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For those who are interested, I'm going to keep all my BR and battery mod stuff in this thread.  I'll be posting lots of photos when I get around to it, but for now I figured I'd start with my overall wiring diagram.  At the advice of some who know better than me, I'm going to run some questions by the guys at BR.

What I started with:

A really gorgeous MTH Premier R-2 2-8-8-2 with articulated chassis.  Like my S1 project , It came from the MTH warehouse auction unfinished and mostly unassembled.  Unlike the S1, this one did NOT include any of the electrical guts save for a couple harnesses and beat up speaker.  However, this one DID come with a complete mechanical drivetrain, including  a strong Pittman motor, so I thought this would be the perfect chance to fill it up with the electronics that @Ron045 and @gunrunnerjohn have posted about recently. Ron's AEM-7 and John's Camelback with battery conversions are my go-to threads to try to fill in my blanks as I go along.

What I'm stuffing in there:

  • Tsunami 4400 4amp Decoder from Soundtraxx
  • Bluerail 5amp board w/external antenna (everything in my loco and tender is cast, no plastic.  So I needed the antenna)
  • MTH PS1 smoke unit...still figuring out the plan for chuffing but it's coming along
  • LED Headlight
  • Front LED Marker lights (these were the only lights that came preinstalled)
  • Switch to allow running on AC track power or DC battery power
  • Cab Light
  • Firebox Flicker Light
  • Rear Backup Light
  • Visaton 4-Watt SC4.6FL-8 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" Low Profile Full-Range Driver 8 Ohm Speaker
  • Rear backup LED
  • Rear automatic coupler

I'm building my own wiring harnesses, some of them are Molex SPX connector and some are Hirose connectors.  Finally bit the bullet and bought a proper heat torch to heat shrink everything when making connections as well.

I've already spoken with George at Soundtraxx a couple times about the Tsunami and some things I need to look for, I might wait a bit to close everything up because there may be a problem with the current limiting circuit.  They are looking into it as we speak.

Here's the overall wiring diagram for starters.  I don't show the resistors in line with the LED's yet, but they'll be in there.  The decoder puts out 10.5 volts from the outputs and a max of 400ma.  I could run incandescent lights, but I'm worried about my max draw since I measured the Pittman at 3.08 amps and someday I need to run a relay for smoke as well, so I figured LED's are going to be a good pre-emptive strike against maxing out the Tsunami in the future.

I've also created a couple of 3D Printed parts to replicate some small detail parts that were missing on the loco.  They turned out really good, shocking how detailed some of these technologies are now!  The smallest feature on one of the valves was 0.2mm diameter (yes two-tenths of a millimeter) and they resolved quite well!  Photos attached.

Some photos of the overall chassis and tender are shown, as delivered and in the box.  I don't know why I didn't take any pictures with the boiler on, but I do have it.



R2 Schematic-Model3D R2 Valve and Boiler Cover

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Last edited by Jeff_the_Coaster_Guy
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A little couple hour job I took on this weekend was replacing the incandescent headlamp with an LED. 

Turns out it wasn't as easy as I figured it would be.  The replacement required disassembling the entire front end to get at a tiny screw that held the lamp assembly on.  There's an opening in the assembly on the top side that allows light to pass through into where the number boards should be (which I don't have, but will figure out someday).

Making things even tougher, there was an EACT 3mm diameter hole through the front portion of the chassis and up into the lamp assembly that the 3mm bulb could just squeeze through to install.  On my LED's the little flange at the base was *just* wide enough to prevent from passing through the small hole in the chassis, so I had to open it up a bit.  Eventually, I ended up just cutting it and using it like a tie-town bracket.  It's hidden when assembled so I'm OK with that.

But since the LED can't go all the way up into the lamp assembly, I had to create a stiff "mount" that had enough tension when mounted to force it as far up into the assembly as possible.  I ended up building a little harness / light piece that I could connect to the front portion of the disassembled chassis and left just enough wire to not get jumbled or pinched when installed.

Traced my positive leads all the way back to the original harness, and I yanked them out to prepare them to get wired into the new configuration some day soon.  But after a couple hours, it was all reassembled with the LED shining bright!

Pics of the little custom light harness and the final assembly shown below.  The resistor is in the wires prior to the molex joint.  There was no way for me to fit it in right at the light and make the bend around out of the lamp assembly.

