In the layout room, nobody can hear you scream

July 2016

Boonville gets sound!

I recently completed a nice upgrade to the Union Pacific job at Boonville: adding a stationary sound decoder. The decoder is hard wired to the DCC bus beneath Boonville, and is installed as part of the locomotive consist for the morning shift of the Boonville UP Job. The speaker (from an iPhone) is located inside the Mid-Missouri Processed Foods building, which acts as a resonating chamber for the speaker. The volume is quite loud and high quality.

I use a Soundtraxx Econami ECO-100 diesel decoder, with an iPhone speaker. The iPhone speaker is nice in that the baffle is all built-in, so you just solder the two wires and you are ready to rumble!

One may comment, “But the sound is stationary! It doesn’t follow the locomotive!” Tru’ dat, but the Boonville switching area is relatively compact and the bass frequencies tend to omni-directional in nature, so the directional effect is generally not noticed. You will notice that the bell sounds and the horn effects do not come from the locomotive – not a big deal.

A nice feature of the Econami decoder is the quiet mode time-out period (CV113). When the throttle is set to zero and all functions are off, all sound effects will automatically deactivate after the quiet mode time-out period elapses. I have the time out period set to 30-45 seconds, so when the locomotives are idle, the sound will cease. This prevents the consist from idling and popping all during the session in staging.

The long-term goal is to install another decoder and speaker for the PM shift locomotives, and install it in the same location.

Still in recovery mode

It's been a week since we got back from the NMRA Convention in Indianapolis, and I must say that I'm still recovering from the week. Aside from a huge backlog at work, and the really hot outside temperatures, my modeling time has been limited.

I attended Stevie's weekly work session and started a project that I'm really excited about. It's an automatic interlocking plant, using the Model Railroad Control Systems cpNode hardware. Joe and I will be working on this project jointly, and I will have more to say at a later time.

We are going to add signals to this area on Steve's layout, and create an automated interlocking plant

Awesome rail squeallage!

I've been looking for a sound file of wheel/rail squeal for a project I have in mind.

I came across this YouTube video and it will be perfect for my needs! I'll update the blog when I install the project.

NMRA Convention - Indianapolis - 2016

We just got back from the NMRA National Convention in Indy. We had a GREAT time.

The host hotel (Westin downtown) was great; all the clinics I attended were terrific; the trade show was great.

Most of our time was spend at the KC 2018 Convention booth, with Joe and Rick and Steve (and spouses). We sold nearly 70 early-bird registrations for KC, so that was good.

While I didn't go on any tours this time, I heard great things about them, and the busses seemed to run on time.

Indy is a great city, and I want to go back and do the touristy things that I missed while I was otherwise occupied.

Joe and I ran on the Operations Road Show, a time-table and train-order modular layout. We had a good time and didn't screw up too badly. Near the end of the session, we got Train #1, the hottest train on the layout, but time ran out before we got very far.

Panel presentation on "What I would do differently on my next layout". My buddy, Steve, is the handsome one in the middle.

Slide from Bruce Chubb's clinic on CTC implementation using C/MRI.

Scene from the award-winning module, This N-scale module had an astounding level of detail!

The N-Scale Convention

Whew! What a busy couple of weeks!

The National N-scale convention was in town and the layout was on tour for two days AND I hosted two operating sessions during the week! It was a busy, but fun week.

The tours were uneventful, if you don't count the one bus that got lost and never showed up at several of the tour stops! Long story, that one.

The operating sessions were nerve-wracking, as usual, and i learned a good lesson - the layout does best with a crew of 8, especially if the operators are go-go visiting operators. On Thursday, we had a crew of 11, and they all wanted a train RIGHT NOW. So the dispatcher put about 5 trains on the layout, and promptly brought the session to its knees! The main got plugged with a couple of local and the autorack train in St. Charles, and it was pandemonium for a while. It eventually got smoothed out, but "whew" it was a dicey start to the session!

The trade show was great, and I got a couple bargains. It was awesome to see an entire exhibit hall filled with nothing but N-scale merchandise! A rare sight indeed!

I'll post a few photos in the photo section.

Pat Lana gave me this great CRANDIC custom-decalled trailer, that is now proudly hauled on the Westbound Pig Train!

Pat and others work to get caught up in Franklin Yard

A Special Captive Service Car!

Here is a special glass sand hopper, given to me by my good friend, Pat Lana. Pat custom-decalled the 2-bay sand hopper, which will be billed on the Mighty MKT at Tavern Rock Sand and Gravel. The hopper will travel from Tavern Rock in St. Charles to Kansas City on the Katy, At Kansas City, it will be transferred to another railroad for eventual deliver to the Candice,Pat's layout.

Pat has a similar hopper on his layout that will transfer at Kansas City to the MKT, for delivery to Tavern Rock on the St. Louis Subdivision.

Awesome open load on the BN Marais Division

Got this at the N-Scale Convention. Astounding modeling by Charles Hopkins.