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    • July 1, 2018 9:06 PM EDT

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      Light Industrial Diesels and Gas Locos

      Over in Europe, MyLocoSound has recently introduced a new low cost soundcard for light industrial diesels. There are lots of that type of loco, mainly on two foot gauge lines, manufactured by Simplex, Ruston Hornsby, Baguley Drewery, Hunslett, Orenstein & Koppel and others. Many of these, plus freelance versions, are available as large scale ready to run or kit models. Most are low cost and hence are very popular and we have been supplying lots of soundcards for them.

      So it made us wonder if there is a demand for these soundcards in North America. We are aware of the Plymouth and GE 25 ton switchers, many of which seem to sound like their bigger brothers. So, the question is, do you run any light industrial diesel or gas locos on your railroad, what are they and are you likely to be interested in a soundcard for them in DCC, analog or radio control?

      Regards

      Peter Lucas

      MyLocoSound

    • July 2, 2018 5:53 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      I run DC on my railroad, and currently I have an LGB critter and a freelanced critter, as well as a Heartland Mack switcher. Depending on the gas mechanical sound card, it my also have an application in the mack rail-bus and other such contraptions that a lot of folks have. So, my uninformed opinion is that there would be a market for such a sound card here in the States.

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      Shannon car Shops
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      and King Butt Modeler

    • July 2, 2018 8:00 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      Hartland macks, Lgb rail truck.  but cost needs to be less than $85 as I can get a full fledged Zimo sound decoder for these (MX645) and I can control motor (over 1 amp) servos, many lights.

      This decoder will work on DC also!!!!

    • July 2, 2018 8:53 AM EDT
      • Lancaster , Ohio
         
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      I would like to find something for my gas mechanical doodlebug. All of the Phoenix cards sound too much like diesels to me and the horns sound more like mainline units. The closest one is for the 44 tonner but again I don't like the horn. I wish sound card makers would make the horn / whistles as a select able option instead of tying it to the locomotive type .

    • July 2, 2018 11:37 AM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      I agree with Dan, this will be the challenge.

       

      These small locos can use HO DCC decoders in DC mode, and you can get triggers, auto sounds, sounds that vary on the TRUE load on the loco, via BEMF readings from the motor, etc.

       

      I think you will find you will be forced into either higher-end features or DCC compatibility to maintain market share. I say this because I have made the assumption that you cannot match the economics of the size of the HO market, i.e. get your product down to $45 for example. For the small loco market, I would say that is the price point a DC only sound only system needs to be.

       

      Greg

       

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at July 2, 2018 11:39 AM EDT
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    • July 2, 2018 6:42 PM EDT

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      I say, "bring it on." Not everyone has DCC to program the DCC decoders. I've been impressed with your "Blue" series boards so far. The only hiccup with regard to a series of boards designed for small critters would be the size of the board itself. 

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • July 2, 2018 7:07 PM EDT

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      Thanks for the feedback guys. Very useful.

      Gary, Unlike others, our soundcards do not have sounds tied to a specific loco. We realise that customers want the flexibilty to pick and choose and set sounds to their tastes. Therefore, in our universal diesel soundcard we provide eight selectable engines and eight horns (all of them adjustable) plus other sounds.

      To Greg and Dan, the DCC market is not what we aim at. Yes, our soundcards can be used with DCC decoders but that is not our priority. Our main interest is that wonderful group of people who don't want to clean their track, don't want to make a reversing loop work, don't understand long addresses and don't want to fiddle with CVs. I am talking about large scale modellers who use battery radio control or analog DC. For those people we offer a lot of flexibility plus, most importantly, the ability to make all changes using something which is familiar to everyone....a TV remote control. Don't get me wrong, I am not a DCC hater, I use it myself in small scale. It is just not the market we have chosen to focus on in large scale.

      Kevin, thanks for your comments. And yes we do have to look at the size issues in these very small locos.

      Regards

      Peter Lucas

      MyLocoSound

    • July 3, 2018 12:18 PM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Peter, it seems that you have misinterpreted what I said, grabbing onto "DCC" and bashing track power and DCC.

       

      I was not telling you that you should aim at the DCC market. I told you the DCC market for small locos has your price point covered already, with more features in your application space. Running from battery in DC mode.

       

      Sure you have 8 sounds built in, but you can get dozens of sounds for your DCC decoders, and most places you order the decoder pre-programmed, so I don't see this as a huge advantage for the user (it's a big advantage for the manufacturer though!) Once I have sound installed in a loco, why would I ever change the motor, etc? The loco did not change engines or horns or bell.

       

      You go on and on about DCC, but the point was that the DCC decoder running DC from battery... NOT RUNNING DCC..

       

      So, to make it crystal clear, you can buy alternative hardware for small locos at the same or lower cost with more features... this is why I don't think this is a good market for you.

       

      Also, your board is considerably larger than every HO DCC decoder in current production, so going to a small loco will be more difficult, not impossible. Yet another reason this is not a good market for you in my opinion.

