Large Scale Central

I’m guessing Phoenix is gone

I am trying to find an alternative product for the Phoenix PB17. This sound board has been used by Titan Trains, manufacturer of 1/8 scale ride on trains (definitely large scale), for their sound system equipt locomotives for a number of years. Lately they have been unable to purchase these sound boards from Phoenix. They have been experiencing similar lacks of response from Phoenix as Gary has been experiencing. I had a long conversation with Jim Humphrey, the owner of Titan Trains, at the Mill Creek Central Railroad Large Engine meet this past weekend. He is quite concerned about this issue as he only has a small inventory of these PB17 boards remaining and after that will have to resort to another product. I am trying to help him find a replacement. If anyone has any ideas your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

These locomotives use a gasoline engine to power a hydraulic pump that operate a hydraulic motor in each truck. They use a Miratron industrial remote control system to operate all of the functions of the locomotive. This is not a DCC system. A potentiometer on the control with an analog DC output is used to control a bi-directional electric hydraulic actuator. The output from this potentiometer is also used as the inputs to the Phoenix PB17sound board. The Phoenix replacement would also need to be controlled by this analog DC potentiometer. A trigger type setup is not feasible.

Any help in trying to find a Phoenix PB17 alternative would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mark Betlem

Todd did the President of your club say how he sucessfully contacted them to coordinate the repair of a board? Sincere question.

David Chelgren said:

Todd did the President of your club say how he sucessfully contacted them to coordinate the repair of a board? Sincere question.

I will send him an email and ask.

As an update. I talked with Renee at Reindeer Pass after getting a tracking number from her for the couplers I had been trying to get so over a month. She said that she HAD been emailing them about their order so they could get things shipped and retire. According to her, “he”, whom ever that is, was able to get her order out and provide tracking, AND as far as she knows they are still in business as she has been getting various sound boards in from them. So who knows.

Pete Lassen said:

A cornerstone of good business practice is customer relations, someone should be able to at the very least post on the website or add to the voicemail issues preventing them from answering questions or calls.

This is 101% correct and I have wondered why this hasn’t happened for a while. I see many people across the internet clamoring for their product and service, and besides one mention of a ‘new’ contact email that so far seems to yield few-if-any responses, there is no other explanation for what is causing the non-contact. Surely there has to be more than one person involved with the company that knows the situation directly or indirectly but its seems there’s no such luck so far.

Shame that there’s a bunch of demand for non-existent supply, and nobody knows what exactly is hampering production. Could be health or money or parts supply, or anybody’s guess these days.

Call Renee at Reindeer as she said they have sound cards.

Mickey Kelley said:

Call Renee at Reindeer as she said they have sound cards.

Well that’s a quick development. I was looking at Reindeer Pass yesterday and they were sold out. Turns out they are still listed as out of stock as of this moment.

Does Renee happen to know more about the company situation?

Nick said:

Shame that there’s a bunch of demand for non-existent supply, and nobody knows what exactly is hampering production.

Reminds me a lot of modeling Amtrak in “G-scale”

As I’m sure most know, Mike and Renee are retiring this month and have sold their business to another couple. Or that is how I understand it. So she said to me that they are just trying to get outstanding orders filled before the transfer. She also said she got in some sound cards but I don’t recall her saying which ones, etc. I’d call if interested, but I think she said the end of this week is the end of their ownership.

Mike and Renee have been great friends. I wish them the best in retirement.

Mickey Kelley said:

As I’m sure most know, Mike and Renee are retiring this month and have sold their business to another couple. Or that is how I understand it. So she said to me that they are just trying to get outstanding orders filled before the transfer. She also said she got in some sound cards but I don’t recall her saying which ones, etc. I’d call if interested, but I think she said the end of this week is the end of their ownership.

They received an order of thirty PB17s per Renee, six were already sold by the time I placed my order this morning.

For public clarification, Renee confirmed her and Mike’s retirement and the sale of the store and upcoming relocation of their inventory, over the phone. The main page of Reindeer Pass displays what is below:

Welcome to Reindeer Pass Railroad
We are excited to announce the sale of Reindeer Pass to Vernon and Elly Guess of Owasso, Oklahoma. We’ve know Vernon and Elly for many years and are excited to see them continue the success of Reindeer Pass. Vernon is a third generation model railroader and charter member of the Tulsa Garden Railroad Club. The transfer will take place over the next ten days. The website address and name will remain the same, just with updated contact information. As a group we’ve worked diligently to make a smooth transition. We Thank you for your past business, Reindeer Pass RR would not be where it is today without our GREAT CUSTOMERS! We hope you will continue to Support Vernon and Elly and our Hobby. Thank You Again for your Past Business. Mike & Renee
CHECK OUT OUR NEW SALE ITEM SECTION!
PHOENIX PB17’S ARRIVED 8-12!!

Nick said:

Mickey Kelley said:

As I’m sure most know, Mike and Renee are retiring this month and have sold their business to another couple. Or that is how I understand it. So she said to me that they are just trying to get outstanding orders filled before the transfer. She also said she got in some sound cards but I don’t recall her saying which ones, etc. I’d call if interested, but I think she said the end of this week is the end of their ownership.

