Fleischmann BR 01.10 Streamlined

03/17/14, 10/09/15- My first DCC locomotive and the one that started me down this path. This one proves that a reliable and good-sounding loco/tender sound system is possible in N-scale. It's fitted with a Zimo sound decoder; I've read that they have a small capacitor that helps the decoder deal with minor power glitches. I can't substantiate that but it's remarkably glitch-free, both in sound production and in moving over sections of track that other locomotives seem to have difficulty with. In fact, after some frustrating experiences with other locos, I bought a second because I knew it would perform well.

How did they squeeze so much into one tiny locomotive and tender? The BR 01.10's body and tender are rather large, with more interior space than most non-streamlined steam locos. I've only disassembled one once, but as I recall, it uses a tiny "sugarcube" speaker facing downwards in the locomotive body. The BR-38, which is a smaller loco, would be significantly more difficult to fit with a sound decoder.

After disassembling it, I'm surprised that it works so well. The tender is powered by an open-frame Fleischmann 50-7160 motor, with no flywheel (same as the Fleischmann BR-38). Despite the motor looking old-school and like it shouldn't perform very well, it's a quiet and strong motor with great low-speed performance. It's important to keep the motor clean though, especially the brushes and commutator. I thought the motor had died, and while trying to source a replacement found that that it's a relatively expensive and hard-to-find motor (available from Fleischmann, and a few websites in Germany... in German, of course). Fortunately, I was able to get it working again; I removed the motor and cleaned it with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. I reseated the brushes, and ran it forward and in reverse with a DC power supply. That seemed to solve the problem. I think it would be a good idea to keep a supply of spare brushes on hand (conveniently available from Germany).

DCC Functions: The table below shows what sold me on DCC and sound decoders.


Tweakable Parameters for the Zimo Sound Decoder: For those who are perpetual tweakers and fiddlers.

If I recall correctly, I had some difficulty with the DigiTrack Zephyr controller trying to change the higher-numbered CVs to set the sound volume. However, the ESU programmer could access and write new values to those CVs without any problems. The ESU LokProgrammer comes with software that lets you configure their decoders in a user-friendly graphical environment (change function button assignments, etc.).

This was a great locomotive to give me my first peek into the world of DCC and decoders!