Hi fellow O Scalers:
Here are some before and after still shots of my recent ESU Loksound Select L sound decoder installation in my CP Atlas O MP15DC.  Our Austin O Scale group had a great little gathering over Austin Bill's wonderful 2-Rail O Scale layout last week, so I shot a little video of this loco in action (link at bottom) to go along with the still shots.  This locomotive is an Atlas Gold Series model with a factory equipped QSI sound decoder and I wanted to upgrade to a more recent sound decoder to get a more realistic sound for this prime mover along with adding an ESU Power Pack (ESU's version of a Keep Alive).  I  used a thick piece of brass sheet as a base to mount the new decoder and the ancillary components; consisting of a home-brew resistor board for LED headlights, and keep alive circuits.  I used my Sherline table top mill to machine some wire restraints and drill holes for the 2 mm screws I used to secure each of the components.   I kept the OEM speaker in the fuel tank as it seemed to do okay.  I may upgrade this at some point to see if it will make much of differnce.  Since the Loksound Select sound decoders come without sound files installed in them (Loksound does this to keep decoder costs down on the Select line of decoders), I had to purchase the Loksound programmer to upload the EMD 645 12 cyl Non-turbo sound file to the decoder.  Most Loksound prime movers have three separate sound files, L (Large Scale), HO, and micro (for N scale decoders).  I don't know what exactly makes each sound files different and can only guess that the larger scale decoders must have larger memory capacity to store larger sound files.  I would presume that the larger sound files have a higher sample rate and would yield better quality sound.  However, on this installation I ended up going with the HO Scale scale sound file for two reasons: First, I started with the L version (large scale sound file) but was not at all happy with the sound quality, it was very bland and sounded like the recoding was taken from inside the cab of the locomotive instead of outside.  The second, and more important reason, is that the HO version had an alternate "proto sound" file that can be enabled by setting one of the bits in a CV register.  Setting this bit provides a feature that is akin to the TCS WOW sound "Auto Notching" feature where the sound "notch" is actually using the motor's BEMF value to adjust the sound loop and not necessarily the DCC throttle setting.  Not all ESU Loksound files have this feature but I sure hope they continue to add it to their future sound file releases since they really do add a more prototypical sound.  This little engine is now a blast to switch with as a result of this new sound decoder upgrade.

Before photo:

AtlasO_MP15_before

After photo:

AtlasO_MP15_after


Action video:

https://youtu.be/kDMB-0M9VEQ

Scott Kay
Austin, TX

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Photos (2)
Original Post

That is really nice ..... sound and operation! Really like it. (Those red CP engines are sharp looking, too!)

So, retailers don't load the prime movers that you request into the decoder? I guess only the retailers that do repairs/installations do ... such as Tony's in Vermont?

If you do decide to try a speaker upgrade, please post your results on the forum. Thanks.

Matt Ryan

Denville, NJ

Have used the Loksound L decoder & highly recommend it! The supplier I used here in the UK (Coastal DCC) loaded the sound file I wanted for me.

I fitted mine in an AtlasO TM RS3, similarly replacing a QSI decoder, which had been factory-fitted in an F-3. Someone re-programmed it with Alco sounds for me, but it still didn't sound right to me - except for the horn, which was awesome; even slightly better than the Loksound, & totally blew away (no pun intended!) Tsunami horns.

But overall the Loksound is much better all round.

Modelling the Soo Line in 2-Rail, from 5,000 miles away & 27 years too late.

I was there while Scott ran the engine/consist around the layout and then did the photo/video shoot.  The low end motor control --  and at all speeds is as good as it gets.  The prime mover, bell, horn and other sounds are very crisp even with the stock Atlas O speaker with whatever attention Atlas paid to acoustics.

And how about that much cleaner and more reliable looking installation!   The O Scale engine manufactures should take a look at this!  

Thanks Scott for showing the gang a well done project!

Austin Bill

 

 

 

Bob Anson posted:

do you guys ever meet at Frank Schmidts place?

