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    • April 27, 2018 11:18 PM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      Sound options

      I have found several options to go with my Bachmann 4-6-0 if I just want DCC control. Anyone have any options for including sound, either on one board, or as a separate board?

    • April 28, 2018 7:53 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      There are decoders that have motor, sound, light control.

      Which 4-6-0??  There is more than one version.

      Industrial 4-6-0 Bachmann Mogul  Small engine and can only pull 2 to 3 cars.  This engine should be able to run from a HO decoder like the Zimo MX645P22 35 volt rating/1.5 amps

      Big Hauler 4-6-0 (5 different versions of this model, best was the Anniversary versioin referred to as the Annie)

       

       

    • April 28, 2018 8:38 AM EDT
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      The Phoenix products are excellent, and could be piggybacked on any DCC system. If you find a motion decoder you like without sound, that is an option.

    • April 28, 2018 8:54 AM EDT
      • Maryville, Tennessee
         
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      I am using the TCS Wow series decoders. They are very impressive on the sound.  You can customize all the sound available to satisfy you on each sound type and volume.

      I have used the WOW-121 Steam in a single motor Bachmann Forney and now installing a WOW501 Steam in a Bachmann 2 Truck Shay, next will install a WOW501 Diesel in a Goose. Yes it has sounds for a goose.

       

      ____________________________________

      Dennis in East Tennessee

       

    • April 28, 2018 10:49 AM EDT
      • Curmudgeon at Large, Insurance Warrior
         
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      Dan Pierce said:

      There are decoders that have motor, sound, light control.

      Which 4-6-0??  There is more than one version.

      Industrial 4-6-0 Bachmann Mogul  Small engine and can only pull 2 to 3 cars.  This engine should be able to run from a HO decoder like the Zimo MX645P22 35 volt rating/1.5 amps

      Big Hauler 4-6-0 (5 different versions of this model, best was the Anniversary versioin referred to as the Annie)

      The Industrial Mogul in not a 4-6-0, it is a 2-6-0, and is not the strongest puller of the Bachmann line of locos. I don't run DCC so I am no help there. I use Phoenix sound cards exclusively. I believe they have the best sounds. Personal opinion only.

       

      As for the Big Hauler 4-6-0, I recommend a visit to the Bachmann site here: http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php?board=6.0 . There is a thread there that goes into some detail on how to distinguish which of the now 6 chassis versions you have. Dan is correct that the Anniversary Edition is the best if not the new Version 6 chassis (all metal gears in the drive train). The easiest method to tell a TRUE Anniversary Edition is to look at the rods and valve gear. A True Anniversary Edition the rods and valve gear will first of all be complete actuating gear and ALL METAL. To the best of my knowledge there are no Anniversary Editions wit plastic rods and gear. I also recommend a trip to George Schreyer's shite here: http://www.girr.org/girr/ , he has a wealth of information on the Big Hauler ten wheelers, and how to improve their reliability and operation.

       

      ____________________________________

      We don't stop playing with trains because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing with trains.....

       

    • April 28, 2018 3:46 PM EDT

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      I think, based on other posts on this loco by Daniel.... what is your budget?

       

      I can recommend all kinds of systems, but what do you want to pay? You pay more and the sound is better.

       

      The last "conversation" we had on this loco was that DCC was too expensive until I mentioned you can get a DCC decoder in the $30 range. Getting a cheap motor decoder and adding sound is not the way to go, get an all in one, and an HO decoder will work if it has good current handling.

       

      Now if you want sound, get a Zimo HO decoder with sound like an MX645... 

       

      $107 to $110 motor and great sound and lots of functions

       

      • 1.2A Continuous-2.5A Peak Power
      • 10 - Normal Function Outputs
      • 0.8A Total current with overload protection
      • 2 - 5.0V Low Voltage Outputs
      • 0.2A Total current - Convertible to SUSI
      • SUSI Compatible
      • 1 - Switch Input
      • Direct capacitor energy storage support
      • 3 Watts Audio Power
      • 4-8 Ohms Speaker Impedance

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      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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    • April 28, 2018 8:56 PM EDT

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      I'll echo Dennis's suggestion of the TCS Wow! series of decoders, and also recommend the Soundtraxx Tsunami2. The TCS is available in a 5-amp version, the Tsunami2 in a 4-amp. Both will be more than adequate for the 4-6-0. You can find both of these boards under $150. Soundtraxx offers the Tsunami2 in a 2-amp version which may be adequate for the 4-6-0 if you're not going to be pulling too much with it, but at $100, I'd spring the extra $50 for the 4-amp version. I use both brands in large scale and On30, and have yet to figure out which one I like better. The motor control is very smooth, and the sounds are fantastic. 

