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Thread: N Scale Bachmann SD45 with DCC and Sound Thread

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    I took out the stock Soundtraxx sound decoder and installed an old DCC decoder from a Bachmann GP7 I had. The thing ran a little hesitant at first, especially over small bumps and turnouts. However, once it got going, it ran well, both forward and backwards. It crawled along too. So I strongly believe the problem lies with the Soundtraxx decoder.


    The other good thing is once I took out the stock Soundtraxx decoder the shell sat MUCH lower to the ground. It looked great!

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    Have you thought about installing the Soundtraxx decoder on the GP 7 frame for testing.
    "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Mario

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    Not sure why I would put an EMD 645E sound decoder in a Bachmann GP7 meant for an EMD 567 diesel engine. Plus, it would not fit. In addition, I already have a sound decoder in that engine that works perfectly fine.

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    What I meant was. I was just thinking of a convenient way to test the decoder in question (Soundtraxx), to confirm it behaves the same way as installed on the SD 45. Not to permanently install it, since you said you used the decoder from the Bachmann GP7.
    "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Mario

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    I gotcha now. I misunderstood. I probably won't end up doing that as I'll probably just ditch the decoder, if I decide to keep the Bachmann SD45.

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    Thank you gatrhumpy for providing the learning experience. I found it interesting.
    "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Mario

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    When my pair arrived I put them on the test track and found they kept stalling with the sound cutting out as others had described, but no more I thought than my Atlas S2's straight out of the box so I put one on an oval of T-TRAK modules and ran it at 1/3 throttle for about five hours in each direction and now it runs as well as any other sound equipped diesel I have. Certainly not bad enough to warrant sending them back and swearing off Bachmann for the rest of my life.

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    I'm not swearing off Bachmann either. I like their steam locomotives, and I'll take another try with sound-equipped diesels. I certainly know enough now to overcome the sound cutting out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by westfalen View Post
    When my pair arrived I put them on the test track and found they kept stalling with the sound cutting out as others had described, but no more I thought than my Atlas S2's straight out of the box so I put one on an oval of T-TRAK modules and ran it at 1/3 throttle for about five hours in each direction and now it runs as well as any other sound equipped diesel I have.
    I wasn't so lucky with the two I tried. Despite running them around for hours, the stalling issue just never got any better. In fact, quite the opposite - the more run run time I put on them, the more frequently they started stalling.

    I still think there's something funky going on with those Soundtraxx decoders, but that's just a WAG.

    Cheers,
    -Mark

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    So far so good on the two I got. No issues out of the box, set up a small circle of track just to test.


    I have had similar issues with Intermountain. Most swear by them, I swear at them. Really I think it comes down to luck. QC seems to be an issue with them all anymore.

    I bought 3 IM SD45Ts and I was never able to get them to work even after replacing trucks etc. I got 4 of the F7s two had bent axles out of the box. So for me IM has a 90% failure rate. I know most people really like them. So far I have 4 Bachmann diesels with no issues and two Bachmann steamers with no issues.
    Be positive, Be polite, have fun with the hobby!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    So far so good on the two I got. No issues out of the box, set up a small circle of track just to test.
    I'm going to try again when the DRGW units come out. That's really the one I wanted anyway, and since they didn't arrive with the first batch of SD45's I'm hoping they'll represent a completely different production run.

    Of course, with the way my luck has been running, maybe Bachmann just cancelled them altogether.

    Cheers,
    -Mark

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    Default Bachmann SD 45 with DCC and sound

    Hi, folks, I was going to hold off on trying this new release from Bachmann until I had a chance to see Mark's review, but MBK had them on sale and....it came today, before I read Mark's comments. I'm still not sure about this engine but will throw out my initial impressions, made after an hour or two's fiddling with it:

    On the plus side, I think it looks good. The attached photo shows it next to a Kato unit I painted years ago and there are, to my eye, only two bad things that stand out. First, the height of the engine, as has been pointed out by many members, seems way too high. Second, despite an overall superlative paint job, the area forward of the upswept red stripe should be yellow, following the curve of the stripe. Otherwise, I like the details, handrail dimensions, etc. as well as the open cab, perfect for installing a crew. It would have been nice to have a snowplow already installed, too. As far as running goes, mine seems to run okay, with good speed control at all ranges and no discernible hesitation or cutout of sound/power EXCEPT at very slow speed over a Kato double crossover. I have some Life-Like FA2s ( no sound, TCS M1 equipped ) that do the same thing in the same places so I blame the turnout, not the engine.

    On the minus side, I hear a lot of gear noise. I've not yet popped off the shell to inspect it, but that may be cured with a little cleaning and/or relubrication.

    Now, I consider the next few things minuses, because I'm still a "newbie" when it comes to DCC stuff. I can't seem to change the loco's address on my programming track. I followed the standard procedure with my Digitrax Zephyr Extra, but even when I "read" the loco address as 3612, it responds only to the factory default of 03. I've also tried putting a resistor across the rails of the programming track, but that hasn't helped. I also have no clue as to adjusting volumes, as Bachmann's DCC/sound instructions are skimpy, to say the least. Any suggestions from you DCC-savvy folks out there?