Yes, we have met at Frank's place at previous get-togethers and saw his fantastic 2-Rail O scale layout. Frank was in attendance over at this meeting as well.  A nice selection of O5W and P48 modelers here in Austin. 

Scott Kay

Austin, TX

 

Nice job! Looks great, sounds great, and runs great. What's not to like?  I mean.... Man that's really lousy, you should let me take that off your hands so you don't have to look at it anymore

-Jonathan

 

Follow the progress of my S Scale Hi-Rail layout Here

Participate in the Facebook S Scale community Here

Seeing and hearing Scott's engine in person convinced me so I ordered two ESU Loksound Select L decoders, the ESU Programmer and the ESU decoder tester.  Look forward to installing the decoders in steam engines and comparing the results to my 6 amp QSI Titan Magnum Q2 and Q3 equipped steam engine installations. 

Will compare:  Ease of installation and programming.  Motor control.  Sound and lights.  Function button mapping.  Documentation and Support.  The ESU S/W and Programmer vs.  QSI CV Manager and the Quantum Programmer.  Downloading files. 

I go into this knowing that the QSI Titan Magnum has two totally independent speaker outputs which can be adjusted to balance the sound between an engine speaker a valuable feature.  The Loksound Select L has 2 positions to connect speakers to but on just one channel.  Wondering if I can find a way to balance them or maybe just get lucky.

 Also the Titan Magnum has screw terminals.  The Loksound Select L has solder pads on the base board with multi connectors between the decoder board which rides on top of the base board.  So, the base board can be permanently soldered in place and yet the decoder board can removed by just unplugging it for whatever reason. This is good IMO.  Bet the OEMs will like this for RMR activity.  

Austin Bill

 

 

 

Austin Bill posted:

..... I ordered two ESU Loksound Select L decoders, the ESU Programmer and the ESU decoder tester. ..... Look forward to installing the decoders in steam engines and comparing the results to my 6 amp QSI Titan Magnum Q2 and Q3 .....

Will compare:  Ease of installation and programming.  Motor control.  Sound and lights. .....

I look forward to your results, Bill.

Thanks. Matt

Matt Ryan

Denville, NJ

Hi Dio,

This was a 2-rail DCC sound decoder installation, so it will only work on a DCC equipped layout, whether it is a 3-Rail DCC layout (yes, there are a few out there) or a 2-Rail DCC equipped layout.  

The actual controller that was used in the making of the video was an NCE (North Coast Engineering)  DCC controller but any DCC controller could have been used, i.e. Digitrax, MRC Prodigy.   However, MTH DCS and Lionel Legacy controllers could not be used as they are not DCC compatible control systems.  They are their own proprietary control systems.

Scott K.

Austin, TX

Austin Bill posted:

Seeing and hearing Scott's engine in person convinced me so I ordered two ESU Loksound Select L decoders, the ESU Programmer and the ESU decoder tester.  Look forward to installing the decoders in steam engines and comparing the results to my 6 amp QSI Titan Magnum Q2 and Q3 equipped steam engine installations. 

Will compare:  Ease of installation and programming.  Motor control.  Sound and lights.  Function button mapping.  Documentation and Support.  The ESU S/W and Programmer vs.  QSI CV Manager and the Quantum Programmer.  Downloading files. 

I go into this knowing that the QSI Titan Magnum has two totally independent speaker outputs which can be adjusted to balance the sound between an engine speaker a valuable feature.  The Loksound Select L has 2 positions to connect speakers to but on just one channel.  Wondering if I can find a way to balance them or maybe just get lucky.

 Also the Titan Magnum has screw terminals.  The Loksound Select L has solder pads on the base board with multi connectors between the decoder board which rides on top of the base board.  So, the base board can be permanently soldered in place and yet the decoder board can removed by just unplugging it for whatever reason. This is good IMO.  Bet the OEMs will like this for RMR activity.  

Austin Bill,

Could you please let me know when an ESU programmer is needed? Is it needed to enhance the performance / sound or to customize DCC decoders in existing DCC locomotives or is it only needed for new DCC installations? I read that high-end DCC systems like Digitrax Super Chief have more functionality compared to an entry-level Zephyr Xtra starter set but I am beginning to think that there must be something lacking from these high-end systems that required you to get the programmers.

