Ok, finaly went DCC and sort of like it. Simple E-Z by Bachman and cheap thanks to T-Stage. Thanks Tom!
Now what little I know about installing Decoders, motor cannot be grounded to the chassis, OK that is easy. What next?
What I might up grade.
PK E-6's that have there own DC board for lights.
PK BL2's, no borad and dieods where dead so lights are hard wired
Bachmann GE Dash 8-40C Spectrum, split body and light board mounted in the shell it self has me a little worried.
Bachman GS-4 Steamers, same questions.
Now the sound question. First what is the range will it cost? I am guessing around $50.00 if luck, $100.00 more likely and $150.00 I will make my own chuffing sounds!
As to date my only DCC engine is a Broadway Class J with sound. Sound, well it is OK but don't thinks there is better at this point. From what I have been told, it would be easyer to mount the sound in a box car. From what I have seen there is no room for speakers in my PK E-6's or Erie Bulit, BL2's would also be tight.
Not hooked yet but there are somethings I like about DCC.
I hate Rust
You'll get lots of opinions here -- much is just personal preference.
I'm assuming you're in HO; if smaller, ignore this.
You know the QSI has great sound, and lots of control. The upgrade chips for $29 have even more control, and RTC, Regulated Throttle Control, which allows very smooth low-speed operation.
For steam, the Soundtraxx Tsunami is on a par with the QSI, and comes with RTC. I prefer the TSU. They're about $95 plus speaker, about $8 and, probably, enclosure, maybe $5. A diesel version is promised . . . some day.
Soundtraxx does make a LC (low cost) series for steam and diesel that's pretty good, about $40 plus speaker, some are $60 or so with speaker. Since they're older, they're somewhat bigger than Tsunami.
Soundtraxx also makes the DSX series, sound only, for steam and diesel, for about $65 plus speaker and enclosure. Better sound than the LCs, not as good as the TSUs. Good for mounting in dummy units, etc.
LokSound (ESU) also makes a good product, about $110 with speaker & enclosure, for both steam and diesel, with RTC. Some prefer it. It has less functionality (e.g., won't do ditch lights right, fewer sound level controls, no brake function or sound). But it's main claim to fame is that if you get the LokProgrammer (about $100) and have a Windows computer (only), you can download other sound packages. Many are on their website, and you can even make your own, although from what I read that isn't easy. But you can re-work the standard packages to make more individual adjustments. You can also load upgraded firmware, they say.
But do NOT get the MRC sound decoders, at any price. Even free. Even if they pay you to take them. Search the forums and you'll see why.
Your best bet might be to talk to someone at Tony's or Bruce at Litchfield or another "expert", to help you figure out which of your engines to start with, and which decoder to use. There's also lots of info on both their web sites.
Pondini, thank you for your answer. My QSI has RTC all ready, I have yet to try the RTC but will later today.
My LHS has some decoders that are around $15.00 but did not get the brand name. If they are MRC what is there problem and could they hurt the motor?
What do you think about mounting the sound in a box car? Don't think I will need but one at this point, but you never know.
cudaken wrote: Pondini, thank you for your answer. My QSI has RTC all ready, I have yet to try the RTC but will later today. My LHS has some decoders that are around $15.00 but did not get the brand name. If they are MRC what is there problem and could they hurt the motor? What do you think about mounting the sound in a box car? Don't think I will need but one at this point, but you never know. Cuda Ken
The $15 decoder isn't a sound decoder, which is what I thought you were asking about. It may be any of a number of makes and/or models, ov varying quality. As with anything else, do some research into what's available, such as RTC, transponding, how many light functions and what they'll do, etc. Then figure out which features you want and which decoders fit your desires.
As for MRC, they won't hurt the motor, but search the forums for MRC decoders -- you'll quickly see all sorts of problems. (Their other products have a very good reputation, though.)
Mounting a sound-only decoder, such as a DSX, in a boxcar is fine, if you don't mind always having it right behind the engine, and (the big one) if you can install trucks with electrical pickups and wiring into the car, and you can mount the speaker properly.
If you're running diesels, consider a "dummy" engine (electrical pickups and perhaps lights, but no moror). The dummy can have it's own address and be run in a consist, or it can have the same address as the engine. It's up to you.
For steam, the decoder and speaker can usually be in the tender. Most have lots of room.