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Thread: DCC Sound for KATO E5?

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    Default DCC Sound for KATO E5?

    Does anyone know if a decoder manufacturer is ever going to produce a drop-in DCC Sound decoder for the Kato E5?

    Moose found some mention of Digitrax considering, possibly, maybe, some day, coming out with one, but that news was dated back to 2013, and since haven't seen anything.
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    The wide body ones that fit the Es, Fs, F40s and P42 should work. They all use the same lightboard.
    The E5 would still be using the first generation of EMD 567 diesel.
    MRC makes one that should drop right in. With minor trimming of some chassis bumps.
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    @ChicagoNW Thank you Chicago, but it's the chassis modifications this moose is trying to avoid...

    This is the only the MRC sound decoder. What little can be found online states that the chassis must be modified to get it to fit the E5. Did find one reference to a SDN144K0E sound decoder, dated Jan 2013, but none have been produced as far as Moose can tell...
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    There are some Digitrax SDN163KOE sound decoders on Ebay. Don't know nothing about these sound decoders, but the 163 regular decoders are great!

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    I installed a Digitrax and a MRC in two different Kato F40s. Same basic decoder design, earlier series. MRCs up the number every time they improve the chips.

    One took a month, working on it for a couple hours , getting frustrated, walking away a couple days. Then trying again. The other took about ten minutes to get up and running.

    To install the Digitrax first remove the plastic fuel tank. Drill holes in the bottom to let the sound out. Remove enough metal on the chassis in the fuel tank to accommodate the speaker. Cut a top to bottom groove in the side of the chassis for the speaker wire. Now grind away metal at the top of the chassis to fit the NOT optional capacitor, took two weekends to find out it was mandatory and buy one that fit an N scale loco. Then hardwire the board to the collection strips just in case. Isolate the motor tabs from the strips. With a couple 70 mile round trips to the local railroad shop and a month of anger, loco was running.

    To install the MRC unit, pop the body, pull the lightboard. Remove some plastic on the front truck holder. Tape the collection strips with Kapton to prevent shorting to the motor tabs. Install the board. Replace the body. Program the loco.

    Which minor chassis mod is easier?
    Even though both say they are drop in, I'm not sure one of the companies understands the concept.

    Now with the E5 you may have to bend or shorten the leads on front LED and remove or relocate the rear one. I'm not that deep into DCC to know if it could be programmed to be a Marslight. I think you have to change a CV because the board Is rotated 180° between the long and short locos.

    If I didn't know which chip was in the RTA or the Metra loco only the paint would be different. Except maybe that stalling thing, Digitrax do, when blowing the horn. Both are pretty loud.
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    This post describes what Moose concerned about. Anyone else try to install MRC 1645 in Kato E5 with issues or success?
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

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    This post says the 1645 board fits but the body will not sit down, probably the speaker.

    http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/216087.aspx

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    Quote Originally Posted by rrjim1 View Post
    This post says the 1645 board fits but the body will not sit down, probably the speaker.

    http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/t/216087.aspx
    Yes, saw that post as well. This is what Moose find concerning.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

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    Moose,,

    Since Have one as well to convert this thread peaked my interest.
    I have read what you have and what others have posted and come to the same conclusion, although I have seen some on YouTube running with one installed. They seem to run and sound well but no info on how it was done.

    I did find this good video on the Digitrax Sound decoder install that might interest you. It uses the Aztec milled frame. I plan to contact them to see about milling the frame for other decoders.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSbJFPahwWM

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    @Chicago Rail

    Thank you Ed!

    This is what it would cost to do a sound conversion using an Aztec milled frame:

    Aztec frame: $20.00 (http://www.aztectrains.com/frames_2.html)
    Digitrax SDN144K0A decoder: $57.36 (@ TonysTrains.com)
    5/8" TDS speaker: $9.95 (@ TonysTrains.com)
    Shipping frames, each way: $7.00 (USPS, assumption)
    Shipping decoder & speaker: $7.00 (USPS, assumption)

    Total: $108.31
    Now for some heavy moose thinking...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

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    You might just move the speaker on the MRC to the steam generator area. (Cost of wire and solder) Maybe replace it with a smaller speaker or go with a rectangular speaker.

    Upgrading the fans will let even more sound out.

    On that first poster, we never did hear how the problem was solved. Filing off more of the plastic edge of the speaker might have finally worked. Never saw how bad it was after the first try.

    One thing I like to do on EMDs is to replace the headlight lens(es) with TopHat LEDs. They fit the housing. This way you can control the lights independently. In order to totally separate the body and chassis, I use these connectors http://www.miniatronics.com/Merchant...ategory_Code=4
    their tiny size is perfect. The first time I used one, was for the roof mounted headlight of my brass E9 Crandall Cab, I used a Kato chassis to replace the factory one. This also made adding DCC much easier.
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    In a similar vein, I put the MRC sound decoders in an ABA set of IC E8s. (Kato). I have not been able to get the A shells to go all the way down due to the speaker hitting the shell. I have slowly worked to file the sides of the speaker and the shell area where it hits. No success yet but I'm going slowly. Maybe a speaker replacement is the only solution. Regarding the MRC sound, I am quite satisfied and the engines run well too. Patrick

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    @phhphd Interesting ... Moose get curious about Moose's own Kato E9 that Moose had installed an MRC 1645 decoder in a few years ago. Sure enough, it does appear to have the forward end of the shell not sit quite all of the way down.

    Moose never noticed before...

    1 Kato E8 w MRC 1645 Decoder - Shell Fit 012817 SM.jpg
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    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose2013 View Post
    @phhphd Interesting ... Moose get curious about Moose's own Kato E9 that Moose had installed an MRC 1645 decoder in a few years ago. Sure enough, it does appear to have the forward end of the shell not sit quite all of the way down.

    Moose never noticed before...

    1 Kato E8 w MRC 1645 Decoder - Shell Fit 012817 SM.jpg
    See there Moose has answered his own question.
    Since you didn't notice it on the E9 then you probably wont't notice it on the E5 either.
    I promise I won't tell anyone unless I find moose dropping's in my yard.

    I put one of the MRC drop in sound decoders in my Kato F3, I think it was a #1957 but basically the same as the #1645.
    I pulled it out of the box after reading your post and sure enough it is higher in the front. I never noticed it before either.

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    I now have all that I need to install the sound decoder into my Kato E5a Silver Bullet.
    Moose,, should I just document it here in your thread or start a new one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Rail View Post
    I now have all that I need to install the sound decoder into my Kato E5a Silver Bullet.
    Moose,, should I just document it here in your thread or start a new one?
    Ed, Please be Moose guest and post here.
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

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    Hey, wait just doggone minute! Moose is putting sound into a die . . , a dies. . . ?? I can't even bring myself to spell the word in his presence!

    I know the world's gone crazy and all, but this clinches it. ...
    Paul Schmidt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Hey, wait just doggone minute! Moose is putting sound into a die . . , a dies. . . ?? I can't even bring myself to spell the word in his presence!

    I know the world's gone crazy and all, but this clinches it. ...
    This isn't the thread you are looking for ... You can go about your business ... Move along ... Move along...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    "Reading is for morons who can't understand pictures..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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    That's what happens when you get the "diseasel". It's not a bad thing . Right Moose?
    Last edited by mrodtoo; 5th Mar 2017 at 01:30 PM.
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