Help and advice please

philly33 May 18, 2010

  1. philly33

    philly33 New Member

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    I have an LGB 2120D locomotive. Thought I'd get a decoder and sound installed and took it to a local shop. Guy kept it for two weeks and then said he couldn't install either in the loco. Not the answer I expected. Anybody have any opinions?
     
  2. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Let's step back, to clear things up, what is the make and manufacturer of the decoder and sound you want to install. Also if you could, post a picture of the LGB locomotive and post it to this thread, sometimes we don't know LGB locomotives by thier numbers.

    This info will allow us to further assist you.
     
  3. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    2120D shows the standard Stainz in google, but the D usually meant it had a tender attached to the set. As far as I know, a decorder and a sound unit can be installed in the tender, but it's a hassle. But without anymore information, I'm clueless here.
     
  4. phantom

    phantom TrainBoard Member

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    First let me apologize for taking so long to respond to your post. I think in this case what may vary well have happened is that the person who was going to install the decoder found that the locomotive may have not been as DCC ready as its manufacture had claimed. For example I run a lot of the Bachman / Spectrum big haulers and anniversary locomotives in G scale. They all claim to be DCC ready, but in the end all that really means, is that the motor has 2 wires on it, and that one side of the motors frame is not mechanically grounded or mounted to frame of the locomotive. Usually when a manufacture dose this you only have one wire coming off the motor and the other side of the motor gets its electrical current from being mechanically grounded via the way it is directly mounted to the frame. This eliminates one of the wires coming from the motor. This using the frame as a conmen wire, similar to the 12 volt chasse grounded electrical systems found in modern day cars and trucks. If the motor uses direct contact the frame as the common side of the current and the motor has only one lead or one wire it can be a real pain to install DCC. This is because you need to find a way to isolate the motor from the frame. Or the second problem we find, and this is more often the case, That to is to install the DCC decoder you must ripe the locomotive down to almost its bare frame. This is the case for my G scale Bachman / Spectrum big haulers and anniversary locomotives. While I’m at it, I make a ton of modifications to my locomotives, I add electrical pickups to the tenders wheels and change all head lamp lights over to LED.s I also do a bunch of detail work while I’m at it. In the end a locomotive that its manufacture claims to be DCC ready, may be more like DCC Capable. As when you say DCC ready the idea comes to mind that your going to open up the locomotive and plug in the DCC chip or just connect a few wires. This is hardly ever the case. Some times disassembly of the locomotives can be a real job. I recently did a 4-4-0 and it was a real nightmare. So when I do these upgrades I always add the sound unit as well, I get in there just the one time and do it right the first time, so I don’t have to go back in.
     
  5. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    LGB Was DCC Ready....for the LGB Multi-Train System only. Anything aftermarket had to be a complicated wiring process.
     
  6. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    Phantom, thanx for the insite and explanation of the how many locomotives may claim to be DCC ready but are just DCC capable. I found your article interesting since how I'm a tech by trade and isolating the motor from the frame sounds strange for sure, but most of todays vehicles are using a constant 12 volts and when you want a certain accessory to work it will send a ground thru a relay to make that accessory work rather than having a constant ground and sending a 12 volt signal.
     
  7. krs

    krs TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry - no.

    The "D" as a suffix in the LGB product code always meant that the engine is equipped with a smoke generator. "D" stands for "Dampf" which means steam or smoke in German.
    A suffix "S" meant 'sound'
    When LGB switched to 5-digit product codes, the "D" became a fifth digit "1" and the "S" became a fifth digit "2"
    So the 2021D code became 20211 after 1993.

    That engine was sold between 1991 and 1996; it was never advertised as "DCC Ready" by LGB.
    LGB over the years offered three different approaches to DCC Ready using symbols in their catalog, their website and on the bottom of their engines - they were called Decoder Interface (6 white dots inside a black circle), Direct Decoder Interface (Same symbol as decoder interface but smaller and with the words "Direct Decoder" written in circular fashion around it) and finally DCC interface (Symbol was basically an in-line connector). These interfaces started in roughly 1998; some locos after 2002 carried a stylized "analog - digital" symbol - those were factory equipped with decoders and could run with DCC or in a highly refined analog mode.

