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New-to-me engine! Lionel FT diesel 6-38232 from the Rock Island freight set  with “rail sounds RTR”. I am very happy with it except for one thing. The loco starts moving as soon as the sound starts, and the sound cuts off as soon as the engine stops.

I’d like something like the sound starting at 7 volts, and the loco starting to move at 9 volts (just pulled voltages out of thin air to illustrate the point) so that I can start and stop the engine without the sound cutting off. Is there an easy way to accomplish this? I’m thinking along the lines of diodes in the motor wires to drop the voltage to the motors, is that possible/will it achieve the desired effect?

Thanks!

 

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Yes, the diode strings will do this, I have done it.  If this is conventional controlled, I have also tried wiring the motors in series, with good results.   

I have also added a thermistor with the diode string.   This is a device whose resistance decreases as it heats up, giving very slow and gradual acceleration from zero.

An older thread on using series wiring and a thermistor on a GP30.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

Well, series wiring didn’t give me the desired effect... it did really tame the jackrabbit starts, but the maximum speed was drastically reduced, too much for a locomotive that could be called on to pull passenger trains.

The root problem of the locomotive starting to move as soon as the sound turns on, and the sound shutting off as soon as the locomotive stops moving, was almost unaffected...

What I’m looking for is the sound to start at something like 10 percent throttle (on the transformer) and the locomotive to start moving at something like 25 percent throttle.

The drop in top speed (yes-max transformer) was drastic going from parallel to series, acceptable for a freight-only engine but too slow for passenger in my opinion... I’ve already gone back to parallel wiring...

Full throttle is too fast in parallel, but not fast enough in series. If parallel with diodes is somewhere in between that would work nicely!

The slow speed performance is definitely better with the diodes, and the top speed is still pretty fast... I wonder if the sound would behave better on a different transformer...

Even though it didn’t fix the original issue I still prefer the diodes over series wiring the motors. Both configurations have better low speed performance than stock, but the diodes don’t kill the top speed as bad...

I’m tempted to put a diode string in my Williams SD45 and put the motors back to parallel...

The diodes solve the low speed issue without compromising performance and pulling power throughout the throttle range.  In that regard, they're a superior solution.  I'm not sure why the sound card still misbehaves, I did the same mod to a conventional locomotive for a customer and it solved the sound start-up issue.

When I did this wiring years ago (mentioned above series motor wiring with thermistor), it was on a conventional locomotive, and it "solved the sound" problem as well, for that loco: the sound started before the loco began to move.  

I also worked this on Bachmann SD45s (a pair, second wired to run in reverse), using diodes and the thermistor.   Added a sound card from MRC in each loco.   Loved it, but am now running LC+ with Legacy, so have not run these for years.   These were VERY fast locos straight from Bachmann, so they still had a strong top speed after.

No idea why your sound is not starting before the loco moves. 

You could try an experiment with all 10 diodes in one direction, just to test if more voltage drop will get the sound to come on before the loco moves.  Nothing else to buy, just a concept test.

Last edited by Ken-Oscale

If I’m reading those graphs right it looks like the output of the Z1000 is more like PWM... in other words it appears that it pulses 18v, but varies the “on time” to control speed. If that’s true then the motor would still be getting spiked with around 14ish volts with the diodes in circuit, which is enough to make it go... I suspect that the engine would behave like I want it to on a different transformer, one that puts out a sine wave and varies voltage to control speed...

I’ve also got the idea in the back of my head to put a Lionchief board in it and run it on Bluetooth from my phone...

If I’m reading those graphs right it looks like the output of the Z1000 is more like PWM... in other words it appears that it pulses 18v, but varies the “on time” to control speed.

While I suppose you could draw some parallels to PWM, they're really just mangled sawtooth waveforms, the Z-1000 controller is a simple triac controller, no fancy PWM in sight.   Let's take a closer look.

 

As you can see, the first waveform starts earlier in the 60hz cycle and thus has a greater part of the sinewave.  The second waveform is a lower throttle setting, and it's just chopped off the left side of the waveform, the right side is exactly the same distorted shape as the trailing part of the left waveform.

PWM signals are typically controlled duration pulses.

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Yeah, it’s definitely not PWM, I agree 100%.

It appears that the controller isn’t changing the voltage, but it’s shortening the duration of the wave, which is what made me think of PWM. Sort of similar, but definitely not the same thing...

My theory is that even though the diodes drop the voltage the motors are still getting a peak voltage of around 12-14v (I’m assuming there is some voltage drop through the reverse board also) which is enough to make the engine move right away...

So here’s a question... I don’t have a good understanding of how ERR’s products work... as far as I can tell if I wanted to install sound and command from scratch I would need two separate systems/boards... is there a command board from them that I could install in this locomotive that would work with the factory sound system? I know their stuff is Lionel-based...

 I like the idea of command control, the club has command control, and I would like to pick up a command system for the home layout I’m planning because it allows for more prototypical operations...

So here’s a question... I don’t have a good understanding of how ERR’s products work... as far as I can tell if I wanted to install sound and command from scratch I would need two separate systems/boards... is there a command board from them that I could install in this locomotive that would work with the factory sound system? I know their stuff is Lionel-based...

Probably not as you need a sound board that is command capable, most of the conventional boards don't see the serial data.

 I like the idea of command control, the club has command control, and I would like to pick up a command system for the home layout I’m planning because it allows for more prototypical operations...

It would be nice to know what command system the club uses.

I haven’t paid that close of attention to the command system at the club, but I believe that the club has the legacy system based on some of the features I’ve seen other members demonstrate on their Lionel locomotives, and I think they have DCS for the MTH stuff...

I would likely use a Lionel system on my home layout (I wonder if used TMCC gear would be a budget friendly option) if I decided to go command control...

This is all hypothetical at this point, I haven’t even decided if I’m gonna do an around-the-walls layout or a table, so it’s all just brainstorming for now...

 I like the idea of command control, the club has command control, and I would like to pick up a command system for the home layout I’m planning because it allows for more prototypical operations...

The TMCC Cab-1L is a new version of the original TMCC Cab-1.

I use the original TMCC Cab-1 and Base and my newest locomotives are equipped with RailSounds 5, no legacy. This is definitely a cheaper way to go than Legacy. Furthermore the older RailSounds boards have CrewTalk that is specific to the locomotive:

 

Century Club 2 Empire State Express Dialog:

NYC 5429 You are clear outbound...

Legacy Empire State Express Dialog:

This is the dispatcher, take the green...

It's like they went back a step to RS4. Either way, it is definitely a cheaper way to go, great scale products for good prices. I've never spent four digits on a locomotive and I even have the C&O JLC H-7, all fully controllable with the cheaper system and I don't need to pay attention to a digital screen while I run my trains.

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