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sound decoders for DC

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sound decoders for DC
Posted by Foot on Sunday, June 9, 2019 4:10 PM

I have several Proto 1000 FM Erie-Built locos and wish to add sound.  However, I'm told they are DC.  Since I will be running them on a DC (demonstration) layout at the local railroad museum, I would like to add sound.  Is this possible?

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:11 AM

Yes you can. The Bachmann EZ Command can run them but someone has to bush buttons to make sounds.

Digitrax use to sell sound only decoders at one time I believe. Called the Sound Bug. Google them.

A couple companies make a add on box that runs the loco can make the decoder make sounds but someone has to push buttons.

I think Digitrax and BLI last I knew. It has been a while. Maybe others will jump in.

Do not think any company has an automatic set up.

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:23 AM

richg1998
Yes you can. The Bachmann EZ Command can run them but someone has to bush buttons to make sounds.

I don't believe that this is correct in this case. The Original Poster's locomotives don't have decoders, speakers, or sound chips of any type, if I understand his post correctly. If he added DC/DCC decoders and speakers to his locomotives, then it could work – but at that point, it might make sense to shift the entire project to DCC.

Something like the KATO sound box might be a workable solution, as it requires no changes to the locomotives. The sounds don't come from the engines, however.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:34 AM

You can add an external sound system. There would be speakers under the table, but that is the best you can get. It would have no connection to the locomotive or the speed of the locomotive, but can respond perhaps to track voltage for the engine sound. Bells and whistles on the buttopns.\

 

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Posted by Billwiz on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:35 AM

You need to convert to DCC w/sound.  They can still run on DC, but it will take more power from the power pack. The motor sounds/steam chuff sounds would work, but you would have no control over bells/whistles/horns unless you have a dc power pack that includes these controls (MRC had one for this purpose).  

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Posted by cuyama on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 10:38 AM

BroadwayLion
It would have no connection to the locomotive or the speed of the locomotive

The KATO system I linked above varies the sound based on the speed of the locomotive (strictly speaking, on the varying voltage going to the locomotive).

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 11:24 AM

OP would have to install a dual mode dcc sound decoder AND speaker.  The dual mode means that it can run on DC.  Most people who run onboard sound with DC are disappointed with the performance, but if it's just a matter of leaving trains running and blowing the horn or bell along with the prime mover running, DC performance might be acceptable.

Having said that, I know nothing about the Proto 1000 FM or if it is DCC Ready, or if the motor is isolated from the frame, or if the weights need to be milled to make room for a speaker; all of which should be considered when converting older Proto locos, IIRC.   Adding onboard sound to that particular loco might be more work than it is worth.

- Douglas

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Posted by richg1998 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 12:01 PM

I see things have changed. A few years ago Digitrax sold a Sound Bug to put in a DC loco for sound.

Also they sold a box to put between a DC power pack and the layout with buttons to push for sounds. BLI did also. Things have changed.

Decoders can be put under the layout with a sound system using a 8 ohm to 1000 ohm audio transformer.

http://www.digitrax.com/static/apps/products/sound-decoders/sfx006/documents/SFX006.pdf

Edit.

Below is a recommended way from SoundTraxx on how to kook up.

A CV or two can be modified to keep from heating up the resistor.

I did that about eight years ago with an installation in a two decoder install. Non sound in the loco. Micro Tsunami in the tender, later. I just did the resistor thing.

https://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/Tech_note%2011.pdf

Rich

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 2:01 PM

richg1998

I see things have changed. A few years ago Digitrax sold a Sound Bug to put in a DC loco for sound.

Also they sold a box to put between a DC power pack and the layout with buttons to push for sounds. BLI did also. Things have changed.

Decoders can be put under the layout with a sound system using a 8 ohm to 1000 ohm audio transformer.

http://www.digitrax.com/static/apps/products/sound-decoders/sfx006/documents/SFX006.pdf

Edit.

Below is a recommended way from SoundTraxx on how to kook up.

A CV or two can be modified to keep from heating up the resistor.

