EMC 103/103A DCC PT2


Looking more like the ghosts of O&W power past, EMC 103/103A is on the Fillmore programming track…

Right out of the bag the locomotives ran very well.  I did notice, however, the speaker in the second section was overpowering (louder than the one in the first section).  So I modified the speaker enclosure in each second section by removing the extension ring, making them the same half-height as the speaker in the rear of the first sections.  The result was balanced sound from both sections.


Next, I used my Broadway Limited Imports Address Changer to program the addresses: finally settling on 103 for EMC 103 and 1031 for EMC 103A.  Then it was back to my programming track.  I use JMRI’s DecoderPro, running on my laptop, to make any programming adjustments.  This saves much time, especially with locomotives of the same type, and is of great value to me.


I added momentum and braking values (this required a little experimentation); I use the Independent Brake feature to stop the locomotive.  This feature is activated by a function key (F6 -remapped, see below) and when pressed the model slows down to a stop along with a little brake squeal.  I don’t use a lot of momentum or braking; just some to make the operation a little more realistic.

Next I turned down the sound level to about 35%, and chose the Dual EMD 567 Prime Mover, shaft-driven accessories, Leslie A-200 horn and the default EMD bell (medium-fast).  Since the drawbar-equipped Model F/FT can be considered like and articulated locomotive, the Dual 567 Prime Mover is appropriate when one chooses to install one decoder to power an A-B set.

I also made changes to the function mapping to suit my layout standard.  Below is my latest standardized function key listing, which is attached to the back of each layout throttle.  I limit the functions to what I feel are necessary as to not overwhelm operators who are not very familiar with the Digitrax DCC system, Soundtraxx decoders, and general Fillmore operations.


To capture the programming changes, I made screen shots of each JMRI form I altered and pasted them into a Pages (Apple equivalent to Microsoft Word) document.  I make one up for each locomotive type I alter for future programming of the same type of engine.  Two sample pages are shown below.



Lastly, each locomotive was run (mostly at around 35% throttle setting, but also other speeds), on stationary rollers, in forward and reverse for a half hour (total) as a break-in.

I made a sound file of the sections starting up, but could not upload it into this blog.  If you would like to hear how these sound, the Soundtraxx website has samples (SoundSamples).


There are many settings in the Tsunami 2 decoder which I look forward to playing with in the future.  For now, however, those car bodies need painting…..

FT Tidbit: Many of these tidbits have discussed drawbars or couplers between the first (A-unit) and second (B-unit) sections.  There was an EMC no-cost factory option for a drawbar connection between the second sections, thus creating a solid 5400 hp A-B-B-A locomotive.  Unlike the drawbar between the first and second sections, it was easily installed in the existing coupler draft boxes.  Why on Earth would a railroad impede the flexibility of mu’ing diesel locomotives and create permanently and cumbersomely long locomotives that would not fit into roundhouse stalls?

This solution was offered to counter some work rules on Western railroads.  The rules did not concern the brotherhoods in the cab; engineers and firemen wanted a full crew per section/unit long before the Model F/FT came to be.  On Western roads, there was an agreement (since about 1903) between the railroads and the Order of Railway Conductors & the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.  It was known as the doubleheader rule which stated that a railroad was forbidden from double heading a train where the tonnage exceeded the rating of the largest locomotive on that train (excluding negotiated helper districts).  The unions used this to limit train lengths.

Well, two 2-section Model-Fs coupled together could mean big trouble with respect to the doubleheader rule.  To mitigate this situation, an A-B-B-A locomotive set connected by drawbars can only be considered as one locomotive.  Union rules/agreements as well as state laws on train lengths did limit the new capabilities of EMC’s super-star.  However, with the entry of the United States in World War II, ICC Service Order 85 swept away all restrictions and allowed more freedom for the railroads, during the emergency, to move men and material across America as efficiently as possible.  The B-B drawbars could, and were, removed.

For more reading about this, please see the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society’s quarterly Warbonnet of 1997 Q3 and also Utah Rails website (FT Discussion).  Both outstanding sources were written by the late great Wallace Abbey.