Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

iPhone5 speakers work wonders!

5350 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,647 posts
iPhone5 speakers work wonders!
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 26, 2014 3:16 AM

Hi everyone:

I just installed my 3rd set of iPhone5 (sugar cube) speakers and I am absolutely sold on them. Great sound, small size.

I am using them in sets of two, wired in parallel so they work out to 4 ohms impedance, and I am using them with Loksound Select decoders.

They produce a lot of sound at the factory decoder settings which is controlled by CV 63. The factory default value is 152. At that level they are way way too loud. I am using a value of 70 and they are still plenty loud enough.

I purchased my speakers from Digi-Key part # 423-1203-ND:

http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?x=20&y=13&lang=en&site=us&keywords=423-1203-ND

At $1.99 each or less you can't go wrong!

What are you waiting for?!? This has been the best kept secret in the DCC end of the hobby! Go for it!!

Caveat - You will have to use Loksound decoders if you want to run twin speakers. If you are using a decoder that needs 8 ohms you will have to stick to a single speaker. It will still sound great.

If you want more info on these speakers go here:

http://sbs4dcc.com/sugarcubespeakers.html

Do him a favour and buy your first few from him just because he has taken the time to be so informative about them. No, I'm not on the payroll!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 24,094 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, October 26, 2014 6:18 AM

Dave, what types of locos are you installing these speakers?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Sunday, October 26, 2014 8:13 AM

I've done exactly the same thing in an old Atlas U33C -- two iPhone5 speakers wired in parallel to a LokSound Select, and the sound is very good for such a small speaker.  Better than a larger oval speaker and enclosure.

 

  • Member since
    January 2010
  • 2,616 posts
Posted by peahrens on Sunday, October 26, 2014 9:21 AM

I'm quite interested but have a couple of questions.  I'm considering adding a DC Bachmann HO 0-6-0 with sloped tender and converting to DCC.  I did so with two 2-8-0s with rectangular tender and a Tsunami and HiBass square speaker just fit with some interior carving, so that combo I presume won't work in the sloped tender.  The small size of the speakers may be a solution.

1.  Do you use the speakers as is, cover them with your own enclosure, or use the enclosures from the 2nd link in Dave's OP?

2.  Which LokSound do I need to use for the 0-6-0 Bachmann?  I'll look again at their site, but I recall they have several series.  I can do any wiring needed; i.e., not concerned about plugs. 

3.  I presume the Bachmann 0-6-0 DC is about the quality of the 2-8-0s (decent runners) and is not to be avoided?

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Sunday, October 26, 2014 9:34 AM

The only thing I do to the iPhone5 speakers is cut off the mounting leg that sticks out to one side.

A LokSound Select decoder is much smaller than a Tsunami, so fitting one into the slope back tender should not be a problem.  Just be sure you specify what sound file you want loaded into the decoder when you order it. and get it from a source that can program the decoder for you, such as Litchfield Station, Ulrich Hobby Shop, Tony's Trains, etc.

 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 8,712 posts
Posted by maxman on Sunday, October 26, 2014 12:05 PM

hon30critter
Caveat - You will have to use Loksound decoders if you want to run twin speakers. If you are using a decoder that needs 8 ohms you will have to stick to a single speaker.

What would happen if you wired them in series (16 ohms total) for non-Loksound decoders?

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Sunday, October 26, 2014 2:20 PM

If it was a decoder that can run okay with a 16 Ohm load, there would be no difference.

 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 8,712 posts
Posted by maxman on Sunday, October 26, 2014 2:38 PM

cacole

If it was a decoder that can run okay with a 16 Ohm load, there would be no difference.

 

Yes, but most decoders generally want 8 ohms.  Less ohms (4) seems to be harmful.  The questions is whether or not 16 ohms can also be harmful?

Thanks


 
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Sunday, October 26, 2014 3:35 PM

No, 16 Ohms is not going to harm a decoder rated for an 8 Ohm load.  You just won't get as much volume out of it.

  • Member since
    January 2010
  • 2,616 posts
Posted by peahrens on Sunday, October 26, 2014 6:05 PM

cacole
No, 16 Ohms is not going to harm a decoder rated for an 8 Ohm load. You just won't get as much volume out of it.

As Cacole notes, I note that my stereo amp puts out only 2/3 the wattage (at same distortion level) at 8 ohms versus 4.  But since we often run our decoders with master volume diminished (set below max) it may be that 8 ohm decoders can work with 16 ohm loads in practical experience.  Someone here would know.  One does need to be careful about using too low an impedance; i.e., I have 4 ohm stereo speakers that could stress many amps that only go down to 6 ohm per the specs.

