Monday, July 30, 2012

SoundBytes 7-30-12

NMRA National convention and the National Train Show are being held this week.
If you are in attendance, be sure to come by and say Hi! Jarrette will be giving clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday on prototypically using the Tsunami decoders, speed matching and consisting.  We will be there with a full staff at the show Friday, 9-12 for NMRA Members and 12-6 for the general public, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5.  More information can be found at

New announcements!
A few items are ripe for announcement at the NMRA convention. Included is a new Blackstone Models passenger car three-pack “Chili Line” cars in Pullman Green. These cars, road numbers 284, 306, and 320, come with the conductor’s bay window factory installed and ready for service. These will be shipping out soon, without a traditional pre-order period.
B350112      Chili-Line Passenger 3-pack    MSRP $280

Next up is a car that was requested, and we admit, looks good. We are announcing HOn3 3-bay open top hoppers painted in a D&RGW Flying Grande scheme. These former EBT Hoppers made their way all over the country, including Durango, Chama, and did service on the White Pass as well. We took a bit of liberty and added D&RGW to the list as if they were dispersed throughout the country from the EBT a bit earlier.  This car is decorated following the paint scheme and numbering sequence of their standard gauge counterparts. These are available in only 2 road numbers, though, meaning quantities are limited. These cars are available now to ship out immediately.
B340708      D&RGW 3-bay hopper #950   MSRP $54.95
B340708W  D&RGW 3-bay hopper #950   MSRP $59.95
B340709      D&RGW 3-bay hopper #955   MSRP $54.95
B340709W  D&RGW 3-bay hopper #955   MSRP $59.95

Last for Blackstone Models is the release of the EBT hopper Vulcan truck assembly. These will be available to start shipping out immediately.
B370113 2-Bay Hopper Vulcan truck MSRP $12.95/pr

Tech Tip:
With most of the hobby’s major manufacturers now using SoundTraxx for their factory-installed sound, there are many manufacturer-specific CV defaults now. Each company is free to choose how their decoder is set up. Many of these do not match the default settings of the decoders that are purchased and installed by the modeler. We get many questions as to what are the default settings, so when making changes, the user knows where they are starting from.
On our homepage,, down in the lower right, there is a box labeled “Quick Links”.
In this box, you will see “Factory-Installed Decoders.” Click here to be taken to the Factory-Installed page. Here each of the model manufacturers we supply are listed, Athearn, Bachmann, Bowser, Intermountain, S-Helper, Walthers and soon to be added, Rapido Trains. To find out about these specific models, click on any of the manufacturers, and this will pull up their page. Each manufacturer's page starts off with a little about the partnership we have with these companies. Scroll toward the bottom of the page, and listed by scale is each of that company’s models we have built decoders for. Click on any model to pull up its specific CV default list. These are the defaults selected by each company to more closely math their models.  These decoders do still adhere to the programming explained in the Tsunami User’s Guide for both Steam and Diesel.

Using this for each Tsunami factory-equipped model, you can achieve a standard operating scheme, or set volumes to be similar so you can have your whole fleet of locos operating to match your needs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

SoundBytes XLXIII

It has been a busy June here for us. Not only did we get the new shipment of Blackstone Models cars in, but we also held our annual dealer-training seminar.
We'd like to thank our dealers who attended the training this year. With July upon us, first, we hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.  Now we start preparations for the NMRA National Convention. 

Blackstone Models:
Most of the new Blackstone Models cars have shipped off to the dealers. We do still have some of these popular cars remaining here, including the new passenger car numbers along with the red Denver and Rio Grande 3-pack!

These cars also look great with our flicker-free DCC lighting kit installed.  This lighting module easily fits into the roof of the model and uses LEDs to evenly illuminate the interior with adjustable brilliance and no flickering! This 4-function DCC decoder will compliment these great passenger cars.  (Part Number 810136, MSRP $35.95)
The EBT Hoppers have been getting great reviews, and are just about sold out! Don’t miss out on these great cars.

New C-19s: The D&RGW #346 Post-Wreck
Following the popularity of the Blackstone Models K-27 RGS #455 Post-wreck, with our new C-19 and 2-8-0 locomotive release, we will be including the D&RGW #346, as she existed after it was wrecked in 1936 on Kenosha Pass. The loco was re-built with a steel cab, a wood pilot beam, and the unique steam and sand domes on the boiler. Blackstone Models has chosen to model this version of the #346 C-19 as she appeared in the late 30’s to the late 40’s adorned with the Flying Grande herald that was applied in the mid 40’s. (B310210-S, B310210W-S for weathered version)  Dealers are taking orders now for this, and other C-19 and 2-8-0 locomotives for release in early 2013. More information on Blackstone Models upcoming C-19 and 2-8-0 release can be found here:

Trade shows:
We will be attending the upcoming NMRA National Convention and the National Train Show in Grand Rapids MI July 31st thru August 5th.  Jarrette will be giving 3 clinics on the features of the SoundTraxx’ Tsunami decoders and using Tsunami decoders in prototypical operations.  A lot of good information will be shared there. If you are in attendance, please come by the booth to say hello, and to see what is going on in the world of SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models

Tech Tip:
Every so often, we are asked questions or given suggestions from our customers that may have slipped under our radar. This tip comes from Matt Tjaden from Virginia. He found a way to set up his loco for a straight to Notch 8 feature using a single Function button with our Tsunami decoders. For F40PH Head End Power (HEP), the prime mover ran in notch 8 at all times to supply electrical power to the passenger coaches garnering them the nickname "Little Screamers". 
Using the Tsunami decoder, this can be achieved by using the Dynamic brake application feature set in CV 116. When the Dynamic brakes are applied, the different manufacturers of the locos had the prime mover do different things based on the needs. For an example that relates here, GE and ALCO typically had the prime mover run up to notch 8. To set this up, we’ll apply this Dynamic brake logic, but to prevent the dynamic brake fan sound, we’ll set this volume to 0. Here’s how it’s done. First, add 192 to the value in CV 116. Default value is 39 (7 (7 speed steps up or down notched the diesel engine) + 32 (Auto Start, loco sounds start up upon track power.)=39). Add in the 192 so the prime mover runs to notch 8 when F4 is applied. CV116 then will be 39+192=231. Next, set the volume level for the dynamic brakes (CV133) to 0. Now when F4 is pressed, the diesel engine will ramp up to notch 8, with no dynamic brake sounds, a perfect reproduction of the HEP sounds of a loco at the press of a button!