First, we have a couple new SoundTraxx products to introduce -- the Tsunami SoundCar™ Digital Sound Decoder for rolling stock and the CurrentKeeper™ power accessory. In this post, we'll discuss the features of the SoundCar and introduce its Intelligent Consisting feature. We've also included instructions for DIY electrical pickups.
We also have a few Blackstone Models announcements to share, along with a photo recap of the layouts we visited during the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Kansas City.
Finally, we have details on our upcoming in-store clinics in the northeast and some "groundbreaking" news.
New SoundTraxx Products
Tsunami SoundCar Digital Sound Decoder for Rolling Stock
|Tsunami SoundCar Digital Sound Decoder|
Watch the video!
Individual SoundCar decoders retail for $42.50 MSRP (P.N. 829100) and a 3-pack is available for $112.95 MSRP (P.N. 829110). For the best experience, we recommend installing a SoundCar in every third or fourth car in your train.
For even more information about the SoundCar, check out Bruce "Mr. DCC" Petrarca's review in "Model Railroad Hobbyist."
In addition to being the first DCC decoder of its kind, the Tsunami SoundCar introduces a new method for creating consists called Intelligent Consisting. This innovative feature came about during the testing phase where our sales team, Jarrette and George, discovered that programming all of the SoundCar-equipped models into a consist was cumbersome and time-consuming. Our design engineers came up with an clever method that uses a magnetic sensor to initiate consisting rather than having to individually program each unit’s CVs. We coined this method “Intelligent Consisting,” since the decoder “knows” when it’s supposed to be synchronized with a consist with the wave of a magnet. By reducing the number of steps required to set up consists, Intelligent Consisting represents a 90% time-savings over the traditional method!
Here’s how it works (follow along if you have SoundCar decoders):
For this example, set your SoundCar decoders and locomotive decoder to have CV 3 = 25, CV 4 = 75 and CV 61 = 178.
|Any magnet will work to activate |
To release the car from the consist, simply wave the magnet over the decoder again. The sound of the brakeman tying down the hand brake will play to indicate that the car is no longer part of the train.
The best part of this method is that any number of cars can be added at one time. The F8 sequence only needs to be done once. This allows for all switching to be done, then at one time, the whole train can be synchronized with Intelligent Consisting and sent on its way. Adding and subtracting cars on the road is easy as well. Only the cars in consist search mode (activated by the magnet) are added/subtracted from the train.
DIY Electrical Pickups
Since the SoundCar requires models to have electrical pickups, we’ve found a relatively easy way to use Kadee® No. 5 Centering Springs (Item #634) as wipers. At less than $3 for a dozen, these parts are also an inexpensive option for creating your own pickups.
The centering spring is comprised of a bronze plate with two spring “arms” that are each attached to opposite sides. You can modify the springs so that they rub along the backside of the wheels with the plate mounted to an insulated section of the bolster (you can use a small piece of insulated PCB or styrene) or directly to a plastic bolster.
To create an electrical circuit, you may either solder a piece of 30- to 32-gauge wire to the center of the plate glued to the PCB or styrene or use a plastic screw drilled and tapped through the bolster to hold the wire in place. If you solder the wire (to provide a more reliable connection), use glue to mount the insulator and plate (if necessary) to the bolster. To determine where to mount the plate, use an assembled truck as a reference to gauge placement so that the springs are brushing up against the backside of the wheels.
In order to get a complete circuit, you will need to add a pickup for the right rail wire and one for the left rail wire. For optimal performance, add pickups to all of the wheels. If you can only equip one truck with pickups to each rail, install a CurrentKeeper to maintain power to the decoder.
Blackstone Models Announcements
The Blackstone Models product development team has been busy as well working on the K-28 and K-36 Mikado releases, ProTraxx turnouts, and our first run of D&RGW 30’ Refrigerator Cars, which will all be available late 2015. We understand that the announcement of these products has generated much excitement and anticipation. We appreciate your patience during the engineering and production processes as numerous factors come into play. However, please know that we are working hard to get these models into stores and onto your layout.
The 2014 releases of D&RGW 800 Series Drop Bottom Gondolas and 6000 Series Flatcars are now available from authorized retailers.
And finally, our D&RG C-19 No. 345 model in her “movie scheme” decoration made an encore appearance at this year’s National Narrow Gauge Convention. We are pleased to offer a limited
re-release of this unique “stunt engine” in her bumblebee-style paint scheme as she appeared in the 1950s Western movie, “Denver & Rio Grande.” These show-stopping models are now available from authorized retailers.
|Blackstone Models HOn3 D&RG C-19 No. 345, "Movie Scheme"|
One of our favorite activities at train shows is visiting the layouts at the venue and in the area. George and Jarrette toured some amazing layouts during the 34th National Narrow Gauge Convention in Kansas City. They especially enjoyed seeing how the layouts use SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models products. Here are a few of our favorite photos from the world-class layouts and modules we saw in the Kansas City area. We wish we had more time to visit all of them! To see more photos, check out our Facebook album.
|Chuck Hitchcock, MMR, Argentine Industrial District Railway|
|Don Ball, MMR, Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad|
|Mike Borkon, Union Pacific’s Wyoming Third Subdivision|
|John Vandenburg, D&RGW Durango Division|
The SoundTraxx "Road Show" is headed to the northeast, where George will present in-store clinics on realistic railroad operations using Tsunami decoders. He also will demonstrate the new SoundCar decoder for rolling stock.
- Lin’s Junction
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
- Joe’s Train Station
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Yankee Dabbler
Saturday, October 4, 2014
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Hear the SoundCar in action and try Intelligent Consisting at the following shows:
New Building Coming in 2015
|Architect rendering of the new|
SoundTraxx building coming in 2015
|SoundTraxx owners Nancy Workman and Steve Dominguez|
break ground for the new building.