On a more personal, lighter side of SoundTraxx, we wanted to share a couple of trips that George and Jarrette went on that we think would be fun and interest people in the model railroad community. First was George’s trip to Ohio where he visited the Warther Museum. Next was a quick, one-day visit in Phoenix where both George and Jarrette toured Jarrette’s old stomping grounds in the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona, and then took in a good NHL head-to-head meeting between Jarrette’s Phoenix Coyotes and George’s Dallas Stars.
George’s Vacation Trip to The Warther Museum, Dover, Ohio
George was out visiting the in-laws in Ohio a month ago. While there, they took him to a really cool museum in Dover, Ohio. The Warther Museum is a testament to the wood carving talents of Ernest “Mooney” Warther, and his love for trains.
A Visit to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona
On Friday, March 8, George and Jarrette headed to Phoenix, Arizona. They arrived late Friday night, just in time to get some dinner and rest for the full day planned on Saturday.
Saturday morning came quickly and they headed off to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (http://therailroadpark.com/) in Scottsdale, Arizona. This park houses a 10,000 sq. ft. model railroad exhibit hall housing three model railroad clubs in O, HO (http://scottsdalemrhs.org/) and N scale (http://www.sun-n-sand.org/Pages/default.aspx). There is also live steam in 7 ½” gauge and 15” available for rides around the park grounds.
http://www.scottsdalelivesteamers.com/) where they rode and ran trains and caught up with some friends.
Next they were off to watch some National Hockey League hockey action at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. They had great seats behind the visiting Dallas Stars’ goal.
After a great day in Phoenix, it was back home to Durango, Colorado, on Sunday.
Dealer Spotlight: North Idaho Model Trains, Sandpoint, Idaho
North Idaho Model Trains is located in Sandpoint, Idaho, and is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Sean and Wendy. North Idaho Model Trains is an Internet and word-of-mouth success story!
In this digital age, their business serves everywhere and anywhere. As a full-service dealer, they offer almost everything needed to complete your trains and layouts, including SoundTraxx decoders and Blackstone Models locomotives and rolling stock, as well as accessories and landscape material. Their specialty is installing SoundTraxx decoders using LEDs to help their clients achieve the most realistic looking and sounding model trains available. Many modelers send them their favorite model trains from all over the USA, Canada, and as far away as Australia, to have upgrades completed. When they had an opportunity to expand the business to Australia, Sean and Wendy jumped at the chance. A family friend, Pat, approached Sean about the need for model trains supplies at reasonable prices in the “Land of Oz,” and so they partnered up with Pat to expand North Idaho Model Trains’ services across the globe.
As a modeler and railfan, Sean enjoys their home in the woods, which shares a border with the UP Railroad, and is within viewing distance of the BNSF ‘High Line’ mainline. It’s a train fan’s paradise!
You can call them in the States at (208) 360-7990 or check in at their website at www.northidahomodeltrains.com, as well as on Facebook. In Australia, contact Pat at 0432524783. They will be happy to help you with your next install.
Tech Tip: Soldering
One of the key skills used in decoder installation is soldering. It is a seemingly simple task, but yet there are many aspects to this fine art that will help ease the installation.
The first step is having the proper tools for soldering. Many modelers may have solder guns for plumbing work, or a resistance soldering station for use with brass model work. While these may be effective tools for the given tasks, they do not work well with fine electronics. There are many different soldering irons available out there, but it’s best to have one for electronics with variable temperature control and a fine tip for precise work.
The process for a good, reliable solder joint is simple. First is to tin any stranded wires involved. To tin the end of a wire, twist the wire strands until they are tight with no stray strands. Add a little bit of flux to the wire with the end of a small screwdriver, a toothpick if using paste flux or a small brush or needle if using liquid flux. Then with a hot iron (Around 700 degrees Fahrenheit), take the solder and just touch a bit to the tip of the iron to form a small liquid ball of solder. (This is not a case of “if a little is good, a lot is better!”)
To make the joint to the PC board, take the wire into the hole on the PC board tab and bend to help hold it in place. Again, apply a bit of flux to the joint. Then place a small bit of solder to the tip of the iron and touch to the joint.
One good thing to have handy when soldering is a wet sponge. This is used to help keep the tip of the iron clean and free of excess solder. After soldering your connection, brush the tip of the iron along the wet sponge and it will cool the solder and draw it off the tip, leaving you a clean tip for the next joint. Excessive solder not only can make the joints look bad, but it can also cause premature wear of the soldering tip. When done soldering after your install, it is best to put a bit of solder on the end of the iron to help preserve the life of the tip.
For more details on soldering, check out our document “SoundTraxx’ Guide to Successful Soldering” at http://www.soundtraxx.com/manuals/soldering%20guide.pdf
Thursday, March 7, 2013
GenSet Decoders are Now Shipping
After much work, the new TSU-AT1000 for the Atlas HO GenSet is now shipping. These properly reproduce the prototypical operation of the complex units. If you are looking for the best sound option for your HO models, be sure to get one on order and/or installed by your local hobby shop.
GenSet Sound Sample: http://www.soundtraxx.com/dsd/tsunami/showwistle.php?s=qsk19cx3
Customer e-Newsletter, SoundBits
The first customer e-newsletter, SoundBits, went out March 1, 2013. This e-newsletter will help keep you informed about new products, announcements, catalog releases, new application notes (installation documents) and other general SoundTraxx and Blackstone Models news. You can subscribe to this newsletter by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dealer Spotlight: TrainWorld/TrainLand in NY
TrainLand is Peter’s second store, which he opened with his wife, Aileen, in 1976. They purchased the building for their first store, TrainWorld, in 1973 on M Avenue in Brooklyn. As the company grew and a prosperous mail order business propelled them to the next level, Peter and Aileen purchased a bigger piece of property and relocated to 751 McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn. The attainment of TrainLand helped build their retail division and increased their presence as a major hobby shop in New York. With the properties in place, TrainWorld/TrainLand has over 50,000 square feet of warehouse space.
751 McDonald Ave. 293 Sunrise Hwy.
Brooklyn, NY 11218 Lynbrook, NY 11563
(800) 541-7010 (516) 599-7080
Tech Tip: Programming on Main
Last time we discussed in detail programming CVs using the programming track. This time, we’ll get into the details on using the Programming on the Main (Operations Mode, Ops Mode) option.
There are many conflicting ideas about the realities and myths of using the mainline to program decoders. Some individuals and clubs forbid this practice, while others embrace the technology. To help, let’s clarify what it means to program on the mainline and how it can work for you, as well as dispel some of the misconceptions about it.
The biggest misunderstanding is that programming on the mainline will reprogram all locos on the layout with the new changes, therefore cause undesired or disastrous results. This is simply not true. When sending out a programming command on the mainline, the command station (CS) first sends out an address command, indicating which loco(s) will listen to the programming command. In this light, it is no different than sending out a function command, like blowing the whistle. Only the loco with the designated address selected in the programming process on your throttle or CS will respond and accept any programming changes that come next in the DCC packet. For example, when using the NCE throttle to program, the second step (after selecting “Programming on the Main”) is to select the loco address to which the commands will be sent.
One of the biggest advantages of Ops Mode Programming, especially with the sound decoders, is you can instantly hear or see the changes you made in the decoder’s behavior. When using the programming track, especially for volume controls, you’d have to remember how it sounded as you switch from programming track to mainline, which may not be located near each other.
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