How difficult will it be to DCC equip this loco?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by vanda32547, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    How difficult do you think it will be to DCC equip the Rivarossi 4-6-2 heavy pacific steam loco with decoder and sound?

    Attached Files:

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think it should be fairly easy. If I remember correctly, Rivarossi uses a wire from the locomotive frame to the motor for one pick-up and a wire from the tender to the motor for the other pick-up. If that is the case, unhooking the wires from the motor isolates the motor from the track pick-up. You should have plenty of room in the tender for the electronics. Just install your decoder and wire it up per manufacturers instructions. One of the guys in the modular club I belong to hides his speakers under the coal load on steam engines. He drills small holes in the coal load to let the sound out, and then glues individual pieces of scale sized coal over the holes to hide them from sight.
  3. SteamerFan

    SteamerFan Member

    Russ's advice is right, put the decoder in the tender (which definatly has enough room for one and a speaker).

    Probably be a good idea to get a small quick disconnect to fit between the tender and loco, since you'll have 5 wires leading to the engine (2 for the light, 2 for the motor and 1 for the pickup). Of course you could also get a firebox light and have a 6th wire between, so best to get at least a 6 socket quick disconnect (Loy's sells these, but you have to solder the leads onto the female end, of which i have problems doing ;) )

    A pic of it: [​IMG]
  4. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Any suggestions on which brand of decoder with sound will work the best with my MRC Prodigy Advance DCC system? How expensive are the decoders with sound? this will be my first install so I am a little nervious. Also I heard something about Rivarossi locomotives having a history of poor power pickup and wonder if I should bother equipping this one for my layout...any input on this issue?

  5. Alan B

    Alan B Member

    The Prodigy Advance is built by Lenz. Thus, it should be compatible with all NMRA compatible decoders.

    MRC builds a steam decoder, it's relatively cheap. But, you do get what you pay for. Soundtraxx builds a steam decoder as well. The Soundtraxx unit is expensive, but has much, much, much better sound quality. You might also look at MRC's stand alone sound systems. They are remote from the locomotive, but the sound is much better. They really aren't synchronized, but again the use of real speakers allows for really good sound reproduction and you can have sound with all your locomotives, not just one.

    One final thought on sound, it's can be really annoying in a home layout room. One of the guys in my operating group has a BLI steam loco with sound. Loco is the operative word too when he runs the fool thing.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Rivarossi uses the old system of having pick ups on one side of the locomotive and the other side on the tender. Make up pick ups for the other side from brass shim stock rubbing on the backs of the drivers. Solder wires to this shim stock and hook it to the same wire that comes from the tender. Use a piece of thin styrene with plastic Kaadee screws to insulate the brass from the frame. Then if you want to, mount one tender truck backwards so the tender picks up from both sides of the track as well. You will have to isolate both tender trucks from the tender frame and run wires to the decoder input from the tender as well. That will improve the pick up tremendously. If you choose the MRC stand alone sound system, you can use a t1 decoder, under $20.00. The t1 works fine for two functions-speed/direction, & lights. I'm not sure if the MRC sound decoder will run the train or is just sound. I heard one demonstrated in Carson City for diesels and it sounded great, but I don't know if that was in the locomotive or a stand alone.
  7. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    WOW!!! That sounds a little complicated for a novice like me to accomplish. Maybe I should just buy a unit that has everything already equipped?
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    That's what I would do!

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Adding the extra pick up isn't as difficult to do as it is to write. Do you have any hobby shops near by that has anyone to help you convert it.
  10. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member


    I really like this runs well and looks awesome... but maybe I should send it out to have this unit converted to DCC with sound. I guess leaving it to a professionals would be the wisest choice. Any suggestions on anyone who does this work? Recommendations are welcomed.

  11. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Well I broke down and ordered a Broadway Limited J1e 4-6-4 for my railroad. Tony's Train Exchange has many engines on sale and I figured for $211 bucks I could'nt go wrong.

    Now all I have to do is finish laying the track on my layout. I have about 1/4 of it done so far but have not started wiring it yet that will come later. Thanks for everyones input it really helped me make a decission to buy a loco already equipped and ready to roll.

    I will keep you posted on my progress.


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