In the layout room, nobody can hear you scream


LCC Clinic: Build a layout!

Three hours of LCC goodness. Takes you through the entire process of adding blocks, turnouts, and signals.

Not for the faint of heart!

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.

The pull-up resistor


I've been working on some arduino circuits and decided to take a break to learn a bit about pull-up resistors, which are used in a digital circuits to prevent floating conditions when dealing with inputs.

As usual, a quick search on the google provided a ton of information on the subject. Here is a great video that I found on the youtubes:

New Panel for Tavern Rock

New Panel for Tavern Rock
Upgrading the turnouts at Tavern Rock Sand and Gravel has been on my list for a LOOONG time!

It's finally happening. Yes, the east end of St. Charles is getting the awesome Kasper MKVII, Rev 2 turnouts! And tortisuses. And a diode matrix. And a new panel.

As usual, special thanks to Joe for the turnouts (and the installation) and the clarification of the Captain America/Avengers story line.

Soon, all of manual throw turnouts in St. Charles will be eliminated - a long-awaited dream.