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PCM/QSI PRR Decapod Review: September 25, 2008

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Locomotives, Tony's Tips | 0 comments

New Precision Craft Models HO PRR I1sa 2-10-0 with QSI Sound

PCM has just released their HO version of the Pennsylvania railroad’s I1sa 2-10-0, more commonly known as the “Decapod”. When we think about PRR steam, next to the K4, the I1sa 2-10-0 most likely comes to mind.



This model comes equipped with a QSI dual mode sound decoder that will operate on regular DC or DCC. The Quantum decoders have replaced the ESU LokSounds that were original equipment when PCM was introduced. The model tested came with the long distance 210FB2A eight axle tender (this locomotive is available with the smaller 4 axle tender as well). The model has traction tires on both wheels on the rear axle so it should pull anything you care to put behind it. PCM supplies a replacement wheel set without traction tires and a small socket wrench to replace the original if you prefer.

First impressions were great. I compared this engine to a color photo I have of a similar I1sa, this one was spot on although the prototype was dirtier.

Right out of the box the engine ran very smoothly with plenty of volume. Those of you that want volume in your engines will be pleased with this one. I had to lower the chuff volume right away to satisfy my tastes.

I did most of my testing on DCC but I did run it on standard DC too. It takes about 5 volts to turn the sound on. You can blow the whistle and ring the bell by manipulating the reverse switch once the engine is moving. As soon as the engine starts moving it starts chuffing. The chuff was synchronized at 4 chuffs per revolution through as much of the speed range as I was able to keep track of.

Using a Digitrax Super Chief system programming in DCC worked in both service mode (on the programming track) and in OPTS mode (on the mainline). No programming booster was necessary to program the engine. I was able to change both the two and four digit address with no problem.

The QSI sound system produced a very crisp chuff and all the other sounds we have grown to expect from QSI. The “Sound of Power” feature allows the operator to increase or decrease the chuff volume, using function 9, depending on how hard the engine is working. This is especially nice when the engine is going downgrade. You can turn down the chuff volume to almost nothing without changing the speed of the engine, just like the prototype. The whistle on this model is a Pennsy Banshee single note whistle that sounds great very crisp and clear.

ALL in all this is an excellent model that should please most any Pennsy fan.

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