Since you also mention QSI Manager & Quantum programmer, am I correct in assuming that even though DCC is a standard, you cannot modify default settings unless you have programmers from each decoder manufacturer. If that assumption is correct, then it would take away some of the standardization I expected from DCC. Most of my DCC capable locomotives would be MTH Proto-Sound 3.0 since they are the only choice for modern 6-axle locomotives. Would any of these programmers work if I needed to say match the speed between MTH models?

I have been running conventional DC for the last 10 years but recently bought my first DCC system from ESU.

These are just my opinion,

Thanks,

Naveen Rajan

Navreen, most settings on any DCC decoder can be modified with any DCC system. However, when I tried to adjust the chuff rate on my QSI Magnum decoder I found out that to change that particular setting I needed the QSI Programmer which I don't have. 

If all you have is MTH locomotives than none of those programmers mentioned will help you because each programmer only works with its own decoders. 

 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Hi Naveen,

DCC decoders can be programmed using any of the main DCC systems like my NCE DCC system.  This is accomplished by using the programming features of the DCC system to DIRECTLY change decoder attributes called Configuration Variables (CV's).  This works just fine for making small changes to simple CV's.  I use this method to make simple changes on the fly.  But, rely on the three programming methods below for installations and big changes.

 Beyond simple changes using your DCC system becomes more complex.   For example many decoders have complex CV's called Indexed CV's which are much harder to fathom and change.  So, to vastly simplify and provide a user friendly (plain old English and graphics) interface companies like ESU and QSI developed specialized proprietary programmers optimized for their brand decoders.  There is also a free public domain and very comprehensive suite of tools is available on-line called JMRI which has two tools called Decoder Pro and Panel Pro.  These can be used to program most features of many decoders.  Free.  I use it to program decoders brands other than QSI and ESU.  And it will work with QSI and ESU, too.  I can't say how well because I have the programmers. 

So, why buy the QSI Quantum Programmer and the ESU Programmer?  You must have a QSI programmer to download new sound sets and new firmware versions.  Same for ESU.  Period.  Beyond this requirement I feel the proprietary programmers just make life easier.   In my experience I cannot imagine setting up a new QSI Titan Magnum decoder without my QSI Quantum Programmer.  Others will disagree with this for sure!!  But, why not take advantage of tools that simplify?

As for NMRA standards,  they are fine as far as they go.  They standardize many basic and important DCC attributes.  But, the various manufacturers are free to add proprietary attributes layered on top of the NMRA attributes.  This is a lengthy topic and I won't attempt it here.  

Bottom line.  DCC is not all that hard to understand.  It just takes time and effort and study.  Good luck and have fun.

Bill

 

Austin Bill

 

 

 

Thanks for the in-depth explanation Bill. I too was wondering what the benefits were for purchasing the programmers.

"Will compare:  Ease of installation and programming.  Motor control.  Sound and lights.  Function button mapping.  Documentation and Support.  The ESU S/W and Programmer vs.  QSI CV Manager and the Quantum Programmer.  Downloading files."

Please post with the results of your comparison. I also look forward to it.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Austin Bill posted:
...

 Also the Titan Magnum has screw terminals.  The Loksound Select L has solder pads on the base board with multi connectors between the decoder board which rides on top of the base board.  So, the base board can be permanently soldered in place and yet the decoder board can removed by just unplugging it for whatever reason. This is good IMO.  Bet the OEMs will like this for RMR activity.  

Grump.  Here I must disconcur.  I got out of smaller scales because I could no longer see the tiny things all over the place and now to have to deal with soldering to tiny pads is annoying.  I have yet to get the adapter to work.  If I plug the decoder into an Atlas adapter on a U23B the decoder works perfectly.  But plugged into the solder only adapter I only get shorts or nothing.  Now that I have eliminated all the shorts it's just plain nothing.   At least they could have soldered wires to those pads like they and everyone else does.  Those tiny pads are intended for soldering machines not people.

rdunniii.  Bummer.  Factory soldered wires is a good idea. Hopefully ScottK will weigh in on his  soldering technique so we can all profit from his success. 