I did that about eight years ago with an installation in a two decoder install. Non sound in the loco. Micro Tsunami in the tender, later. I just did the resistor thing.

https://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/Tech_note%2011.pdf

Rich

 

There may still be asoundbug for DC locos.  Not sure if it solves the issue of finding space for it or a speaker.  

- Douglas

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:27 PM

I think the OPs best bet would be to use dual mode sound decoders. Most modern decoders are dual mode anyway.

The engine sound should come on automatically but if the OP wishes to play the horn, bell sounds, etc, you would need a special controller. MRC sells one they call the tech6 and I believe BLI also made one specifically for their own decoders. Other companys have also done similar things, so shop around!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 3:46 PM

I think the Kato soundbox would be the way to go, unless the OP wants the expense, and the job of installing decoders and speakers, especially if he wants to do "several", as he mentioned.

I got along for a few years with the Sound Synphony set up, it's like what Lion talks about, with a controler and 2 speakers you mount under the table,  and I think MRC makes a sound and power unit, all in one.

By the way OP, welcome to the MR forums.

Mike.

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Posted by WILLIAM SHEPARD on Thursday, June 27, 2019 10:20 PM
I have a Broadway Limited Imports locomotive that has sound on DC. I purchased it used 3-4 years ago and have operated it on only DC. I'm assuming you could possibly contact Broadway Limited for info on the sound they have or have had in locomotives for more info. The instructions take some getting used to as once you start up the locomotive the direction switch then controls the bell, whistle and other features. The speed (or variable voltage remains the same) and control everything normally, but to change direction, you have to come to a complete stop before you can switch the direction with the direction switch. This 4-8-2 locomotive also works on DCC which hooked up yet.
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, June 28, 2019 9:59 AM

 All current soudn decoders, at least fromt he well known brands, are dual mode. They will produce sounds on DC. However, in the case of a demonstration type layout where the power gets switched on and the trains just run at continuous speed with no one there to push buttons, all you will get is a diesel prime mover sound or steam shuff. Control of sound locos with DC, even if there IS an active operator controlling them, are limited at best.

 Going all DCC, if there is no one there to actually push buttons, would make no difference. The prime mover/chuff sounds would be there are the locos ran, but with no one to push a function button, you're not going to get bells and whistles. Or any other sounds out of them.

 The locos in quesion are not hard to install DCC in, although for sound they may require some frame milling to make room for the speaker. An under-table sound system would give much the same results, plus in many cases they can be hooked to a stereo system with larger (and louder) speakers to really make things rumble. And casual visitors will just see the locos moving and hear (and feel) the rumble - they won't know or care if the prime mover sound is from the wrong type of loco.

                                  --Randy

 


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Posted by Brakeman Steve on Sunday, October 13, 2019 1:41 PM

I have a dcc n scale layout.  When I started my HO layout I decided against dcc due to the nature of the layout and I am currently using a Kato soundbox.  I have it hooked up with a kato controller and the soundbox is run through a set of Logitech computer speakers that have a subwoofer.  

the sound more than fills the room and is of good quality.  It doesn't come from the locomotive as it moves around but I have the volume turned up to the point of being immersive.  As I have only an 8x3 switching layout it works quite well.  I find the sound far superior to anything that can come from a small speaker in a locomotive and I'm willing to accept the trade offs that come with it.  

It may not be for everyone but I enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone wanting sound for analog running.  Just be sure to understand it's limitations

 

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, October 14, 2019 2:45 PM

It's been a long time since I converted my old Proto FM A-unit to DCC, but as I recall it wasn't too hard...similar to doing an old Life-Like/Proto E-unit. As I recall, there is plenty of room for a speaker.

I don't believe the Kato system has a Fairbanks-Morse sound card option as of yet.

Stix
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 14, 2019 4:25 PM

 HO is easy - N scale, not so much. A lot of older locos don't even have room for a decoder, let alone a speaker as well. Most newer N scale locos that have a PCB for lights across the top of the chassis are fairly wasy to put a motor decoder in, but still no room for a speaker without milling the frame.

                              --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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