S-Helper Service Q&A Notes


"The model drawings for the F3 engines showed up from our builder and the most glaring error in the general arrangement drawings was the distance between the units when coupled together. At first glance I thought they had the AF compatible couplers. But as I looked closer I could see it was with the KD-802. A call to F-unit mentor Ron Sebastian (Des Plaines Hobbies) yielded a solution, get Kadee to make an S-scale version of their #30 coupler package. The #30 is an HO coupler box with a #5 coupler. The difference between the #30 coupler box and the KD-802 is that the length of the coupler box on the #30 is significantly shorter. I had talked to Larry Edwards in the past and approached him to see if he could help us with our dilemma. I explained our problem and asked him to make the #30 coupler box, but to have the mounting holes the same distance apart as the KD802 coupler box. Also, I would like the #5 coupler shank to be beefed up and the same thickness as the KD802 coupler shank. We would be interested in purchasing 6,000 of these for our F3 and that we would be needing more as an F7 would follow shortly after. I also would by interested in 500 pairs to be sold separately for those who wanted to install them on the Overland F- units, American Models FP-7 and F7 B-units. Larry told me the tooling would cost too much for such a small run. I tried to be persuasive and said I was not interested in getting in the S-scale coupler market, but his refusal left me no choice. The same coupler was needed for the upcoming ore car."

Sound Decoders

"We installed Soundtraxx' Tsunamis sound decoders originally, but we noticed on the display layout with three 2-8-0 locomotives (two double-headed and a pusher on the end) of a 20+ car train up and down a 2% grade, that after 6 to 8 hours one unit would overheat (engine would stop, and front and rear light would blink). Over several shows we tried different things to prevent this, such as leaving the tender water hatch open, slower speeds, etc. But it wasn't until we started installing the QSI 2-amp sound decoder that this scenario ended. We loved them, as we had a section of track hooked up to a Windows computer and we could directly download sounds for our diesels or our 2-8-0. This eliminated having multiples of different decoders on the shelf. Plus once we had the CVs exactly how we liked them, a click of the mouse uploaded all of them to the engine's decoder. The stereo feature came after SHS' tooling was sold to MTH."

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