Monday, August 2, 2010

SoundBytes XXV

This has been a seemingly short amount of time since our last post. We have been to Milwaukee for the National Train Show and now it is August! Also, Blackstone Models K-27s and Double Deck Stock Cars arrived here on July 29th. For our Tech Tip, let’s take a look at the UP GTEL Turbine decoder and some of its operational capabilities!

On another front, Allison got married on July 24th at the Durango Mountain Resort. It was a rainy day, so the ceremony was held indoors, but it was a nice ceremony anyway. We wish her well in her new married life!

National Train Show
This year at the National Train Show, SoundTraxx made a big splash! Many people came by our booth to talk with us.

We want to extend a big Thank You to the many people who attended our clinics at the show. Both nights of clinics were full.

After a long week of clinics, convention and fun, we were glad to be back at home!
Also, we are working on our “Official” announcements from the show. To keep apprised and up to date with the official news, be sure to sign up for our customer newsletter. Send an e-mail to with “Subscribe” in the subject and we will add you to our e-mail list.

Blackstone Models
For our Blackstone Models customers, we have received the K-27s AND the Double-Deck Stock Cars this week.

We received many pallets of product that we will now test and inspect to be sure we catch any issues before they leave our facility.

These should be shipping in a week or so.

Tech Tip:
Our Tech Tip will briefly discuss the many operational features we have implemented into the GTEL UP Gas Turbine Electric decoder. We have researched the prototype using the operator’s manual, in print as well as having worked closely with former UP shop technicians who used to work on and with these large beasts to ensure an accurately operating decoder. Lets get to some of the details…
The Turbine locomotives had a small diesel engine on board to help hostle the locomotive around the shops as well as start up the turbine. Therefore, the Tsunami has both a diesel sound and a turbine sound built in. Depending on the version of the turbine used, this diesel engine may shut off when the turbine is active, or run constantly regardless of the turbine running or not. We have allowed the user to select either option to more accurately match your prototype.

It has been written that the dynamic brakes also could have been addressed in a few ways. One publication mentions that on long runs downhill, the engineer could turn off the turbine while applying the dynamic brakes to help conserve fuel. While this is technically true, the technicians said no one ever actually did this in operation because they could hit a section of flat track and lose power to pull the train. The turbine engine took a long time to start up, so the train would be dead waiting on the turbine to get started again. We have incorporated either method for dynamic brake application, to allow the modeler to decide how he or she wants the locomotive/sound to behave when the dynamic brakes are applied.
The Tsunami has 5 operating modes to choose from. These modes are automatic, semi-automatic and fully manual along with semi-automatic and fully manual with optional speed limiting. Automatic mode does exactly what it says. As you increase the throttle, the diesel engine will rev up, then transition to the turbine and rev up from there as the speed to the model is increased. The turbine will remain on, even when stopped, but will time out after a predetermined time (Default 10 sec) while sitting and no functions on. Semi-automatic mode utilized auto notching, but requires the F9 to turn on the turbine and F10 to turn the turbine off. Fully manual uses F9 to increase the engine up through the diesel and initiates the turbine and increases the turbine from there, while the F10 decreases the RPM of the turbine and shuts the turbine off. Because the diesel engine was barely powerful enough to move itself without a train, we have also incorporated speed limiting to regulate the speed of the motor while the diesel engine is operational.
All of the options discussed here can be set up using CVs. We have made a separate manual for the turbine that can be downloaded free from our website.

Utilizing these options, you can simply enjoy running your Tsunami-equipped Turbine locomotive, or operate the locomotive as if you were running the real thing.