and sound. Essentially, you'd wire the batteries into the G-2, then just output the DCC booster to the battery input on the C-19 socket board. That will send the DCC signal to the Tsunami and it will run like any "normal" DCC decoder should. Unfortunately, you're going to have to use the G-2 for this, as Airwire--for whatever reason--opted to drop the current capacity of the DCC booster output of the G-3 to 1.5 amps from the G-2's 3 amps. (Yeah, ruined my plans, too.) I have not yet done this, but I've got a loco with a G-2 ready and waiting for a suitable sound decoder to experiment.

BTW, according to the guy at the local hobby shop, the 4-amp Tsunami should arrive within the next few weeks.



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Bucksco on March 19, 2013, 10:00:02 AM
The new SoundTraxx board is a DCC/Sound board. I'm sure modifications can be attempted to run it as a "sound only" board but Bachmann and SoundTraxx recommend it's use as a DCC/Sound board. To address the initial poster on this thread Large scale is a different world when it comes to control and sound systems. It would be great if we all used DCC and if we all had the same preferences when it came to sound units - but since Large Scale is somewhat "fragmented" in this regard Bachmann chose to install a "non-proprietary" interface in our 1:20.3 models in order to give the modeler the ability to easily install the systems of their choosing. We have not installed this interface in the Standard large scale line yet so the 4-6-0 is a bit more work.

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: JLyans on March 19, 2013, 05:38:30 PM
Thanks for for that information. I was afraid that it would be a little more complicated than just using a sound only board.

John Lyans

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Bucksco on March 19, 2013, 07:03:38 PM
Actually a sound board is quite easy to install into the interface board and I believe the Airwire unit should also be an easy install.. You should probably look at another sound board such as Phoenix....

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: JLyans on March 20, 2013, 02:24:46 AM
Yes, I have installed the Airwire and Phoenix combination in the Bachmann K-27 and it works great. I was just thinking that if the new Tsunami would work it would cost quite a bit less. As Kevin mentioned, it remains to be seen how well the Tsunami's effects such as the load/speed-sensitive chuff volume and other things that rely on motor draw will work. 

I am happy that there are those here that have R/C and DCC knowledge and are willing to share their experiences.

John Lyans

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: grippa on March 24, 2013, 06:21:30 PM
The news section of the G scale Tsunami board was pulled from the Soundtraxx website some time ago and now the only reference to the existence (future) of the Large scale decoders is buried and hard to find.... That info is also non existent.

The decoders are well over due and as Soundtraxx are a pretty good company at delivering their prototypes on time this does not bode too well as there has been no news about the possible release date etc. Of course it could all be a ploy,,,,,,,,,,,,,

But these days a company has to look really hard at interest and/or advance orders before it will tool up a manufacturing run.
Lets hope all of the online retailers who have got the decoders in their 'to order' list have actually placed some advance orders themselves. As they too have to think twice about buying in inventory. It is not an easy time for manufacturers or retailers and that means that we do not see the new products fitting to a nice tight timetable anymore (not that some companies could stick to that in past good times anyway!).

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Bucksco on March 24, 2013, 06:30:01 PM
The sound decoder that SoundTraxx is releasing (very soon) is designed for installation in the new 1:20.3 C-19 locomotive. It is not a generic sound decoder designed for other applications. It will however fit into Bachmann's other 1:20.3 large scale steam locos that feature the non-proprietary interface.
The old Sierra sound series from SoundTraxx was a general purpose sound decoder but they have been out of production for quite some time.

