Wednesday, April 6, 2011

SoundBytes, XXXVI

It’s time for another edition of SoundBytes. This time, we will talk about upcoming Blackstone Models Releases. We have some Trade Show news to share telling you which shows we will attend over the next few months. Last for our Tech Tip, we will look at lighting and how to wire up the various types of lights available for our models.

Blackstone Models:
We have received the much-anticipated passenger cars along with the new run of drop-bottom gondolas. The passenger coaches are based on the Jackson and Sharp narrow gauge coaches that the Denver and Rio Grande ran from the turn of the century to today’s Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

There are 6 road numbers in these done in Pullman Green with varying details such as roof vents or roof conduits. They are complete in virtually every way, with a full detailed interior. Only thing missing would be a lighting kit. (Stay Tuned)
Also shipping is the second run of our popular drop-bottom gondolas. This is a run of 6 all-new road numbers available both weathered and non-weathered. The first run of these cars sold out before they arrived; so don’t miss your chance to have some of these before they are all sold out.
These cars have started shipping out to our dealers around the world.

Trade Show News
Jarrette and Allison will be on the road in Calgary, AB Canada at the Super Train Show on April 16th and 17th 2011. We will be showing our SoundTraxx products as well as pre-production samples of the upcoming Blackstone C-19s. This will be the first venture out of the USA in a while, so we are excited to get to visit a new area and meet with new modelers. Allison is excited to write our next post as she “Goes International!” No telling what adventures she will have!
For more information, please visit their website,  If you are in the Calgary area, be sure to come by and visit. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, we will be happy to help you answer these for you.
Coming up in May, Jarrette will be at the Sherman Hill Club Train Show in Cheyenne, WY on May 21st and 22nd 2011. Then, George will be at the National N-scale Convention in Hershey, PA in June to show off some exciting products for N-scalers! If you are able to come by any of these shows, be sure to stop by and say hi and see what we have to show.

Tech Tip:
We get asked many times about how to wire in locomotive lighting with the Tsunami decoders. The Tsunami decoders are designed to operate virtually any model lighting you can think of. While the specific design of the decoders may favor one specific type of lighting, in this post, we will first address the TSU-1000 and the TSU-750 decoders.
The Tsunami decoder will support the many variants of model locomotive lighting. The biggest question we get is whether the types of lighting can be mixed and matched. In a word, Yes! If you have LEDs for headlamps, there is no reason you cannot have 1.5v bulbs for auxiliary lighting, like ditch lights on modern diesel locomotives. When wiring up the lights, be sure to note that the blue wire is not only the common, but also it is the positive lead to the functions. The function output wires on the TSU-1000 and TSU-750 are the negative leads. Wiring in an LED, it is important to wire in the blue wire to the anode (+) leg of the LED. LEDs and low-voltage light bulbs, like 1.5v bulbs, will need a resistor to prevent premature burnouts. For LEDs, a 1000-ohm (1k) resistor will be fine for most applications, but for small light bulbs, the resistor will need to be calculated and figured out.
Another common question we get is what the output voltage is to the lights. For the TSU-1000 and TSU-750, this is answered by knowing the track voltage supplied by your DCC system. If your DCC system supplies 14.5v to the rails, then the output will typically be rectified track voltage.
So to calculate light bulb resistors, use Ohm’s law; V=IR, of (V)oltage equals Current (I) times (R)esistance. So to calculate for a dropping resistor, using 14.5v on the track, for a 1.5v 15ma bulb the equation looks like this: 14.5-1.5=13v so 13v=.015 x R. Solve for R so 13/.015 = 866 ohms. So go to your favorite electronics store and get a few resistors at the nearest standard value to 866 ohms.
Next time we will look at some of the drop-in decoders and how their light outputs are configured.