Question; how to mount decoders, speakers, and keep alives

critinchiken Mar 29, 2017

  1. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    Rookie reporting in! I've got a nice project log going on in the n-scale section of the forums, and I want to do the best I can with it. While most of it I've been able to figure out on my own, this is one of those things where I'd rather hear from more experienced modelers.

    My question is, what do you guys do to mount your electronics. I hear about this 'tacky' substance but never used it myself, wouldn't even know where to get it. Or would you use something like double-sided tape? I want it secure, but certainly not permanent. Same goes for the keep alive, both are from TCS and both are wrapped in green poly covering. Here are the electronics

    The speaker comes with a housing which I don't mind just sticking it to the roof with glue. I could always get or even build a new speaker housing. These electronics will be mounted on this tender base

    And covered by this homemade shell

    Here is a picture of the work in progress

    I look forward to your answers, and thank you kindly!
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    5,498
    2,490
    89
    Double sided tape, Aileen's Tacky Glue, Cyanoacrylate (SuperGlue) all will work. You want the speaker mounted firm, so there is no rattle, so glue that. You can even leave the decoder and Keep Alive "loose" - there isn't much space for them to wander.
     
  3. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    1,179
    257
    28
    My go-to is foam double-sided tape for the decoder and keep alive. For the speaker, I would use a dab of silicone sealant (you can get it in a small tube, rather than a full-sized caulking-gun tube); the silicone will keep it in place, but is removable (with a sharp putty knife or similar tool) if you need to get it out. You can usually "break" a glued connection, but that risks damaging the shell.

    John C.
     
  4. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    I appreciate the responses friends, very helpful and I love the idea of using caulk for the speaker housing. One last question and I'm out of your hair. Is there anything I need to know about powering a decoder for the first time? I guess I'm looking for a do's and don'ts list of something of that nature. I'm certain I will have to play around with the CV's a bit, the new motor has a 1:5 gearhead on it, and this little steamer is now incredibly slow. It starts out around 1/2 scale MPH (this at around the 1/3 throttle range) and tops out at about 22 scale MPH at 12v. I can read up on CV programing, I'm just not sure if I'm supposed to go straight to track power on a new install. Thanks again friends!
     
  5. papahnash

    papahnash TrainBoard Member

    325
    42
    14
    I have found this product very useful for mounting a host of things. It is like clay but has a sticking and sealing quality that can be removed easily. I even use it to hold small wires to solder and small parts. It is called Simply Tacky and can be found at craft stores and many others online.
     
    Kez likes this.
  6. woodone

    woodone TrainBoard Member

    900
    27
    21
    I use caulking for mounting-WATER BASED! You can still remove the item after a long time, it just peals off like tape, has it does not etch into the plastic.
    When installing decoders ALWAYS USE THE PROGRAM TRACK It will warn you if you happen to have a short!
     
  7. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

    1,653
    160
    39
    After installing the decoder place it on a programming track,NOT directly on the main line . The program track used a lower voltage that won't fry the decoder if there is a short that you don't know about .
     
  8. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    Great replies, I appreciate the help. I kinda figured the program track would be the right move, but I'm a fish out of water in this department. I'll also have a look at water based caulk as well as 'Simply Tacky', thanks once again friends, big help for a rookie!
     
  9. kmcsjr

    kmcsjr TrainBoard Member

    1,702
    58
    30
    Keep asking questions. These folks are great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    1,976
    76
    29
    Keeping decoder loose my not be a good idea. I've never installed one, but I believe the dec needs to be mounted on a metal heat sink, no ? ..M
     
  11. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    5,498
    2,490
    89
    No
     
  12. MaxDaemon

    MaxDaemon TrainBoard Member

    229
    306
    7
    Most of the decoders on my self installed ones are enclosed in heat-shrink tubing - and for the most part are attached somewhere out of the way - or at least not too badly IN the way - with double sided tape in my case.