       

      Both the TCS and Tsunami2 boards include vast sound libraries programmed onto the boards themselves so you can select from over 60 whistles, 10 chuffs, a bunch of bells, airpumps, generators, etc., just by changing CVs or in the case of the TCS, using their "Audio Assist" menus to change sounds. (You can also change whistles and bells by pressing the F9 key on the TCS.) They're very easy (and fun!) to customize. The Tsunami2 also has a 7-band graphic equalizer so you can adjust the sound to get the best tone out of your speakers. The TCS has two speaker outputs so you can drive two speakers. (You can drive two speakers with the Tsunami2, but there's only one output, so you have to be careful with your combined speaker impedance. In my installation, I've got two 6-ohm speakers in series, for a total of 12 ohms. Works great.) The TCS has the option for either BEMF-timed chuff or cam-triggered chuff which the 4-6-0 has (albeit only two chuffs per revolution), where the Tsunami2 uses only the motor BEMF to trigger the chuff. The Tsumami2's BEMF-based chuff is very accurate throughout the speed range. The TCS is almost as good, but will slip on some locos. If you're a glutton for punishment and have JMRI to program DCC decoders, you can go tweak the TCS board speed step by speed step to get it precise. Did I mention "glutton for punishment?" I would definitely not try that if you don't have JMRI. If you're that OCD, just use the chuff trigger. ;) 

       

      If your budget is a bit higher, you can look at boards from Zimo and ESU. I've used Zimo boards. They're top drawer for motor control and functions, but I've found the sounds to be inconsistent. The files are not engineered exclusively by Zimo. Many are contributed by 3rd-party sound designers. You may get a great file, you may not. Problem is, only a handful of the sound file can be previewed on line, so it's often difficult to know what you're getting in advance. Note also that certain sound files carry a premium cost in addition to that of the decoder. I've not used ESU boards, so I can't speak to them personally. I've heard very good things about them. Folks who use them tend to swear by them to the exclusion of other brands. I've heard them at shows, and the sounds I heard were very good. 

       

      Phoenix has also just introduced a motor/sound decoder, but I don't know if it's actually on store shelves yet. It's expected to be priced north of $200. 

       

      If you can find QSI boards, they're also top drawer. Greg had at one point acquired a stash of "new old stock" QSI Titans. I don't know if he's sold out of them or not. Note that they're not in production, so there's no warranty support for them. 

       

      Later,

       

      K

      ____________________________________
    • April 28, 2018 10:34 PM EDT

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      Those are actually the 2 decoders I would not recommend.

       

      The firmware issues with the wowsound decoder continue, as well as other TCS decoders.

       

      I have also had poor luck with Tusunami decoders in overheating when running below their current rating.

       

      I would say that the only decoders I would less likely recommend would be MRC.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      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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    • April 28, 2018 11:05 PM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      According to some info at the Bachmann site, it's a series 5 chassis. It has the smoke unit, the tender, with battery-powered sound board and speaker with the volume control. The other 4-6-0 is an early Big Hauler.

       

      Budget is not a huge problem. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to invest a bunch of money on a loco that might not hold up that well.

       

      I would prefer an "all-in-one" decoder over having to install two boards, though. I have used TCS, as my Galloping Goose has a TCS G8 board I installed in it.

    • April 28, 2018 11:41 PM EDT

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      Greg Elmassian said:

      Those are actually the 2 decoders I would not recommend.

       

      That's what makes this forum such a good resource for folks--lots of folks sharing their personal experiences for the benefit of others looking to make their own decisions. Between my On30 and large scale stuff, I've got 10 TCS and Tsunami2 decoders in service. They've proven worthy of my trust and recommendation. If they didn't, I wouldn't keep buyin' 'em myself. ;)

       

      Later,

       

      K

      ____________________________________
    • April 29, 2018 5:51 AM EDT
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      The firmware issues with the wowsound decoder continue, as well as other TCS decoders.

      Could you elaborate on this, Greg? I have been looking into this decoder, and this is the first I’ve heard of any Issues. 

      Eric

    • April 29, 2018 11:50 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      Greg  FYI  The wired MX645 only has a single 5 volt source for servos.  The MX645P22 has multiple 5 volt connections and is a 1.5 (instead of 1.2 amp) amp unit and the rest of the specs are the same as the wired version.  Also 2 outputs can be either SUSI or servo outputs, and F4 for smoke fan control.  All this for approx. $100.00

       

    • April 30, 2018 9:39 AM EDT
      • Maryville, Tennessee
         
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      Eric Reuter said:
      Greg Elmassian said:

      The firmware issues with the wowsound decoder continue, as well as other TCS decoders.