I've been doing other things and haven't yet done my first Select 4.0 L.   I've always planned to pre-solder wires on the pads on my workbench with the decoder stabilized and using my variable heat soldering rig with the best possible tip from the many tips for this soldering station.   I'll be extra careful now that I've heard your sad story.  So, thanks and better luck next time.

Bill

 

Austin Bill

 

 

 

RDUNNIII, yeah I agree with you. Tiny solder pads are no fun. 

I do like that Atlas made a DCC Ready locomotive where the user can literally just drop in a decoder that has sound and all the modern features. The old DCC ready boards were okay but all that dropped in was a bare bones old technology NCE Atlas O decoder. I assume all that the user has to do after plugging in the Loksound decoder is add a speaker. Do you guys have any preferences on what speaker to use? 

Bill or anyone else, have you guys tried the ESU Power Pack Maxi? I was just wondering if it was worth the added expense. 

 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

BTW.  As we know the Loksound L Select decoder comes as two separable boards.  The bottom board with the soldering pads is the 51959 Adapter Board.  It sells for $19.95.  I'm going to order one and permanently wire it into my decoder tester board so I can just plug the upper board into it for pre-testing during installations.  Nice feature.  And maybe order an extra while I'm at it in case I screw up soldering the wires to the pads and burn up the PCB traces. 

51959adapter board for LokSound L V4.0 with pin connectors

http://www.esu.eu/en/products/...lect-loksound-l-v40/

Bill

Austin Bill

 

 

 

I soldered the power connections to the pads on the top of the board and now it works great.  Apparently if doesn't matter but you need to make sure there is a connection between the pads and the traces which are on the in between layers of the board.  So if the solder doesn't flow into the very tiny holes in the pad they may not work.

Hudson J1e posted:

RDUNNIII, yeah I agree with you. Tiny solder pads are no fun. 

<..snip..>

Bill or anyone else, have you guys tried the ESU Power Pack Maxi? I was just wondering if it was worth the added expense. 

Hi Hudson J1e,

I used the smaller ESU Power Pack on this install as I stated in my original email but this new Power Pack Maxi for the larger scales looks very interesting, indeed.  It says the Power Pack Maxi has 5 Farads of capacitance .  It will be interesting to see what the price ends up being.  I have been finding that for really good reliable backup power on other O Scale sound decoder installations on dual motor drivers, I've needed to install three TCS KA2s in parallel and this still only gives about 1.8 Farads of capacitance vs. the 5 Farads on the Maxi.  I have not seen any prices yet (the ESU web site says expected delivery for the Power Pack Maxi is 2Q/2016), but even if it comes in at around $75, I can still see justification. To me, these super capacitors in itself , have created a mini revolution in model railroading by negating the need for keeping track absolutely spotless and all frogs be powered to have uninterrupted operating performance.  The downside is if you look at the prices of these Keep Alive components (even the KA2s), the manufacturers are generously marking them up.  ESU justifies some of that markup with the on board chips to stop the charging process when in programming mode or to adjust buffer times, which are foo-foo features that a programming track booster, like the DCC Specialties Power Pax and the Soundtraxx PTB will work around.  In any event these little gadgets do really improve the "quality of life" when running trains with DCC.   Hopefully in time these backup power modules will come down in price like the decoders have done but for the early adopters, it still hurts a little in the backside pocket on each installation .

Scott K.

Austin, TX 

Scott Kay posted:
Hudson J1e posted:

RDUNNIII, yeah I agree with you. Tiny solder pads are no fun. 

<..snip..>

Bill or anyone else, have you guys tried the ESU Power Pack Maxi? I was just wondering if it was worth the added expense. 

