Sunday, April 3, 2022

Kato 10-530 + 10-531 151系「こだま・つばめ」DCC Conversion

I recently bought this model, but I think it was originally released in 2010. It's a DCC Friendly model, so DCC Conversion is straight forward.

About interior lighting kits I recommend Kato 11-214. These ones are warm white, not so white as Kato 11-212. I tried also 11-212, but I changed all to 11-214.

Cab and end car decoder fits very well, easier and smoother that other models:

About motor decoder, make sure you use Kapton tape to isolate it. I burned more that one because the body is metallic, and if the decoder gets in contact with the metallic part it instantaneously burns. So now I always do it doesn't matter the train model:

I must say I'm a little bit disappointed with this model. First reason is that windows detach on their own, so open the car upside down and keep the hull in this position to insert the methacrylate piece of the lighting kit and to close it.

Second thing is that top front and rear bogies derails in any curve. Seems like they don't pivot easily, so I had to pivot them several times with my fingers until they were able to turn smoothly.

Finally, it runs well and with 12 illuminated cars it looks impressive:

Monday, August 16, 2021

Kato 10-1644 E261 Saphir Odoriko DCC Conversion

This model is "DCC friendly" as written in the instruction manual, but you will find that head and tail cars have no under hatch to put the usual FL12 decoder (or I couldn't find it!). Instead, you have to open and disassemble the seats plastic piece:

I had to remove two cooper strips acting as springs to insert the decoder, and then put them again in place. Be patient, these springs are not easy to put again in place keeping the decoder and the long cooper strips in place. So it's a little bit tricky and seems not secure, but after putting the sits and closing everything everything works well so far.

About lighting, every car has its own light panel so will not need the plastic panels that comes with kato lighting kits:

Motor car is like any other DCC Friendly model:

It's nice that every car has a special light panel or diffuser, and the decoration of each car is also exquisite. The big windows allow to see perfectly and enjoy the interiors.


I hope you enjoyed it and that you find the way to install the cab and end car decoders easier than me!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Greenmax Multiple Tie Tamper 09-16 DCC ESU Sound

 I finished my first sound project using an ESU sound decoder, in this case a LokSound 5 Nano. First of all I have to admit that there is no competence for ESU sound decoders. First of all the decoder comes complete with his speaker already soldered and a very smart way to make the soundbox, with different sized plastic pieces that you glue together to make the soundbox as much taller as the available space.

But it's not only about how well packaged it is, the sound is incredible, really powerful and with no distortion. The decoder is wired for 6 functions, the motor control is smooth and precise, and it has tons of parameters to adjust effects, intensities, sound parameters, random sounds, events,... just awesome!!!

You pay for it, but it really beats any competence.

But let's start the work. First of all open the locomotive and unclip the motor. The motor has two small metallic pieces that won't be used (see them in the second photo, next to the motor):

I started soldering the motor wires as you can see in the following photo:

Then glue the soundbox. I used the tallest piece from the kit for that. I could have added an extra piece and make it bigger as there is room enough, but just with that it sounds amazing. There is a place where the speaker fits perfectly fixed, so I didn't use glue nor double sided tape:

I saw the lights quite difficult to connect, as the board has no place in the visible side to solder and it is completely fixed to the body frame. It has an extra car that would need also its own decoder or extend the function wires to this car, so you cannot detach it again. Finally I decided I would do a very simple conversion connecting only the motor and sound, lights will be always lit on. Here you can see it from both sides to check the connections:

So that's it, it was hard enough to learn how to make a sound project, find original Preiser & Theurer sounds... don't expect a complicated conversion with extra lights and effects. :)

For the sound project I started from the ESU Class 66/77 / EMD JT42CWR Sound Project ( as the motor seemed to me to be the closest one, and then added original Plasser & Theurer tie tamper sounds to reproduce the clamp, tamping sound at low speed, horns... etc

You can download the sound project here. These are the implemented functions:

List of functions: F0: Lights F1: "Sound on/off" F2: "Work horn" F3: "Air horn" F4: "Tamper / shunting" F5: "Grimper" F6: "Radiator fan" F7: "Cab door" F8: "Worker Vibration" F9: "Worker 1" F10: "Worker 2" F11: "Coupler clank" F12: "Dinamic break fan" F13: "Brake off/on" F14: "Conductor signal" F15: "Compressor" F16: "Compressor air off" F17: "Brake function" F18: "Brake release/set" F19: "Switch flange" F20: "Rail clank" F21: "Airhorn short" F22: "Curve squeal" F23: "Manual notching" F24: "Disable break snd" F25: "Fade out sound" F26: "Shift 2" F27: "Shift 3" F28: "Shift 4" F29: "Shift 5" F30: "Shift 6"

By the way, many thanks to the JNSForum and the Desktop Station Open Sound Data page who encouraged me to make this project and share it. Check their awesome sound projects for Japanese rolling stock.

You can see some final photos and a video demonstration: