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Installing DCC Sound into N Gauge Kato D51


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So I am hoping to install DCC sound into a Kato N scale D51 steam locomotive (product number 2016-8). I have the locomotive, but I have yet to purchase a decoder or speaker. I wanted to know if anyone else has done this or a similar project and if they have any recommendations for which decoder or speaker to use and if they have any tips for doing the conversion.


Thanks in advance!



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Sounds like a neat project! 


I did a similar install with a kato C62 previously, which uses a very similar design.  I used a digitrax sound decoder, although I would not recommend using one today as the sound quality is not very good.  A loksound decoder will be much more expensive, but the increase in sound quality is worth it and it may be the only other decoder brand which will also fit in the tender.  The hardest part of the installation is fitting all the pieces into the locomotive, as there is very little room in the tender even though it was designed to fit DCC. 


My preferred suggestion would be to put a non sound decoder in the tender for motor and light control, and fit a sound decoder in a coach behind the engine so you can use a decent sized speaker for much better sound quality.  In regards to sound files there are none free to use for Japanese locomotives as far as I am aware, although I recall hearing of one or two Japanese companies which have decoder with their own files preloaded onto them.  Unfortunately they charge quite a markup for these, so I have not used them myself.  


Good luck, and post your progress on the project!  I may be tempted to try sound again in my Kato locos depending on how yours come out.

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Okay thank you for the information. I've been importing some BLI DCC and sound locos from the USA. I have a PRR Mikado 2-8-2 pulling a consist of Japanese freight cars. Extremely unprototypical! So it would be nice to finally have a Japanese loco with sound. I wish DCC had been more popular in Japan. It would be nice if they had ready to run DCC Sound locos in Japan like they do in the USA.

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I’ve done it. Fitted a loksound micro and its 11x15 speaker (the one that comes standard with the loksound micro v5) in the tender, running 4 wires to the loco for motor and front light. Adapted a free ESU sound of a German steam BR41 with the Lokprogrammer (available in the ESU web)


What I remember is that there are convenient grooves already in place along the boiler for the 2 front light cables. And soldering to the motor was very easy, you just pull on the existing cables and there they come soldered to a small piece of brass. The space in the tender is indeed tight, but I could fit decoder and speaker with no problem (and there is a convenient front hole in the tender to pass wires to the loco).

Edited by jozasa
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For those who have done this DCC install, how did you insulate the decoder? I purchased a LokSound 5 DCC Micro for this project. In the instructions, it warns against wrapping the decoder in electric tape as this may cause overheating. I'm concerned about short circuiting the decoder since it will be enclosed by metal weights. How did you ensure the isolation of the decoder and the speaker? What about kapton tape?



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I did it not in a 2016-8 model, but in a 2016-9. I used a SD10A sound decoder and a tity speaker from D&H. All fits in the tender, looks like designed on purpose. About the kapton tape, I used it to protect the decoder. Here you can check how I did it: http://www.clubncaldes.com/2019/08/kato-d51-2016-9-dcc-with-sound.html






Edited by Dani
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Thanks for all the information. I finally completed this project and made a video of the install for my YouTube channel.



Edited by Gilshrat
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