I'm well over my head here as a chemical engineer; i.e., I can tell you what will happen if you pour an acid or base on your electronics.  I'd think two speakers versus one (double the air movement) is highly desireable.  But the easy approach is to fit the dual speakers to a decoder with the specified ohm ratings, though some may have multi-ohm specs.  I'd stick to the decoder manufacturers' specs unless upon inquiry they advise additional lattitude.

EDIT: I remember I had seen at least one item on decoder flexibility.  Note the below Tsunami item that shows 3 options: one 8 ohm speaker, two 8 ohm in parallel (4 ohms) or four 8 ohms in parallel/series pairs (8 ohms).  So they seem to say 4-8 ohms is ok.

http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/TechGuides.php

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 16,263 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, October 26, 2014 7:04 PM

Thanks for the nudge, Dave!

I have been looking at these for the last six months, even registered with Digikey, but never took the plunge! I have a bunch of sound installs coming up this winter and I will be adding sugar cube speakers to my speaker arsenal.

Another thread here mentioned the Soundtraxx SoundCar and I have the perfect application for THAT decoder and THESE speakers! I want to put sound into a C&NW bi-level cab car and these little guys will be perfect to locate in the Kato bi-levels.

It will be a few weeks before I have the time to get to this project but I'll post the results here!

There's quite a few YouTube demos showing these speakers... worth a look-see! Ed

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,647 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 26, 2014 7:15 PM

Hi Rich:

The most recent install was in an HO Atlas GP7. I took the factory lighting system out and put individual LEDs for each of the headlights and twin LEDs for the number boards. Removing the lighting system gave me tons of space for the speakers.

I also put twin iPhone speakers in an HO Grandt Line 25 ton switcher with a Loksound Micro decoder. The speakers fit into the roof of the cab. They show just a bit in the tops of the windows but are not glaringly obvious. This is a copy of what the late Wolfgang Dudler showed in his video (although he didn't use iPhone speakers).

The first install I did with the iPhone speakers was in a Kato RS-3. I had to remove two of the weights but you would have to do that regardless of which speaker you were using..

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,647 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 26, 2014 7:40 PM

Paul:

1.  According to the Streamlined Backshop article, you have to use an enclosure or the sound is not good at all. On the first install in the HO RS-3 I used the twin enclosure supplied by Streamlined Backshop with their speakers. For the second and third installations I made my own enclosures using .040" styrene and .040" square strip. It is important according to the Streamlined Backshop article that the enclosure be air tight.

One point worth noting is that the enclosure gets attached to the shell, not the speaker. Also, you want to use a glue that sets up fairly hard as opposed to double sided foam tape for example. I believe what happens is that the sound is actually coming from the shell but don't quote me on that.

2.  I am not knowledgable enough on steam sounds to be able to recommend the proper sound file. Hopefully others can answer that.

As for which decoder, you have a choice of either the Loksound Select or the Loksound Micro. (The Loksound Select Direct is for diesels only I believe). I would go to the Loksound website and get the dimensions, and then open up the tender and see what space you have to work with. Given the sloped back, you might be best to go with the Micro so you have room for the speaker(s).

3.   Sorry, I don't own that particular locomotive. I'm sure others can give their opinions of the running charactaristics. One issue to be aware of is that the Micro is rated for .75 amps so you should make sure the locomotive runs within that range.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,647 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, October 26, 2014 7:48 PM

cacole:

Minor detail-

The speakers supplied by Digi-Key don't have the mounting leg on them so that saves a bit of work (all of 3 seconds likelySmile, Wink & Grin). Everything I have seen on eBay seems to have the leg attached.

Also, the Digi-Key speakers were identical to the ones supplied by Streamlined Backshop.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 30,002 posts
Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 27, 2014 7:22 AM

 Some of the more general surplus places and eBay have the 'actual' iPhone speakers - they already have enclosures and look like what you see in the teardown of the iPhone. They may also have ones from other cell phones. The DigiKey and SBS ones may be similar or the same drivers used inside cell phones, but they don't come with the enclosure. Depending on space available, the direct from the phone enclosure may be fine, or you may need to make a custom one. The bare speakers are better for custom enclosures.

 Then there are the true 'sugar cube' speakers - the first place I saw these was from CT Electronik, they are called that because in size and shape they look like a sugar cube - as in "one lump or two"

                    --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • 13,757 posts
Posted by cacole on Monday, October 27, 2014 10:24 AM

A quick Internet search for "iPhone5 Speakers" turns up several sites, both foreign and domestic, that sell the speakers.  I purchased mine from a company called 'Fix Your Cell Phone' for around $1 each.

 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!