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:

Monday, July 19, 2021

GreenMax Ballast Regulator KSP2002E DCC Conversion

 After many (good) changes in my personal live I managed to have a little bit of time to spend in my hobby again. I'm working in the two Greenmax models: Ballast Regulator and Tie Tamper.

In this article I'll show you how I converted the Ballast Regulator KSP2002E (Greenmax catalog number 4784) in a simple way, using a D&H DH05 decoder. For the Tie Tamper model, I want to install also sound, and I'm making a customized ESU sound project.

This is the disassembled model. There are 3 light boards (front, rear and interior lighting), each one having two springs to pick up the current. The strategy I followed is to get rid of the spring of one side for both front and rear light boards, and the opposite one for the interior lighting board.

So each board remains with only one spring, and the other is removed and at this point I will solder the decoder wires for lighting (white and yellow). Red and black wires (current) will be soldered in the remaining springs, this is why I left the springs in different sides of the boards.

But may be with an image it's easier to understand:

You can see the yellow wire is soldered at the point where I removed the sprint of the front and rear light boards. White wire is soldered to the point where I removed the spring of the interior light board. Note that the spring removed from the interior light board correspond to the opposite rail than those removed from the front and rear light boards. Add Kapton tape to the bottom of the decoder!

Then black and red wires are soldered to the base points of the remaining springs. Orange and gray are soldered to the motor. Note that you will have to bend the tab of the cooper strips so they are not in contact with the motor. And better add some Kapton tape at this point for better isolation:

And this is pretty much the work needed. Note that wiring it in this way you do NOT have directional lights. So with one function key you turn on all the "exterior" lights and with another you can turn the interior lighting. But I don't see any logic for this machine to have directional lights (there are no "red" lights). I tried to add a micro led for the emergency light on the roof, but I saw it impossible for me as it is too close to the edge of the roof.

Let's see if I'm able to create a good sound project (my first one) for the next Greenmax model. I hope to write again soon!!