Loksound 5 (ESU 58741) for KATO LOCOS

bkloss Mar 3, 2022

  1. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    I just wanted to express my complete satisfaction with these sound decoders for "a lot" of KATO N scale locos!
    I was very hesitant to try doing installs of these but I have installed/converted 9 of my Kato locos with relative ease. I have installed these in Kato Gevo, SD70Mac, AC4400Cw and SD40-2 locos with no frame modifications.
    There are a number of other Kato locos that these will work in as well... SD45, Dash 9, SD40.

    The biggest issue is testing and determining (trial and error) the best speaker and enclosure to use that will fit on top of the frame and under the shell. Once that is done and the enclosure is completely air- tight; it's easy loading the proper sound files (with a Lok Programmer). Previously I installed digitrax decoders in all of these locos. Motor control with the ESU decoders is noticeably better and the sound is great (for N scale). The one thing that I may do is to improve on the front and reverse lighting by using the provided LEDs or using something a little smaller as the ESU board mounted LEDs are a little farther away from the shell front and rear light pipes. It's a fairly easy fix except for running the supplied LED to the rear over the speaker housing would impede on the sound quality (very little or no clearance on my installs)

    In full disclosure - All of my operations are on my large home layout and I adjust all of my sound equipped locos so that they are not "screaming at me". Most of my operations involve running several freight trains with multiple locos and I pretend that I am part of the layout instead of a Jolly Green Giant that needs the sound locos blasting at full volume over a TV or while listening to AC/DC. Besides, overdriving those tiny speakers sounds like crap anyways.

    Due to the "world events" I originally purchased these decoders for about $82 each and now I just got another batch for about $92 each (OUCH!!)

    I also am going to try my hand at converting some KATO locos from Digitrax to ESU LokPilot decoders using the original KATO light boards.

    This may not be for everybody but don't be afraid to do the above. I have a lot of locos (ok, maybe not as many as David ) and this sure is lighter on the wallet and more satisfying than buying a new loco with sound.

    Brian
     
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  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Brian, for the rear lights, magnet wire works great, and doesn't impeded sound at all.

    Did you do any frame milling, or just create enclosures for the space available? These decoders also fit the Kato FEF, and make adding sound into these steamers a breeze.
     
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  3. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Brian great/informative write-up, thanks.

    Good idea. Another option that I'm using more and more is ....

    [​IMG]

    flexible PCB strips like I used for the SMD resistor and LED shown above. The strip is very thin and can run over or around something where there is minimal clearance.

    [​IMG]

    Above I made a DCC to DC circuit for a LED light in the turntable ( HERE ) that converted the track power into a DC source.

    [​IMG]

    Above it is used for the light boards and makes it easy to run to the LED behind the decoder.

    Not easy to find in the U.S. the last I checked. It would be handy if one of the vendors that sells decoder and such would stock it. I have more about it and where I found it on my site here....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Decoder-1/page-24.html

    Sumner
     
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  4. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    I just received an ESU 58741 and lokprogrammer in the mail about 30 minutes ago, specifically for installation into a Kato ES44ac. Glad to hear I'll be able to fit everything without modification!

    Yesterday I received three speakers from digikey, an 8x12 Soberton, and two different 9x16 CUI speakers. Two if these were identified in some other thread by RBrodzinsky, and the second CUI I got because it had a 100 to 20,000 hz frequency. Wanted to see if that was better than ~500 to 10,000 hz.
     
  5. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    I actually have some SMD connected with magnet wire that I was thinking I might try. I used some 9x16 Soberton SP-1609 speakers and I have also used the 8x12 Soberton speakers as well. I found that both work well and as you related to me in an earlier discussion, the enclosure has to be air tight to work well - HUGE difference if you don't do that. Also, I face my speakers down into the enclosure (both ways work well) but I have to make sure that there is sufficient clearance between the shell top and the speaker. If it touches; the speaker really sounds like garbage. If you make contact with the shell, you can "carefully" dremel sand the inside top of the shell- ever so slightly. I milled a couple frames but still found that I had to customize the shapeways speaker enclosures. Now I just work with the space available and create my own enclosure from styrene sheets. I did, originally get the spring connector contacts and had to cut the springs close to the backside as every bit of height matters with N scale locos. I try not to get those if I can help it.

