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I found this old Rock Island Chrome 440 Wood Burner (General) set, with three passenger cars, for a really good price, so I just had to have it.
It has no sounds at all, and I am wondering if it would be possible to add Bell and Old Steam Whistle to this old guy?
Also, how can I add a rubber tire to the drive wheels?


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Last edited by RWL
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You'd have to get the wheel grooved for the tire, Frank Timko does those for a reasonable price.

You can add an ERR RailSounds Commander board to get bell and whistle, and you could add the chuff as well.  The small steam sound set has a "hooter" whistle.  Sound Sample ERR RailSounds Commander Small Steam.

Thanks for the suggestion on the drive wheels, and for the contact info for that and the rail sounds equipment.
So did those old locos never have tires, it kind of looks like they didn't.
What about adding Bullfrog Snot, is there anything to that stuff?

Last edited by RWL

Sure, we put sound in tenders all the time.  Truthfully, unless you're shooting for synchronized chuffing with driver rotation, you don't need any connection to the locomotive, you can do the whole sound thing in the tender.   Obviously, you'll need power pickups on the tender to power the sound board.

You can use a 2-pin tether to bring power from the locomotive if that's simpler than putting rollers on the tender.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

If the chuff is not synchronized, does it still speed up and slow down with speed of the locomotive?
Is it hard to put pick up rollers on a tender?
Is it expensive to add rollers?
Is there a how to on adding rollers somewhere?
Are the required parts readily available?

It may make more sense to just install the sound unit in the tender, and then to tether to the locomotive, for pick up and synchronization.
If I tethered it to the locomotive, I would prefer a connector plug so that they could be separated.

How complicated is it to wire into the locomotive?

Here are pics of the tender.


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Well, I suspect the path of least resistance is to bring power from the locomotive and use a magnet and reed switch on a tender wheel to generate the chuff.  Since the engine doesn't appear to have any chuff switch, synchronized sound with the drivers isn't really an option anyway.  Yes, the speed will change the chuff rate based on the tender wheel rotation.

A 2-pin tether isn't a problem, and since we're only dealing with power for the sound, it doesn't have to be a heavy duty wire.

1 3/4" x 1 1/4" x 1/2" is a nice small size to fit into that tender.
However, those are not cheap.
Almost wonder if I should get a later model General, like maybe a Pensy Lion Chief.

Would I just run two wires to the locomotive and hook one to the roller pick up wiring, and the other to ground?

Last edited by RWL

Thanks again John.
Those connectors look perfect: Small and all Black so as to not be that noticeable.
As always, much appreciated.

I did finally get the "L" leg of my table finished and the outer loop of Ross Track and switches in place.
I am now installing the control center where the transformers, power supplies, block switches, turn out controllers, etc. will live.
Steve really does make nice switches.

I plan to do a "What did you do to your layout today" posting, but have been very busy.
I have quite a few pics to attach as well.
Now to begin the proper final wiring.

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