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Model Railroading > Sound on rolling stock; an experiment


Date: 03/14/23 17:33
Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: hoydie17

I've been really working on trying to get my monster layout further along, but I have also been working on some crazy ideas once in a while too.  I was talking with a friend who does lots of my sound installations, John McGuire of Garden State Modelworks does some top shelf work.  Recently he's been taking lots of my older KATO engines that more or less pre-date the proliferation of sound in HO scale locomotives and still have non-sound decoders and bulbs for lighting and retrofitting them with ESU Loksound and LEDs.  He's so far done 5 KATO SD40-2s for me of the NS high-hood variety.  

One night I was chatting with him and I pondered the idea of adding a sound decoder to a boxcar in an effort to simulate the knocking of flat spots on wheels and the griding of flanges into the rails.  As we noodled through it we thought, "This absolutely could work."  I decided to send him a 3-pack of Athearn TBOXs as the guinea pigs while he developed the sound files for them.  We worked out the math and determined that a 4" flat spot would make a certain amount of revolutions per minute and used that to synch up the noise with the throttle's speed indication.  

Essentially, each boxcar has an ESU Loksound Decoder, a ScaleSound Speaker and a custom designed "noise file", and the cars have Athearn Genesis pickups.  The decoder is programmed to the first 4 numbers of the reporting marks, and you simply MU the cars to the power consist and place the cars wherever you want in the train.  Based on how fast you dial up the throttle the banging of the flat spots will get faster, while the flange grinding is completely random within the sound file(s).  My going in strategy is to have 2 or 3 cars in any given train with these sound decoders to add a flavor of authenticity to the whole train, rather than just the engines.  

The video attached is just an example taken on John's home layout to prove the concept works.  I think it adds a fascinating dimension of detail to a model train and I'm looking forward to incorporating this into more car types including intermodal, scrap cars, coal hoppers, etc.  My longer term goal is to have 30-40 cars in my fleet with this system so I can make sure to add sound to improve the overall realism of the operation.  

We're looking at the possibility of adding things like LEDs that would simulate hotboxes on the axles and other things, but that'll take a little more thought on exactly how to implement.  I'm also working with a local high school robotics team and I think we've figured out a way to mimic a wayside defect detector up to and including an actual axle count with a full verbal report, as well as randomly inserting "defects" in the train forcing the operator to stop and inspect.  

Sean Hoyden
Broad Run, VA

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Date: 03/14/23 18:29
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: ChrisCampi

I like the idea. You could go off the shelf.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/23 18:30 by ChrisCampi.




Date: 03/14/23 21:49
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: cajon

I have a GP9B with a crack gear that I was going to change out a few year ago. It has a nice sounding flat spot so it has not been changed. I run the B with a turbine pulling over 50 cars at train shows. Last show was Bakersfield and there are a few videos of my UP work train. I have videos of the train on my iPhone but can’t post the videos.
Dennis

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/15/23 09:38
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: atsf121

Great idea.  I've thought about using a dectector (infrared maybe) along the track at a curve that would trigger a sound file to play in a stationary speaker.  Putting the sound in the car make sense, especially to get the sound of a flat wheel.



Date: 03/15/23 10:40
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: mcdeo

My first thought was also the Tsunami soundcar option. However, I'm liking the idea of just adding addresses to the train. With a TCS UWT throttle, it is very easy. I'm thinking it could be a better option than the Tsunami option of pressing a button 4 times. Always wondered if too many sound cars on the layout, if there would be acquiring/dispatching conflicts. This adding cars to the throttle avoids that. 

And continuing the thought, TCS claims there is no limit on how many units you can add to a consist. The first thought is, power consumption, when building a multi-unit consist. You'd run into amperage issues first. However, with a sound car, you could literally add every car in the train to the throttle consist, and not have any power issues. Really interesting for sure!

John Parker, on his BNSF Fall River division ran an 18 unit light power move: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvOA1oxvCwY with no tripping of circuits. Gotta be close to the limit though. 

Mike ONeill
Parker, CO



Date: 03/15/23 14:01
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: TomG

When I read this I thought the same thing, why try to reinvent the wheel? Everything described above is in the Tsunami sound car decoder plus more features. Pressing the f8 button 4 times adds all the sound cards you selected with a magnet wand is a pretty simple way to add to a consist if you ask me. Specially since I have to add my Caboose this way anyhow. Power draws about 15-25mA.
From the Soundttaxx site.
 "Intelligent Consisting mode is triggered by waving a magnet over the SoundCar-equipped models that are to be added to the train. Then, press F8 (remappable) four times from the locomotive’s or consist’s address to send a command to the SoundCar decoders to add it to the train. To remove a car from the consist; simply wave the magnet over the model again.