Hi Hudson J1e,

I used the smaller ESU Power Pack on this install as I stated in my original email but this new Power Pack Maxi for the larger scales looks very interesting, indeed.  It says the Power Pack Maxi has 5 Farads of capacitance .  It will be interesting to see what the price ends up being.  I have been finding that for really good reliable backup power on other O Scale sound decoder installations on dual motor drivers, I've needed to install three TCS KA2s in parallel and this still only gives about 1.8 Farads of capacitance vs. the 5 Farads on the Maxi.  I have not seen any prices yet (the ESU web site says expected delivery for the Power Pack Maxi is 2Q/2016), but even if it comes in at around $75, I can still see justification. To me, these super capacitors in itself , have created a mini revolution in model railroading by negating the need for keeping track absolutely spotless and all frogs be powered to have uninterrupted operating performance.  The downside is if you look at the prices of these Keep Alive components (even the KA2s), the manufacturers are generously marking them up.  ESU justifies some of that markup with the on board chips to stop the charging process when in programming mode or to adjust buffer times, which are foo-foo features that a programming track booster, like the DCC Specialties Power Pax and the Soundtraxx PTB will work around.  In any event these little gadgets do really improve the "quality of life" when running trains with DCC.   Hopefully in time these backup power modules will come down in price like the decoders have done but for the early adopters, it still hurts a little in the backside pocket on each installation .

Scott K.

Austin, TX 

I absolutely agree Scott. The capacitors are a game changer. To me it's worth the extra expense to get it done right the first time. I have never regretted installing as much capacitance as I could fit, but I have regretted not doing it.

-Jonathan

 

Follow the progress of my S Scale Hi-Rail layout Here

Participate in the Facebook S Scale community Here

Scott, I have been meaning to respond to your post. First thank you for the in depth reply. I agree with you and Johnny that these Power Pack Maxis are a game changer but in my opinion the price is kind of high. $75 is pretty much half the price of a decoder. And just how expensive are the capacitors on a board that, at least to me, doesn't seem like it took a lot of R&D to design? If one is doing say 10 locomotives that's an extra $750. And don't forget that the prices never come down on these things unlike other house hold electronics. I remember buying TA Studios TMCC upgrades when I was a 3 railer for $149 in the early '90s. Upgrades today are still at about the same price point if not a little more. Well, I guess given inflation they have remained about the same price. I will probably try one of these Power Pack Maxis when they come out and decide for myself it they are worth the extra (hopefully) $75. I certainly hope they are not more than that. Everyone has a different sized budget.

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

I agree 100% that keep alives are a game changer. But a little surprised that you need so much capacitance. I have added a TCS KA-2 to Atlas SW and MP15, several China drive GPs, a Yoder dual motor drive and a couple of older Pittman motored units. With 1 KA-2 I am getting about 4-5 seconds of run time with lights and sound on from the Atlas & Yoder units and 2-3 seconds on the Pittmans. That's with Digitrax DCC at 14.8V on the track, and various Loksound, TCSWOW and Tsunami decoders. I do have DCC friendly switches and powered frogs so that amount of run time seems to work great for me. No more flickering lights and "pop>restart" sounds. 

Just curious, what's the reason for needing 3 KAs in a loco?

Thanks,

Pete  

Pete M

Frying decoders since 1994

Hi Pete,

The reason for my use of three KA2 Keep Alives is due to a test that I ran.  Basically, it had to do with what it would take to not have to clean track.  I had a test loop and I started out an cleaned the track thoroughly by hand wiping with alcohol and a paper towel.  I then used the wiped finger test where no black residue was left on my finger so I knew the rail was clean.  I then ran about a 10-car train around several laps and no flickering lights and then let it set, came back and ran the train again a month later, did the wiped finger test and noticed the black residue had returned.  This was good though and actually what I wanted to see.  I also noticed that the lights started flickering a bit, especially at slow speeds.  I then installed a single Keep Alive and performance improved, no more flickering lights.  I then let it set for another month, ran the train a bit, and then noticed the flickering lights had started again.  So I added a second KA2 Keep Alive and the flickering lights went away again.  It finally took three Keep Alives to get it to the point where I no longer had flicking lights or sound hiccups while still not cleaning track on these particular Atlas Dual Drive locos.

