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Bachmann OO LNER J72

Example 1 - Bachmann OO LNER J72 with Zimo Sound and Stay-Alive

Kit: MX658N18; Zimo SugarCube speaker; LifeLink; 4x 470uF Tall Tantalums

Bachmann's 2019 J72 model is yet another step forward in design from Bachmann, not only making use of the compact and tidy Next18 DCC socket, but has on-board SugarCube speaker, and break-out pads on the PCB for connection of lighting and stay-alive.

We found the factory speaker component to be a bit weak, but that is probably down to our expectations - you will most likely just stick with the supplied speaker (just us pushing the boat out a bit further!)

For this installation we have used an MX658N18 sound decoder, the speaker component from a Zimo SugarCube, YouChoos LifeLink PCB, and four 470uF 16V Narrow/Tall tantalum capacitors and some self adhesive chrome tape.

This shows the position of the solder pads on the PCB for stay-alive connection...

You could simply plug in the MX658N18 decoder and be done, making it an incredibly simple job to add DCC sound. However, we decide to make use of the stay-alive pads and to improve the speaker...

We used some craft pins to join the tantalum capacitors to the LifeLink PCB. You can see the kit assembled here. The stay alive capacitors and LifeLink PCB is exactly the same length as the loco PCB.

Once the decoder was installed the loco was tested on the track. The result was rather disappointing. The sound was weak, muffled and distorted. This was due to the speaker being clamped up tight to the loco PCB. The speaker needed to have a gap of at least 1mm from the loco PCB and a better quality speaker used.

We have raised the speaker tabs on the replacement speaker (top arrow).
On the replacement speaker, push this part of the tab back a little bit so that it can move up and down without catching on the enclosure (top right arrow).
Increase the depth of the recess so the speaker enclosure can fit over the ridge in the centre of the chassis and sit flat on the chassis (lower arrow).

Remove the existing speaker from the enclosure and remove any sticky from the enclosure that held the speaker in place. Take the speaker from a ZSCUBE, removing the sticky from the speaker. This will allow the speaker to sit further into the enclosure. Push the speaker into the enclosure and glue into place.

Glue two layers of 10th plasticard on each side of the enclosure. These small adjustments will create a one millimetre space between the top of the speaker and the PCB. This will allow the sound to get out and will be much louder and clearer.

The chassis and speaker ready for installation. Also a strip of plasticard wrapped in self-adhesive chrome chrome tape (or Kapton). Here you can see the speaker is flat on the floor and the gap between the speaker and the loco PCB. Wow the difference in sound quality and volume is fantastic!

The fire glow is very week and can hardly be seen. The chrome tape will intensify the brilliance of the LEDs.

Photos and instructions kindly provided by Roger Keen of Keen Systems.

Example 2 - Another one, with similar approach

Kit: MX659N18 (or MX658N18); LifeLink with 2x 470uF Flat Tantalums

Here is the stay-alive assembled

Note the BLUE and GREY wires added to the model's PCB, which are POSITIVE and GROUND connections for the stay-alive.

Added a little bit of silver foil (from a KitKat wrapper!) to enable the firebox light to reflect better.


Please note that these guides are provided as useful resources for you, as-is. YouChoos cannot be held responsible for errors in the information, or for any damage caused to your models or equipment if you choose to follow any of the steps detailed here.

A bit of YouChoos poster art for your enjoyment!