Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SoundCar Intelligent Consisting With Real-World Examples

Intelligent Consisting…What exactly is it?
In a nutshell, Intelligent Consisting is a method for quickly adding SoundCar-equipped models to a train without CV programming. It's DCC consisting "with the wave of a wand." Before I explain it in greater detail, here’s a quick background story:

It was one of those great “aha!” moments that we had while testing the Tsunami SoundCar prototype decoders. While operating several SoundCar-equipped models on my layout, Jarrette and I realized that it was a time-consuming (and not-so-fun) task to independently program each SoundCar decoder into a consist. We needed to find a better, easier way to consist decoder-equipped locomotives and rolling stock. We brainstormed several ideas with our engineering team and came up with a clever solution – a magnetic sensor on the decoder to activate a consisting mode. All it takes is the wave of a magnet over the decoder in the model and four presses of the F8 key to add it to a consist. So, rather than setting CV 19 (Consist Address) in each SoundCar decoder, you can do one sequence (wave a magnet over all cars and then press F8 four times) to add multiple SoundCar-equipped models to a consist.

Real-World and SoundCar Examples
With Intelligent Consisting, you are also playing the role of the brakeman. The SoundCar will play prototypical sound effects to acknowledge the completion of the brakeman tasks. 

When you first wave the magnet (i.e., brake club) over the decoder, you will hear the hand brake being untied, just like in the following video clips:

Prototype Hand Brake Untie

SoundCar Hand Brake Untie

After you press F8 on your cab four times, you will hear a light hiss of the retainer bleeding off to indicate that the car is hooked into the train line. It sounds like this:

SoundCar Retainer Bleed-off
Note: At the end of this video, you can also hear the sound of the cylinder setting since the brakes are set in the locomotive. When it joins a consist, the SoundCar decoder recognizes which functions are enabled in the locomotive's decoder, and responds accordingly. 

When you remove a car from the consist, simply wave the magnet over the decoder again and listen for the sounds of the hand brake being tied down and set, as demonstrated in the video clips:

Prototype Hand Brake Tie Down and Set

SoundCar Hand Brake Tie Down and Set

Putting It All Together: Intelligent Consisting Steps
In summary, here’s how Intelligent Consisting works with Tsunami SoundCar Digital Sound Decoders:
  1. Wave a magnet over the decoder in the models (Note: We recommend installing the decoder to the inside of the model’s roof with the magnetic sensor facing outward). 
  2. Listen for the sounds of the hand brakes being untied to confirm that the decoders are waiting for a signal from the command station.
  3. From your cab controlling the locomotive or consist, press F8 four times (Note: This function sequence can be remapped to any function key, 1-12). 
  4. Listen for a light hiss of the air retainer bleed-off to confirm that the cars are now part of train. When your train pulls away, the sounds of the SoundCar-equipped models will be in sync with the locomotive. 
SoundCar Intelligent Consisting
Note: The other sounds that are activated in the SoundCar decoders in this video are flat spots, generator, and the clickety-clack. Listen to our online SoundCar audio clip to hear more of the 20-plus sound effects available in the decoder.

Cutting a car from the consist is even easier! Just wave the magnet over the model again and listen for the sound of the hand brake being tied and set.

Visit the SoundCar Web page for additional information.

At SoundTraxx, our goal is to make your model railroading experience as fun and realistic as possible. We’re excited to introduce yet another innovative product that will change the way you run your layout. If you have an opportunity to try out Intelligent Consisting, please do so and let us know what you think! You can email your feedback to customernews@soundtraxx.com.

We’d like to thank the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for allowing us to use their equipment and helping us film these examples. 

Post by George Bogatiuk, SoundTraxx Sales Rep