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Soundtraxx decoder features

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  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Nashville, TN area
  • 682 posts
Soundtraxx decoder features
Posted by hardcoalcase on Thursday, February 9, 2023 8:39 PM

Some time ago I acquired a grab-bag of "DCC stuff" which included a few Soundtraxx medium steam decoders:

  • Model DSD-090LC, 821102
  • Tsunami TSU-1000, 826102

I plan to install Current Keepers with the decoders. 

Generally speaking, what is the difference between the two?

Jim

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 15,917 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, February 9, 2023 9:48 PM

I had a couple DSD decoders in a pair of Alco C-636 HO diesels. They were pretty lame on sound and performance. These were early entries in the Soundtraxx line. LC presumably stood for Low Cost.

The Tsunami Steam on the other hand was a pretty decent and robust decoder. I still have a few running and they are decent. I'm not sure if you can wire a keep alive to the DSD series but perhaps you can.

The Tsunami, while not having a dedicated plug should be able to accept a keep alive.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, February 9, 2023 9:59 PM

With the number of wheels on a steam engine, particularly if the tender wheels are included, you shouldn't need a keep alive.  Those are generally needed for short engines with few wheels where frogs are not powered.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Saturday, February 11, 2023 5:47 PM

DSD decoders were pre Tsunami vintage... The LC designtion was similar to the current Econami designation - so DSD is old technology that was limited function (LC = lower cost)

The TSU 1000 is second generation and is inferior to the current TSU 2 series, but in many cases still serviceable - the big differences are in the motor control - The TSU 2 has much better control, easier set up of the BEMF settings, barking under load and a ton of other things that I am not remembering at the moment ....aaaand in the fixing of some overheating problems that plagued the early TSU 1000's.

Here something to consider - I would not install these decoders if the installs are going to be epic - such as putting them in small brass. Any situation where the install time is going be more than an hour, I would bite the bullet and buy the newer TSU 2 - you will be much happier with the result. It comes down to the value of your time to install the item...OTOH if they are going into a simple plug and play installation you could try them and see. I realize everyone has different standards and ways of doing things, you will have make your own call here....

Be aware that Soundtraxx no longer repairs either of these decoders...If the TSU is from the first run it may overheat...and DSD LC is definately old technology at this point.

Your mileage may vary,

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Nashville, TN area
  • 682 posts
Posted by hardcoalcase on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 11:45 AM

MisterBeasley

With the number of wheels on a steam engine, particularly if the tender wheels are included, you shouldn't need a keep alive.  Those are generally needed for short engines with few wheels where frogs are not powered.  

Larger steamers certainly are less prone to stalling, but on my layout, a 2-8-0 is a "big" loco.  Currently I have two small steamers that are DCC equipped, a 2-6-0 and 4-4-0, both Mehano, both sides of drivers have electrical pick-up plus the tender trucks - one rail each.  For turnouts, all frogs have power, all points have jumpers.  

Prior to the current keeper, both ran pretty reliably, but at slow switching speeds, unless the track was super clean, stalling still occured.  With the current keeper, stalling never occurs, even if its been months since I vacuumed the track.

For me, the current keepers are the best invention... "since sliced bread!"

Jim

 

  • Member since
    April 2023
  • From: United States
  • 4 posts
Posted by anearthpie on Monday, June 5, 2023 9:39 PM

hardcoalcase
Larger steamers certainly are less prone to stalling, but on my layout, a 2-8-0 is a "big" loco.  Currently I have two small steamers that are DCC equipped, a 2-6-0 and 4-4-0, both Mehano, both sides of drivers have electrical pick-up plus the tender trucks - one rail each.  For turnouts, all frogs have power, all points have jumpers.  

penalty kick online

Prior to the current keeper, both ran pretty reliably, but at slow switching speeds, unless the track was super clean, stalling still occured.  With the current keeper, stalling never occurs, even if its been months since I vacuumed the track.

 

For me, the current keepers are the best invention... "since sliced bread!"

 

Jim

I think with the terrain not too harsh, it still works well. 

 

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    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 11:56 AM

I have a couple of engines with the old LC decoders. One annoying thing with them is the decoders were made before 'silent' decoders came along, so often have a high-pitched whine. It's more noticeable when idling than when running. Sometimes you can adjust a CV that makes it less noticeable. Also, the horns tend to be kinda weak compared to the 'diesel rumble' sound (which sounds OK generally). 

As the prices of better quality decoders have come along, I've changed out a couple of LC ones. I may eventually leave a few in like a B unit or an engine only used as a trailing engine in a consist, we'll see.

BTW it's interesting that the "Low Cost" decoders cost around $60-70 new back in the day, not much less than a much better 21-pin Economi decoder sells for now.

Stix

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