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Thread: Kato C30-7 Sound Decoder Install

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    Lightbulb Drilling Frames for Speaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko View Post
    Well, because with my somewhat limited tools and skills I did not succeed in making a nice hole. I started out using a regular drill - won't work for two reasons:

    1) You can't drill into one half at a time, you need to work on both frame halves at once, otherwise the drill will spin away
    2) A regular drill will not make a hole with a flat bottom

    Then I experimented with a cutting bit in my drilling machine, but the fixtures I have are not sufficiently stiff for that (by a few orders of magnitude) so this cutting off chunks is the easiest way to do it, IMHO. Now if there was some space somewhere in the frame where I could just drill a hole through one half, that might work, but there are way too many gearboxes etc. inside the frame for that.

    Heiko
    You clamp the two frame halves together in a machine vise. A "Forstners" can be used to drill aluminum! The operation must be done in a drill press at it's slowest rpm. Clamp the work securely and feed the bit in small increments, backing off frequently to break the chips. Use kerosene or bee's wax to lube the bit.
    "N" Bob

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    Some one beat me to it about the forstner bit. Heck the first two articles I read are very informative , I can see this is a great forum.

    Adios, Wyatt

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    OK, I may try that next time, though I'm afraid my drill press (and my fingers) is not precise enough to allow for the required "small increments". Plus, the Forstner bit in 13mm diameter will be expensive...

    Anyway, the decoder finally arrived on Friday and I finished the installation. First, cut off the capacitor so the wires are long enough for the ones I'm using:


    Remove the DC PCB from the frame by lifting it up (in this special case) and pushing it towards the rear, then you can remove the motor tabs:


    ...and attach the motor tabs to the decoder:


    I solder them, to make sure the contact is fine and to prevent them from bending outwards and catching on the shell's walkway when lifting the shell of the frame:


    Now is the big moment: Slip in the decoder where the PCB used to be (with the capacitors already attached to the decoder). I needed to shim the front end of the decoder a little (two layers of regular paper) to make a good contact, YMMV. The picture also shows the already existing speaker cables...


    Carefully route all the cables so they won't be squeezed when you put on the shell - and so they also won't be in the way of the LEDs:


    De-solder the new speaker cables from the decoder, solder the already-installed speaker cables to the same pads. Polarity does not matter, according to Digitrax instructions - it's only relevant if you want to install multiple speakers to have them all in phase.

    Now is also a good time for a first check: Lights are on



    And finally, the end result:


    I'm uploading two videos right now - first one with a steady camera, but noise transferring through the foam, second with a hand-held camera, but much more realistic audio. Still, I'd say it sounds a little better than the second video in reality. Will add them here once vimeo is done converting them.

    Have fun,

    Heiko

    edit: First video, noisy, but stable picture:
    Last edited by Bryan; 5th May 2014 at 07:49 PM. Reason: Updated Image URL's

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    Here is the second video:

    Shaky, but better audio:

    Heiko

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    No video links.


    Marc
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    Strange, the videos work for me (embedded) ... however, try: http://vimeo.com/59432389 and http://vimeo.com/59434456

    Hope this helps (and thanks for your info)

    Heiko

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    Very nice job,, sounds and looks great!

    Ed

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    Great tutorial. For some reason I can't see the photos.
    Hold my beer and watch this.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko View Post
    Now is the big moment: Slip in the decoder where the PCB used to be (with the capacitors already attached to the decoder). I needed to shim the front end of the decoder a little (two layers of regular paper) to make a good contact, YMMV.
    Instead of the paper, the way to shim the electrical contacts on a decoder is to coat them with a thin layer of solder. You basically want to tin the contact pads. You can add or remove solder as required to make the decoder match the thickness of the opening in the chassis.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by redmaxx View Post
    Great tutorial. For some reason I can't see the photos.
    They're showing for me... try refreshing the page.
    Is there a placeholder (little red X), a big blank space, or just nothing (text all together with no space for images)?
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    I can see it on my iPad. My work computer won't let me see it. It has the red x placeholders.
    Hold my beer and watch this.........

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    Ok, now that I have had a chance to see the photos at home, I have a question. I have a C30-7 (kato) that I bought off evil bay and it is not dcc ready. I bought a Southern Digital Digiframe and it has the area around the fuel tank cut out to accept a wired decoder. Do you think that I would be able to install the SDN144K1E decoder and use the area in the fuel tank to install the speaker? I would love to just buy the decoder and try it but at $70 a pop, I don't want to waste my money.
    Hold my beer and watch this.........

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    All looks good to me.

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    First of: Sorry, I haven't been following this thread during my vacation...

    Quote Originally Posted by redmaxx View Post
    Ok, now that I have had a chance to see the photos at home, I have a question. I have a C30-7 (kato) that I bought off evil bay and it is not dcc ready. I bought a Southern Digital Digiframe and it has the area around the fuel tank cut out to accept a wired decoder. Do you think that I would be able to install the SDN144K1E decoder and use the area in the fuel tank to install the speaker? I would love to just buy the decoder and try it but at $70 a pop, I don't want to waste my money.
    Just looked at the website of Southern Digital, as I don't know the frames. I don't think you can install an SDN144K1E on that frame, my guess is it just won't fit, from the mechanical side. You could try with a cheap board replacement no-sound decoder like Digitrax DN163K1C or TCS K1D4-NC or whatever board replacement decoder for that engine you find cheap. If you happen to have a DCC ready Kato SD40-2 or C44-9W you could also try to place the light board from that engine into the Southern Digital frame - if that fits, you have a chance of the SDN144K1E also working.

    But you could go for an SDN144PS or SDN136PS - basically the same decoder, but with wires, and install it the way it's meant to plus find a space for the speaker. Others on this side have been very creative at that task.

    Heiko

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