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DIGITRAX SFX064D Sound decoder install

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  • Member since
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DIGITRAX SFX064D Sound decoder install
Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 10:36 AM

Hello All,

I purchased a Rivarossi Class S1 Santa Fe in very good condition.  I successfully re-motored it with a  Mabuichi SF-266SA motor and wired a Digitrax DH126 deocder. Eveything works great!

I picked up a Digitrax SFX064D sound only decoder and I am just wanting to know if anyone has any advice on installing the Digitrax SFX064D sound only decoder?  I am confused with the instructions it comes with. Does the sound decoder need to be wired into the other decoder? Or is it wired in alongside the DH126 decoder? Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Embarassed

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 10:55 AM

In the early days of decoders, using both a motion-and-light decoder and a separate sound decoder was more common. Back then it was called "piggybacking". Anyway, you would connect the sound decoder to the leads coming from the track, and of course connect the sound decoder to a speaker. You wouldn't connect it to the regular decoder per se, but both could be connected to the same wires coming from the track power connections.

Stix
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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 11:23 AM

wjstix

In the early days of decoders, using both a motion-and-light decoder and a separate sound decoder was more common. Back then it was called "piggybacking". Anyway, you would connect the sound decoder to the leads coming from the track, and of course connect the sound decoder to a speaker. You wouldn't connect it to the regular decoder per se, but both could be connected to the same wires coming from the track power connections.

 

Hello Stix,

I appreciate your help. Can you be more specific? What colour wires do I connect from the 10 pin harness?

Thanks

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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 12:01 PM

  " />

This is the diagram of the sound decoder.

Which wires do i connect?

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 1:04 PM

I can't see your diagram, but if you added a normal 9-wire harness to the engine, track power is the black and red wires. Those would be the ones you could connect to the decoder. 

Stix
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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 2:54 PM

Hello All,

A quick search on the Digitrax web page shows this decoder is retired and no longer available.

SFX064D 1 Amp HO Scale SoundFX+Function Decoder

The instruction manual is still available for download.

According to the instructions you still need to use the 9-pin harness to connect the decoders Red (Right Rail Pickup) and the Black (Left Rail Pickup).

These are NOT the same as the Red & Black wires from the 10-pin sound harness.

Wires used from the 10-pin sound harness are:

  • Blue- -Capacitor "+" polarity
  • Black- -Capacitor "-" polarity
  • Orange- -Speaker "+" polarity
  • Gray- -Speaker "-" Polarity
  • White- -Cam Input (Steam)

Wires that are not used from the 10-pin sound harness are: Brown, Yellow, Red, Green, & Purple.

You can remove these wires by using the pointed end of a safety pin and pushing down the retaining clip in the 10-pin socket.

This way the small connectors are still attached to the wires without having to cut them- -thus saving space.

Digitrax has a different way of answering questions.

Go to the Support tab and click on Help Desk.

You will need to Open A New Ticket, which requires you Create An Account.

From there you can ask your question(s) and check responses.

It's a cumbersome process but once done the Digitrax folks reply quickly.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 4:14 PM

This is from the Digitrax website!

If anyone can figure this diagram out, Good Luck!

In their picture they have a SFX0416 Sound decoder and a DH163, basically the same as my SFX064D and DH123.

As one can see by the picture, still confusing, wires eveywhere!

I am more confused now....

 

  " />

 

 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 5:40 PM

Hello All,

Hawks Rule
...basically the same as my SFX064D and DH123.

The photo from the Digitrax website you posted doesn't represent what you are dealing with.

It depicts a diesel installation while you are dealing with...

Hawks Rule
...a Rivarossi Class S1 Santa Fe...

...2-10-2 steam locomotive.

The SFX0416 pictured has a black shrink-wrap covering.

The photo that you posted of the decoder you have has blue shrink-wrap.

Have you downloaded the instruction manual for the exact sound-only decoder you have?

Both the 123DH series, motor-only, and the sound-only SFX064D decoder need to be powered from the track power pickups.

As I posted before, this means you need to add a 9-pin wiring harness to the SFX064D along with the 9-pin harness to the DH123.

The Red wire from the trucks will power both decoders along with the Black wire from the trucks powering the Black wires.

You can install the SFX064D sound-only decoder in the tender and run the two wires from the 9-pin harness; Red & black, to the same two wires that power the DH123 from the locomotive.

This means permanently attaching the locomotive to the tender or adding a two-pin plug between them.

I highly suggest you contact Digitrax directly to clarify your confusion over this particular installation.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 5:42 PM

I found this on Digitrax with the SFX064D with a DH163 decoders.

Same as the previous one I posted, wires are eveywhere!

  " />

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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 5:47 PM

Hello JJDamnit,

Yes!

Now, I undertand that I need two 9 pin harnesses.

Many thanks!!

 

 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 5:52 PM

Hello All,

Are you dealing with a Diesel installation or a steam installation?

Yes, there are "wires everywhere."

In the diesel installation picture you posted, notice how the Brown, Yellow, Red, Green, and Purple wires from the 10-pin sound-only decoder are not used.

You need to add a 9-pin harness to your sound-only decoder and piggyback the black and red wires from the track pickups of the same color coding.

Then you need to find a place in your steam locomotive to mount the sound-only decoder.

