Friday, May 20, 2011

Blackstone Models Updates, Allison Goes International, and Using Multiple Lamp Types on TSU-AT1000 Decoders

We have been really busy here lately at SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models. In this edition, we will discuss Blackstone Models shipments, Allison’s trip to Calgary, and for our Tech Tip, we'll talk about how to use more than one type of lighting device on a single TSU-AT1000 decoder.

Blackstone Models News

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity here. We have been shipping out the passenger cars and the second release of the drop-bottom gondolas to our dealers throughout the world. Now that this has settled down, our much-anticipated C-19 locomotives have arrived and we are busy with the tedious task of inventory and inspection.

We are sold-out here of all weathered and non-sound versions, so check with your favorite dealers for availability of these units. The Blackstone Models design team has done a great job with these locomotives ensuring, each is as accurate as possible to the prototype. These will start shipping out to dealers in the first part of June, so be sure your hobby store has yours reserved!

Allison Goes International (written by Allison)

With Jarrette and I headed to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the SuperTrain show, I finally got to go "International!" 

Our flights from Albuquerque to Calgary were flawless. I was so excited to fill out my “immigration” papers on the flight from Denver to Calgary. After set-up on Friday, we headed west to Banff, Alberta. Even though I live in the Rockies, the Canadian Rockies near Banff were one of the most spectacular sights that I have ever witnessed. 

While we were in Banff, we were lucky enough to get to see a special Canadian Pacific passenger train, pulled by a pair of F7s and a GP-38. It was pretty cool to get really close to diesel locomotives, especially ones that are as old as the F7s. I even took some video on my camera of them. It was the first time I got excited about a train, other than the Durango and Silverton, of course.

The SuperTrain show was a great experience. We were thrilled to be so well received and it seemed that everyone was very appreciative that we had made the trip. Jarrette and I were impressed to see all of the layouts and other exhibitors, as well as the volume of consumers who passed in and out of our booth over the weekend. We hope to make SuperTrain a regular stop on our annual tradeshow tour.

All in all, it was a great trip and experience. It was very spiritual for me to get to see the Canadian Rockies, as I love the mountains so much. I really hope to go back someday to either do some snowboarding or mountain biking!

Tech Tip: Using Multiple Lamp Types with TSU-AT1000 Decoders

In our previous Tech Tip, we discussed that any type of lighting (3.3V LEDs, 12-14V bulbs and 1.5V bulbs) can be used with the Tsunami decoders. Some of the Tsunami plug-and-play decoders have outputs designed for a model’s specific type of lighting. For example, the TSU-GN1000 has 1.5V-regulated outputs designed for the Athearn Genesis models, which use 1.5V bulbs. The TSU-BW1000 and the TSU-KT1000 have 3.3V-regulated outputs for use Bowser/Stewart and Kato models with factory-installed LEDs, so they don't require additional resistors. The TSU-AT1000 is designed with all the above in mind. 

The TSU-AT1000 decoder is patterned after the light boards that came in Atlas models for years. But over time, the lighting device of choice has changed from 12V bulbs to 3.3V LEDs. The TSU-AT1000 provides the ability to use either option. As an added bonus, there is a provision to use 1.5V bulbs without the need for additional resistors. Therefore, the TSU-AT1000 is considered by many to be the most versatile diesel decoder available. 

The following diagram demonstrates how the many types of lighting devices can be used at the same time, or independently to meet the needs of your model. This diagram illustrates the use of two 1.5V bulbs for the headlamp, a 14V bulb for the backup lamp, an LED for the roof strobe light, and a single 1.5V bulb for a cab interior, or any other light that may be desired.
TSU-AT1000 Diagram with 12V and 1.5V bulbs, and LEDs

The TSU-GN1000 is not designed for easy use with LEDs, but the TSU-BW1000 and TSU-KT1000 can be used with 1.5V bulbs. To use 1.5V bulbs with those decoders, a small resistor is needed to drop the voltage from 3.3V for the LEDs to the 1.5V needed by the bulbs. To determine the resistor value, use Ohm's Law (V = I x R). For a single 1.5V, 15mA bulb, the voltage difference from an LED is 1.8V (3.3V - 1.5V = 18V). Thus the resistor value (R) is 120 (1.8V = 0.15mA x R), so we would use a 120-ohm resistor.

Mixing and matching of lighting types with the Tsunami decoders allows the use of any lighting device to create any lighting effect you want for your prized locomotive.