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    • August 14, 2018 7:58 AM EDT
    • Dan Pierce said:

      Be aware that Bachmann used the Soundtraxx dcc/sound decoder in the 3 truck shay and it has a 21 volt DCC limit.  Fault condition for over voltage is 10 blinks of the lights.

      All of my systems are 24 volts (yes 24, power supply is regulated 30 volts) and only one was adjustable to go down to 21 volts.

      Dan

       

      It is true that when Bachmann released its 3 Truck Shay with sound long long time ago, the Soundtraxx decoder used indeed has a 21 volt DCC limit which shall we say a pain in the butt.

       

      HOWEVER

       

      I am aware of NO product that Bachmann has released in Large Scale since then that has this problem.  For example Bachmann has released a LS Climax with sound and a Thomas (Percy) with sound and neither has the 21 volt limit.

       

      I also believe that no Soundrtraxx Large Scale decoder released since the 3 truck shay that has this problem.

       

      Manufacturers do learn from their mistakes.

       

      Stan

    • August 14, 2018 7:45 AM EDT
    • Be aware that Bachmann used the Soundtraxx dcc/sound decoder in the 3 truck shay and it has a 21 volt DCC limit.  Fault condition for over voltage is 10 blinks of the lights.

      All of my systems are 24 volts (yes 24, power supply is regulated 30 volts) and only one was adjustable to go down to 21 volts.

    • August 13, 2018 2:48 PM EDT
    • Mark-

       

      Did you adjust the CV's through DCC throttle/DCC system, or did you use a computer program like JMRI Decoder Pro?

       

       

    • August 13, 2018 6:40 PM EDT
    • David...my bad. There is volume control. It’s just integrated with track selection.  So far the speaker has been going for 2’hours. I’m quite pleased

      Richard

    • August 13, 2018 6:02 PM EDT
    • David, I purchased a little better speaker for my son...it cost a whopping $10 at Office Max.  It does have volume control...so I may have to return the cheaper and go with the more expensive .  It is a bit time consuming trying to get the right volume of mix then rendering out a 2.5 hour mp3...

      Richard

    • August 13, 2018 5:40 PM EDT
    • Nice solution, Richard - strange that there is no volume control when they allow you to play from an SD card.

       

      dave

    • August 13, 2018 4:43 PM EDT
    • Here is a picture of what I'm playing with.  The blue tooth speaker was $6 at Office Max.  I purchased a few SanDisk micro SD chips and some velcro.  The SD chip goes into a slot in the speaker and plays.  Since there isn't any volume control using the chip I have to test mix my sound sequences in my studio computer.  But the speaker is battery powered and rechargeable and lasts 2 hours.  I picked up a total of 4 speakers and figured I could swap out one speaker for a charged backup using the velcro.  I'll outfit the other two with some sounds for the train station.   Will see how it all pans out.  But pretty inexpensive and no wiring.

      Richard

    • August 13, 2018 2:55 PM EDT
    • Yep, $14 for 5 of them on Amazon:

      https://www.amazon.com/DFPlayer-Player-YX5200-Support-Arduino/dp/B07BDD8BF3/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1534186413&sr=8-4&keywords=dfplayer&dpID=51o0QYF9rKL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

      Greg

    • August 13, 2018 11:35 AM EDT
    • Richard Mynderup said:

      Has anyone had any experience with adding sound to model buildings?  I'd like to add some basic saloon type sounds to a building as well as recreate the "ticking" of the telegraph machine in the train station.

      I'm toying with the idea of using a inexpensive blue tooth speaker synced with a playback source such as an iPod or other type of mp3 player.  I have a small digital music studio out of my home so am fully capable of looping tracks and sound effects.  I'm just looking for the pros and cons of doing it this way.

      Thanks,

      Richard

      Richard - Your posting got me thinking about an inexpensive way to add sound effects to buildings. 

      I have been using a very capable & inexpensive MP3 board, called the DFPlayer, in a host of projects. 

      Normally you connect it to an Arduino, PIC or other microcontroller but it does have a mode that works with minimal components.

      Have a look at my notes here:  http://www.trainelectronics.com/Arduino/MP3Sound/Simple/

      I put together a very simple way to use the DFPlayer without soldering or any exotic electronics.

      The player sells on Amazon for less than $10 and for much less on eBay.  If you have a good "junk box" of parts you need little more than the board & an old MicroSD card.

      Please let me know if you have any questions

      dave

    • August 12, 2018 12:08 AM EDT
    • I sure hope the saloon and piano playing mix I created today sounds good...as I'm rendering the mp3 audio for 2.5 hour clip it's taking forever on i7 processor...

    • August 11, 2018 2:39 PM EDT
    • I had a cheap player that would not auto-start.  So I made a 555 timer activate a solonoid that would physically "punch" the switch to make the track start.  That worked fine.

