Current draw of factory headlight: 31mA
@ 12V. Locked rotor stall current: 1.3A @
12V. Current draw of smoke unit: 161mA.
A Soundtraxx DSD-150 sound module was used for
this conversion. This module is rated at 1.5 A total
including function outputs.
This installation note assumes you have read
the section on Sound and the section
on Wiring Specific Locomotives.
The construction of this locomotive has a basically
clever design. It can be a real challenge to get apart if you
don't know all it's secrets. I'll share those with you. This
locomotive is not fun to reassemble after you are done wiring.
Stick with it. 4449's pleasant whistle, the synchronized chuff,
and a good speaker make this model my favorite to date. In
the end, it was worth it.
Be sure you read the Soundtraxx Owner's Manual
- especially if this is your first sound module. The
manual contains a lot of good advice. For the person
who has done this kind of thing before, it's still worth reading
as I learned a few things, too. So after you follow the
test procedure, take the time to read the owners manual. You
can probably hold off reading the Technical Reference Manual
until after you have programmed my CVs and you want to make
There are a variety of ways the DSD can be wired
and used. Some of your options involve the F1 and F5
function outputs. I used F1 for the mars light and F5
for the flickering firebox. Since this locomotive is oil fired,
you will have to pass up the urge to use the synchronized firebox
flicker with Fireman Freddie shoveling in coal. You will
just have to put sound into another one of your locomotives. For
more on Mars lights, see the section
on Using Miniature Lamps.
Digitrax users will have to make a minor concession
because you will not be able to use F1 for the bell function. (F1
has a bell next to it on a Digitrax throttle.) I have
decided to use F3 for the bell; which is right next to F1 on
a Digitrax throttle.
Digitrax Chief owners: Some Soundtraxx
DSD modules will not program on some Chief programming tracks. Make
sure you mention you have a Chief when ordering. You will want
to get a module that is release 1.1 which is shipping now. Tell
them what you want your short address to be and they will program
it for you. Otherwise it will be their default 03. All
other CVs can be changed in OPS mode on the mainline - which
is where you are most likely to program them anyway. Newer
Soundtraxx modules allow you to program CV 17 and CV 18, the
long address CVs, on the main line in OPS mode. Only
CV 1, the short address CV, cannot be programmed in OPS on
Don't forget to switch to OPS when you enter
programming mode if you will do it on the main. This
is similar to trying to operate something without plugging
it in first. Who hasn't made that mistake? Also
be aware that you cannot read back CVs in OPS mode.
The coupler clank activates whenever it's control
bit changes state. This often happens when the decoder
powers up or is reset, which occurs when the above stall problem
takes place. If you have a problem locomotive, and/or
you don't care for the coupler clank, you can kill it off. If
none of your function buttons control the coupler clank, it
will never occur.
Before You Start:
Let's talk about programming your sound. You
will notice I provided how I programmed my CVs when I was done. You
might be tempted to go ahead and program my suggested values. Hold
Right out the box, this decoder makes every
sound it can, at full volume, and begins as soon as track power
is applied. Your spouse may not believe it, but this
good. I suspect that if this decoder can make even one
sound, it can make them all. Still, you will have a reassuring
feeling that everything is working if every sound is being
produced. Every time you put the locomotive on the track
it will start talking to you. This is far better for
your peace of mind than, "Oh no, what have I done? :(("
If you program all the CVs up front and make
a mistake, you won't know if you did something wrong or the
module is bad. Programming my CVs turns down the
volume and makes several of the automatic functions manual.
As soon as you have confidence in your new module,
or your spouse threatens you, program CV50 to 04. This
will turn the volume down to an enjoyable level - by you, if
not the entire household. Also program CV42 to 80h -
which is 80 on a Digitrax throttle. It may be 128 on
some throttles. This uses the F8 key to mute the module. These
features should restore domestic harmony. Reading between
the domestic jokes, you should note that a 1" speaker with
their 1 watt amplifier can produce adequate volume with no
You may also want to program CV53 to 01 - wait
for address packet. This means that except for hiss.
your locomotive will be silent until you send it a command
- like advancing the throttle, before it will do more than
Just in case you think you really screwed up
the programming, read about CV30 in the manuals. You
can reset the decoder to the manufacturer's defaults - including
preprogrammed addresses provided for Chief owners.
Disassembling the locomotive:
The split weight provides the electrical path
picking up and supplying power for everything the locomotive
needs. This clever arrangement necessitates the need for you
to isolate the motor from the weights. It's easy.
After you remove the body, remove the screws
that hold the plastic underbody and drive wheels in place.
Before going any further, use a marker to mark
the motor with a "U", for up, before removing it. When you
go to reassemble the locomotive, the motor can go in two ways.
If you get it wrong, it will run backwards. You will find that
after you successfully reassemble it, you won't want to have
to take it apart to flip it over.