This consisting method is also synchronized with prototypical sounds. When the magnet is first waved over the car, the sound of the hand brake being untied will play to indicate that the decoder is in “waiting mode” (deactivated after 1 minute), looking for a signal from the command station to add it to the consist. After F8 is pressed four times, the decoder will confirm that the car is hooked into the locomotive’s train line by playing the sound of the air bleed-off from the retainer. The SoundCar decoders have also been monitoring the DCC signal bus for the status of all active addresses and instantly synchronizes its function state and throttle speed with the loco or consist that it just joined. When the train pulls away, the SoundCar will create the clickety-clacks, flange squeals, brake sequence sounds, and more, just like any car on a prototype train.

When the car is released from the consist, the sounds of the hand brake being tied down and set is played to acknowledge that it is no longer part of the train."

Tom
Weaverville, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/23 14:34 by TomG.



Date: 03/15/23 15:04
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: PHall

A 20 car train with all cars making sound could be pretty loud. You would need to pay close attention to the volume settings.



Date: 03/15/23 16:55
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: gandydancer4

Man, some of you guys need to be medicated for your dedication to realism. (Just kidding) I love it all and I REALLY wish I had thought of that. Really incredible. Just don't go too crazy and start adding hazmat materials to your derailments.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/23 16:57 by gandydancer4.



Date: 03/15/23 19:53
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: TomG

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A 20 car train with all cars making sound could be
> pretty loud. You would need to pay close attention
> to the volume settings.

I totally agree. I would think 1 every 5 feet would add enough sound without becoming excess background noise. My sidings are set at 13 feet in the clear, so I'm thinking one mid train since I'm equipping all cabooses and locos with noise. It only took one cabooses equipped with sound to sell me on it, just for the jointed rail clickety clack and flange squeel.

Tom
Weaverville, CA



Date: 03/15/23 20:17
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: hoydie17

Opinions vary if course, but I think Tsunami sucks in terms of sound quality and options. Customized sound files allow for more variety while also preserving the goal of standardization of my systems to ESU.

Not to mention the Tsunami sound systems are in my experience, highly unreliable.

TomG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I read this I thought the same thing, why try
> to reinvent the wheel? Everything described above
> is in the Tsunami sound car decoder plus more
> features. Pressing the f8 button 4 times adds all
> the sound cards you selected with a magnet wand is
> a pretty simple way to add to a consist if you ask
> me.

Posted from iPhone

Sean Hoyden
Broad Run, VA



Date: 03/21/23 09:13
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: Matt_Gidley

I've been toying with the same ideas.  I love what youve come up with.  I haven't looked into the practicallity of this idea, but I've always thought there's a way to trigger flange squeal on curves by using oneof the cars' trucks. Either a rotary encoder or maybe an IR sensor.  Then if the truck turns enough you get flange squeal. 
However, as someone else mentioned, maybe flange squeal is better added by a stationary sound effect on the curve?



Date: 03/21/23 10:56
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: PHall

Matt_Gidley Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been toying with the same ideas.  I love
> what youve come up with.  I haven't looked into
> the practicallity of this idea, but I've always
> thought there's a way to trigger flange squeal on
> curves by using oneof the cars' trucks. Either a
> rotary encoder or maybe an IR sensor.  Then if
> the truck turns enough you get flange squeal. 
> However, as someone else mentioned, maybe flange
> squeal is better added by a stationary sound
> effect on the curve?

The stationary sound effect would make sure it happened at the right place at the right time everytime.
But at additional cost for the extra hardware?



Date: 03/25/23 10:28
Re: Sound on rolling stock; an experiment
Author: hoydie17

Matt_Gidley Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been toying with the same ideas.  I love
> what youve come up with.  I haven't looked into
> the practicallity of this idea, but I've always
> thought there's a way to trigger flange squeal on
> curves by using oneof the cars' trucks. Either a
> rotary encoder or maybe an IR sensor.  Then if
> the truck turns enough you get flange squeal. 
> However, as someone else mentioned, maybe flange
> squeal is better added by a stationary sound
> effect on the curve?

I like the idea of the squeal on the car... mainly because the squeal doesn't always happen on curves, or even on every single car in a consist.  I've heard the squealing on cars even on straighaways which can be a reflection of the condition of the rail as much as it can the wheels themselves.  I think doing it with the randomness it has right now is the right mix of realism and efficiency tech wise.  Adding a stationary speaker at a fixed location on the railroad won't give you the doppler effect as the noise source gets closer or further away.  

Sean Hoyden
Broad Run, VA



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