They received an order of thirty PB17s per Renee, six were already sold by the time I placed my order this morning.

PHOENIX PB17’S ARRIVED 8-12!!

Just to clarity…I believe Reindeer received 30 P8’s, not PB17’s. The 17’s are usually used by the ride-on scale locomotives. These are the boards that are rare now. P8’s have always been fairly easy to get. Phoenix has just been slow in shipping these out. Also hard to get and most vendors are “out-of-stock”, as are the Interface cables and CD’s. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

^^^ Well I specified PB17s, and the invoice of my order says PB17 kits. Aside from the public notice on the main page of their store, the Kidmans told me via email AND phone correspondence that they received 30 PB17s, and 24 were left at my point of purchase. At no point did customer or seller mention P8s in the transaction.

I also sincerely doubt that PB17s are mostly for ride-on operations considering they are purposefully built small-sized to fit within G and even O scale rolling stock, though I’m sure they and other models are more than capable of cranking out sound for such applications. Not sure how they are rare either if a sizable batch was cranked out and almost three dozen were just recently provided to Reindeer Pass. The PB17 type was introduced in 2018, whereas the P8 series has been around since 2010 and isn’t even intended for DC usage.

I would think a model that is nearly a decade older in production would be a bit more likely to be ‘rare’. 2¢

FYI, the Phoenix P8’s are NOT easy to get. After trying on and off for about 6 months and contacting multiple sources, including Phoenix directly, no dice! I already had one foot over the fence to convert from Airwire/Phoenix to RailPro and my inability to buy more P8’s helped me jump completely over to RailPro.

So if they are available now, too late, they lost a lot more business from me by not making/stocking them, then not communicating worth a damn.

Just to clarify again…

I just got off the phone with my friend in La Verne, CA and he has TRIED to find the Phoenix CD/Programming cable/Interface and he checked Reindeer AND RLD. They were “Out-of-stock” (as of Friday night August 13,2021). He has also been looking for PB17’s for his ride-on locomotives. Couldn’t find these either at Reindeer or RLD. In fact, my conversation about a week ago with Robbie, he said PB17’s were hard to get.

Tonight, in my phone conversation with my friend in La Verne, he sent me an email with a photo showing his package just delivered by USPS. The package contained three PB17’s and one Interface cable kit.

My friend and I started doing a few searches and found a dealer in Northern California. We contacted him and he was able to provide the above Phoenix product to us. Ordered Friday night and arrived in Southern California this afternoon at 5 pm. Great service!

I would like to install a sound system in my Aristo-Craft E-8. Where do I start and what to look for? This is one area that I know very little about.

Ron,

At MyLocoSound, we develop and distribute low cost, easy to install soundcards. Each contains a selection of sounds including horns, engines, bells, turbos, etc. There is no programming. You can make your selections using a TV remote control. Our soundcards work with both battery power and analogue DC trackpower and we have the sounds to match your locomotive. Our web site is at www.mylocosound.com.

Our North American distributor is G Scale Graphics in Colorado. The contact there is Del Tapparo and I suggest that you email or call him to see what we can offer you.

Regards

Peter Lucas

MyLocoSound

The newer sound cards from G Scale Graphics has 3 or 4 acceptable american whistle sounds that are pretty good, go on line and you can hear them, the chuff and other sounds are as good as any

Finding this thread reminds me of a situation some 9 months ago or so when I placed an order for 8 x P8’s with a well respected UK agent. I paid my agreed deposit and was kept up to date by my supplier with regular reports of no answers to emails they sent to Phoenix, no matter how terse and to the point in tone they were delivered shall we say, to progress chase the order. The agent, being a very honest and reliable soul, after 3 months despaired and returned (without any prompting from me) my deposit. Then a week after that contacted me to tell me that it appeared a package had been dispatched from Phoenix (probably) but its contents had not been divulged to them (!) At this point I, regrettably, had to decline replacing my order.

Mine was not the only order in line for P8’s with that agent at that time. Phoenix had a past enviable reputation for offering the best price/performance in the field and the prime reason for my selecting and ordering. It is paramount with products of this nature and price point that the customer has confidence that there is a continuing reliable manufacturer support to ensure its long term viability in the field. There apparently wasn’t, despite their previous good reputation, for obvious reasons related here and I got cold feet and walked away. In the UK P8’s go at £163 a pop, so they represent a fair commitment on the part of any buyer. As somebody said on here, “What a way to run a railroad”. Indeed.

Upshot - It has taken me a while to find a suitable, and readily available, sound card that offers similar price/performance. I have lighted on the ESU V4 http://www.esu.eu/en/start/ as that appears to have a good reputation and a sound library that matches the US NG themed roster I am presently converting from silent RC track power (old TE) to all singing dancing battery RC. By the way, the MLS card offers fantastic value for money, at around £100 less than the P8 in the UK, and the supplier it very proactive in its support and devlopment. I use them too.