       

      • So, for cost, the HO DCC units are on par.
      • For size, the HO DCC units are smaller.
      • For features, the HO DCC unites have many more features (except the inexpensive programmer, although $150 will buy you a complete DCC system to program your loco, I would submit buy a few and there is no practical advantage.)

       

      I know many people use your product, but you asked for opinions and you lash back bashing DCC and track power when that is not the point. The market is changing, it's hard to fight the volumes of the "big boys", when they allow battery operation of their DCC hardware.

       

      In my opinion, you should look to implement features for large scale that other's do not have. Ease of use is great, but offer something no one else does, and making it a specific thing only large scale wants makes it much less likely that it will be adopted universally by DCC manufacturers. Higher current and smoke units and more lighting current have long been distinctions, but I would suspect there are others.

       

       

      Greg

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at July 3, 2018 12:38 PM EDT
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    • July 3, 2018 1:04 PM EDT

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      Greg.

      With respect, you obviously do not understand the market for small Putt Putt "diesels" in the UK and Europe and potentially the USA.
      Not everyone wants all the bells and whistles, so to speak.
      Peter is describing fitting this sound system in large scale models of small prototypes, not small scale models of large prototypes.  I can assure you the current pcb is plenty small enough to fit most models.
      Neither is there much demand for DCC in 16 mm scale, let alone 7/8n2 scale.  In fact, the majority of such models are not even track powered and it is unlikely they ever will be.
      Whilst track powered DCC may be cheap.  I don't think Battery powered DCC is comparable with low cost battery R/C.

      Please supply details of any DCC sound decoders that can be operated by regular track power and have the ability to trigger the whistle bell etc.

      Also, you might care to list any DCC sound decoders that can be controlled by regular battery R/C and have the sounds such as Whistle/Horn, Bell, etc.

      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • July 3, 2018 1:55 PM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Again misunderstanding...

       

      I am talking about using HO decoders in small Large Scale locomotives. People have found that most HO decoders will handle the current of these Large Scale small locos.

       

      Also not talking DCC operation, but using these decoders in DC mode.

       

      I cannot believe that you both fail to understand, but don't want to.

       

      If I felt that there really was a desire to understand the solutions available I would help out, but I have been down this path before, with both of you.

       

      My English is fine, I made myself clear. It's good, accurate information well thought out. What you do with it is your business.

       

      Greg

       

      p.s. Tony, the Zimo MX640 series has 3 inputs that can trigger sounds... just one of many examples in one of many decoders available.

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at July 3, 2018 1:58 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

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    • July 3, 2018 2:38 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Greg, the Zimo may have trigger inputs, but many of the other HO DCC decoders do not. So if I were to use one of those DCC decoders, I would be unable to trigger the horn/whistle and bell.

       

      Dave Bodner put together some Arduino DCC++ systems for us for like $20 each. Maybe it was $30, but either way, programming a decoder doesn't have to cost a lot.

       

      When I run DCC HO locomotives on DC, I am rather disappointed in the behavior of the locomotive. For instance, the headlight usually isn't on. And since I am not running DCC I cant turn it on. The time delay between applying power, and the locomotive moving is annoying, as is the high start up voltage. So a stand alone sound board like the one being discussed here has its advantages. Yes, it has the disadvantages you state, depending upon application. But, LS folks have been spending large bucks on sound cards for their locomotives since the old Sierra boards and however many iterations of the Phoenix board have been on the market.

       

      You folks don't see eye to eye. In a hobby that will happen. I cant understand why operating a DCC decoder in DC mode is so difficult to grasp. I do it on every install in an HO locomotive that I do, so I can tell if I installed it properly. Then I go to the programming track.

       

      This has been an interesting thread. I would like to see more inexpensive sound systems for our locomotives/equipment. I still can't, in my mind, justify the cost of a Phoenix system. But then I am a cheep.....frugal individual.

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      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • July 3, 2018 3:15 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      I, for one, am quite interested. Although I understand DCC I am not interested in going through the CV learning curve. Sometimes Greg is just too techie for words - although an HO DCC decoder will work, I am not interested. Took me long enough to get the Sierra to work.

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • July 3, 2018 4:01 PM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      One point that is worth repeating as the DCC "noise" is obliterating the point: It's my observation that how much people will spend on a sound card is often related to the cost of a loco.

       

      So a person that buys a $2,000 LGB-Aster Hudson or Mikado could care less about the cost of a sound card.

       

      Someone who paid $1000 to $1200 for a Bachmann K27 can pay $230 for a Phoenix

       

      Someone who paid $200 for a small diesel won't likely pay $200 for a sound card.

       

      So smaller locos are usually less costly, and people want an inexpensive sound card.  I maintained that $85 is likely on the "edge" for this, and $45 to $50 would have a larger market.

       

      At $85 you are in HO DCC sound unit territory, and if someone wants more features for the money, the product is there.

       

      This is why I don't think it's a good market, it does not have a clear, over-arching set of advantages.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • July 3, 2018 4:21 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Ok, with that explanation I understand more of what you are trying to say.