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: grippa on April 01, 2013, 06:53:17 AM
When the board is released, with only the C19 sound file to start with, it will be interesting to see if subsequent boards are eventually released with loco sounds from the Tsunami library already available in their smaller scale, lower amp handling series.
This would not be hard for Soundtraxx to do as it does not have to allocate resources to record the sounds as they have a very good set already. It just needs the appropriate chips to be made.
This together with the fact that the boards is being offered in advance for around $110 means that they could grab a good deal of QSI' market as long as they make a 'generic' add on screw terminal board so that the boards can be used with other makes of locos besides Bachmann or Aristo (using their non-proprietray sockets)

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Kevin Strong on April 01, 2013, 12:32:31 PM
From what I'm led to believe, the 4-amp Tsunami will be as full-featured as any Tsunami board Soundtraxx makes in terms of motor and sound control parameters. The difference in all these boards seems to be the number and type of whistles that are included on the board. My bet would be that it will include the whistles currently offered on their HO "C-class" Tsunami, which includes two versions of a C-19 whistle (though from the samples on their web site, I'm hard-pressed to tell much difference) We'll find out soon enough, I guess. Checked a few days ago.. no Tsunamis on the store shelf yet.

I have to agree; this is a good first step, but I'd love to see the product line expanded to cover all the versions they offer in HO. With QSI bumping their price up to $200, I think Soundtraxx could really carve out a nice niche for themselves... an even larger one if they could easily interface with the G-wire receiver!



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: doug c on April 01, 2013, 02:29:16 PM
Dang it !   

The last couple yrs  'Soundtraxx/Blackstone' has had a booth at our annual show !

This potential product has been tabled here on the forum, I was ready to print it off and present it to them 'live' at our show,  but according to our recently posted exhibitors listing they are a 'no show' for 2013 .... dang it !

doug c

        our home pg.,

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: ACEGuy on April 23, 2013, 12:52:11 AM
Boy you guys really have me confused.  I am a neophyte in the g-scale train hobby having been introduced to it about 6 - 8 months ago. ???  I own an ACE Hardware store located in an old railroad station complex that has become a shopping center.  I have a G Scale system suspended throughout the store and I run a Spectrum 4-4-0 wood burner.  It really needs sound and I am at a loss as to what to do.  It is very simple analog DC track power but it is also 10' in the air.  I have the controls on a timer that allows it to run a complete circuit so that it does not run all day and annoy the employees.  Every kid that comes into the store knows exactly where the "secret" button is.  I also have an Aristo Craft U25B that has sound.  It has a rechargeable battery and when the power times out, the sound remains on long enough to go through a powerdown sequence just like the real thing.  Very cool and catches everyone's attention.  I am very proud of my Spectrum 4-4-0 for it is a work of art but no sound? :-\. I need something, anything that is self sustaining (like no ladder needed) to give it some sound.  I am reading this thread and cannot make heads or tails of any of it.  Does anyone make something for this application? ???



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: StanAmes on April 24, 2013, 01:41:20 PM

For what you are trying to do it should be fairly easy.

The tender for the 4-4-0 has a speaker mount and the locomotive has a older simple mechanical chuff sensor.

A product such as the Phoenix PB11 has a rechargeable battery and likely has many more features than you need.  They have a 4-4-0 sound in their library which can be loaded for you.

You connect the PB11 to the speaker you install in the tender and also to the track power feeds that are already in the tender.
 The unit also has automatic sounds such as start whistle bell and stop whistle and bell plus blowdown and a host of other sounds.

Personally I have not had the best of luck with these older mechanical chuff mechanisms but others report good results.  You might find that an chuff triggered to the track voltage provides a better result.

Hopefully in time Bachmann can produce a more advanced 4-4-0 but for now it should make perform the function you desire.

Hope that helps.
Stan Ames

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on April 24, 2013, 01:54:46 PM

If your 4-4-0 has pickups on the tender wheels a Phoenix sound board is not all that difficult to install.  As yardmaster says it is not as simple as some of the newer locomotives. There are six wires Run two wires from the tender pickups to power the board and sound battery. two wires  go to the chuff sensor or sound inputs and two others go to the speaker. Install magnets on the wheels for chuff sensing or just use the auto sound feature which produces the chuff and other sounds as speed changes.   Phoenix provides complete instructions and has a warranty that is amazing and covers you if you blow up the board yourself.  They also have live help from a professional if you have questions.  

