FVM GEVO Sound Project

jdcolombo Dec 24, 2013

  1. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    Though the GE GEVO is about 50 years too new for my 1957-era layout, I nevertheless had to buy the FVM NS Heritage NKP unit. And after my recent good experiences putting sound in my Atlas GP9's and RS11's, I decided the GEVO needed sound, too, and I thought that since many of you model the modern era, you might be interested in this project.

    So, here goes. I used my now-standard parts: an ESU LokSound with the GEVO 12-cylinder sound file and the Knowles Fox Speaker. An entire tutorial follows, but for those of you who want to cut to the chase, here's a link to the final product (be patient; the startup sequence for this loco takes about 35 seconds!):

    [video=youtube_share;NFzlQ_sdPzI]http://youtu.be/NFzlQ_sdPzI[/video]

    Now here's how I did it. Because of the size of this locomotive, I mounted both the ESU LokSound and the speaker at the rear of the frame. Very little frame modification was required - just taking off the "ears" that stick up at the rear end of the frame and sort of smoothing things out in a diagonal for the decoder. Here's a photo of the modified frame:

    [​IMG]

    Next, I cut off a couple of pieces of the light board to re-use. This photo shows the front section of the light board, which I used for power pickup for the decoder and for the front headlight/ditch lights as it comes from the factory. I also use another tiny piece of the light board with a 1K smt resistor to power the rear light - you'll see this in another photo.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I placed the speaker at the very rear of the frame, and glued on an SMT white LED on the back of the speaker enclosure to use for the rear light. If you zoom in on the next photo and look closely at the rear of the speaker enclosure, you'll see the tiny yellow speck that's the LED. The LED comes from Richmond Controls and has the magnet wire leads already attached.

    [​IMG]

    Since the speaker sits right under the radiator housing, I drilled a bunch of #80 holes in the housing for sound egress. Once it's back on the loco and you do even a tiny bit of weathering, these holes disappear.

    [​IMG]

    In the next message, we'll wire things up and test.
     
    jsleee likes this.
  2. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    Time to start wiring things up. The next photo shows both pieces of the light board, and I've soldered the cathode lead of the rear LED to the piece with the SMT resistor, which is sitting right behind the front LED/power pickup piece.

    [​IMG]

    The next photo shows the wiring completed. The LokSound sits right in front of the speaker; the red and black wires are soldered to the pads that sit in the frame ears; the blue wire was soldered to a small piece of wire connecting both the rear light resistor and the front light resistor; the white wire goes to the anode of the front LED (bypassing the small SMT cap on this piece of the board) and the rear LED anode is soldered directly to the yellow wire. The orange wire goes to the top motor brush; the gray wire to the bottom one, and the speaker wires are soldered to the decoder speaker leads, with the joint insulated with 1mm shrink-wrap tubing.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a photo showing the gray wire soldered to the bottom motor brush; I then put a piece of Kapton tape over this to make sure there wouldn't be any shorts after the shell was put back on.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a side view of the chassis all wired and taped, sitting on my layout:

    [​IMG]

    And here's a view from the top with the radiator housing off, showing where the speaker sits; you can see the rear part of the LokSound decoder, too.

    [​IMG]

    Rear light works!

    [​IMG]

    And so do the front lights:

    [​IMG]

    I think this general layout will probably work for many of the larger modern diesels; once you get back to the GP40-2's, then you might need to use a smaller speaker (e.g., an 8mm x 12mm) to save some length over the 16mm-long Fox. But someone else will have to figure that out; there are no SD40's in my immediate future! (My next project will be an installation in an Atlas GP30).

    John C.
     
    jsleee likes this.
  3. papahnash

    papahnash TrainBoard Member

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    John, Nice job. What's the thickness of your speaker box?
     
  4. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    The enclosure is made from .020 styrene. The sides are 5.5mm high; when you add the bottom, the height overall is 6mm, width is 10mm, and length is 17mm.

