Author Topic: Need Help with First Installation  (Read 966 times)

MtRR75

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
Need Help with First Installation
« on: October 06, 2021, 02:15:23 PM »
Most of my locos are older, second-hand steamers.  (No diesels – I model the 1920s.)

I got into model railroading after retirement, and I had no experience repairing/modifying locos.  Also, I know of no other model railroaders in my small town/county.  The nearest club is an hour and a half away – and they model the diesel era.

Until now, I have sent my locos out to get fitted with RailPro.  Gradually, I have learned how to open locos, fix minor problems, and put them back together.  Now I am ready to try a RailPro installation.

I picked what seems to me as an easy install – an old Mantua 2-8-2.  It has a large tender – lots of room to work.  The decoder is an LM-3S.

Now, my first batch of questions:

(1) I recall reading somewhere that I should use 30 gauge braided wire.  Is this correct?  I get all of my wire from DigiKey.

(2) What kind and power of a “keep-alive” should I buy?  And where do I get one?  DigiKey?

(3) Speaker(s)?  What type and size?  And is one enough?  Where do I find them?

(4) What type of adhesive should I use to attach the speakers to the floor of the tender?

(5) How should I attach the decoder to the inside of the tender?

I know that I will have other questions, but this will get me started

Doug[/size]

CPRail

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 189
  • You know, sometimes I amaze even myself.
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2021, 03:14:56 PM »
I mostly do diesels, but what I do should work for you. I'll answer what I can:

1. I use the wires that come in the Digitrax Decoder wire set whenever I need to wire something up. This also keeps the wires coloured as per the NMRA standards. https://www.digitrax.com/products/accessories/decoderwire/
2. I use TCS KA-4 KeepAlives, but RailPro makes their own official one. I believe our Site Owner/Moderator Bill sells both on his site:www.pdc.ca. TCS has multiple sizes for various applications https://tcsdcc.com/keepalive
3. I use Scale Sound Systems speakers exclusively, but a lot of guys like the iPhone speakers (I know Bill sells these). SSS has an selection of Steam speakers both for the tender and in the boiler area. https://www.scalesoundsystems.com/steam
4. I use 3M double sided tape (it's foam with adhesive on each side). This isn't the exact product I bought, but something along this line will do: https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/3m-auto-molding-tape-1-2-in-x-15-ft-0475901p.html
5. See #4

Also, use Kapton tape to affix speakers, modules, KeepAlives, wire, etc. to your model. Again, I think Bill sells this as well.

Hope that helps!
Ian Lisakowski
Modelling CP Rail & VIA in the early 80's

William Brillinger

  • Dispatcher (Admin)
  • Conductor
  • *****
  • Posts: 1283
    • Precision Design Co.
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2021, 07:47:29 PM »
Quote
lot of guys like the iPhone speakers (I know Bill sells these).

Note: I have not stocked iphone speakers for well over a year now.

- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


faithie999

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 148
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 06:41:14 AM »
iPhone 4 speakers are available on ebay.

attached is a picture of one.  if it is too long, you can cut most of the plastic body off--it is a resonator chamber but in my experience you don't lose much volume by cutting it off.

make the cut just to the right of the two connection "fingers".  then you will solder the speaker leads from the LM to those connections.iphone 4 speaker.jpg

KPack

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 01:08:43 PM »
I'll chime in here too.  Ian and I are very similar with how we approach installs.

1.) Definitely easiest to use the wire that comes with the Digitrax 9-pin harness.  There is more than enough wire on there.  If you get your own wire, stranded is key.
2.) I have all sizes of TCS KeepAlives in my models.  The KA-3 and KA-4 last longer because they are bigger.  However, if you have the space I would recommend using Railpro's PBM-2 module instead of the TCS KA.  The Railpro PBM module outputs a steady voltage when power is lost, which keeps the locomotive moving at a constant speed rather than slowing down when power is lost.
3.) Scale Sound Systems speakers are the best bang for your buck.  Far superior to Iphone speakers.  If you are installing in a tender and have the space, maybe consider a sound module from TB Speakers.  They have a passive radiator, which makes them quieter than a normal speaker, but far more bass than anything else out there.
4.) Double sided tape or Kapton tape.  No electrical tape.  I've also used clear acrylic caulking to mount speakers.
5.) Double sided tape or Kapton tape

-Kevin

MtRR75

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2021, 11:54:12 AM »
Thanks for the useful suggestions.