       

      I would, I was, buying Sierra sound cards as funds would permit. And if they were still available, I would still be buying them. But at the Sierra's price point, it was going to be a long drawn out process to get sound in all the locomotives I wanted sound in. So for me, $100-$120 was just doable for sound. I would have preferred less expensive options, without having to resort to some (at least in my mind) cobbled together mish mash.

       

      With the price of technology coming down, and the capabilities of small boards going up, why doesn't someone take an off the shelf micro-controller board and write code for that? Maybe with a daughter board or some minor modification, why couldn't an inexpensive, off the shelf something, be adapted to do the job as well as a custom board, for half the price? I ask, because I do not know. So please don't had me my posterior because I do not know.

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      Shannon car Shops
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      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • July 3, 2018 4:58 PM EDT
      • Right here 'X', Pa
         
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      David Maynard said:

      Ok, with that explanation I understand more of what you are trying to say.

       

      I would, I was, buying Sierra sound cards as funds would permit. And if they were still available, I would still be buying them. But at the Sierra's price point, it was going to be a long drawn out process to get sound in all the locomotives I wanted sound in. So for me, $100-$120 was just doable for sound. I would have preferred less expensive options, without having to resort to some (at least in my mind) cobbled together mish mash.

       

      With the price of technology coming down, and the capabilities of small boards going up, why doesn't someone take an off the shelf micro-controller board and write code for that? Maybe with a daughter board or some minor modification, why couldn't an inexpensive, off the shelf something, be adapted to do the job as well as a custom board, for half the price? I ask, because I do not know. So please don't had me my posterior because I do not know.

       

       

         I hate speculation, but concerning your last paragraph I need to ask if you have done any of, I believe repair work, for your company for half your normal fee , and don't tell me because you don't do the billing as you could take a cut in pay and work for half salary. And then we go back to paragraph one and you state you don't want to buy a cobbled together mish mash.

         Now even with the small board capabilities going up and inexpensive off the shelf units, you still need someone to make them, design them, and market them while making a living in, as you have before stated before, a niche market within a niche market. Then once created they would also have to sell enough of them before this group started bitching about their poor quality and imperfect performance, along with asking if that price is MSRP or street value.

       Do you think anyone else would build and sell what you want but wouldn't buy yourself. Maybe you should make a thousand boards for others to not buy because they are a mish mash.

      And since you don't understand my sunglasses smile you don't get one here

    • July 3, 2018 5:22 PM EDT
      • Carlsbad, CA
         
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      Well, people are indeed using small microprocessor boards with mp3 players and several "loops" of sounds... it's ok, but then we are a completely different "level" of quality, not at the MyLocoSound level at all.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

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    • July 3, 2018 6:54 PM EDT

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      Well Greg. It seems you are your usual combative self when it comes to anyone questioning the need for DCC.  Your vitriol borders on irrationality. It must gall you that despite DCC manufacturers spending enormous amounts of money in R&D plus an enormous amount of never ending hype, the fact remains Battery R/C is still alive and well and prospering.
      With the new MyLocosound for small large scale "diesel" locos Peter is catering for a different market. 
      I thought Peter had made it clear he is after mainly regular DC and Battery R/C and can cater for the DCC market.  

      A bit like me really. I could not care less about DCC either. DC does have a place, just not with Live Steam.
      I cater for the Live Steam market. An area that is well out of DCC capability.  It so happens that Live Steamers run on unpowered track.  Just how expensive do you think it would be to control Live Steamers using DCC.  It is possible to do that of course, although seemingly, a very expensive way of doing it.

      Now, it just so happens that the same Digital Proportional R/C I use for Live Steam, can also be used for battery R/C.  An area of this hobby that seems to be well catered for with any number of suppliers.  Although very few, if any, can do both Live Steam and Battery power. 
      Have you any idea just how big the Live Steam market is Worldwide?  It is big.  There are thousands of members in both the G1MRA and 16 mm Society.  Whilst not every Live Steamer has a battery powered small "diesel", many do. Usually simply to have a loco they can switch on and run any time visitors stop by and wish to see something working instantly. Accordingly. they simply do not want to have to have another, way more complicated system such as DCC, to do both.  Hence a quite large and rapidly growing market for small Large Scale switcher "diesels".  In that context DCC is irrelevant.  Period.  No matter how cheap DCC sound decoders can be.

       

      This post was edited by Tony Walsham at July 3, 2018 7:53 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • July 3, 2018 7:39 PM EDT

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      Gentlemen, my question was...." do you run any light industrial diesel or gas locos on your railroad, what are they and are you likely to be interested in a soundcard for them in DCC, analog or radio control?"

      Please can we leave DCC debates to another topic?

      Thanks

      Peter Lucas

      MyLocoSound

    • July 3, 2018 9:06 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      I have a Mac pick up in the works and will need,  or perhaps want, a  gas 4 banger. I would be happy with reed triggered sounds. Battery powered.

       

      edit; Will need an Ooooga horn of course!

      This post was edited by John Caughey at July 3, 2018 9:17 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • July 3, 2018 9:50 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      I would be interested in a sound card for my light industrial loco, but not at $80.

      I only paid $110 for the loco.

      Tom

       

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