MRC SoundMaster 210 for N scale?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Paul Onsen, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. Paul Onsen

    Paul Onsen New Member

    Hello, Forum! Newbie Paul here from Vancouver, Canada. Recently decided I'll never fit an HO layout into my limited space, so bought a Bachmann N-scale 2-8-0 and a few used cars and now am experimenting, with hopes to build a small (3 x 6 ft or so) layout sometime soon.

    I have a leftover MRC SoundMaster 210 that I used with my HO engines. I've tried hooking it up to the N scale track when I run my new engine, but cannot get a steam engine sound out of the speaker, only a soft hiss. (The sound effects buttons work just fine.) Reading the instructions, I note that the product is for "any HO or larger model railroad", so I guess it'll never work with N scale.

    Does anyone know how I can "trick" my SoundMaster into responding to the track power curve of my N engine? This is a faint hope, but maybe ... ?

    BTW -- I've enjoyed lurking the site this past month and looking at posters' layouts and conversations. You folks are sure doing some interesting things!
  2. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Welcome to The Gauge Paul.

    As your 210 is normally connected to the track in HO I assume it expects voltages in excess of 6 or 7 volts to give decent sound effects. N locos can run quite fast with 9 volts applied so would probably be run at 5 or 6 volts.

    Assume your 210 needs 12 volts to work at peak quality and you run your N loco at 7 volts (max). The loco may take typically 0.4 amp.
    Try putting a 5.6 Ohm 2 watt resistor between your power pack and your track and connect the 210 directly to the throttle output.
    That would supply up to 12 volts to your 210 while the resistor reduces that 12 volts to 7 volts max.

    BTW, I wasn't aware that the 210 got connected to the track, but then what do I know about it? ... :)
    I always fancied one of those 210's but I'm beginning to wonder now. (I've switched from HO to N).

  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Paul, I've never had one of those but MRR sound has always been a big deal with me so I did some reading on your system.

    There's not much information available other than sales material but I think that the problem lies in that you may be trying to feed the sound with the onboard output to a fixed location speaker. The output of the onboard sound is not sufficent to drive a large speaker. I'm assuming here that you are not using the special car that came with the system.

    From what I can gather there is some way to switch the onboard sounds (steam chuff) to the fixed location output but there was nothing specific on how to do it. If you still have the instructions check them and see if they tell you how to switch the onboard sounds to the fixed location output and that should solve the problem.

    In other words what I am saying is that this unit was not designed to work with N scale but if in some way the the onboard output can be switched to the fixed location output you will hear the onboard sounds.

    I may be "all wet" on this one, but hope this helps.
  4. Paul Onsen

    Paul Onsen New Member

    MRC SoundMaster 210 for N gauge

    Hello and thank you, Errol and Vic! Even after several years of Internet use, I still can't get over how it links me to new friends and gives me quick answers plus a sense of connection to the world. It's really some technology, isn't it?

    Errol -- your electronic solution makes good sense to me. I'll first try Vic's (and your) suggestion to check my hookups -- it has occured to me to set up a length of HO track connected to the 210 with my onboard speaker and a battery in it to see if it will function as a stationary sound source. I'll report results.

    However, your clear explanation of the electrical principles involved makes perfect sense. After I've tried the hookup check you both suggest, I'll perhaps get the resistor and try that. I presume it goes into the hot wire between the powerpack and the track.

    As far as the 210 itself -- it's a fun beginner sound system, although from what I've seen, new DCC sound systems are incredible and far more flexible. I'm trying to get started on an almost non-existent budget, so I want to use what I have for now. If you never intend to install DCC, the 210 is fine, but if you do, look into it further before you spend any money.

    Off topic, but just to add my praise to that of others for the Bachmann 2-8-0 ; I also have one in HO, and both are very reliable and affordable, as well as handsome products. Go, Bachmann!

    Paul:p :p

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