      Could you elaborate on this, Greg? I have been looking into this decoder, and this is the first I’ve heard of any Issues. 

      Eric

      Yes, TCS had firmware issues in the past, Versions 1-3 had CV address changes and issues with smooth audio, it would studder sometimes. The version 4 decoders are the best.

      TCS has had a few quality issues in the past and been very proactive and getting that fixed.

      I will keep on using TCS as you cannot beat their warranty.

      ____________________________________

      Dennis in East Tennessee

       

    • April 30, 2018 4:22 PM EDT

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      This response is not intended to start a confrontation, but I'm really tired of people not seeing what is really the score.

       

      There are many issues with TCS decoders... one of the most common is the decoder going nuts and it stops responding to commands, but a reset, without even touching it, will restore operation, and this happens in all scales, Z, N, HO... the common situation is lights and/or sound work, but motor control gone. I have not run the WowSound one long enough for this to happen more than a couple times in G, using it with the sound cutting out after direction reversal (another known problem) was so frustrating I only haul it out to show people firsthand. And yes I have the latest firmware version.

       

      Also, they have a system-wide bug in their firmware with custom speed tables. I use custom speed tables in all my locos. There's quite erratic operation with the speed not following the inputs to the speed table, it's a nightmare.

       

      I don't need to validate this information, go to the Trainboard, Railwire and the actual Yahoo TCS forums, you can find all of this there, including rebuttals from Kevin. There's a WAY LARGER community out there as compared to our tiny large scale community. And if you cannot find this information, I'm not going to argue or post the links for you. I left MLS largely because a particular person constantly arguing from a small perspective, just trying to beat it out of me rather that looking at the larger community and becoming more knowledgeable.

       

      TCS had acknowledged this problems a few years ago, but apparently not fixed. (You can find this posting too) I bought the latest Z scale ones recently, based on what TCS told people, i.e. they fixed the problems. The speed table and "going nuts" problems are NOT fixed, and I got rid of all my Z scale TCS decoders. So, honestly if someone reading this has never heard of these issues, then that person needs to do some more research, they will find all of what I say out there on those forums and more.

       

      It's a shame, they have a good warranty, and nice features.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      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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    • April 30, 2018 5:55 PM EDT
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      Thanks. I will steer clear of TCS. Actually, I emailed last week and asked them if their smoke driver did fan braking, and they didn’t know what I was talking about. So I had already decided to go with a different vendor.  

    • April 30, 2018 8:46 PM EDT

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      I have not gotten time to build the circuit yet, but the little timer to turn off the heater might be a great add on, so people could run their heaters at higher voltages, get more smoke, and not worry about melting it down when idling...

       

      All kinds of sophistication could be had here, probably a simple circuit with a $1.50 PIC processor would be easiest. Have you tried the simple diode across the fan yet to see how effective that is?

       

      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
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    • April 30, 2018 10:05 PM EDT
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      i Have realized that to get the realism I am after, I need to actually act on the DCC commands and, ideally BEMF from the drive motor.  I've decided to just ditch the G3 and install a Convrtr with (probably) a Zimo MX695KN. Zimo decoders have multiple settings for both the fan and heater (acclerating, coasting, stop) and fan braking. I could build a circuit to react to the throttle position using DCC from the G3, but why reinvent the wheel?  I will retain the Phoenix sound. All of my engines have Phoenix, and I don’t want to deal with another system.

    • May 1, 2018 8:29 AM EDT
      • Maryville, Tennessee
         
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      If you have not noticed, the WOW501 has both the smoke and fan output for smoke and a Cam input if you want to use that also.

      ____________________________________

      Dennis in East Tennessee

       

    • May 1, 2018 10:50 AM EDT
      • Kittery, ME
         
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      Dennis Cherry said:

      If you have not noticed, the WOW501 has both the smoke and fan output for smoke and a Cam input if you want to use that also.

      I did notice that, but there is no documentation, and when I emailed tech support, they weren't much help.  

    • May 1, 2018 2:07 PM EDT

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      Greg, this is actually the most informative response I've read from you relative to the issues you have with the TCS decoders. It's never been my intention to "beat" anything out of you or prove you wrong, but to try to understand why we're having what appears to be vastly different experiences with the same boards. I will likely never understand why you take such a combative tone whenever I ask you for more information so we can compare notes to get a better picture of what may be happening.

