Thursday, March 7, 2013

SoundBytes March 7th, 2013

Spring is around the corner here at SoundTraxx and we continue to have lots of exciting things going on. In the beginning of 2013, we announced the new GenSet decoders and we are pleased to inform you that they are now shipping. We also have officially launched our first customer e-newsletter, SoundBits. Combining this with our blog, Facebook and Twitter, it is our hope to help give you, our customer, as many opportunities to connect with SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models on a more personal level and help you be informed specifically what we have going on here in Durango. Our dealer spotlight will focus on TrainWorld / TrainLand in New York and our Tech Tip will dive deeper into the details of programming decoders by taking a closer look at Programming on the Main.

GenSet Decoders are Now Shipping
After much work, the new TSU-AT1000 for the Atlas HO GenSet is now shipping. These properly reproduce the prototypical operation of the complex units. If you are looking for the best sound option for your HO models, be sure to get one on order and/or installed by your local hobby shop.

P.N. 828036 TSU-AT1000 for Cummins QSK10C x3 (Genset) MSRP $99.95

GenSet Addendum:

GenSet Sound Sample: 

Customer e-Newsletter, SoundBits
The first customer e-newsletter, SoundBits, went out March 1, 2013. This e-newsletter will help keep you informed about new products, announcements, catalog releases, new application notes (installation documents) and other general SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models news. You can subscribe to this newsletter by sending an email to

Dealer Spotlight: TrainWorld/TrainLand in NY
Fans of the hit HBO series “The Soprano’s” may recognize this month's featured retailer, TrainLand, one of the hobby stores started by the late Peter Bianco. The Lynbrook, New York, location set the scene where character Bobby Baccala, a model train aficionado, was “whacked” in the show’s 85th episode, “The Blue Comet.”
TrainLand is Peter’s second store, which he opened with his wife, Aileen, in 1976. They purchased the building for their first store, TrainWorld, in 1973 on M Avenue in Brooklyn. As the company grew and a prosperous mail order business propelled them to the next level, Peter and Aileen purchased a bigger piece of property and relocated to 751 McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn. The attainment of TrainLand helped build their retail division and increased their presence as a major hobby shop in New York. With the properties in place, TrainWorld/TrainLand has over 50,000 square feet of warehouse space.
Prior to establishing his hobby businesses, Peter cut hair as a well-known beautician in Brooklyn. However, Peter had another love -- collecting trains. The thrill of the hunt was an exuberating adventure for Peter, who realized that he could profit from the collectible Lionel trains he found at garage sales, train shows, and newspaper ads. Making great profits through the sales he made and money he saved up through the beauty salon, Peter envisioned creating a magical toy train hobby shop, and with determination, he and Aileen took a chance and opened TrainWorld.
Inevitably, Peter’s children went into the train business -- Anthony Bianco (shipping); Ken Bianco Sr. (manager); and Diane Napilatano (sales). Recently some of the third-generation kids have entered into the business too, including Ken Bianco Jr., Paul Bianco Jr., Nicky Napolitano and Vinny Napolitano. Ken Jr. expanded their DCC products and brought in the SoundTraxx line, which he says are “some of the best sound decoders on the market.”
“We have noticed a flight to quality in the train industry,” continues Ken Jr. “Our customers want the best for their layout and SoundTraxx is well-known by all. Our sales in SoundTraxx has increased by tenfold and our customers are glad we are carrying their decoders.”
TrainWorld                                                  Trainland
751 McDonald Ave.                                    293 Sunrise Hwy.
Brooklyn, NY 11218                                   Lynbrook, NY 11563
(800) 541-7010                                          (516) 599-7080

Tech Tip: Programming on Main
Last time we discussed in detail programming CVs using the programming track. This time, we’ll get into the details on using the Programming on the Main (Operations Mode, Ops Mode) option.
There are many conflicting ideas about the realities and myths of using the mainline to program decoders. Some individuals and clubs forbid this practice, while others embrace the technology. To help, let’s clarify what it means to program on the mainline and how it can work for you, as well as dispel some of the misconceptions about it.
The biggest misunderstanding is that programming on the mainline will reprogram all locos on the layout with the new changes, therefore cause undesired or disastrous results. This is simply not true. When sending out a programming command on the mainline, the command station (CS) first sends out an address command, indicating which loco(s) will listen to the programming command. In this light, it is no different than sending out a function command, like blowing the whistle. Only the loco with the designated address selected in the programming process on your throttle or CS will respond and accept any programming changes that come next in the DCC packet. For example, when using the NCE throttle to program, the second step (after selecting “Programming on the Main”) is to select the loco address to which the commands will be sent.
This eliminates the possibility that all locos will be changed forever. Be sure to reference your DCC system’s instructions, as there is the possibility on some systems to turn the entire mainline into a programming track, which will then behave as we discussed last post.
One of the biggest advantages of Ops Mode Programming, especially with the sound decoders, is you can instantly hear or see the changes you made in the decoder’s behavior. When using the programming track, especially for volume controls, you’d have to remember how it sounded as you switch from programming track to mainline, which may not be located near each other.
It is also possible to program the address using Mainline Programming. Many systems allow you to do this by simply selecting “Address” after selecting “Programming on Main” and the loco number. Be careful with this option when using a Tsunami decoder, as it will not allow you to make changes to the address type that is active. What this means is that you can change the default short (2-digit, primary, 1-127) address to a long (4-digit, extended 0001-9999) address on the mainline, but you cannot change a short address to another short address. For example if you wanted to set the address from the default address of 3 to another short address of 20, the decoder will reject it. But if you wanted to change the default address of 3 to a long address of 1896, the decoder will accept it. With over 200 CVs, this helps prevent you from possibly losing command of your loco if you incorrectly input a number into the throttle or CS. You also can change a long address to a short address on the mainline. This allows you to ‘work around’ the short address to another short address on the mainline by first programming in an arbitrary long address (e.g. loco 1000) gain control of your loco, and then change the address again to the new desired short address. If something does not take, or you do lose control of the loco, a programming track with a PTB-100 booster will allow you to regain control of the loco because the programming track commands are not address-specific. It also makes constructing loco consists on the fly much easier by simply changing a few CVs during the simulated time it would take for the railroad crew to connect any MU hoses and cables on the real locomotives!
Programming on the Mainline is available in most DCC systems. Some are on the throttles while others are only on the base station or the CS. Once you become more familiar with using this option, it will not only become easier, but also make running your railroad more fun!