Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SoundBytes XVI

Well, it’s 2010 and we are back to work after a short holiday break and time to crank out another edition of SoundBytes. In this post, we will take a look at the upcoming
Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show and discuss some new products. Blackstone has some new announcements as well as the imminent delivery of the Economy-Door Boxcars. For our Tech Tip, we will look at installing an exhaust cam in steam locomotives.

Amherst 2010

Every year we make the journey to Springfield, Massachusetts in January for the Big Railroad show sponsored by the Amherst Railway Society. This show encompasses 4 buildings at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds.

We will be displaying our products in the Better Living Center, next to our friends at Athearn and one of our dealers, Traintek at Booth 27.
If you are in the area and are able to attend, be sure to come by our booth and say “Hi!” George will also be giving a Tsunami programming clinic on Saturday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 1:00pm in the Young building. In this clinic we will be discussing programming tips and techniques to help get the most from your Tsunami decoders. We will also be having show specials and some big announcements, so be sure to come see us!
Another exciting fact is that with this show, it marks our 20th year in business delivering high quality electronics for the model railroader! More information can be found at http://www.railroadhobbyshow.com/

Blackstone Models

We are expecting delivery of the Economy-Door Boxcars this week at our facility in Durango. We should get these into stock quickly and sent out to the dealers soon. If you have not yet ordered any of these cars yet, get your orders in soon. Many of the cars are close to being sold out!

It is time to get your sheep together! This weekend, we announced the road numbers for the double deck sheep cars. These are a version of the stock car that divided the car into 2 decks to allow more, but shorter livestock to be carried than on a conventional single deck stock car. Following Blackstone’s reputation for high levels of accurate detail and reliable operation out of the box, we are proud to offer these cars in 7 different road numbers with 2 paint schemes both weathered and non-weathered. Pre-orders are being taken now, so be sure to contact your dealer. These cars are due sometime late summer 2010.
Also, don’t forget to get orders in for your K-27. We are doing a very limited re-run of these locomotives. Be sure to get your order in before February 1st to guarantee you get yours.

We are re-running 3 road numbers, 453, 463, and 464 while adding 3 new numbers, 452, 458 and 462. See http://www.blackstonemodels.com/ for more details.

Tech Tip:

The Tsunami is set up for an automatic chuff that is adjustable. It will increase in speed linearly as the throttle increases. The problem with that is locomotive gearing is not usually 1:1. Therefore, the chuffs are not always in sync with the current speed of the locomotive. For the discerning modeler that wants exact timing at every speed, Tsunami has the ability to use a chuff cam.
The cam kit sold by SoundTraxx has a printed circuit board with different size cams printed on it. It also comes with a small piece of PC board and small piece of Phosphor-Bronze spring wire.

Notice there are a few different patterns on the cam board. These represent different types of locomotives. The standard 4 spoke is for most conventional rod locomotives. There is one with 8 traces, which would be for a simple articulated locomotive for the corresponding 8 chuffs per revolution. There are 2 additional ones for geared locomotives with 12 and 16 chuffs per revolution.
Be sure to follow the instructions for a good solid installation. Install the cam following the instructions included with the kit. Painting only the back of the cam black will help disguise it through spoked drivers. Use an Ohm Meter to test for continuity with the wheel. Mounting the small pc board and getting the wire just right can be easy or tricky depending on the installation model. An alternate method to mount the wiper was suggested by one of our dealers. Using a small brass tube, a Kadee® knuckle spring and a straight pin, an alternate method can be built. Solder a short piece of the brass tube parallel to the axle on the copper pc board. Then, put the spring onto the pin and insert into the tube. Bend the pin out the other side to keep it in place, but be sure to allow enough play that the spring keeps the pinhead against the cam on the axle at all times. Exact spacing may take some trial and error, but the results are worth the effort. Then solder the wire from the decoder for the cam to the board and paint the assembly black to help disguise it, and then the installation is done. (Be careful not to paint the moving parts on this wiper.) This is one George did for his Bachmann Spectrum 4-8-2 mountain.

Activating the cam is simply a matter of programming CV112. Following the chart we posted last time, a value of 128 is for a cam and single air pump, while a value of 129 is for a cam with 2 air pumps. Once these have been programmed, the cam sound work well and give the proper number of chuffs no matter the speed.