    Thanks, everyone, for reading this rather lengthy discourse. P.S. Mark - I hope your luck changes soon!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    @bobbymaxwell In order to actually change the Road number on DCC you have to put the system in Blast mode, so it sends more power to the decoder, all soundtraxx decoders are like that, it is really annoying, but they are great decoders otherwise.
    Also not all DCC Systems have a blast mode, so you may have to buy the PTB-100 to program them...
    http://www.soundtraxx.com/access/ptb100.php

    IIRC all Soundtraxx Tsunami, Econami use CV 128 as volume control so 0-255 0 being basically MUTE and 255 being you are going to need a new speaker Oh also if you get a Phone call while running it, hit F8 thats the Mute for soundtraxx as well.

    Also if you need manuals for Soundtraxx: http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals.php

    Also note their are no available Manuals for the SoundValue decoders that bachmann uses, so you will pretty much have to do some guess work, or contact them. Soundvalue is a pretty basic sound decoder even compared to the Econami decoders, which will be the closest to them... so at the very least use those manuals instead.
    :SFSD75M::SPWELL::TTX::SPWELL:


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    Thanks n711, I'll try that tomorrow if I can find a post I once saw concerning "blast" mode. I seem to remember that I read here on nSn that Digitrax addressed that in the original Zephyr manual but I don't remember seeing any reference to it in my Extra book. I'll try to remember to post results. Happy new year.....Bob

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    Hey, everyone, I did the "blast" thing with my Zephyr Extra and, after several fruitless attempts, managed to change the decoder's address to the road number. "It weren't easy..." for me. Now I think I'll sell it; it's just not as nice as my old self-painted Kato unit and I can live without sound. Anybody want it for what I paid for it ($129.95 plus mailing.) Thanks again, n711! Regards from Bob

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    Since my last post I took mine for a run at a club meeting and running on a variety of modules with not so clean track and it went back to the old stuttering and stalling with the sound on. On the Bachmann forum the 'Bach Man' said he would take a loco and test it to see if he could duplicate the problems, I'm off now to hold my breath while I wait.

    I was able to change the address first go with my original version Zephyr connected straight to the programming track.

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    I think this is a big dud for Bachmann.

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    OK, so I have a bit of a mystery here (yeah, what else is new when it comes to this model?)

    I purchased a third one (after having returned two of them) to see if I could finally get one that ran properly. I chose a different roadname from a different retailer in case the first two were from a bad batch or something. And, well, same problems - in forward it couldn't complete more than a lap or two around my layout without stalling out, and in reverse it wouldn't move more than an inch or two without stalling. And by stalling I mean no lights, no sound, and no motor.

    Before attempting to mess around with anything internally, I really just wanted to see what would happen if I gave it some serious break-in time (a difficult proposition for a locomotive that wouldn't run for more than a minute at a time). My bright idea here was to crank the base track voltage on my DCC system up (from 16v to 20v), thus allowing the loco to run fast enough at full throttle to power through the stalls.

    This actually worked out great. Although really herky-jerky at first, I was able to keep it running in forward for a good couple of hours. And by the end of that time, it no longer seemed like it wanted to flat-out stall (although the motor RPMS were still very uneven). So, I switched it over to reverse and tried that. And once again, very herky-jerky at first (I mean like super close to stalling), but it did keep running. So, after a couple of hours of that it eventually got to the point where, like in forward, it was no longer in imminent danger of stalling (but still uneven on the RPMs).

    OK, so that was day one (around 4 hours of runtime). The next morning I tried switching back to forward for some more running, but now (for whatever reason), forward running was almost as bad as reverse running had been originally (IE, it would barely move before stalling). So, figuring I just needed to get things warmed up, I went back to reverse again (which was still OK) and ran it around backwards for a couple of hours. Then, I tried forward again (with much more success this time) and ran it around for a couple more hours that way.

    By this point (now around 8 hours in), things were really starting to smooth out (RPM-wise). However, a new problem had emerged - namely, some rather loud screeching in forward (but not reverse). So, I pulled off the trucks and, noting that there didn't appear to be any lubrication at all in there, proceeded to grease the gears and oil the bearings (at which point all of the screeching went away).

    So, I spent a couple more hours alternating between forward and reverse. And right now (after about 10 hours of break-in) the thing runs just as smooth as can be at all throttle settings. In fact, I can reliably creep it (at speed step 3) all the way around my layout in either direction.

    So, great - a solution. But the question is, what was the original problem? Apart from taking it out of the box and running it around in circles (and eventually lubricating it), I did absolutely nothing to this thing. Anybody have any theories as to what changed here?

    Thanks!
    -Mark

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    Tolerances to tight or out of spec on some parts to cause a small bind????
    Just thinking out loud

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony35 View Post
    Tolerances to tight or out of spec on some parts to cause a small bind????
    Just thinking out loud
    Pretty much everything is on the table at this point. But that said, I can't really see how a bind would prevent current from reaching the decoder board (assuming that it's some sort of current drop that leads to the no lights, no sound, no motor stall situation).

    I have a fairly limited knowledge of how decoders work at a low level. Is there some sort of negative feedback situation that would basically cause a decoder to shut itself down?

    Thanks,
    -Mark

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