Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

We would like to wish each and every one of you out there a safe and Happy Holidays from the crew at SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models! We will close for the Holidays on Dec 23rd and re-open Jan 3rd, 2010. Thank you for a successful 20th year in business!

Monday, December 13, 2010

SoundBytes XXXII

The Holiday season is upon us! This year has gone by so fast; it seems like yesterday we were enjoying the summer outdoor activities! The good part is we are now sequestered to our layouts and back to model building. This edition, we will meet Jeff Johnson, our Project Manager for Blackstone Models. Discuss the final trade show of the 2010 season. Finally, for our Tech Tip, we will discuss the Bachmann factory-installed decoders and how to find information for CV settings.
OKC Train Show
Last weekend, Jarrette and George were in attendance at the Oklahoma City Train Show. This event is not far from the Dallas Area, where George grew up. He enjoyed seeing old friends as well as many modelers in the area.
There were many great layouts on display, including the New Mexico Narrow Gauge Module Club set up across the aisle from us, running HOn3! Thank you to all who have made this year of trade shows enjoyable and we are looking forward to visiting new areas next year to have the opportunity to meet many more modelers! For a list of upcoming shows for 2011, please visit our website at

Introduction to Jeff Johnson:
He was born and spent most of his younger days in Oklahoma City. Later, while living in Southern California, during High School, he worked at Knotts Berry Farm working on their railroad. In April of 1981, Jeff moved to Durango to work on the then-new Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Jeff hired out as an engine watchman and ultimately ended up as a locomotive engineer.
In an effort to build on his career, he moved to Grand Junction, CO and went to work for the Southern Pacific in 1995 as a conductor and locomotive engineer. Working his way up the corporate ladder, he improved his Class 1 railroad career to a Manager of Operating Practices for the Union Pacific. In 2005, he returned to the town that he loved, Durango, accepting a job at SoundTraxx to help Steve and Nancy start up a division to manufacture finely detailed ready to run HOn3 equipment, Blackstone Models. It is his efforts and attention to detail that has helped make Blackstone Models what it is today. As his professional career brought him back to Durango, he now works part-time for the Durango and Silverton railroad. In the small amount of free time this would give most people, he somehow still finds time to play in his country-rock band, the High Rollers (, as an accomplished fiddle and banjo player.

Tech Tip:
This time we will briefly discuss the Bachmann Spectrum locomotives.

Bachmann locomotives use only 8 functions and therefore are re-mapped accordingly. The purpose of this was to allow Bachmann E-Z Command users to have access to the sound functions since the E-Z Command has only 8 functions. As a result, some of the functions may not be set to the same as the decoder that you have installed yourself. Most of the features are present in the decoder, just not mapped to a function.
We have a page on our website that discusses Bachmann Tsunami-equipped locomotives and what changes need to be made to operate these the same way as the ones you have installed. We have also included a factory CV setting page for many of these locomotives at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to see what these default settings are for these models without having to read each CV. This will also let you know where each volume CV is set to know where to start when making adjustments.
This page can be found here: For function mapping information, see the “Operating in DCC” document in the upper left hand of the page.