    John C.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 24, 2013
  5. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    Very nice... and so is the 1957-era rolling stock behind the loco, with weathering appropriate to the age of the car at the time I might add!
     
  6. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks! I probably should put a DeLorean out on the layout when I'm running the GEVO to indicate I'm in a "Back to the Future" mode . . . They are really nice models, though!

    John
     
  7. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I have a FVM Gevo with a pair of speakers in the fuel tanks. It uses the Lok Sound decoder too. Sounds pretty darn good. Install was done by Top Hobby. Well need to see about trying the Knowles speaker in the next conversion.
     
  8. rogergperkins

    rogergperkins TrainBoard Member

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    John, thank you for another great tutorial on installing DCC sound!
     
  9. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    One thing I should note about this particular installation - I've got the power pickup and motor wires reversed from normal convention. Normal DCC decoder wiring convention would be for the gray wire to go to the top motor brush; the orange wire to the bottom, the red wire to the engineer's side (right) for power pickup, and the black wire to the fireman's side. The sharp-eyed will see from the photos that I've done it in reverse: gray to the bottom brush, orange to the top, and the power pickup wires reversed. I didn't do this on purpose - it was the result of a goof in cutting the orange wire, which ended up just a hair too short to wrap around to the bottom brush. Ultimately, it doesn't matter which wire goes where, as long as the loco runs in the correct direction (forward, when the throttle is showing forward).

    John C.
     
  10. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    The fuel tank area is certainly large enough for a speaker (or two!), but that would require milling the frame a lot more than I wanted to deal with. And I'm not sure why you'd WANT to do it that way when the 9mm x 16mm Fox with a suitable enclosure will fit just fine in the rear of the loco under the radiator housing and sounds great IMHO. It's true that the downside of this is the holes you have to drill in the radiator housing for sound egress (if you used the fuel tank area, you obviously hide the holes, which would be on the underside of the loco), but honestly, the holes disappear unless you are doing a very-close-up photo from above.

    By the way, the 8mm x 12mm Zimo "Sugar Cube" speaker with enclosure should also fit just fine in this area; I don't think it sounds quite as good as the Fox, but it is pretty darn good, particularly if you use some gel CA to glue on the enclosure and completely seal it (you might have to trim down the enclosure just a hair; I forget its overall depth. The Fox in the enclosure I build has a 6mm overall depth). I don't like the Zimo because the way it's set up, you attach the wires to the top side of the speaker installation; I prefer having the wires come out the end of the enclosure. But for this particular kind of install, where there's plenty of room and no real chance for a short, it would work just fine.

    John C.
     
  11. Primavw

    Primavw TrainBoard Member

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    Your how-to is inspiring. Makes me want to attempt this, even though my last decoder install didn't go so hot...

    quick question... how did you download the sound files to the decoder???
     
  12. papahnash

    papahnash TrainBoard Member

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    You don't have to, you purchase it already loaded with the sound file you want.
    ESU LokSound Select can be programmed using their exclusive programmer or you can send it to a dealer for reprogramming.

    Harold
     
  13. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

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    I have a LokProgrammer that allows you to download sound files from ESU's web site and install whichever one you want in the decoder. But you can order the decoders with the sound file you want pre-installed. Most places that I've dealt with have either a drop-down box or some other way to let the retailer know which file you want. The files themselves are available here:

    http://www.esu.eu/en/downloads/sounds/loksound-select/loksound-select-usa/

    Most of these files have sound samples that you can play on your computer and listen to before buying; my experience is that the later files (files with higher numbers) sound better than earlier ones, and files for specific prime movers sound better than files with multiple generic prime movers - for example, the sound file for the EMD 567 V-16 Non-Turbo (#73836) sounds a LOT better, I think, than the older 567 file (#73806).

    John C.
     
  14. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

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    The start up is beautiful but is there a way to have a sound decoder actually sound like a Gevo is pulling in notch 8 instead of 8 at idle?
     

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