       

      So, in the spirit of non-combative cooperation, here's a detailed look at the "issues" I have experienced with my boards and how they may compare with yours.  

       

      I don't run custom speed tables, so I wouldn't encounter the issues you seem to have encountered there. Vstart, Vmid, and Vmax are all I need to set my locos to the speeds I run them at. Maybe some day I'll play around with it, but for my needs, issues in this realm are moot. Readers can gauge for themselves whether this would be an issue for them depending on whether they have historically used speed tables in the past.

       

      That's not to say motor control even without using custom speed tables is 100% perfect. I have seen a strange quirk in two cases where when I'm decelerating, the motor would pause momentarily when I first turn the throttle down, then return to speed and start decelerating, occasionally repeating the stall/return cycle as it slows down. In both cases, I put the decoder in different locomotives to have that decoder work just fine in the new locos. Go figure. A different brand decoder (Tsunami2) in the "offending" locomotives worked equally smoothly. I chalk that up to a random incompatibility between decoder and motor. I've seen that kind of random incompatibility with other makes as well. I've also seen slight stuttering specifically at speed step 2 on two or three installations, but that also appears to be motor/decoder specific. Since I don't run at speed step 2, it's not an issue. It doesn't manifest itself during normal acceleration or deceleration. Alas TCS does not allow you to "tweak" the PID parameters of BEMF like others do to mitigate these random quirks, but they're either a non-issue from a practical operations standpoint or easily solved by swapping the decoder into another locomotive.

       

      I have had a few boards act erratically until I did a full factory reset on them. I don't know what causes that, but it usually manifested itself when I was trying to program things using a blend of the "Audio Assist" and TCS's 4-CV programming protocol. I've migrated to using JMRI to program things with much more predictable results. I have not had that happen with any of my recent installations since migrating, and I now avoid the 4-CV programming like the plague (which is a no-brainer with JMRI anyway). But--yes--"did you try a factory reset" is often the first line of troubleshooting a strangely-acting decoder. Particularly on the TCS forums, it's the first thing you often read. It's the "did you try turning it off and back on again" of the DCC world. In fairness, that's hardly a line unique to TCS decoders. Pick a brand, pick a forum; you'll read those words. That's arguably why every manufacturer has a "decoder reset" option.

       

      Relative to sounds "cutting out" during a direction change, I remain hopeful that Greg will post a video to his web site showing this, so folks can see (and hear) what he's experiencing. I do not lose sounds entirely (i.e, the speaker ceases to produce any sound) while changing directions with any of my decoders. At the most, I occasionally hear abrupt transitions as it sounds like the decoder is going from one sound to another, usually high RPM prime mover to idle or vice versa when I try to change directions too quickly. I would describe that more as "cutting over," than "cutting out." That seems to be sound-file dependent. I get it more frequently with one prime mover sound than I do with another, even on the same locomotive. If I take my time with switching, pausing even just 5 - 10 seconds between moving forward and backwards, the sounds transition seamlessly. (This isn't an issue with the steam sounds; the chuffs stop with the loco.) 

       

      Again, I'm not posting this to start a confrontation. These are the quirky "issues" I've had with these decoders in the arenas Greg mentioned, offered so we can compare notes. Either I have had much better luck than Greg, or my tolerance for quirks is higher. Maybe it's something physical--differences in track voltages, current draw, command stations--who knows? I know I like 'em and Greg doesn't, and each of us have solid experiences to back our opinions. I would love to explore this further, so we can do better for the hobbyist than simply offering two disparate opinions on the worthiness of these boards. It shouldn't be a "who do you believe more" kind of thing. Ideally, we could probably come to some kind of feature checklist which a potential user can weigh against his/her own operating environment. (Example, custom speed tables) If it meets their needed criteria, run with it. If it doesn't, move on to the next. My in-box remains open for such a discussion.

       

      Later,

       

      K

       

      P.S.

       

      One thought dawned on my while driving into work, Greg... 

       

      Your issues with sounds cutting out and random needs for reset, is that with custom speed tables enabled or disabled? If it's with custom speed tables enabled, could it be that the erratic behavior you notice there is carrying over into other realms? Could it be somehow related? Again--just a thought. That seems to be the one (so far) obvious settings difference between yours and my boards which might explain why we have different performance from the boards. 

       

      If you're experiencing these issues with custom speed tables disabled, I wonder if there are other settings differences which might be playing in? Dunno, but willing to dig deeper...

       

      Later,

       

      K

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Kevin Strong at May 2, 2018 7:01 PM EDT
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