Sunday, September 5, 2010

Loco Week........A Few Weeks Late!

Wow! I can't believe its been three weeks since my last post. Its been frantic here the past couple weeks. This post was intended to be posted before our trip to Melbourne, though the long list of jobs was not completed till the afternoon before we left.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I dedicated the last week to getting some locos ready for the exhibition. I have been doing some decoder installs and weathering for some of the guys in the group, I think its because I have the best eyes!. On the list of jobs I needed to complete for the show, was to install Tsunami Decoders in 5 or so locos, four of these for a Club Member. These being 2 x NR's, 2 x 42's  and an old brass American Union Terrific Bullmoose for myself to use in the American session. As most of our locos are used on the exhibition layout, it has been a high priority to get the best sound quality and volume from the locos. I have found that most of the NSW locos have no room for decent speakers and modifications are needed to fit the speakers in. We have had great success with the 'High Bass' style speakers. Below is a description of the installation in both the NEW Austrains NR and the Trainorama 42 Class. I will describe the weathering process for both using the Water soluble Oil Colours in the next post.

Lets look at the NR first. As mentioned you will need the new version NR.....The ones with working ditch lights. I removed the factory circuit board from the loco leaving the lights in place. I also removed the switches and wiring that control the lighting as these will be controlled using the decoders functions. The decoder used is the TSU-AT1000 (AT for Atlas Version) FDL16. The AT decoders are a bit longer, and are also a bit thinner than the standard Tsunami. It is also not shrink wrapped. They are designed for 'Plug And Play' sound. Wire in the decoder following the wiring colour codes as per the installation instructions. I wired the Front light (white wire) to both the front lights and to the rear RED markers. Then, the rear light (yellow wire) to the rear light, and also to the front RED markers. Each of the decoders function wires can be run to the Ditch lights. Don't forget to wire in the dropping resistors. This will allow the rear red markers to come on when going forward and visa versa when in reverse. The functions on the controller control the ditch lights.
Next, remove the fuel tank cover from under the loco. You no doubt have already done this to remove the light switches. You will see that there is an ideal place for a speaker. The 23mm square High Bass speaker will fit perfectly between the inner sides of the tank. For best results you will need to create a completely sealed speaker box. Run the wires from the decoders speaker terminals, making sure you remember witch one is the positive + wire, and pass them down through the holes in the floor. Next, I sealed these up with some small scraps of 1mm styrene glued over the holes using 5 minute aryldite. 
Now, Solder on the wires to the speaker. The speaker should have a red mark near one of the terminals. This is the + Positive terminal. Glue the speaker in the centre of the tank. Each side of the speaker can now be filled with appropriate sized 1mm styrene making an air tight speaker box. You may need to glue up the small mounting holes in the speaker as well. See Below...... 
Speaker mounted in fuel tank with styrene covers glued in place.

AT-1000 FDL16 wired in place

Now you will need to Drill a hole in the Fuel tank cover. I used a 22 mm timber speed bore bit in the cordless drill with the tank carefully clamped in the vise with a couple rags to protect the sides of the tank. Re fit the tank cover and body and your right to go.
Completed speaker mounted in the fuel tank

Now for the 42. These needing a few more modifications compared to the NR. Firstly, Remove everything from the chassis, Circuit Board, Motor, Lights, Bogie's etc. The speaker used for the install is the 28mm High Bass speaker with speaker box from the same manufacturer. The speaker with box will need to be sunk into the chassis of the loco. You will need to remove about 7mm from the rear of the chassis as shown below. This was done by clamping the chassis in the vise and making several cuts with the hack saw about the length of the speaker, then snapping off the sections with a small pair of long nose pliers. It can then be cleaned up with a file. 
Image shows the Modified Chassis above and standard chassis Below.
When the speaker is mounted in the recess, the top worm gear covers for the bogie's will foul on the base of the speaker, I Fixed this by filling away the top of the covers level with the lowest step on the cover. See below.
Modified cover (right) showing removed material level with lowest step.
Wire up the speaker and glue into the speaker box making sure it will be air tight. Next round off the top outside edges of the speaker box as shown below. Be careful not to damage the speaker.
Speaker box with edges rounded off.
One other modification that is not really necessary is to open out the holes under the rear exhaust grilles to let a bit more of of the sound out. Simply remove the grilles and carefully cut out the holes using a scalpel blade. A bit of matt black paint to tidy up any white plastic showing. The fan assembly can be glued to the inside of the grilles and glued back to the body.
Exhaust grilles removed and holes opened out to let a bit more sound out.

You can now re fit everything back to the chassis and install the decoder. The standard Tsunami was used in this one, however I have used the AT version in these as well that are a bit easier to wire in. It may also be necessary to make a small batten across the speaker to Carry the wires from the rear light. This will prevent them from vibrating on the speaker.
The completed install. Note the batten for the rear light wires.
One other change I did make that I did not photograph in detail, was to have separate marker lights. At first I simply removed the main LED from the front light board and mount and wire a separate LED for the front light. The original light wiring can then be wired to the Decoders function terminal and the new LED wired to the front light wire (white). When I did the second one, I left the LED in place and cut the circuit board track to the main LED. The white wire can then be soldered directly to the back of the LED, using a resistor of course. Either method works fine. That's pretty much it. All the locos where then programmed using decoder pro. One of the biggest adjustments that can be made sound wise is to up the Bass level using the decoders built in Equalizer, vastly improving the bass level of the sound. I won't get into the programming as that would take a while. I'm sure you all know how to do this.........
That's all for now. Make sure you check back shortly for the weathering demo.

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