Sunday, May 24, 2015

Decoder... is Bliss

Remember the Decoder Blues blog entry? Jérôme was about to collapse from a mental breakdown. No more... At least, not for me!

Yesterday, I decided to tweak my pair of GP9 for better performance. The newer Bachmann diesel locomotives aren't not prize winners, but they are good enough to perform well under strict and realistic operations.

Setting up Decoder Pro and linking it with the layotu was an hassle so I took Mike Confalone's book (volume 2 or 3, don't remember) and decided to manually input his own CV settings for Tsunami decoder on my locomotives. I slightly tweaked the back EMF CVs until I got the performance I wanted (it was 5) and paired up the locomotives... WOW!

Imagine, in less than 5 minutes, I had to two performers in from of me and ready to do switching chores. Sure, I'll need to better match up the speed, but the actual result is commendable.

What really makes these settings great are that when paired up with very heavy freight cars, you get the most realistic operation you can dream about.

You run only the locomotives... and they run finely. Add a few cars, oh, now you need some more power and you can clearly hear the engines strarting to rev up a bit. You are now trying to show a cut of 12 heavy loaded (7 to 10 onces each), I can tell you it will take more effort than you can imagine with your habitual settings. In fact, I felt I was watching a real train in front of me.

All this works together to make you feel the trains really are heavy masses of steel rolling over rails. Each additional car in your consist affect directly the locomotive sound performance. You know exactly what you are doing and it feels right! The next challenge is to find equivalent settings for ESU LokSound decoders. That would truly make my day.

Should I say I had a wonderful 2 hours operating session at Donohue! Oh, and I also came to the conclusion my attention span is about 90 minutes... After this time, I grow impatient and start to rush things. Good to know in the future.

So what's next on my plate? Well, I'm seriously thinking about weathering and adding sound decoders into our Atlas GP40-2W. Right now, I can't afford M420 and if  I want 80s looking locomotives, they are my best bet. Many people complained about the wrong cab dimensions and that's true. But yesterday, when closely inspecting the models, I came to the conclusion the major flaw was that Atlas paint job on the nose wasn't great. If they had painted the black patch over the nose a little bit larger and nearer from the round fillets, it would have greatly improved the general look of the model. If I ever weather them, I'll do this cosmetical change to improve the cab appearance. 

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