Note:  My responses may not always be prompt, but I will eventually get back to you.  I have two other hobbies, plus major house renovations in progress, plus church projects and yard projects.

New questions:

(1) What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of putting 2 speakers in the tender?  Is it for volume?  Different range? (bass vs. higher pitches)?  Or what?

(2) Regarding the 9-pin connector on the LM-3S – where can I get a 9-pin receiver with the wires already attached?  Ring only includes the 6-pin receiver and wires in the LM-3S package

(3) What is the best way to bundle the wires neatly between the loco and the tender, and still allow the loco-tendet joint to flux on my 18: curves?   It looks like I will have 5 wires:  headlight (+ & –), motor (+ & – ), and right rail.  (Left rail is only collected via tender pickups.)  Is this correct?

Below are some of the solutions to this problem used by those who have done installations for me.  Keep in mind that my emphasis is for smooth running over precise prototypic design

(3a) Mini plugs with 5 or 6 slots? – Like those found in some Bachmann steamers.  Their big pluses are that the loco and tender can be easily separated and reconnected, and they look neat and orderly.  But I find that either they are very difficult to separate or they separate too easily during running.  Also, how do you insert the tiny wires into the plugs?

All of the other solutions keep the loco and tender stay connected for life.

(3b) Little loops? – They look like slices taken off heat shrink-tubing before it was heated.  They are easy to put on, and they collect and constrain wires better than doing nothing.  But they tend to fall to bottom of loops, leaving no control in the tops of loops.  Also they are more visible and less prototypical than plain wires.

(3c) Heat-shrink tubing? – This can be the best-looking – all wires in one bundle.  But I have one big objection.  When my loco stops dead, and I am searching for the problem, it is hard to trace wires through lumps of heat-shrink tubing.  And if I suspect that a wire came loose, I can’t tell if it is a loose wire without ripping up the entire heat shrunk bundle.  And even if every thing works, the heat-shrunk section is not very flexible.  I have one small steamer with very little room between the cab and the tender.  The installer did a better and neater job than I could ever do.  But the bundled and heat-shrunk section of wires sits folded in a Z-shaped pattern sticking out of both sides of the loco.  Occasionally the bundled wires shift, which sometimes leads to a derailment.

(3d) Continuous wires – Basically do nothing.  Let each wire follow it’s own pattern to it’s destination.  Besides looking sloppy, the biggest problem is that wires that can get caught in the moving gears or get pinched when the shell is reinstalled.  But it does make it easy to track down electrical failures.

Any other ideas?

ON28

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 223
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2021, 01:32:46 PM »
Removing too much of the iPhone speaker body will negatively affect the quality of sound output.

CPRail

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 189
  • You know, sometimes I amaze even myself.
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2021, 01:48:12 PM »
Touching on Doug's second set of questions:

1. I haven't done a two speaker install yet (I have a set of E8s on the workbench that will get two), so I'll leave it to the experts like Kevin for the pros & cons on that one.

2. Ring sells the 9 pin connector with wires separately - P/N WH-9. Our fearless host, Bill, sells them in 2 packs and 5 packs. www.pdc.ca

3. I'll defer to the group on the wire bundling between tender and loco. The only steamer I've done was a Genesis loco and it had a plug between loco and tender.
Ian Lisakowski
Modelling CP Rail & VIA in the early 80's

MtRR75

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
Re: Need Help with First Installation
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2021, 11:13:42 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  The tender is pretty large. I should have room for the full sized Iphone speakers.