Removing the plastic underbody is trick #1.
It's front edge is hooked onto the weights. Lift from the back.
IT will be bending. YOU will be praying I know what I'm talking
about! At the same time you are lifting, be pushing it forward.
It will sure act like you have not removed all the screws.
Keep pushing (and praying if you wish) and it will eventually
pop free. Whew!
By now, you will have noticed that the weights
are held together by screws. Opposite the screw are rectangular
plastic nuts of sorts. Between the weights are plastic spacers
that keep the two weights from touching and shorting out the
The plastic nuts and spacers snap together.
It would seem they would stay that way when you go to reassemble
your locomotive. Instead they may frustrate you by coming undone
at the moment you need them to stay together.
There are three of these plastic nut and spacer
assemblies. One of them is behind a drive wheel. This is secret
#2. If you tried to remove these plastic nuts BEFORE you removed
the plastic underbody, you would not have seen the third nut
assembly and may be wondering for quite some time why you can't
get the locomotive apart.
Preparing the locomotive:
You will find you have a number of things to
glue as you install sound in this locomotive. After drilling
and cutting your chuff disk you will need to epoxy it to a
driver. I did so to the left driver with the gear on it.
You will need to glue the piece of circuit board
to the bottom of the drive wheel plastic underbody. Use
epoxy, not Liquid Nails. I found Liquid Nails won't hold
it. I glued the piece of circuit board between the third
driver from the front. First locate the circuit
board aligned and centered with the third driver. Now
move forward about 1/4" (6mm). Epoxy it here.
You will use grain of wheat bulbs for the front
and rear light and the Mars light. For the bulbs
I had, I used a 1/8" (3mm) drill bit. I turned it with
my finger tips from the inside. Use a sharp bit so that
you can do this quickly in the cramped space inside the shell. My
bulbs have a small plastic sheath near the back that I needed
to remove with a sharp knife so they would fit in this hole. The
next common drill size up was too big. Note: I could
have found the correct drill size had I gone looking for a
very well stocked hardware store or industrial supplier.
Put something in front of the shells as the
glue holding the bulbs in dries. I used Liquid Nails
latex glue. As it turned out, this glue had the tendency
to push the bulbs forward as the glue dried. When I came
back later, the bulbs were sticking beyond the front of the
lamp housings. Ahhhhh!!!! Fortunately, the glue
hadn't completely dried. I was able to push them back,
put something in front of the shell, and let the glue finish
drying. I used a video tape slid against the locomotive. ATV
(silicone) adhesive, hot glue, or epoxy should also work for
holding the lamps. Just watch the drool from hot glue.
Lastly, I thought the metal side of the weight
MIGHT wear down the chuff disk over time. So I glued
a thin piece of styrene to the weight. Run the knife
blade over the edge of the cut sheet. This will keep
the sharp edge of the cut sheet from ruining the chuff disk.
Prepare your tender bottom by removing the weight
and drilling your speaker holes. Screw down the
speaker. Cut the weight into pieces and epoxy it back
to the tender bottom.
Now go to bed.
The Next Morning:
Before you go to work, put a dab of conductive
paint on the chuff disk so that is electrically connected to
the axle. I had tried to see if I could get the chuff disk
metal to make electrical contact with the axle without the
paint. It didn't work.
Soldering to the axle instead of using the conductive
paint may be possible. Be sure to clean the axle of all lubricants
first. As much as I prefer to solder things, I was afraid I
might damage the axle. The conductive paint offers an easy
approach that will work on all locomotives for everyone. For
more on using conductive paint, see 11-17 in Sound section.
Now go to work. Try not to spend too much time
day dreaming about your new toy. Don't run over any coworkers
as you leave to come home.
Smoke is cute, but not an essential element
of my modeling experience. Since I like to operate, as
opposed running in circles, having to add smoke fluid is a
nuisance. So I have removed the smoke unit from
Actually, first I tried to add a switch to it
so I could turn it off. Unfortunately, I broke
the smoke unit with what seemed no effort at all. Then
I said, "Fine! Who needs smoke anyway!" THEN I permanently
removed the smoke unit from my locomotive!
If you want to retain smoke capability, there
are only two things you need to do. One, don't
fool with it. Two, reinstall it just as it came from
the factory. You will have full power smoke all
the time running straight from DCC track power - even when
the locomotive is stationary and you are not using it.
For me, it's the constant on that I didn't want. Be
very careful if you choose to fool with it. As I attempted
to unwrap one of the wires from the side posts, the "glass" rod
the smoke unit is wrapped on came off it's mount.
Installing the Decoder:
Power pick up for the decoder comes from the
split weights. Use the screw on the right for the trailing
truck. You will have to drill a hole on the left side and use
a self-tapping #2 screw. You can use a round head screw, if
you wish, and still get the shell on. You will find the weight
puts up more resistance to your tapping efforts than you would