Sunday, 16 June 2013

Powerline 48 Class DCC Sound Installation


For those of you that gave up the wait for the Trainorama 48's and purchased the Powerline 48 Class model and were thinking of adding sound, I thought I might share with you my sound installation. I purchased this model back in May 2012 and lets say this model had some issues. A very basic "bonus" decoder that was manual switchable for DC/DCC, bright cab lights, a loud and fast spinning fan, crew painted completely green, the lack of blackened wheels and most of all a body that would not separate from the chassis without damage.

The Powerline 48 is supplied with a DCC decoder and an on board DCC/DC switch set to DC. To operate it on DCC the 48's body has to be removed and the switch changed to DCC. The decoder works ok but is very basis and it is recommended to be replaced.

I decided to open up the loco, switch it to DCC and at the time discovered by cutting the cab light and fan wires I was able to solder them onto F2 and F3 pads on the original decoder. Now I could turn on/off using the function keys the cab light and fan until I could get my hands on DCC Sound.

Well about 4 weeks later I got my sound decoder. Many 48 Class owners were not happy the cab light and fan so disconnected them. But I wanted to keep them but not in their original state.

Problem: Where do I put a speaker?  Most removed the fan motor to make room for the speaker
Solution: I completely stripped down the 48, removed everything and in my case decided an almost complete rewire will be down. (I only used the existing lighting wire as I thought it was all too hard to remove them from the front/rear light boards) Using the ESU Loksound Alco 251 Select with the QSI Micro Oval Speaker and enclosure (Thanks to Gary from MRRC). I was surprised by the sound from a small speaker. I chose the Select Decoder instead of the Direct Decoder because when the original decoder is removed (which is the same size as the Direct) there is space in front of the fan motor that has a smaller PCB for the cab light and fan. Removing this board gave me the space I need for the speaker.

Body Removal:

  1. The body was well published to be a "tight fit" and many owners damaged their models.
  2. Remove both coupler boxes (2 Screws), (4) body screws and gently remove the buffers and tiny springs from both ends.
  3. Hold the chassis, gently pull the body away from the chassis evenly. A small hobby knife or small flat blade screw driver will probably be needed to help leaver off the body. Be very careful as many parts will fall off from everywhere if care is not taken.
  1. Unclip the existing decoder from the mounting bracket. Cut the wires from the decoder and remove (Take a note of the wiring). Also remove the decoder mounting bracket.
  2. The wires are  (4) Pick up wires : Front Right Hand = Black.  Rear Right/Hand = Red.  Front Left/Hand = Red.  Rear Left/Hand = Black
The wires are (6) Front/Rear lights. This is the order they appear looking from the top of the loco. Hope it makes sense.
                                     (RL= Rear Light)                   (FL)= Front Light 
                       (Front Of Loco)                                                                                               (Rear Of Loco)   
                         Red Marker=Black (RL)                    Common=Red (V+)
                                         Headlight=Black (FL)                     Headlight=Black (RL)
                                            Common=Red (V+)                        Red Marker=Red (FL)
4. Remove the small PCB housed in the chassis under the original decoder and cut the wires for the cab light and fan (It is directly powered from the track pick ups)
   5. I removed the motor, bogies, fan and rewired them. This step is optional.

Disassemble 48 Class
6. The small PCB was held in place by (4) slots on the metal body. File them down not completely just enough to hold the speaker enclosure in tight with no glue.

File Chassis for Speaker

7. Refit the motor, bogies, and fan. This step is optional.
8. I assembled speaker/enclosure/wires and push the enclosure into my new speaker location. Speaker facing downward.


Insert speaker into chassis

9. Connect the track pick up (red/black), motor (orange/grey) and speaker wires (brown) to the decoder.

Connect lights using 1K resistors to the negative function wire on the decoder for LED Lighting. Front/Rear (FL) to Front Light Function (white). Front/Rear (RL) to Rear Light Function (yellow). See light wiring description above. Fan to (AUX 1-green) and Cab light to (AUX 2-violet). All the (+) to the Common Blue wire on the decoder.
Final Wiring. All Done
10. Make sure no wires are protruding and carefully slide the body down on the chassis. Once the body is firmly down on the chassis, refit couplers, body screws and buffers.
You now have a completed Powerline 48 Class with DCC Sound and functioning cab lights (AUX2) and fan (AUX 1) that can be switched on/off.

Now for those of you that thought the cab light was to bright and the fan too noisy, with the help of Decoder Pro, simply set (AUX 2 ) to dimmable light, LED mode and adjust the brightness. As for the fan I set (AUX 1) to single strobe, LED mode and brightness down to 4 from 31. That slows the fan right down, hardly any noise and every so often shows the slightest of pauses due to the strobe effect. Experiment with the light setting to see which one you like. I have also set the fan sound effect on the decoder and AUX 1 to (F2) so I can turn on/off both the fan and the sound together.



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