 Now, I was nosing around the ESU Loksound and various ESU Loksound DCC retailer web sites (always a dangerous proposition) and I noticed that the Loksound XL 4.0 has a built in Power Pack  (Keep Alive) that looks like it uses the exact same capacitors as those used on their upcoming Power Pack Maxi device so I’m thinking that it might end up being a wash to go with the Loksound XL 4.0 vs. Loksound Select L decoder with a Power Pack Maxi even though in some respects the XL 4.0 is a bit of overkill for O Scale.  However… even with a street price just north of $200 for the XL 4.0 and a slightly larger size, you get more speaker handling capability with two independently balanceable channels, nice screw terminals (not the small solder pads), built-in keep alive that might be equivalent to the Power Pack Maxi (just guessing at this point), and all in a single package.  Has anyone installed a Loksound Select XL 4.0 and does it truly have a noticeable extended keep alive capability for the larger scale?

Thanks.

Scott K.

Austin, TX

I've fitted a lot of Loksound decoders over the journey and they all succumb eventually to dirty rails.

I've found the best product to deal with the problem at the source is Track Magic.

It will give you months of trouble free running - I even left a test track outside in the weather for three months after treating it with Track magic, and it still ran fine.

If you want to only clean your rails twice a year, this is the go.  Clean your wheels with it as well.

http://www.gaugemaster.com/ite...ils.asp?code=DLAC-13 

Cheers

Scott,

Good sleuthing.  Thanks.  Makes the XL price seem much better.  I finally found the words after digging around myself in the XL part of the installation manual.  

Bet it's those two large green capacitors.  Agree?  I couldn't find any reference to total capacitance.  Did you?  Here's the statement in the maual:

"Further information about how to use the PowerPack module is to • be found in the "PowerPack module" manual. The LokSound XL V4.0 has an integral PowerPack matching the higher current needed by models of the larger gauges. Additional buffering with capacitors or further PowerPacks is neither intended nor necessary"

Bill

Austin Bill

 

 

 

Hi Bill,

Yes, I agree that it is indeed those two green capacitors that are storing the current for the keep alive feature in the 4.0 XL decoder.  They looked just like the ones in the picture for the Power Pack Maxi and being these XL decoders are for even larger current consumers than O scale, e.g. G Scale, I am presuming they are hopefully at least the same size as the Maxi.  As for the capacitance, I did not see any reference to the actual capacitance in the XL decoder manual, nor did I see any reference to the amount of capacitance in the Power Pack Maxi web page, at least on the English version of the Power Pack Maxi ESU web page…  However, on the German version of the Power Pack Maxi web page, you can see a reference to 5 Farads in the German text .

 Scott K.

Austin, TX

Scott Kay posted:

Hi Pete,

The reason for my use of three KA2 Keep Alives is due to a test that I ran.  Basically, it had to do with what it would take to not have to clean track.  I had a test loop and I started out an cleaned the track thoroughly by hand wiping with alcohol and a paper towel.  I then used the wiped finger test where no black residue was left on my finger so I knew the rail was clean.  I then ran about a 10-car train around several laps and no flickering lights and then let it set, came back and ran the train again a month later, did the wiped finger test and noticed the black residue had returned.  This was good though and actually what I wanted to see.  I also noticed that the lights started flickering a bit, especially at slow speeds.  I then installed a single Keep Alive and performance improved, no more flickering lights.  I then let it set for another month, ran the train a bit, and then noticed the flickering lights had started again.  So I added a second KA2 Keep Alive and the flickering lights went away again.  It finally took three Keep Alives to get it to the point where I no longer had flicking lights or sound hiccups while still not cleaning track on these particular Atlas Dual Drive locos.

 Now, I was nosing around the ESU Loksound and various ESU Loksound DCC retailer web sites (always a dangerous proposition) and I noticed that the Loksound XL 4.0 has a built in Power Pack  (Keep Alive) that looks like it uses the exact same capacitors as those used on their upcoming Power Pack Maxi device so I’m thinking that it might end up being a wash to go with the Loksound XL 4.0 vs. Loksound Select L decoder with a Power Pack Maxi even though in some respects the XL 4.0 is a bit of overkill for O Scale.  However… even with a street price just north of $200 for the XL 4.0 and a slightly larger size, you get more speaker handling capability with two independently balanceable channels, nice screw terminals (not the small solder pads), built-in keep alive that might be equivalent to the Power Pack Maxi (just guessing at this point), and all in a single package.  Has anyone installed a Loksound Select XL 4.0 and does it truly have a noticeable extended keep alive capability for the larger scale?