    The "three wire" track/motor connection that phantom mentioned also existed with very old LGB engines. For those the one permanent connection between one side of the track and one side of the motor has to be separated when installing any decoder, but those engines were only manufactured until about 1995, after that the track connections and motor connections were separated.

    So back to the 2120D - if it's an early production, an additional wire needs to be added to the motor block to separate the permanent connection between the one track side and the motor.
    That's realively easy and there are a number of sites on the web that show you in detail how to do this. The biggest problem in my opinion is where to put the speaker in that small engine. The Sound Stainz that LGB manufactured had the speaker mounted under the cab roof - probably the best place to put it.
    As far as the decoder is concerned - again, because of the space constraints, the best approach would be a small combination Sound/DCC decoder by Massoth or Zimo.
    But any shop that does decoder installations should have no problems installing one in this engine. If it only requires a straight plug-in like the latest LGB engines, it hardly makes sense to have a shop do that.

    Knut




    This engine is just a simple Stainz
     
  8. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    Actually analog locomotives can have a digital decoder installed. It uses the auxillary wiring board for the train engineer revolution system and you have to wire the jumper shoes in. It can be done and I have seen it. Just it's a pain. AC made anything analog going with the T.E. to be a hassle.

    EDIT: I just ordered a massoth decoder to test that on my stainz. I'm going to compare it to the AC Installation videos I have for comparison. Either way, it's a hassle if it wasn't "Ready To Run DCC Equipped".
     
  9. krs

    krs TrainBoard Member

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    Are you talking about using a AC Revolution aux. board to install a DCC decoder into that 2120D Stainz?
    Here are DCC sound installation instructions using a Zimo MX690 decoder - not that difficult I think if the OP is still looking:
    LGB Stainz MX690
     
  10. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, Aristocraft uses an auxillary board to make an analog unit communicate with the digital board. It's a nice idea, but it's extra wiring and it's not as simple as they make it. I want to get Massoth's and put both systems to the test in 2 similar LGB Units.
     
  11. krs

    krs TrainBoard Member

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    By Aristocraft "digital board" do you mean their Revolution receiver?
    It's not really digital - at least I don't consider it to be. It's in principle no different than the old 27 or 75 MHz unit except for a different frequency and more sophisticated function.
    Massoth is DCC and uses the digital bi-polar DCC signal as the control element.
     
  12. DragonFyreGT

    DragonFyreGT TrainBoard Member

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    yeah, I'm just using their terminology for it. It's similar to plug and play but really isn't.
     
  13. krs

    krs TrainBoard Member

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    I just wanted to make sure that anyone reading this thread does not get the impression that the Revolution receiver is a DCC decoder or can be used with a DCC system.
    I've seen that confusion on other forums already.
     
  14. fccluck

    fccluck New Member

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    Yes you can

    You can install a decoder in the loco, the problem is the space. Since it is not MTS or DCC ready you have to cut the connector off from where it connects to the motor box leaving the four pins exposed. Then if you have a LGB 55021 decoder you plug the 4 wires into the 4 pins. Then you have to strip the wires add the pin connectors that come with the decoder and connect them to the appropriate pins on the decoder for the lights to work. If wired right the front light comes one when going forward and the opposite for reverse. There are also pins for connecting a smoke module if you have or get one. The single biggest problem is finding space for the decoder. I stuffed mine up into the firebox which it barely fit. I believe it is also possible to put it on top of the weight inside of the tank which requires more disassembly but that "would" be where the electronics was located if it were a newer model.
     
  15. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    fccluck

    Welcome aboard Train Board and to the G scale section

    EMD Trainman
     
  16. fccluck

    fccluck New Member

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    Sorry for the second post... If you are lucky you have one of the newer versions with electronics already installed. If so here is a link to installing the decoder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2010
  17. EMD trainman

    EMD trainman TrainBoard Member

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    fccluck, the rules of the board state you can not list names hobby stores & vendors or links to a hobby store or vendor. You must pm the person with that information.

    EMD Trainman
    G Scale Moderator
     
  18. fccluck

    fccluck New Member

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    Roger that, wasn't trying to advertise for anyone.
     

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