Friday, July 22, 2011

SoundBytes XXXIX

Welcome back from a great Fourth of July holiday. In this post, we will share with you the big announcements we had at the NMRA National Train Show in Sacramento.  Also, see some of the locomotives on display at the Sacramento Railroad Museum.  Last, a tech tip for many who may have just started in DCC and sound, and a refresher for some.

2011 NMRA Show

This year, the NMRA National Convention and train show was held in Sacramento, CA. We had worked hard to have a great presentation, along with some much-anticipated announcements. We enjoyed our time at the show, and especially enjoyed talking with our many customers.
Among the announcements we made were new sounds added to the diesel Tsunami decoders. Added in are an EMD Turbocharged 567,

 a dual EMD 567 for use in EMD E-Units,
 an ALCO 251 Super-charged for RS32 locomotives
and last, a Modern GE FDL-16, complete with the famous ‘whooping’ air compressor.
These will be available in a range of decoder formats. Also, we announced that we are now shipping SurroundTraxx to our dealers, our new surround sound system for your layout. For more information on all the NMRA announcements and to hear sound samples, be sure to check the website, .

On the Blackstone Models side, we will be doing another run of the popular tank cars, with 3 road numbers each in the narrow frame UTLX cars and the frameless Gramps cars. These will be shipping to dealers in mid to late fall. Last, we will be doing another run of K-27 locomotives. This will not only help newcomers to the scale with the availability of a locomotive, but we will be re-running some of the popular models that were not done last time, like the famous RGS 455 post-wreck.
These models will also be the first run of K-27s available factory weathered. These locomotives are expected to be arriving spring of 2012. Please visit our website for more details, .

While at the show, we had an opportunity to visit the Sacramento Railroad Museum located only a few blocks away from the convention. They had a great collection of locomotives
and it is definitely worth the trip to see and experience the life as it was in real railroading.
You can visit their website and plan your trip at

Tech Tip:

There is lots of jargon out there that can seem intimidating and cause some to be apprehensive toward DCC. Once you can see how a CV is constructed, it is easier to follow, and less intimidating. So lets explain how a CV value is determined.

Configuration variables or CVs as they are called are designed to allow a modeler to customize decoder properties such as the address, volume settings, momentum, throttle response, and lighting effects. Each CV has 8 bits in it and a range of 0 to 255 (Which is the total of all 8 bits turned on). When a bit is turned “off” or not selected its value is 0. When a bit is turned “on” or selected its value is 1. As shown in the chart below

the total values are exponential meaning that as you go from right to left the value of each bit doubles. Again think of each CV as an on/off switch where a value of 0= off and a value of 1 = on. In the CV example shown below, lets say we were looking at CV 29 which is known as the configuration register CV, we have turned off bits 0,2,3,5,6, and 7 and turned on bits 1 and 4. Turning on bit 1 enables 128-speed step mode and bit 4 enables customizable speed curves. Therefore to achieve this we would set this CV to a value of 18. For more information on adjusting your SoundTraxx decoders CVs to enhance your enjoyment check out the manuals and technical references found on our web site, .