Category Archives: Decoders

Finally working on my main Yard control panel

My Control panels will use touch toggles for all the switch controls, uncouplers, and even room lights.

I started by taking a number of phone shots looking straight down on the area for the panel

Phone shots from overhead

Next I realized I would need to change the actual proportions of the area to fit a useful sized panel for the controls, done in Photoshop.

Area of panel compressed in Photoshop

I then traced the compressed photo composite, and smoothed things out

Part of tracing paper taken from compressed photos

Then I photographed the tracing and put it in Photoshop to do vector final track layout the width needed for the controls etc.

Starting to put track diagram on a photoshop layer above the tracing

This completed diagram will be printed out to size for the panel, and the touch toggles (seen below) will be attached to the back of the paper and will show through indicating direction

group of touch toggles in my hand.

Here is how they would work showing through the completed paper for the panel.

Light shows which way the switch is thrown.

Below is completed panel, ready to be printed out to size.

panel just about ready for printing

In a future post, after I get all the touch controls in place, I will put up a fully glowing panel.


Colorado and visit to Intermountain Railway Co.

Visiting friends in Colorado, I was able to further my ongoing summer visits to full scale and model railroad sites. First was the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley CO, and then the Buenavista model railroad society in Buena Vista CO, both of which I will put up further posts in the near future, but the real unexpected treat was a tour of the

Intermountain Railway Co. the model railroad manufacturer in Longmont CO. Kirk was very gracious in showing the whole operation, from their milling the molds for injection molded parts on their CNC milling machines

CNC milling machine

Small detail parts half mold

Just a few of the many machined molds for various products

To explaining their process and inventory.

Small part of inventory

To talking about their quality control, including a final visual inspection of each and every HO engine and actually running each engine through various track situations. A very impressive commitment to quality, and not releasing anything that is not absolutely right.

Engines ready for inspection

engines in the inspection area

All in all an enjoyable morning and an appreciation of a quality company


Adding TCS wow sound decoder to Bachmann Heavy Mtn

After receiving my package from Tonys Train exchange, with my DCC system and sound decoder etc,  I started the installation in the Vanderbilt tender which has limited room in width to install a round speaker. So here are some shots following Erik from Tonys Train Exchange advice , using 2 new mini speakers.

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC, engines, tenders, Tony's Train exchange

Amazingly small TCS Wow sound decoder to install in tender

This decoder has many choices of bells, whistles, engine types, all manner of mechanical injectors, pumps, generators, brake squeal, air release as well as light control and great control of the running engine including very slow speed right out of the box.

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC, engines, tenders

Drilling sound holes on drill press

Holes need to be drilled through the tender bottom to allow the sound exit.

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC

Holes drilled for sound and test fitting speaker enclosures

Checking the fit of the mini speaker enclosures.

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC, engines, tenders, Tony's Train exchange

Engine and Vandy tender, showing TCS sound decoder installed, before mounting speakers.

Showing the decoder installed in top of tender with strong double stick (Scotch exterior mounting tape)

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC, engines, tenders, Tony's Train exchange

2 Supersonic Mini speakers installed in Bachmann C&O Vandy tender bottom

The 2 mini speakers and their enclosures mounted and wired in the tender bottom.

electrical, sound decoders, speakers, DCC, engines, tenders, Tony's Train exchange, Bachmann

Bachmann Heavy Mountain engine with Sound decoder installed, and the sound and control are really terrific.

Engine after install and really pleased with the result, the sound and control.