Digitising LGB 20261 Nicki-Frank-S steam tender loco

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
17,126
1,691
North Essex
Yes it can happen jon

OK....so what are others' experiences of running these locos with a single decoder (especially home-installs rather than factory systems).....?
Have you found it to be a problem, or not?

Jon.
 

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
24 Oct 2009
25,614
3,745
63
Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
The tender wheels on these have been reported as running faster than the loco for years. Under load it all settles down and does not seem to be a problem. DC or DCC.
 
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idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
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725
Ascot
While waiting for the XL decoder to arrive I have been making a few minor cosmetic changes:

Remove brass boiler bands (look rather garish)
Remove brass lamp surrounds (ditto)
Paint lamp lens surrounds black
Paint grab rails and posts red
Paint whistle and bell black
Fill in hole over firebox door where 3-way switch went
Paint brake hose attachments red

Still thinking about how to make the firebox door open so I can have firebox lighting.

IMG_20180329_191500.jpg

I think I will just have to drill out the door and make a new one.
Maybe I can slice off the hinges and handle before drilling it out and re-use those.

As far as I can tell this loco always runs forward when pulling a load these days so I am thinking about removing the front hook and loop coupling and replacing with some more realistic.
EDIT - since seen several video clips of loco running backwards so ignore previous sentence.

Anyone know what colour the inside of the cab is/was? I'm pretty sure it wasn't blue!

Thanks, Dave
 
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AustrianNG

Director of my railway
16 Sep 2015
1,197
1,591
Wirral
OK....so what are others' experiences of running these locos with a single decoder (especially home-installs rather than factory systems).....?
Have you found it to be a problem, or not?

Jon.

No problems with my two.
 

mike

Master at annoying..
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
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Rossendale
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I drilled the door out.. 20180330_152418.jpg
 
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Cliff George

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,121
16
City of Chelmsford
Perhaps I am unlucky but I have never been happy with my version of this engine, which is fitted with a single factory installed DCC decoder. It is easy to see the tender and loco fight each other as they both go at different speeds on different speed steps. It stands to reason this will happen as the mechanisms in the tender and engine are both different (as has already been said). This was a well known problem with early versions of this engine. The original LGB tried to compensate with some fancy electronics in one version, but I don't think it was very successful.

It is very noticeable on my computer controller system that the speed of the combined engine and tender is not consistent at fixed speed steps, due to fighting each other. Consequently the computer system can struggle with this engine, as speed ramps are inconsistent.

I've spent hours trying to get it to work better, new motors and so on but nothing works.

My solution is firstly to remove the motor in the tender, if you can get away with that (as Mike has already said), or secondly fit a second decoder and carefully speed match the tender and engine. I have intended to fit a second decoder for ages now but have never got round to it.
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
17,126
1,691
North Essex
Perhaps I am unlucky but I have never been happy with my version of this engine, which is fitted with a single factory installed DCC decoder. It is easy to see the tender and loco fight each other as they both go at different speeds on different speed steps. It stands to reason this will happen as the mechanisms in the tender and engine are both different (as has already been said). This was a well known problem with early versions of this engine. The original LGB tried to compensate with some fancy electronics in one version, but I don't think it was very successful.

It is very noticeable on my computer controller system that the speed of the combined engine and tender is not consistent at fixed speed steps, due to fighting each other. Consequently the computer system can struggle with this engine, as speed ramps are inconsistent.

I've spent hours trying to get it to work better, new motors and so on but nothing works.

My solution is firstly to remove the motor in the tender, if you can get away with that (as Mike has already said), or secondly fit a second decoder and carefully speed match the tender and engine. I have intended to fit a second decoder for ages now but have never got round to it.

This is how the person from whom I bought my blue Nicki & Frank did it, as far as I was told when I bought it - two separate decoders, no electrical connections at all between loco and tender (I assume that the possible benefits of shared power pickups were judged to be outweighed by the simplicity of not having to have any kind of connecting plugs). The sound decoder is in the tender, the driving-only decoder in the loco. Apparently the speed matching was done purely by lengthy trial and error, adjusting the speed curve CVs until the actual running speeds were as close as possible.