Thanks.

Scott K.

Austin, TX

Thanks very much for the detailed reply Scott. Makes sense now.     That is a big challenge to never have to clean your track again!  I did similar cleaning stages with alcohol and then applied a very thin layer of graphite which I learned about on MRH and at my local club. I have not cleaned track in a year now and still no flickering lights or dropped sound. Of course there are several treatments that I'm sure work well, such as what Max suggested. 

A couple of things I've heard about Loksound that might be relevant. Max, you're way ahead of me on Loksound so please chime in if I'm talking through my hat again!       I think there's a CV to set what happens in the event of momentary power loss. You can have the motor go back to what is was doing, or stop, or something else. And you can have the sound go back to its previous state, or re-start, maybe something else. Not sure if having the motor go back to previous speed would alleviate the issue at all, compared to having it stop (if that's even a thing)?

Secondly (this is not about keep alive, but about XL 4.0), I believe the XL 4.0 does have larger keep alive built in, but didn't Max have trouble with the PWM drive frequencies not being compatible to some degree with China drives and at all with Pittman motors? Not sure if that would direct you back to the newer Select L.

Last thought I had was that your track seemed to get dirty very quickly i.e. a month later. Do you have any plastic wheelsets on your stock? The biggest single improvement in track cleanliness for me was when I switched to 100% metal wheelsets a few years ago.

Sadly I suspect that in the end, to run DCC flawlessly even with large keep alives may be a bit of a tall order without DCC friendly switches, powered frogs and clean track. If I were starting today I'd be looking hard at dead rail/battery power! 

Pete

Pete M

Frying decoders since 1994

"Secondly (this is not about keep alive, but about XL 4.0), I believe the XL 4.0 does have larger keep alive built in, but didn't Max have trouble with the PWM drive frequencies not being compatible to some degree with China drives and at all with Pittman motors? Not sure if that would direct you back to the newer Select L." (Pete)

With the KA for free, the two audio channels and screw terminals I'm really interested for engines with the room for the decoder.  BUT.  Can anyone provide more info on the above statement made by Pete.  I find it counter intuitive that this would be the case for several reasons.  But, stranger things have happened.  It's the Pittman motor part that concerns me.

Thanks, Bill

Austin Bill

 

 

 

Sorry guys, didn't mean to muddy the waters. I realized I'm not 100% clear in this still. Max, I think this is the post I mis-remembered:

Hi Pete

Sorry for the confusion, the decoder was a V4 L (not XL), and for what ever reason, it didn't like the BEMF on either of the Pittman motors.  My weapon of choice is the Select L, for various reasons.  Bryan at SBS4DCC.com swapped the V4 L for a Select L and the Select only causes marginal moaning from the motor.  Easily masked by the sounds from the decoder - as was the Atlas' moaning (with a Select L).

The L series was developed by ESU during 2014 specifically for O scale, but given that there are so many Atlas and Pittman motors out there, its performance in the motor area is a bit below par.  Not to worry, I think that it will be acceptable.

So to double check, you didn't have the Pittman back EMF issue with the XL 4.0 (big one with screw terminals at large caps)? And you came to the conclusion that the new Select L with the blue PCB and plug-in loco interface board is acceptable hum/control-wise even with Pittman?

By the way, I looked into coreless motor replacements for the Pittman and found that I can get a drop-in replacement that will draw under 1A stalled and deliver twice the torque with better slow speed control. The cost will be the same or less for this and an HO Select decoder together than for one high amp Select L. Plus I'll have more room for speakers. Going to try this in an old Weaver as soon as funds permit.   

Thanks again,

Pete     

Pete M

Frying decoders since 1994

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