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Thanks Ron. I assume you meant to say something like "Cool Project" instead of "Jeff Project" but you'll get no argument from me that "Jeff" and "cool" are synonymous anyway.😉

For now I'm just using an inexpensive 12VNiMH battery from Tenergy. If this works out well, I might ditch that battery and get one of the LiIons from MTO or somewhere else, but I'm on a budget and that system with the charger is pretty salty. I'm not worried about form factor that much, my tender has tons of room reserved for battery. Even with the big speaker.

Thanks Ron. I assume you meant to say something like "Cool Project" instead of "Jeff Project" but you'll get no argument from me that "Jeff" and "cool" are synonymous anyway.😉

For now I'm just using an inexpensive 12VNiMH battery from Tenergy. If this works out well, I might ditch that battery and get one of the LiIons from MTO or somewhere else, but I'm on a budget and that system with the charger is pretty salty. I'm not worried about form factor that much, my tender has tons of room reserved for battery. Even with the big speaker.

Ah... I did mean Cool.  I have no idea how I did that.

I was just curious if 12V would be enough to move all that metal and anything behind it?  I have an 11.1V in my 44Ton but that is small and light.  I have 14.8V in each of my F7's and together I have more power than I know what to do with.

Ron

So as part of building the wiring harnesses for the Bluerail / Tsunami hookup, I had to verify that the motor leads were isolated from frame ground or I would risk frying the board.  Everything looked OK there, but by chance I just happened to check continuity between the pickup and ground since I've seen pinched wires end up wreaking havoc.

Sure enough, I get this when I clip onto either pickup and touch frame ground:

If you can't tell, that says 0.8 ohms.  Not good, so something is touching something.  I disassembled both pickup roller assemblies, pickup rollers, removed the motor and the mount frame, tore out the pickup wires, but could not find the ghost.  Until I got to the rear connection to the pickup roller screw.  Took me about 15 minutes to find but then I saw this:



Do you see it? 

Neither did I the first time.  But just behind the loop is a tiny little bit of heatshrink worn off that was allowing the crimped connector to touch the corner of the chassis.  And I do mean TINY.  Almost microscopic.

After re-doing the eye crimp and new heat shrink, I have vanquished the ghost.

Now my chassis harness looks like this, and all wires are checked and in their correct pin locations!

Got the Track / Battery switch installed, and both sides of the harness ready.  The forward side will connect to a boiler harness where all the connections to the Tsunami will go.  The rear side will connect to the tender harness where the Bluerail card and speaker / lights go.

I asked a question in another thread...need to figure out how to fire the rear protocoupler.  It's a PS2 coupler.  Also need to figure out how to switch on the PS1 (yes, PS1, not PS2) smoke unit.  Unless anyone knows of a good off-the-shelf smoke driver that can take advantage of the existing encoder.

Up next, speaker.

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Ok, so I made some progress on wiring today. Got the rest of the Tsunami wired up and the harness built and test-mounted in the boiler.

Also got the cab light and firebox light installed and secured.

Finally, I finished off the custom baffle for the speaker in the tender and got all the wiring cut to length and the harness built. I'm proud of my cardboard baffle that also acts as a secure mount for the Bluerail board!

Now I'm waiting for a Super Chuffer from @gunrunnerjohn to stuff in the boiler.

All that's left is the backup light!

Also need to get my iPad up and running. Ever lose your Apple password? Yeah... They promised me they would let me reset it by end of next week!

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@Ron045 posted:

Great job Jeff.  Did you figure out the coupler?  You should be able to assign it to one of the FXs.

BUT... In the BR app make sure that slide button for that FX is slid over to the left for momentarily on when pushed.  Else you could fry that circuit with the default "push for on ... Push again for off".

Ron

Thanks Ron.  Haven't gotten that far yet.  Still need to get the BR app running once Apple lets me use my 8 year old iPad again.

I was wondering if there are ways to "lock" certain functions as momentary for the reason you mention.  And I also haven't figured out how to wire the coupler yet.  Have you been able to use your Tsunami with any couplers?  Still thinking a relay of some sort.  I also have a few coupler circuits I've cut off of old PS1 boards (with the big capacitor).  I wonder if there's a way to use those.

J

If you have an output from the DCC decoder for the coupler that does a momentary pulse in the 1/4 second range, there's an easy way to fire the coupler.  Use that pulse to actuate a relay and use track power to fire a PS/1 or Lionel coupler through the relay contacts.  Either of these couplers will work fine with 18V as long as you don't leave it on for more than around half a second.

If you have an output from the DCC decoder for the coupler that does a momentary pulse in the 1/4 second range, there's an easy way to fire the coupler.  Use that pulse to actuate a relay and use track power to fire a PS/1 or Lionel coupler through the relay contacts.  Either of these couplers will work fine with 18V as long as you don't leave it on for more than around half a second.