       

      The problem then became that each time it would start, it would revert to a reduced volume setting that was too low to be practical for the application.    That's why I went to the player that just continues to play throughout the day. 

    • August 11, 2018 2:18 PM EDT
    • I could find players for under $2 but could not tell if they would "auto start"... so the speakers will play from the SD card? Great.

       

      Greg

    • August 11, 2018 10:42 AM EDT
    • Cool Richard.  Great idea.  I have some other ambient noise Ideas I'd like to use around the railroad.

    • August 11, 2018 10:37 AM EDT
    • Went to Office Max back-to-school shopping with my son yesterday and found an Ativa wireless blue tooth speaker on sale for $6.  Sounds great for the application that I plan on doing.  Battery is rechargeable and only lasts 2 hours...but at this price I figured I could by several back ups and with the use of velcro swap the speakers as they need charging. The speaker also uses an SD microchip so I don't even need to blue tooth it.  Ordered 4 16gb cards on Amazon which should be here Monday.  

      I found the telegraph sound from (as Todd Brody calls it "Dizzyland") and plan to loop it adnausium.

      For the "saloon" I'm going to mix a few tracks of ambient chatter with some ragtime piano playing...think it will sound pretty good when done.  

      This is becoming fun!!

      Richard

    • August 10, 2018 4:01 PM EDT
    • I use a computer speaker system with one speaker in the main station that plays station-type sounds (carts, dogs, people, etc.) and the other speaker in the water tower (engine yard and machine sounds).  These are connected to an MP3 player.

       

      I made a 300 second stereo loop in Audacity taking sound bites from the 'net back when you could easily download them.  I split this into ten 30-second sections.  When a train pulls into the station, it's magnet retriggers a reed switch tied to the sound loop, beginning at any of the 10 segments at random.  It will then play up to 300 seconds, then shut down, starting at that point in the loop.  This keeps it from getting boring.  Also, it doesn't take 300 seconds for a train to go around the loop, so without this "random start" it would be the same sounds each time the train returns.

       

      I got the MP3 player from Dave Bodner.  It was his prototype and can do as many as 80 random start points (eight banks of 10).

       

      We also have an MP3 player that plays "The Low Rider" (like 6 different versions) as well as other "War" and "Cheech and Chong" tracks in the station where the Low Rider train parks.  The amp gets its power from the rails, so it only plays when the trains run, though the MP3 player loops continuously throughout the day until I turn it off or it runs out of charge.

       

      Our barn has cow sounds and the stock car has sheep that get figgity traversing rough terrain..., or when the ranch hands approach.  (We have some very attractive sheep and lonely ranch hands.)

       

      Sometimes, the Jazz band plays in the town square (cassette player) and the singer sounds exactly like Aretha Franklin.

       

      Finally, somewhere along the line I picked up a telegraph sound module.  The telegraph message is the same as the one you would hear at Dizzyland in Anaheim.

    • August 10, 2018 3:42 PM EDT
    • I think you can find inexpensive players that read from an SD card. I would not want to be adding multiple bluetooth music streams and have to maintain the radio links.

       

      If you can find one that auto starts on powerup that would work well... I know they are out there and cheap.

       

      Greg

    • August 12, 2018 2:02 PM EDT
    • Had some time this weekend to experiment.  On the bench, closed up, it seems to work, and I could get link on the other side of the basement.  So, possibly, crisis averted.

       

      Now, to get a sound card for this thing.  It's a PITA to open up, so I should do it all at once.

    • August 12, 2018 3:28 AM EDT
    • David Maynard said:

      I tend to think like a kid trapped in an adult body.

      Gee, mee too. I refuse to grow up. Grown ups are grumpy people who are always worried bout something happening. What they worry about happening, usually doesn't happen, and if it does happen, its not as bad as they thought it was going to be.

       

       

      Some wise words I have encountered over my lifetime which now sum up my philosophy on life;

      Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional  

      Don't worry about it will never happen and if it has happened then its too late to worry about it  

      Life's to short to get wrapped around the axles over small stuff.  

       

       

    • August 11, 2018 6:43 AM EDT
    • I tend to think like a kid trapped in an adult body.

      Gee, mee too. I refuse to grow up. Grown ups are grumpy people who are always worried bout something happening. What they worry about happening, usually doesn't happen, and if it does happen, its not as bad as they thought it was going to be.

    • August 10, 2018 9:15 PM EDT
    • Martin Sant said:

      Hang in there, everyone starts with 'Hello World'.  Python is one of the best programming languages I have ever used.  You can do really simple stuff, a few lines, or go nuts and do complex web apps.  I love it.

       

      Just got hold of 2 book for teaching python to kids, "Snake Wrangling for Kids" and "Python for kids" so hopefully they will not be like the dry and boring text books that I have come across so far.   I tend to think like a kid trapped in an adult body.

      Mastering Raspberry Pi is also in the mix.