Again, download the instruction manual for the SFX064 sound-only decoder you are installing.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
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Posted by Hawks Rule on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 6:40 PM

jjdamnit

Hello All,

Are you dealing with a Diesel installation or a steam installation?

Yes, there are "wires everywhere."

In the diesel installation picture, you posted notice how the Brown, Yellow, Red, Green, and Purple wires from the 10-pin sound-only decoder are not used.

You need to add a 9-pin harness to your sound-only decoder and piggyback the black and red wires from the track pickups of the same color coding.

Then you need to find a place in your steam locomotive to mount the sound-only decoder.

Again, download the instruction manual for the SFX064 sound-only decoder you are installing.

Hope this helps.

 

 

Yes, it is a steam installation.

Again, thanks for the explantion. I now understand it.

Cheers!

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Posted by jjdamnit on Thursday, September 7, 2023 1:20 PM

Hello All,

Hawks Rule
Yes, it is a steam installation.

Thank you for the clarification.

Last night- -as I was trying to fall asleep- -I was thinking of options for your situation.

For the sound-only decoder you need to get power from the rails to the decoder, this is also the path for the command packets from the throttle to the decoder to activate the sound functions.

You can do this by installing it in the tender and adding power-pickup trucks to the tender.

Kadee makes power pickup trucks or you could fashion your own using metal wheels with live axles like Intermountain, where one wheel is insulated from the axle.

Just remember to have one live set of wheels on one rail and the other set on the opposite rail, otherwise, you will cause a short and possible damage to the decoder.

Confirm this by using a multi-meter set to continuity or "Beeper" function.

Only the Red & Black wires are used on the 9-pin harness attached to the sound-only decoder, unless you choose to add lighting functions.

Then, no matter how the tender is attached to the locomotive: couplers, drawbar, or "J" bar, there doesn't need to be a physical (wired) connection between the two decoders.

I apologize if I get too basic here...

You will need to address the sound-only decoder, just like any other decoder.

By adding a second decoder to the locomotive your DCC system considers this a consist- -two or more decoders operating together- -whether they are both installed in the same shell or two different locations; locomotive and or tender/sound car.

Different DCC systems handle certain types of consisting differently.

The best option in your situation is referred to as "Universal" consisting. (NCE refers to this as "Old" consisting.)

Both decoders are assigned the same two- or four-digit address.

The signal (command) packets are generated by the throttle, not the decoder.

If the decoders are not consisted and you try and activate the horn with the motor-only decoder address nothing will happen.

The motor-only decoder will ignore this command packet because it has no sound function- -that's why you are installing the sound-only decoder.

If the sound-only decoder has a different address and is not consisted, it will not read the command packet because it does not read command packets sent to other addresses.

By installing the sound-only decoder in the tender, with its own power source, and consisting it with the motor-only decoder, it will read the command packets and respond accordingly without having to be physically wired to the locomotive for power and command packets.

If this all seems like too much work you could simply plug a Digitrax SDXH167D sound decoder directly into the 9-pin harness you already installed for the DH126 decoder.

I described this in the following thread...

Sound Upgrade H10-44 in HO

I prefer the SDXH167D over the less expensive SDH167D because it has more preinstalled sound files.

To add sound files to any Digitrax decoder you need a PC. There is no Digitrax Soundloader application available for Mac.

Both these decoders are available at Mountain Subdivision Hobbies for well below the M.S.R.P.

I need to find a better way to fall asleep!

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Hawks Rule on Thursday, September 7, 2023 4:14 PM

Hello jjdamnit,

Many, many thanks again!

I like your suggestion of the power pickups on the tender.

Great input and explanatlion from you, it all makes perfect sense!

Cheers, happy modeling...

 

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, September 7, 2023 4:31 PM

Hawks Rule

Hello JJDamnit,

Yes!

Now, I undertand that I need two 9 pin harnesses.

Many thanks!!

In the photo of the decoder in the link to Digitrax in JJD's post, it appears the sound decoder has a 9-pin harness already attached? The harness connects to the decoder (in the photo, on the left side) and nine wires come out from it to be connected to the engine's power leads (and in a motion and light decoder, to the lights and motor.) The wires on the other (right) side are the ones coming from the 10-pin harness to connect to the speaker as shown. If your decoder looks like the picture, you don't need more harnesses.

Stix
  • Member since
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  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 2,160 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Thursday, September 7, 2023 6:22 PM

Hello All,

In the photo posted by the OP it shows the SFX064D sound-only decoder (now discontinued) missing the 9-pin harness.

Hawks Rule
I picked up a Digitrax SFX064D sound only decoder...

From this statement, I presumed the OP got this decoder secondhand and it did not include the 9-pin harness.

Also, the iPhone speaker is not an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) item further suggesting a previously owned decoder.

When new from Digitrax the SFX064D did come with both the 10-pin sound harness and a 9-pin harness along with a 28mm 32 Ohm Speaker & 330uF Capacitor.

The OP wrote that he successfully installed a motor-only Digitrax DH126 decoder into this locomotive, presumably with a 9-pin harness.

Hawks Rule
Now, I undertand (SIC) that I need two 9 pin harnesses.

I believe what he means by this statement is he now understands he needs a second- -or two 9-pin harnesses- -to install both decoders, rather than only using the single one used for the DH126 decoder installation and wiring the sound decoder to the DH126 decoder.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Friday, September 8, 2023 3:50 PM

Ah, OK. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I can't see the OP's pics. 

Stix

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