I must admit that my factory-DCC-and-sound black version has never SEEMED to exhibit the problems that Cliff mentions above, but maybe I've never watched it closely enough - and of course I don't use a computer controlled setup, just regular Massoth DCC.

After all this discussion, I am certainly tempted to go the two-decoder route when I get round to doing my old green and black one......

Jon.
 

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,599
725
Ascot
Some food for thought from Cliff there. I am down the road of one decoder so I'll see how it goes. I also use computer control (not all the time).
 

AustrianNG

Director of my railway
16 Sep 2015
1,197
1,591
Wirral
If you run your locos on 28 speed steps and have 2 decoders, it may be easier to match the speeds up on the loco and tender.
 

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,599
725
Ascot
The Massoth XL decoder arrived. For sound I decided to try a Uhlenbrock IntelliSound 4 module. I got mine from A&H Models. They applied the appropriate sound files for me; Uhlenbrock have one for Nicki & Frank.S. It comes with a SUSI cable attached so you just plug it into the XL and away you go, although you have to solder the speaker cable. I got a Massoth 40mm round 8 ohm 2 watt speaker and fitted that into the boiler cavity.

The XL needed some immediate tweaking to reduce the voltage to the lights and smoke unit. By default the XL puts out full track voltage to all outputs, which would soon burn out the 5v bulbs and draw far too much current to the smoke generator. The smoke generator is about 8 ohm resistance so if you applied say 24v that would draw 3 amps which is twice as much as the XL supports for non-motor use! I set them to about a quarter track voltage, value 8 from maximum value 32 on the XL. Note that the 8FL function decoder has a voltage dimming range of 1-100 not 1-32 so a value of 8 there would be very dim, 25 is a better dimming value there.

I put the smoke generator on output A1 and the Massoth smokebox light on A3 so I could adjust the voltage for each. The smokebox light runs on full voltage so I left the dimming value at 32. The smoke generator was a bit feeble at dimming value 8 (about 5v) so I upped it a bit to 12 (about 8v). At that value it produced a reasonable amount of smoke without dimming all the lights too much when it was turned on.

As I did not need the rear lights in the loco (they are on the tender) I used the rear light output of the XL to power the cab light. That way I could set it to a different function key than the directional lights.

I put it all together and hooked up the tender, checking several times that I had the 4 connecting pins set the same (track and motor + and -). From bitter experience I always try a new loco on the programming track first, that way any short circuits in the wiring do not blow the decoder(s). If you can read a CV you are probably okay!

Everything worked as expected. I need to rationalise the function keys to allow for all the sounds, lights and uncoupler I want as there is overlap beween Massoth and Uhlenbrock default function key settings. Then I will do some tests to see if there is any pushing or pulling between the tender and loco, although after a few short runs I have not noticed any. There are no traction tyres on any of the wheels BTW.

Having all these pickups (10 wheels and 4 skates) means that electrical contacts are excellent with no problem running at minimum speed over R1 points; not a single flicker of the lights or break in the sound.
 
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idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
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Having done further tests at varying speeds and loads I cannot detect any pushing or pulling between the tender and loco, at any speed or direction, even with R1 curves. I timed circuits with loco alone and with tender, with no discernible difference. So for me at least the “single decoder” route has worked and saved me a few quid.

I changed the default mid and maximum speed from 50/200 to 64/128. At max speed 200 the loco was travelling ridiculously fast. With the maximum speed set to 128, at speed step 14 (out of 28) the loco ran at scale speed of 25 kph (1:22.5 scale).

Just to finish this off, here is a picture of the minor cosmetic changes I have made so far to the loco. I removed the "gold" bands and lamp surrounds, and painted as follows:

IMG_20180408_151551.jpg

Not shown, but I drilled out the smokebox door and made a new one in the open position.