    I'd think one floating might have a possibility of rattling? But other than that, don't suppose it would hurt anything - unless you got the wires caught in the armature!
     
  13. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    1,976
    76
    29
    Well, I've read that. Others will attest to that decoders can get too warm/hot and thus become faulty...BTW I said 'heat sinking' (not heat shrinking). But we can leave it here....While on this topic though, a Radio Shack clerk I'd bought a phone from years back adamantly stated that we shouldn't overcharge the Ph. Batt. because it actually physically swells up and can ruin components next to it...What d ya think of that ?
     
    MaxDaemon likes this.
  14. MaxDaemon

    MaxDaemon TrainBoard Member

    229
    306
    7
    Don't be silly - LiIon batteries won't blow up in flight, or in the back of your truck, or in your pocket. All rumours!
     
  15. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    Just to reply about mounting the decoder, as MaxDaemon mentioned, I didn't want the decoder to rattle around. At the same time I didn't want anything permanent so I went with RBrodzinski's suggestion and used Aleene's. Truth be told, the decoder was a tight fit and glue isn't necessary, but it did make it easier to keep things tidy before the shell went on. The keep alive would probably rattle with out glue though, and I've never seen a sound install where the speaker was loose.

    As far as heat goes, I got in contact with TCS and asked them if I need to be concerned with heat, and was told that the decoder may get warm to the touch but not hot. Once I was able to test the decoder and use it I took the shell off to feel it, and there was no heat at all.
     
    MaxDaemon and JimJ like this.
  16. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

    1,403
    1,484
    34
    Good work! I've considered using a box car or something behind a loco to house all the electronics. You did a great job.
     
  17. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    Thank you kindly JimJ, this was my first try at modifying a model train. While I'm pleased with the results, there's a ton of things I learned along the way, and things I would do differently now. A tag along box car was something I considered but it would mean figuring out a way to bring power from the trucks into the shell, and what I did was easier. I have another motor and yet another Bachmann 0-4-0 (I'm a bit addicted to this little guy) that's brand new in the box, and I've been mulling over a #99 second try. If I do decide on a second attempt, I will go with a box car. Time will tell. My next project is a JnJ Trains wagontop caboose I was luck enough to find on EBay. Should be easy compared to this project LOL!
     
  18. MaxDaemon

    MaxDaemon TrainBoard Member

    229
    306
    7

    That's a good looking install and a GOOD looking loco/"tender".

    I have a little dockside myself that I'll have to weather and put DCC in - maybe I'll throw all the electronics in the little bobber caboose behind it instead of trying to figure out how to get it inside the loco!
     
  19. critinchiken

    critinchiken TrainBoard Member

    66
    30
    11
    With the motor I used, there is a space inside the cab above the motor approx. 14mm x 16mm and 4mm high. That's big enough for TCS micro's and even their small 6-pin. The motor and the decoder are enough to make it roll down the track well enough... until you get to a turnout, especially one with unpowered frogs. The 4-wheel footprint is just too tiny. Another problem with only have 4 wheels is the tendency to visibly 'hunt' down the rails even with good quartering. Adding the heavy tender base with all the electronics behind it not only increased it electrical footprint to get through turnouts, but noticeably decreased the 'hunting'.

    I too thought about using the wagontop caboose as the decoder housing (third choice behind a MT box car), but these things are hard to find. Probably wouldn't be able to use the Keep Alive either due to space, but honestly... did I need the Keep Alive? Probably not, but I wanted it anyhow LOL!

    Many thanks for the compliment! It's very encouraging for a rookie!
     
  20. DougL

    DougL TrainBoard Member

    81
    46
    6
    "Another problem with only have 4 wheels is the tendency to visibly 'hunt' down the rails even with good quartering. "
    Just like the prototype!

    Very neat installation. I find an HO tender challenging, huge in comparison to your N scale work. You may find the keep alive useful over those unpowered frogs. IMO, a keep alive is always useful for DCC.
     

Share This Page