Friday, March 11, 2011

SoundBytes XXXV

Its time for another edition of SoundBytes. In this edition, we will discuss the arrival of some Blackstone Models products. We will talk about the NMRA divisional meet in Phoenix this weekend. Last, for our tech tip, we will discuss the function mapping for steam decoders.

Blackstone Shipment
They are on their way!! We have received word that the passenger cars and the second run of drop-bottom gondolas are in Long Beach, CA. Barring any delays at Homeland Security, we should be seeing these arrive here in a few short weeks! With all shipments, we will ship to our dealers as quickly as we can. Passenger cars have sold well, with many of the cars at low available quantities. This includes the popular “Silverton 3-Pack”, so be sure to order now to ensure you get the cars that you want. We are also receiving the second run of the drop-bottom gondolas at this time. Last time, the run sold out before they arrived, so be sure to get yours while you still can, quantities are limited! Check here for news of their arrival. C-19s are in production now, so we will be seeing them soon as well!

Jarrette’s Going To Arizona
On March 12th, this Saturday, The Arizona Division of the NMRA will hold their meet in the Greater Phoenix Area.

Jarrette will be giving clinics on using the Tsunami decoders there. If you are interested in attending, please visit their website:

Tech Tip:
Last time we discussed function mapping and used a diesel as an example. This time we will discuss function mapping using a steam decoder. Here is the mapping chart as shown in the Tsunami Steam User’s Guide that can be found here:
Function mapping works the same way with the steam decoder as it does with the diesel decoder. The CVs on the left show correspond with the function numbers and the chart defines which functions are available to use.

By adding up the value assigned to each sound effect or lighting effect, you will determine the final value for a given function CV. One big thing you will find is that F0f, CV 33, has both the value of 1 and 64 in bold as the default setting. That is because when F0 is active and the locomotive is in the forward direction, the headlamp and the dynamo will be active. The dynamo is the steam-driven electric generator that powers the lights on the steam locomotive. One of the Hyperlight features we have is the Dyno-light that spools up the light while the dynamo spools up. If the dynamo sound is not active when the headlamp is on, the light will not illuminate since it needs the electricity generated by the dynamo. If desired, the dynamo sound can be mapped to a different function button. To help explain how these CVs are set up, we will add the FX5 to the F0f button. FX5, in this example will be wired to the class lights on the front of the locomotive. Looking at the chart, F0f is set by CV33. The headlamp has a value of 1, FX5 has a value of 16 and the dynamo has a value of 64. To activate all three of these at the same time, add up the values. CV 33 would then be set to 81. Without changing CV39 also, F5 will turn on the lamps as well, so lets change F5 to control the Water Stop. By setting CV 39 to 64, we can see that now the F5 will activate the water stop sounds. Last, F9 also controls the water stop, so since we don’t use F9 much, lets set CV 43 to 0, so it now will not control any sound or lighting effect.
Playing with these settings can help you set up a function-mapping scheme for your railroad that works the way you want. Next time, we can really have fun and play around with function swapping!