Thursday, April 28, 2016

SoundBytes 4-28-16

Lots have happened here over the last several months with the move into the new building, sales of the Econami getting more popular as its features are discovered, and with the final build and discontinuance of the Tsunami line of products.  


First, we want to share the “Get to Know Econami” Sales Event going on today, April 28th, 2016 through May 6th, 2016 at your favorite SoundTraxx retailer.  This offer will give you an additional $10 off the MSRP for a limited time!  This means that the Econami ECO-100 list price, for example, will be set at a temporary MSRP of $69.95 through May 6th, 2016.  With all the comparable products out there at much higher prices, you cannot afford to not have some!  Act now and get these great decoders at the promotional prices before time expires on this incredible offer.  

Now, let’s take some time to get you caught up…

The Move.
As many of you may know, we have moved into our new 19,196 square foot manufacturing facility near our old building.  The new building allows us to expand our manufacturing floor as well as provide a central location for all SoundTraxx employees to now be under one roof, making communication and projects much easier to work on.   

The new facility is located at 141 Burnett Drive in Durango.  If you do get a chance to make it out here this summer, be sure to contact us for a tour.  We’d be happy to show you our new digs, but please call ahead so we can be ready for your arrival!

Trade Shows.
The past six months, we have been out on the circuit visiting many of the big train shows.  We have been to Trainfest in Milwaukee, Oklahoma City Train Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Big Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, The Rocky Mountain Train Show in Denver, Colorado and Supertrain in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Our sincere thanks to all who attended and we look forward to visiting these areas again!

Next week will return us back to the Northeast, starting at Lin’sJunction in Lansdale, PA (North of Philadelphia) with a SoundTraxx clinic on May 4th at 7pm.  The following night, we will be at Yankee Dabbler in Bellmawr, NJ (across the river from Philadelphia) on May 5th at 6pm.  We’ll travel to New York area and be at Trainland in Lynnbrook on Long Island, Friday May 6th for in-store demonstrations starting at 1pm and continuing until 5pm.  Friday Evening, the West Island Model Railroad Club will host a SoundTraxx clinic sponsored by WillisHobbies, starting at 8pm and it is open to anyone who wants to attend.  On Saturday, we’ll visit with the East Coast Santa Fe Modelers’ Convention in Doylestown, PA.   We encourage you to attend one of these events, so be sure to contact the stores for space and availability.  It’s a terrific opportunity to become better informed about SoundTraxx products and we look forward to seeing many of you there!

Econami Sound Decoder


If you have never experienced the Econami before, give it a shot and learn just how amazing this full featured decoder really is. Available in 5 formats and 3 "flavors" this decoder has the same great sound quality, 28-function support, Hyperlight lighting effects, and our new and improved Hyperdrive2 advanced motor control.
 Econami ECO-100 with Dime
  • High Quality 16 bit Sound
  • 40+ sound effects
  • Selectable Exhaust Chuffs or Prime Movers
  • Function activated brakes with synchronized sound effects
  • 7-Band Equalizer
  • 20 Hyperlight lighting effects
  • Hyper drive 2 Advanced motor control
  • 3-point and user loadable speed curves
  • Flex-Map function Mapping
  • 28-function Support, plus directional and E-stop functions
The Steam model includes 4 built in exhaust chuffs, 16 whistles, selectable bells, dynamos, couplers, and 2,3, and 4-cylinder exhausts.

TheDiesel model includes 5 built-in prime movers, 16 airhorns, selectable bells, air compressors, and couplers.
 Econami ECO-200
The Electric model includes 16 airhorns/whistles, selectable bells, compressors, and couplers.

The Econami Digital Sound Decoders are not only a fully capable line of decoders, but in many ways surpass our recently discontinued Tsunami sound decoders. They can do everything the Tsunami could do, minus only two features - reverb and Fireman Fred.
Econami has 16-bit sound and uses some new recordings in addition to some re-mastered classics.  With some impressive volume and new features such as Hyperdrive2, which provides much improved slow speed control, this product is by no means a little brother to Tsunami!
The line is also packed with new Hyperlight effects and Flex-Map Function Mapping technology, which allows 28-function support - any button can control any sound, light or logic effect!
For more information regarding the Econami line, including a full feature list, board family and sound samples, visit:

Using SoundTraxx: Operation
In an effort to help enhance your model railroad operations, we have implemented many features in the Econami decoders.  This allows you to more realistically do the work the real locomotive engineer does when shuffling cars or pulling that drag up the grade.  We’ll start these with features that have been incorporated in the decoders to help enhance your operation and get the most from your SoundTraxx decoders.

In the Tsunami products, we included a variety of Hyperlight features to reproduce the popular warning devices found on many locomotives.  Included are such warning beacons as the Gyralight, Mars Light, Strobe Light (single and double pulse), ditch lights and more.  The Econami line takes this further, by letting you dim the light in the opposite direction of travel.  

You can also select two independently constant dim lights with adjustable brilliance levels, to faithfully recreate lights for number boards, class lights, step lights and more.  Econami is equipped with at least 4 lighting functions and most with six (model dependent).  Using a diesel locomotive as an example, you can connect a headlight, backup light, and Mars light on the front, a rotary beacon on top and still have number board lights. Or you could choose to have an operating headlight and backup light, along with alternating flashing ditch lights on both ends.  Besides being really cool and fun to see, lights were used by the railroad to draw attention to the moving train for safety of people on the ground or at grade crossings.  

But what about lighting control?  The Econami defaults these auxiliary lights to the higher functions, F24-F27.  This frees up more room in the first 9 functions for operation control, such as RPM+ and RPM-.  This was done because once a light is switched on, most of the time it is not on/off/on/off very frequently, but throttling up the diesel prime mover manually (over and above the normal Auto-Notching) is likely to be used more frequently.  This allows operators better and more prototypical light control.  

How about road illumination?  For this example, we’ll use a modern SD70Ace with headlight (F0f), backup light (F0r), ditch lights (F24) and step/running lights (F25).  Our engineer steps into the cab and gets the locomotive ready to go.  Assuming the prime mover is has been started, he’ll want to illuminate the step and running lights.  To do this, we’ll activate F25.  These lights allow the engineer to safely see down to the ground to confirm the train is moving, and illuminates the walkways so any outside movement on the locomotive is done so with safety.   

Since the locomotive is not moving, it would be dimmed.  So to do this with our locomotive, activate F7 (Dimmer) and then F0 in the forward direction and the headlight will be dimmed when turned on.  Now that the orders have been given and it’s time to go, turn off F7 to get the headlight to full brilliance, then activate F24 to turn on the ditch lights. (Both ditch lights have been re-mapped to F24 using our Flex-Map technology - we’ll cover this in a future installment or see page 35 of the Diesel User’s Guide.)  Now he’s ready to go, throttle up! and head out on the road.


Lastly, when taking the siding, according to GCOR, clear of the main, ditch lights are turned off and the headlight dimmed.  To do this, deactivate F24 to turn off the ditch lights and activate F7 to dim the headlight.  It is customary to dim the lights and extinguish the ditch lights for passing trains on double track so as to not blind the engineer of the passing train!  From a modeler perspective, this is not usually thought about, but adds one more element of operation.
Adding a few tasks of normal railroad operation with just lighting effects, you can see that operation can be more involved than simply recalling your locomotive, turning up the throttle knob and flipping a direction switch.  This extra activity helps our crews operate the model railroad without completing their tasks too quickly on our always too-short model railroads!  Stay tuned next time as we explore another exciting aspect of model railroad operation using SoundTraxx products.