As for operating the loco, for the time being I have kept the default Uhlenbrock function key settings and adjusted the Massoth settings around it, so I have ended up with:

F0 directional lights (loco and tender)
F1 sound on/off
F2 whistle
F3 coupling sound and tender automatic uncoupler
F4 bell (continuous)
F5 starting whistle (from stationary)
F6 station announcement
F7 smoke generator
F8 sound fade out/in (I like this feature of the Uhlenbrock)
F9 Guards whistle
F10 cab light
F11 pump / compressor (continuous)
F12 tender multi-function socket
F13 “All aboard”
F14 coal shovelling and firebox glow

Finally some pictures of the model compared to the prototype:
IMG_20180408_151715.jpg
nicki-frank.jpg
Overall I am very pleased with the end result, aesthetically and operationally.
 
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HowardSue

Registered
7 Nov 2020
17
1
63
La Pine Oregon USA
Thank You I'm looking at a Frank S cant tell the model number is 22261 im guessing the volt showing is 0-22 on the bottom motor plate I wnt to convert to DCC Again Thank You All
 

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,599
725
Ascot
Don't quite follow your message, is the model number 22261? If it is that is a DCC ready model, whether a previous owner has upgraded it to DCC you could tell by putting it on a programming track and trying to read CV1.
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,174
1,756
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Don't quite follow your message, is the model number 22261? If it is that is a DCC ready model, whether a previous owner has upgraded it to DCC you could tell by putting it on a programming track and trying to read CV1.
Or you could put it on a DCC track and use Address 0.

If you hear a high frequency hum coming from the motor when it's on the track, and it responds to Address 0, then it hasn't been fitted with a decoder....
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,174
1,756
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
I've never tested a DCC decoder and address zero.... I wonder...
It will work for LGB locos with LGB/Massoth DCC controllers, but it didn't work with my mate Steve's Piko V100, when he tried it at another friend Norman's running session.

I had to run it at home on an analogue controller with my rollers to test it was working fine on DC as Steve doesn't have his own layout.

I would advise against trying it on a USAT/ART/Bachmann loco though....
 

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
5,066
708
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
I'm a little confused with the reply.

So if you have a DCC decoder, and a system that will do the "pulse stretching" of DCC address 0, will the decoder equipped loco move or buzz?

I wonder what the response is of decoders? Do they all do the same thing. In the USA, very few systems support the pulse stretching, so you rarely get any information about it.

Greg
 

HowardSue

Registered
7 Nov 2020
17
1
63
La Pine Oregon USA
We or myself will know if it’s DCC if the seller agrees to my offer
Im going only by the number showing on the listing phots
Im new to this DCC stuff
I have four Loco’s that are DCC from LGB
Thank You for all of you for your input and help
From a Nicky New Guy to DCC
Old guy with LGB trains going back to 1987 with a starter set as gift from my Wonderful wife and family as a birthday gift.
 

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
28,124
2,896
Tamworth, Staffs.
I'm a little confused with the reply.
Let me try to help.. :)

So if you have a DCC decoder, and a system that will do the "pulse stretching" of DCC address 0, will the decoder equipped loco move or buzz?
No.. A DCC equipped loco will sit on the track as normal. - No buzz, No movement.
(to the best of my knowledge, address '0' is reserved for pulse-stretching, you are not able to set a decoder to address 0).

I wonder what the response is of decoders? Do they all do the same thing. In the USA, very few systems support the pulse stretching, so you rarely get any information about it.
Again, to the best of my knowledge, no decoder I have come across responds to pulse-stretching, buzzes, or moves under this situation.
I believe that less and less Central Stations support 'address 0 pulse-stretching', and that it *may* have been retired from the DCC standards?

Why would a decoder respond to a pulse-stretched signal? - The decoder will be 'seeing' DCC track-power (not analogue). There are no 'address 0' packets of data, and address 0 is not the address of the loco. The 'carrier' is being messed-with, not the addressing of packets being output to the track.

But am guessing you are way-ahead of me here? :wondering::nerd::)

PhilP.
 

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