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    • September 19, 2017 2:55 PM EDT
    • Michael Kirrene said:

      Good stuff, Eric. Thanks for that. That's something that it's essentially DCC signals going to the modem.

      The components are off-the-shelf and cheap, but the transmitter and boards aren't. I'm willing to pay the price for a high quality product.  


      I agree 100%.  I will still buy their products wherever a product exists for the application.

    • September 19, 2017 2:49 PM EDT
    • Good stuff, Eric. Thanks for that. That's something that it's essentially DCC signals going to the modem.

      The components are off-the-shelf and cheap, but the transmitter and boards aren't. I'm willing to pay the price for a high quality product.  


    • September 19, 2017 2:39 PM EDT
    • Shortcomings of DCC notwithstanding, it seems like a smart approach to use the existing standard.  They haven't made any attempt to obfuscate the data or disguise the components on their boards - things that would have been trivial to do if they wanted to head off reverse engineering efforts.  I really just want to make my own stuff, but there do seem to be some holes in their product lineup that could be filled by a third party.

    • September 19, 2017 2:16 PM EDT
    • Unless Airwire gets cranky, I could see this kind of investigation opening up the market to compatible hardware from other manufacturers.  That's my largest gripe with battery power, there's no transmitter/receiver standards, and you can get quickly orphaned if a manufacturer decides to stop production.

    • September 19, 2017 2:13 PM EDT
    • Yeah, that's cool.  I had heard that's how they were doing it but I wasn't sure. Thanks for the engineering investigation. Much appreciated.

    • September 19, 2017 12:50 PM EDT
    • OK, thats really nifty.  I dont have the know-how to debug like this, but I'm definitely an electronics junkie.  Looking forward to your progress.

    • September 19, 2017 12:44 PM EDT
    • I had been wondering about how the Airwire system actually works, as I'd like to build my own devices, and be able to program decoders with a computer instead of the throttle.  I finally dug into it, and here's what I have learned.  It may be of some interest.

      The Airwire devices use the Anaren A1101R09x RF modules, which consist of a TI CC1101 RF modem packaged with supporting hardware (crystal, antenna (or port), etc.).  The CC1101 is a popular device, and is quite versatile.  There are a lot of configuration options, and the modem can do things like addressing packets, error correction, etc.  My first step was to figure out how it's configured.  On the RF spectrum, I could see that the modulation is 2-FSK, but there are a lot of other variables.

      I figured the easiest way to see the configuration settings would be to dump the data transmitted from the microcontroller in the throttle to the modem at power up.  I did this by tapping the 4 lines that make up the SPI bus between the two parts by soldering wires to the appropriate pins on the RF module.  

      What I discovered from the configuration data is that it's bypassing most of the fancy stuff and putting the modem into asynchronous mode.  This means that an auxiliary input line is able to just drive the FSK output of the modem directly in realtime.  No buffering, framing, etc.  Next step was to tap this line and see what's actually going to the modem.  It turns out it's plain old DCC.  


      Looking at a capture of the RF data, I can confirm that it's transmitting DCC as and FSK signal, where the higher frequency is V+ and the lower is V-.  


      These CC110x modules are dirt cheap.  Theoretically, to get DCC (as a logic-level signal) from an Airwire throttle, all you'd need to do is have a microcontroller to throw it into async mode and then listen to the output.  I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

    • September 19, 2017 1:42 PM EDT
    • In my quest to find silly things to spend my money and time on, I have wired up my new TCS Wow decoder to control it from a cheap android phone. It's the same firmware and Android App I did for the Economi but the basics worked out of the box on the TCS.  The TCS does sound really good but it looks to have some quirks in the control chain so I'll be noodling with that as I go along.  Anyhow, if you are interested, I have some prose, pics and a video on my site-





    • September 15, 2017 1:59 PM EDT
    • I seem to be having problems with uploading pics, not happened before so here are the instructions:

      You will need for each whistle 1 x Talking Cube from and 1 x Turnigy relay controlled switch from , they are both really cheap and good delivery. You may also wish to replace the supplied speaker with something more substantial it will make a lot of difference.

      Ok, first off record your chosen whistle on the cube, either by the inbuilt mic or by the mini jack. Once done remove the batteries and take the cube apart. Unsolder the micro switch on the board and solder the two leads from the Turnigy switch in it's place. Replace the batteries, connect the Turnigy switch to a spare channel on your receiver and the job's a good 'un.

      Installation into your loco will depend on the space available, one of the pics shows one of mine in a Connie tender but with a bigger speaker.

      Pros: Cheap and fun to do, unlimited choice of whistles as you choose what to use.

      Cons: Only 20secs recording time and you cannot re-trigger the whistle until the 20secs has elapsed. The supplied speaker is pretty c**p and replacing it with something more meaty on a good baffle is really worth while.



    • September 15, 2017 1:40 PM EDT
    • Well I finally sorted out my errors and have some successful stand alone whistles.

    • September 14, 2017 7:25 PM EDT
    • I'll bet the row of pins were removed, but are there 12 holes in that row? It looks like 10.


      There's no pins under the screw terminals? Hmm... but from the picture it is most certainly the model Boomer identified.


      It was a poor quality DCC decoder, the first to work in the Aristo Socket, sensitive to load, G scale voltage levels, brief interruptions.


      I'd junk it...

    • September 13, 2017 8:12 AM EDT
    • Greg, what you see is what you get. There are no pins or socket on the other side of the board. There is a row of through holes on the left side that I assumed were for another connection, but to what I have no clue.


      No takers on the free offer by the end of the weekend, it will go into my recycle box. I have a grand daughter that recycles electronics, and apparently gets a fair dollar for them.

    • September 13, 2017 3:19 AM EDT
    • goo call, the other side should have the 12 pins for the aristo socket... looks like someone removed the heat sink that covers the output transistors. not good.


    • September 12, 2017 7:08 PM EDT
    • Thanks Boomer, now to find a home for it.  Any one interested? PM me an address...

    • September 12, 2017 6:10 PM EDT
    • Hey BobCo

      That is a Digitrax board. DG583S would be my guess.

    • September 14, 2017 12:57 PM EDT
    • Yeah, right now the same 3 holes are used for both sides... dumb...


      Using screws that are longer and alternate the holes would make more sense... by doubling the screw length you make a big difference


      Actually pulling the axles out from the gears does not happen too often, most often it is when you have bad back to back on the wheelset and the turnouts have improper guard/wing rail dimensions, then the wheels can be "spread".


      The #1 problem is wheels slipping on the axles, and the number 2 problem is bent axles from dropping the loco, notice the end of the axle pictured is bent.



    • September 13, 2017 10:35 AM EDT
    •  (very sorry about this side track),


       Looks like 3 screws from each half shaft, they are off set from each side. If you were to counter sink from the blank side just enough to place a nut a tad below the surface, the screws could be run into them .... wouldn't be very strong, but should prevent the half axles from pulling out.

      Trying to make a poor design good, not hoping for great.



    • September 13, 2017 3:24 AM EDT
    • john, that gear has a half axle screwed into each side....  were you trying to put the nut in the gear? that won't work if you have one on each side trying to pull against the other side.



    • September 12, 2017 6:05 PM EDT
    • True.

    • September 12, 2017 8:21 PM EDT
    • Bob "Would pushing 7 and 8 lower/raise the volume even if those buttons were programmed for other functions? "

      when you say function do you mean something with the G2 or a different sound simple answer is no not necessarily why did you get coal loading? If you look at the P8 handbook page 8 it gives you the DCC Function Defaults that come from phoenix but can be changed.