Thursday, February 17, 2011

SoundBytes XXXIV

In this edition of SoundBytes, we will re-cap George’s trip to Maryland for the Great Scale Model train Show in Timonium, Maryland. We also have a lot to show including the painted samples of the passenger cars and C-19s. Also, we are releasing a Durango and Silverton caboose to be available for purchasing at your local hobby shop. For our Tech Tip, we will discuss function mapping.

Maryland Trip.
George went for a few days to Maryland to visit some of our dealers in the area, as well as to be at the Great Scale Model Train Show in Timonium, MD. While there, he took some time to visit the B&O Railroad Museum.

This was a fun side trip to see some of the steam locos from the 1800s

and some more modern steam

and diesel locos as well.
This was definitely worth the time on this trip. For more information, visit

On this trip, George visited Trains, Etc. in Lorton, VA
The Moose Caboose in Sykesville, MD,
Model Rail Craft in Havre de Grace, MD,
and trains, Toys and Hobbies in Wilmington, DE.

While there, he was also able to visit a truely great model railroad. Howard Zane,, MMR and author, has his 2850 sq ft. HO Piermont Division layout in his basement.

This was impressive to say the least. Best of all, he uses mostly SoundTraxx sound decoders, except for a few factory-installed by other manufacturers. This layout has been featured on Allen Keller’s series of videos two separate times. Here are a few shots of this layout.

We would like to extend our thanks to Howard Zane and his family for their hospitality in allowing George to come visit this superb layout.

Blackstone Models News!
We have received here in Durango the decorated samples of some of our upcoming projects for Blackstone Models. We have received samples of our passenger cars. One of the exciting features about these cars is they will have full painted and detailed interiors! We are expecting these to arrive here in early spring.

Last to show are the painted samples of the C-19s. We have received all of them here and we are carefully reviewing these to ensure they are as accurate as possible. Here are a few shots for you to whet your appetite with! These are expected to arrive at our facility in early summer.

Last, the second run of Drop-Bottom Gondolas is expected to arrive here in early spring.

New announcement!
Now shipping to the dealers: The Durango and Silverton special run caboose models the 0540 as she appears today for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. These limited run cabooses are available to all through their local hobby shops. Part number is B340961 and retail price is only $79.95! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to have one of these limited edition cars.

Tech Tip:
The Tsunami decoders have the ability to shift around the function controls to your liking. For example, the short horn can be re-mapped to F5, rather than F3 if you so choose, or the F11 Brake to F8 to more easily access this function by pressing one button instead of two or more. This allows you to arrange any arrangement you desire to best utilize your cab’s controls or match your prototype, and it’s easy to do!
Looking at the Function Mapping chart, Table F in the Steam and Diesel User’s Guide, we see that CV 33 controls what comes on when F0 is active and the loco is in the forward direction.
In the case of the diesel, only the headlamp, a value of 1, is active. If the ditch lights (Which are set to alternate using FX5 and FX6) are desired to turn on and off with the headlamp, then add in 16 and 32 to the 1 that was there, for a total of 49, which will then be programmed into CV 33. So by doing this, the Headlamp and ditch lights will be on when F0 is active going in the forward direction. This also frees up F5 and F6 for other sound effects. Looking at CV 39, which then controls F5, we can activate bell, dynamic brake, short horn, or radiator fans (Or engine RPM +). Just add up the value(s) for any given effects and put the total into the CV. Alternately, if independent control of the ditch lights from the headlamp using only F5 were desired, you would then set CV 39 to 6 (2+4=6). It also applies for CV 40 for F6.
Using this scheme, almost any combination of lighting and sound effects can be contrived. In the next edition, we will show another way of opening up any sound to any function using CV 30.

Friday, February 4, 2011

SoundBytes XXXIII

Here we are with the first SoundBytes for 2011. It has been a while, but we hope everyone had a Happy New Year! In this edition, we will discuss the impending arrival of the Blackstone Tank cars, talk a bit about the tradeshow season and upcoming trips, and finish with new products coming from SoundTraxx. For our Tech Tip, we will show our Decoder Selector’s Newest Feature, the Application Notes.

Blackstone News!
The Tank cars are here! We received these much-anticipated models this week. These models are all sold out at the factory, but many of our dealers may still have stock available for purchase. Please check with them for availability.

Shipping will start next week to the dealers.

Trade Show Season
This month has flown by us. We just got back from a busy Amherst show this past weekend. We thank the many who braved the cold temperatures and snow to come out and see us. We talked with many of you and we always appreciate feedback from our customers.
George is on his way to visit the Great Scale Model Train Show in Timonium MD.

He will be showing some samples of the C-19, Passenger Coach and the Tank Car. Listen for announcements during the show to hear which booths he will be at, so you can come by and ask questions and see some of the new products and see demonstrations. While there, he is planning on visiting the B&O Railroad Museum. We’ll report back on his trip in a later installment.

Available Soon!
We have started to build the TSU-1000 decoders for the EMD SD70ACe and the GE GEVO locomotives. These have authentic recordings of these specific locomotives.

These will be shipping soon, so be sure to order these from your favorite dealer!

Now Shipping!
We have released the first few of the SoundTraxx Mobile Decoders! These are equipped with the fine motor control you have come to expect from the Tsunami, but without sound. All Tsunami motor control features are there, including the F11 brake acting as a brake, just without the sound! These can help make speed matching more convenient without having to read through different manufacturer’s manuals trying to get it close. Retail price starts at $19.95, so get yours today! More information can be found here:

Tech Tip:
We have posted a decoder selector to help with your decoder selection. We now have a new feature included with the selector, Application Notes. These are documents that will give a full step-by-step installation of a decoder into the specific models. These will have a list of tools, supplies and which decoder and speaker to use. These are also rated by skill level, so you may not want to try a skill level 5 on your first decoder install.
The decoder selector can be accessed here:
When you find your model, click on the model’s highlighted name and it will then open up a .pdf for you to read through and use as a guide!
If anyone wants to participate in helping get some of these documents done, please contact George at for details and to inquire as to whether we have a given model in progress or not. Also, be sure the photos are clean (on a white or grey backdrop, no messy workbenches please) and in focus. We will give full recognition to you for your submissions.