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I've been running my new USA Trains Dockside Switcher locomotive. I think it's pretty cool, but I have a couple of questions related to the sound it makes.

1. Is there any way to adjust the volume on these locos?

2. The loco as shipped sounds the horn or bell four times each time is passes over onen of the little magnets. Can this be adjusted to only sound 2 time?

Thanks for any input.

Ed
 

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Posted By Ed Harvey on 01/03/2009 4:48 PM
I've been running my new USA Trains Dockside Switcher locomotive. I think it's pretty cool, but I have a couple of questions related to the sound it makes.


2. The loco as shipped sounds the horn or bell four times each time is passes over onen of the little magnets. Can this be adjusted to only sound 2 time?

Thanks for any input.

Ed


I don't know..., but probably not as this is prototypical.


Two toots means train is starting to move in a forward direction.

Three toots mean train is starting to move in a reverse direction. (If these are reversed, the sound system is connected "backwards" to the track.)

Four toots (two longs, a short, and a long) are a warning for such things as crossings, and this is the way your magnetic pick-up response is programmed from the factory. The idea here is to put the magnet just before the crossing for the proper whistle/horn signal.
 

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I have no idea whose sound board is in that loco. I've been hoping someone would publish the owners manual, and/or look inside.

Regards, Greg
 

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I beleive its a generic in house sound system made for USA trains i really never cared for the sound in mine it will get DSC'd in the near future........
Nick
 

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It's the least expensive loco that USAT makes that comes with sound standard, so I'm curious as to what it is. I'm pretty sure it's not a QSI system. From the description of the horn, I'm also pretty sure it's not a phoenix, and with the price of the loco, it could not be. Price wise it must be a custom job like Nick says. Dallee would be possible, except for the horn description.

Regards, Greg
 

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There is no volume adjustment and it's a custom unit that also controls the lights. I removed mine and replaced it with a Phoenix 2k2 (with the stock chuff sensor connected) and a NCE decoder.

 

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Thanks for the pix Jim!

The first shot is the stock setup right? Notice two inline rows of pins. So there are a couple of sockets on the main board. It would be interesting to know what is on these pins. The sound board is the top board I guess, I do not see any lighting function type chips, but I guess it could be. Any chance of getting a close up hi rez picture of that original board?

Looks like a D808 for the new decoder.

Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, 1st shot is the stock board. The 2 rows of pins are soldered to both boards, when I cut the pins to remove the sound board, I lost the connection to the lights. This is the only other picture available. Yes, it's a D808.

 

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Interesting, looks like a pot on the board, did it do the volume? (Labeled VR)

Crazy about the lights... did they do something special in the original configuration, or did you have flickering firebox lights?

Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, I didn't notice the pot until you just mentioned it. No firebox light. I have the Christmas Dockside that is still stock, will checkout the pot. Thanks, Jim.
 

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Would love a picture where I could read the part numbers on the IC's.... It's just curiosity, not trying to reverse engineer the thing.

Will be interested to see what it does.... maybe it does chuff? Are there chuff contacts?

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 01/04/2009 6:32 PM
Interesting, looks like a pot on the board, did it do the volume? (Labeled VR)



Greg, you nailed it. The Potentiometer on the top board labeled VR, does control the sound level. I rotated the dial about 90 degrees and the sound level now is at a much more acceptable level for my ears. Thanks, Jim.
 

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Now the question is what do the 2 pots do on the main board? Wonder if it's lighting, or something with the chuff... did you try those?

Regards, Greg
 

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I tried the pot marked VR2 and initially got no response regardless of the setting. So I put it back in it's original position and closed up the engine. I then powered up the engine and it just sat there, no sound , no motor. Thought to myself, crap now what? Took it apart, rotated the pot back and forth and "surprise" everything works again. The other pot has a spot of glue on it, so I didn't mess with it.
 

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Sounds like it is part of the sound system... wow, complicated and "tweaky". Interesting, no motor? Very curious, how turning a pot could "stop" your DCC decoder, which should be operating from the rails, i.e. there should be no way to interfere. I can't figure how that is possible.

I can conceive of interfering with the sound, like messing with a voltage supplied to it, or doing something to some chuff circuitry.

So, you must have connected your decoders to this board, not directly to the track pickups is all that I can surmise.

Well, this is a good warning to anyone who might want to mess with those, be careful, right?

USAT should really supply a schematic.

Regards, Greg
 

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Greg, the sound level adjustment I was doing was on the "stock" engine, not the one with the decoder and 2k2. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Usually, I don't like loud sound from the USA docksider since I don't want to disturb my neighbors. There is no volume control for that loco. Recently, I have an idea to invest on an Aristocraft tender with sound, and I like the idea since we can control the volume and I can have sound independent of what loco we run. But as some of you may know, the sound of the Aristocraft tender I auctioned didn't work. I wonder if someone can recommend me a similar tender but with better quality than the Aristocraft. I prefer the tender picks up power from the track.
 

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You ought to be able to find a small resistor potentiometer. Solder it into one of the wires going to the speaker. That should allow adjusting the volume.

If you know the current to the speaker, an electronic shop should be able to suggest a proper pot.

There are probably other suggestions, but this should work.

Chuck
 

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Read the earlier posts; it was discovered that there was in fact a volume control pot on the circuit board which was rotated successfully lowering the sound level.

Michael
 
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