Thursday, March 15, 2012

SoundBytes XLVIII

St. Patrick’s day is near and spring is blooming, but that is no reason to stop model railroading! This may be the time to take on a new decoder install, or add in that rolling stock for future operating sessions! This issue, we’ll cover some upcoming shows we will be attending and discuss some in-stock Blackstone Models products. For our Tech Tip, we’ll set up a sound zone from a detector block for SurroundTraxx.

Upcoming Shows
Next month, we will be setting up at the Super Train 2012 show in Calgary, AB CANADA. If anyone is in the area, we encourage you to come by and see what we have to show.

This is the largest Canadian Model Train Show. It will be held at the Subway Soccer Centre April 21st and 22nd, 2012. This was a great show last year and we are expecting it to be even better this year!
Stay tuned for other shows and appearances for our staff near you.

Blackstone Models
When we receive a new Blackstone Models product, the number of models is limited. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is sold out. We take reservations for the models and when the shipment arrives, they begin shipping out to the hobby shops.

There has been occasions recently that a Blackstone Modeler will contact us asking about existing stock, stating their dealer says it is sold out, while on our website it is not. The website is kept up to date as much as possible, so it is a good indicator of our available inventory.

There are still K-27s, boxcars, stock cars, double-deck stock cars, high side and drop-bottom gondolas, flat cars and cabooses in stock here for you.

Just be sure to let your Blackstone Models dealer know what you are looking for and if available, we will be happy to get these out to you!

Tech Tip
The SurroundTraxx is an inexpensive option for great sound for the modeler in small scales. An important piece to getting this to work is to use the block-detection system from Digitrax known as Transponding. Once this has been installed and is functioning properly, its time to assign the detection blocks to the SurroundTraxx’ sound zones.
For our examples, we will assign a loop, like the Tehachapi Loop, to a single sound zone, zone 3, and then 3-track yard and through mainline in sound zone 2.
Starting with the example loop of track, it is assigned to block 2 on the Digitrax BDL-168. To set this up in the SurroundTraxx menu, press the knob and “ROUNDHOUSE” should appear. Rotate the knob until “ZONE IDS” appears in the window. Press the knob to select. Now rotate the knob until “ZONE: 3” appears, then press the knob to select. At first, “BEG ID:000” will be displayed, then press the knob to select. Using the knob, rotate to select each digit (0-9) and then press the knob to select and cycle through each of the 3 digits individually. Using the knob, select id # 002, (press knob, 0, press, 0, press, rotate to select 2,) and then press the knob to save. The setting, “BEG ID:002” should now be displayed. Next, rotate the knob to “END ID:002”. Confirm this is correct. If it does not, change this to zone 002, following the procedure above, to ensure that the zone will be correct. Now, when a loco is detected in zone 2, the sound profile (previously set up) will be played coming out of the speaker connected to the orange wires, or zone 3.
A group of tracks, in this case, a yard where each track has its own BDL-168 detector zone, can share a speaker output. For this example, the three yard tracks with a main through track are assigned to zones 6, 8, 10, and 12. These have to be un-interrupted consecutive numbers. Blocks 2, 4, 10 and 12 can be assigned to a single sound zone, but any number in between (6 and 8) must be in that same sound zone or the SurroundTraxx will not operate properly.
To configure this part of the layout, first select ZONE ID for zone 2. Next, set the BEG ID to 006 and the END ID to 012. Rotate the knob to confirm these settings are saved. Now any time a loco is run on any of the yard tracks or the through main, the sound for that loco will play out of the speaker connected to the yellow wires, or zone 2.
Setting up the SurroundTraxx allows you to take advantage of the surround sound for your layout. With the loco sounds traveling with the locomotive around the layout, full-scale sound is now possible, especially for smaller scales.
Now with the blocks set up, customize the sound channels for each one by adding in reverb or echo as appropriate to the layout for great sound effects. See an earlier post for details.