If you carefully follow the instructions you will be OK  I believe the one you will need for analog is the PB-11  This is the site Link   look under products.

If you are not sure what to buy just call the guys there and they will be glad to help.  

Loco Bill

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on April 24, 2013, 01:56:25 PM
Looks like I posted at the same time as Stan, I am sure you can do the install!!

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: ACEGuy on April 29, 2013, 10:16:36 AM
Thanks Guys,

I really appreciate your information.  I hadn't planned to spend so much money on this thing that is suspended through our store but, you know how that goes!  Dallee Electronics makes a board that works in a similar fashion which I have decided to try.  It is over $150 cheaper and looks to be pretty easy to install.  I will let you all know how this goes.

Thanks again for all the input,


Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: M1FredQ on May 20, 2013, 02:54:10 PM

I just found this thread.

Will the Bachmann sound system you are talking about fit and work in that G=Scale USA GP-38 I have??????


Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Bucksco on May 21, 2013, 09:19:33 AM
It is a steam sound unit. It might not sound very good in a GP-38  ;)

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Kevin Strong on May 22, 2013, 12:16:02 PM
It is a steam sound unit. It might not sound very good in a GP-38  ;)
Quite the contrary. How else would you make a diesel sound good?  ;D

FYI; I talked to Soundtraxx last week about the C-19 board. They're making some revisions, but hope to have it available fairly soon.



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Bucksco on May 22, 2013, 01:17:27 PM
Our Demo sample will be on display at the National Garden Railway Convention in June.

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: M1FredQ on May 25, 2013, 05:58:20 PM
I do have a Bachmann Large scale steamer I bought with a set for using at Christmas time which got me into Large Scale too. Can I install that system you are mentioning
into the tender??
I did find a local Garden Railroad Club not very far from where I live and a couple of the guys said they would help with installation of sound systems but I need more information to help them.

Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Kevin Strong on May 28, 2013, 12:08:00 AM
Yes and no. The Tsunami board is a DCC board, so it's ideally suited for those who run DCC. It's also compatible with Airwire's G2 and G3 boards (as well as their just announced "Convertr" board, though with a 2.3 amp capacity, the C-19 might push the limits of its current capacities. (The G2 board has a 3-amp capacity, would be sufficient to drive the C-19 off of the Tsunami's motor drive.)

Having said that, it's a DCC decoder that's designed to also work on "traditional" Analog DC. So--like the DCC-equipped Climax and Shays--you could install this board and run it on regular track power. You'd get bells and whistles automatically as programmed by default on the board. (Don't ask me what those are, I haven't a clue.)

In the 4-6-0 like what's in the starter sets, you'd have to do a re-wire of the locomotive to install the decoder. It's not difficult--the 4-6-0 isn't exactly a complex locomotive, but I'd probably recommend something like the Phoenix PB11. Yeah, it's about twice the price, but it's designed specifically for track-powered installations, and has magnetic triggers for bells and whistles in addition to automatic functions.



Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on May 28, 2013, 10:16:24 AM
Hi M1FredQ
See my first post, I agree totally with Kevin that the PB11 is the easiest way to go.  If your set locomotive has a rear headlight you can tap into that circuit in the tender or you can install electrical pickups on the tender wheels.  you can use the existing chuff sensor wires in the tender and the existing speaker in the tender.  If you don't know how to solder, you can use mini wire nuts to make the connections.

I had the same fears you have many years ago when I installed my first sound system.   It took way longer to do it that first time,  don't be afraid to try it, just be patient and go step by step. 


Title: Re: G-scale sound from Bachmann
Post by: M1FredQ on May 31, 2013, 10:03:26 AM
Thanks for the info. I will attempt it as one of my Summer projects I hope you and Kevin don't mind if I ask a lot of questions.

I used to never try to do anything with these trains but when my son was given some old ones I experimented and lost that anxiety about messing something up.

I am truly grateful there are a lot of knowledgeable folks on these train forums!!!