Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SoundBytes XLII

Model train season is upon us now! Time to start migrating back to our layouts and get back to railroading. Here at SoundTraxx, we are gearing up for show season. We’ll let you know where we will be in the upcoming months. Also, we will share the new announcements from Blackstone. Last, for the Tech Tip, what to do about a loco making sound, but no control.

Upcoming Show and Appearance Schedule:
Show season is on us. We will be venturing out to a few shows in the next couple of months. George will be at Arnie’s Trains, http://www.arniestrains.com/, in Westminster, CA on October 21st giving clinics about using and programming Tsunami as well as answering questions. Next up is Trainfest in Milwaukee, November 12th and 13th, http://www.trainfest.com/. Following that is The Oklahoma City Train Show in Oklahoma City December 3rd and 4th, http://www.okctrainshow.com/. If you are able to attend these shows, be sure to come by, meet our personnel and ask any questions. We always enjoy meeting our fellow modelers. Come by to see what’s new!

SoundTraxx News
With the release of the new Athearn U-50 model, we have been asked many times if we will have a
correct decoder for this locomotive. The answer is: YES! We are producing a dual GE FDL-16 decoder for use with the Athearn U50, part number 827124. This decoder will have dual recordings of the FDL prime movers to more realistically reproduce the sound of the prototype locomotive’s twin U25 locos on one frame. These are shipping now and will be available at dealers soon!

Blackstone Models News
With the recent National Narrow Gauge Convention in Hickory, NC, we of course, took the opportunity to make some announcements for upcoming new products!
To start, we will be doing 6 new road numbers for each of the 3000 series Boxcars and 5500 series Single-Deck Stockcars. Also, we have announced a second run of passenger cars, included are 2 new green coach numbers, green painted/unlettered, a painted/unlettered red and a 3-pack of red fully decorated passenger coaches for the early 1900s Denver and Rio Grande scheme.
Other additions to the line are the much requested tank car trucks (Both Arch Bar and Bettendorf) that will be available separately now. A new accessory lighting decoder for the Blackstone Models Long Caboose will be available soon as well.
Last, we will be doing a new run of C-19 locomotives with a few of the D&RGW and RGS road numbers that were not done last run mostly due to the different tenders. Details are still being ironed out, so as soon as we have these completed, we will make the formal announcement, including road numbers and part numbers.
Dealers are taking reservations on these new announcements now! For more information including part numbers and road numbers, go to http://www.blackstonemodels.com/ 
We also received the first pre-production samples of the upcoming East Broad Top Hopper car for inspection and testing.
Visit our website (http://www.blackstonemodels.com/rolling/hopper/index.php ) to check these out. Demand is high on these cars.  Be sure to get your desired quantities on order with your dealers.

Tech Tip:
We get calls from time to time about a locomotive idling on the track, but will not respond to the assigned address. This could happen if you are attempting to program the locomotive on the programming track without the PTB-100. If this happens, the decoder is not malfunctioning or defective, it simply has the wrong address in it. All commands to run to motor or blow the horn/whistle are being sent to an address that is not active. How can this happen?
The programming track is set to about ½ power of the normal DCC system. The idea for this was to protect the decoder against short circuits or faulty wiring. What happens is the Tsunami, a powerful and capable decoder, has a processor that, unfortunately, needs more power than most programming tracks provide. Therefore, when programming, the decoder may get enough power to ‘wake up’ the processor, but this is after some of the programming commands have been sent, resulting in an erroneous address being programmed into the decoder. When placed on the main track, the address that is active is not the one you are expecting, so it does not respond to the address you assign to the cab.
There are two ways to remedy this situation. One is to select each address, starting with 1, then 2, until the decoder responds to any commands sent to that address. With 9,999 possible addresses, this may take some time to do. The second, and more reliable way (Not to mention quicker) is to get a PTB-100 from a SoundTraxx dealer. This will amplify the power on the programming track to levels that the Tsunami will reliably read and write CVs. Because DCC programming commands sent on the programming track are NOT address dependent, the decoder will accept programming the address on the programming track and activate this address. The decoder will respond with no problems then. The PTB-100 will also use LEDs to give visual indication of the programming process to ensure proper programming as well as short circuit protection. Retail price is $59.95.  These are found at any of our reputable dealers!