If the 4400 is receiving the momentary signal from the BR app (Let's assume FX5 is connected to the coupler), then what purpose does the relay serve?

I'm not challenging you or trying to be a smart a**.  I just really want to know the benefit.

Ron

@Ron045 posted:

If the 4400 is receiving the momentary signal from the BR app (Let's assume FX5 is connected to the coupler), then what purpose does the relay serve?

I'm not challenging you or trying to be a smart a**.  I just really want to know the benefit.

It carries enough current to actually fire the coupler.  If your decoder is good for several amps, then you don't need the relay.

Ron, the Soundtraxx documentation says the function outputs are only good for 400mA.  I'm thinking those couplers would fry it.  There's a PS2 coupler currently installed, but I think those are designed to fire at lower (6V) than the Ps1 couplers which can eat track power.  I think that's why John is suggesting going to a PS1 coupler.  I read elsewhere on this forum that the PS1 couplers can draw more than an amp, and the Ps2 couplers even more than that.

John, can you suggest a small inexpensive relay that I can try?  Most of the ones I'm coming up with on Mouser that have 1amp rated contacts are pretty large.  Is there a solid state relay that could work, especially since the duty cycle will be so low?

John, decoder outputs 10.5V on all outputs.  Well at least in my case they will.  The spec says Vinput minus 1.5 volts.  I assume there's diodes in the circuit to effect a 1.5V drop.  My source will be 12V battery, or track power.

I found similar to the little guys you posted, although I just remembered that I have a couple dead dPS1 boards, maybe I can steal a relay from those.  They're 9Vdc, right?

Update 2021 05 01:

Ok, we're functional. After all the outputs and terminals between the BR, Tsunami and accessories were double checked, I connected the battery and flipped the switch...

And things started happening! I was able to wipe my iPad from 10 years ago and installed the BR app. After booting up, the app found my board without any problems, and she came alive!

Also got the Super-Chuffer and the chuff-generator installed and calibrated, although I have no way to check it yet since I'm waiting for a relay to compete my smoke circuit. I don't have any input voltage to the "Smoke In" pin on the chuffer, but strangely the smoke motor runs constantly even without the prompt. Still gotta troubleshoot that, so I just disconnected the smoke motor for the time being.

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As I was experimenting with outputs and features (firebox flicker! Cool! Dimmable LED headlight! Cool! Different whistles! Cool!), I came upon an unfortunate but not totally unexpected realization: my Tsunami2 4400 appears to be part of a bad batch that has a defective current protection circuit.

As I throttled up, all of a sudden the motor quit and all the the lights flashed. This happened a couple times in rapid succession, then everything just stopped.

To make sure I wasn't jamming anything and drawing too much current, I hooked up the Fluke and replicated the issue manually. Sure enough, the circuit protection kicks in at just over 1.4-1.5 amps, instead of 4 amps which the board is rated for.

Soundtraxx told me this might happen, and that they're working on it but don't have a solution as of a couple weeks ago. I've ring their bell again with the attached video. Will let y'all know if I hear back.

I will say, the sounds and features are pretty awesome as they work!

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Last edited by Jeff_the_Coaster_Guy

Update:

After talking to Soundtraxx, they convicted me to take another look at my stall current before sending the Tsunami2 back. When I first tested the stall current, I didn't have my battery in hand yet, so I attempted to create 12.5VDC using my AC transformer and a full wave bridge. I just turned up the AC legs until I read 12.5 V across the DC legs.

I know that without any sort of capacitance the DC is really jagged, but I thought that the "True RMS" description on the Fluke meter was telling me that my DC volts were pretty close to 12.5V rms.

So I checked stall current this way, and I showed just over 3 Amps. Maybe not so bad.

However, I now know that measuring DC current this way is cheating, because at the urging of the Soundtraxx guys, I re-checked the current with my actual 12Vbattery now that I have it, and the result (as @gunrunnerjohn suspected... Should have listened closer) was actually 7.5 Amps!

So it's very possible that the Tsunami is not at all to blame here. Even though I've heard from others that the current protection circuit is tripping prematurely, in my case it wouldn't matter anyway sauce I'm well beyond the capability of the Tsunami 4400.

Oh well, I suppose I'll move it over to a different steamer at some other time and start the search for a decoder that can handle this motor.

Moral of the story: listen to the experts. It will save you time and money!

Video of the battery test attached.

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