    Brian
     
  6. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    Stephane,

    Please let me know if you hear any difference in the speaker with the wider frequency response vs the other one.

    Brian
     
  7. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Sure will, the other CUI is the same as yours I think, SP-1609.

    Would you mind taking a picture of your Kato ES44ac installation? I'd love to see how you set it up!
     
  8. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sure, Ill try to do that tonight.
     
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  9. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Does the thickness of styrene used in making an enclosure matter? Any specific thickness recommendations?
     
  10. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    When making one with styrene, I tend to use 0.020”
     
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  11. french_guy

    french_guy TrainBoard Member

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    yes, i'm interested too in seeing pictures.......
     
  12. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    es44AC.jpg AC4400CW.jpg

    The 1st photo is the ESS44AC with a larger enclosure and rear LED
    The 2nd is an AC4400CW with 9x16 soberton 1609S-1 with a piece of .20 styrene with an air tight seal.
    Both locos use the same frame. Both sound very good with neglible differences.
    I have also contructed and tested a styrene enclosure to fill most of the rear deck but to be honest with you I felt that it was just an exercise as it really didn't make any difference. I also tested using a larger speaker and large enclosure that wouldn't fit-even if I milled the frame; It sounded Fantastic but it would be for HO.
    (it does make me jealous but I never would change from N scale)
    Just to give some reference to my sound levels:
    Master volume: 65
    sound slot 1: 40
    I use a lokprogrammer and do my initial programming there. I then export the cv list to DecoderPro. I finish making all of my sound level adjustments there, set up my speed tables.

    I really do believe that the most important thing that you can do with speakers of this size is to make sure that you seal up that enclosure so that it is air right and NOT over drive the speaker.

    I my real life I have a media room with large JBL speakers so in my layout room I just want to tweak these sound files and loco sounds so that they are clear and not noise.

    First time in 10+ years posting photos so I hope it works

    Brian
     
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  13. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    .020 styrene... sorry about that
     
  14. french_guy

    french_guy TrainBoard Member

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    And no milling at all of the frame?
     
  15. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    No, none. (you can if you want to) I have done more than my fair share of milling and that was what was preventing me from attempting these installs until KATO and ESU came out with this board. They are also coming out with a wider sound board to fit the F units as well as others . ESU says 3rd qtr. of this year; I expect it 2nd qtr. of next year. The ES44 the AC4400 and the SD70MAC can be done without milling. The KATO SD45can be done and it has space for a much larger enclosure.
    I have installed the same decoder and a different 16x9 speaker in the SD40-2 as well and it sounds good. I have experimented with a number of different speakers and sizes and I would encourage the same. Digi-Key is a great source for speakers

    Since I don't run on a club or at shows; I don't crank the volume to 100% and wouldn't want to as you will overdrive these little speakers and then they really sound like crap...

    P.S. my motivation and ideas came from a phone call with Rick late last year. He has a wealth of information and I truly appreciate the time he gave me.

    Brian
     
  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Brian - glad to have helped! This new decoder is great
     
  17. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the pictures, it helps a lot! I've reduced the sound level on every DCC sound loco I've bought so far, so should be fine. I only run my trains on my own, and don't want the sound to bother the rest of the family upstairs.
     
  18. bkloss

    bkloss TrainBoard Supporter

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    Stephane, I agree. 95% of the time I run multiple units on each train and could have 3 trains running at the same time.

    That's either a lot of music to the ears or unrelaxing noise if the individual volumes are too high.
    best to print out the "bulletins" when downloading the individual sound files as this will break down the individual sound slots and their default volumes.
    I only adjust these within decoder pro using the "main" track to do this on the fly. Sometimes you may feel that an individual sound is too low or too high in volume; the SD40-2 file has the compressor going off at a significant volume level - too high for my liking. There's all kinds of stuff you can do or NOT depending on your motivation. IMHO the default levels of the prime mover (on all sound files) is way too high for the average person.

    Brian
     
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