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  • Topic: Thomas the train DCC module from Bachmann

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    • January 14, 2018 3:20 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Thomas the train DCC module from Bachmann

      I see bachmann sells 2 locos with DCC and specialized sounds, plus a DC/DCC sound decoder separately.

       

      Has anyone run one of these locos under DCC or tested the DCC decoder? Wondering if they will work on 24v systems, and who made the sound system.

       

      Greg

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    • January 14, 2018 10:51 PM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Hey Greg,  I just put together this Thomas loco for my grandson for Christmas.  I bought the basic Thomas, Annie and Clarabelle set and then added the Bachmann #44958 DCC Sound Module.  I used a 14.8 volt, 3350mAh Lithium Ion 4x1 cell battery to power an Airwire CONVRTR-60X.  I was also able to add a small oval 8 ohm speaker.  I installed two switches.  One to switch from a conventional DC track controller or to battery and the other to switch from battery-off-charge.  I added a warm white led for the headlight, a red led for backlight and a small led to let me know that the battery was turned on.  This was all very tight, but it did fit. 

      The DCC Sound Module manual says not to "exceed the decoder's input voltage rating of 26 volts. When your track voltage exceeds 28 Volts, the decoder will automatically shut off the sound and motor".  so it looks like it would operate ok on a 24 volt system.  I could not go 24 volts because my Airwire receiver is rated 22 volts max. I ran the engine and two cars  at max throttle around a small loop of track as my grandson would probably do at 16 volts DC and it fell off the curve rather quickly.  So that is one of the reasons why I chose the lesser of 14.8 volts.  The battery was also small enough to fit.  

      I was able to adjust the cv values easily for the lighting, acceleration and deceleration.  

      That's what I can offer from my experience with it.  I am very happy with it and more importantly so is my grandson.  We can't wait for the snow to melt (yeah, I know, Carlsbad, CA doesn't have the snow) and run it out in the yard.  As for the manufacturer of the decoder I have no clue.  I'll try to send a pic of the finished loco before I closed it up.   Mark

    • January 14, 2018 10:55 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Thanks, what do you think of the sound, and what are the "specialized" sounds that it has? (it has settings for all the Thomas "clan")

       

      Greg

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    • January 14, 2018 11:00 PM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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    • January 14, 2018 11:10 PM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      The sound is pretty good.  The speaker had to be very small to fit but considering that I am happy with it.  It has the characteristic whistle sounds (long and short), blowdown and exhaust chuff. Only Toby has the bell.  The decoder comes with all the sounds for Thomas, Percy, James, Edward, Henry, Gordon, Emily, Spencer and Toby.  These are chosen with cv 115.  Mark

    • January 15, 2018 12:32 AM EST

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      Having the weight of the battery pack at the back will make the loco tail heavy and light on the front drivers.

      My experience is that unbalanced Thomas derailed very easily.

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      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 15, 2018 9:06 AM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Tony,  If we have derailing issues once we get to run Thomas outside I will definitely keep that off unbalanced issue in mind.  Now that you have mentioned that I can see the possibility.   It seemed ok inside on the roundy-roundy setup but outside in the "real" world it may act differently.  If so maybe counter balancing with some weight in the front may help.  Thanks for the heads up.   Mark

      This post was edited by Mark Betlem at January 15, 2018 9:12 AM EST
    • January 15, 2018 11:56 AM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      So Mark, what other stuff comes out of the sound module? There's no description, other than the "bell exception" of how the various "personalities" make themselves "known" with unique sounds.

       

      Thanks for the responses (oh if you know the dimensions of the board, that's not in the manual).

       

      Greg

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      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


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    • January 15, 2018 2:34 PM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Greg,  In the sound decoder manual Bachmann references SoundTraxx for additional information about the automatic sound functions so that leads me to think that SoundTraxx is the manufacturer of the board.  On the back of it's packaging it is stated that the approximate board dimensions are 60mm x 30mm x 15 mm.  

      I cannot speak from my experience about the various "personalities" sounds through the decoder since I only set up Thomas.  On the show he does have a distinctive whistle sound which sounds exactly the same through the sound decoder.  I am assuming that by choosing between the various characters  one would get a distinctive whistle for that particular character.  As Thomas starts to move the chuff sound is in sync with the drivers and when he stops the blowdown is heard.  It sounds good.  Now weather or not these sounds are distinctive to the particular character or not, I cannot say.  I hope this is of help.  I definitely owe you one.  Mark

    • January 28, 2018 4:41 PM EST
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      OK, I now have one of the modules, and will be testing out the sounds.

       

      I have a web page showing the package and the module itself, as well as a link to download the manual:

       

      https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=742&Itemid=1200

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • August 13, 2018 2:48 PM EDT
      • Minnesota
         
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      Mark-

       

      Did you adjust the CV's through DCC throttle/DCC system, or did you use a computer program like JMRI Decoder Pro?

       

       

      This post was edited by Eric Warhol at August 13, 2018 2:49 PM EDT
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      Greater Minnesota Railroad (GMRR)

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    • August 14, 2018 7:45 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      Be aware that Bachmann used the Soundtraxx dcc/sound decoder in the 3 truck shay and it has a 21 volt DCC limit.  Fault condition for over voltage is 10 blinks of the lights.

      All of my systems are 24 volts (yes 24, power supply is regulated 30 volts) and only one was adjustable to go down to 21 volts.

    • August 14, 2018 7:58 AM EDT
      • Chelmsford, MA
         
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      Dan Pierce said:

      Be aware that Bachmann used the Soundtraxx dcc/sound decoder in the 3 truck shay and it has a 21 volt DCC limit.  Fault condition for over voltage is 10 blinks of the lights.

      All of my systems are 24 volts (yes 24, power supply is regulated 30 volts) and only one was adjustable to go down to 21 volts.

      Dan

       

      It is true that when Bachmann released its 3 Truck Shay with sound long long time ago, the Soundtraxx decoder used indeed has a 21 volt DCC limit which shall we say a pain in the butt.

       

      HOWEVER

       

      I am aware of NO product that Bachmann has released in Large Scale since then that has this problem.  For example Bachmann has released a LS Climax with sound and a Thomas (Percy) with sound and neither has the 21 volt limit.

       

      I also believe that no Soundrtraxx Large Scale decoder released since the 3 truck shay that has this problem.

       

      Manufacturers do learn from their mistakes.

       

      Stan

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