WOWSound test video

As requested, I’ve created a short a video of one of my CNR 10-wheelers, newly fitted with the WOW101 Steam-KA decoder from TCS.

(You may also watch this directly on YouTube, where you may be able to enjoy it in larger formats)

Keep in mind that this was a quick video, and please excuse the shoddy production values.

Also, I am still learning the various functions of this decoder, so there will be tweaking. I already see that I need to tweak CV3 (acceleration: currently 50) and probably my custom-loaded speed table.

I should also adjust the volume of some sounds. But that’ll come. When I get things set up just right, I’ll have to unpack my DecoderPro gear and capture the configuration file to make sure similar locomotives (e.g.: 10-wheelers 1532 and 1560) are similarly configured.

Curiously, the generator sound shut off at one point – I’m not sure what I did. Turning the headlight (F0) off and on again restored the generator but obviously that’s not supposed to happen.

The keep-alive module is fabulous. It keeps the sound going for at least 15 seconds after I turn off the layout – more than sufficient to counteract the occasional interruption on the electrical path between DCC system and decoder. With this type of backstop for sound and motor control and the constant recharging of this module by the DCC system, I feel no need to explore “dead rail” technology.

As should be apparent by now, I’m pleased with the results so far. This is a step in the right direction for train control.

14 thoughts on “WOWSound test video

    • Hi Gene:

      Thanks – and you would be pleased by the selection of whistles and bells.

      I’m using the electronic synch for the chuff – not a cam. But the decoder does support a cam if so desired.


  1. Very nice, Thanks for sharing. This sure proves what I’ve said for a long time, properly used, sound can add a lot to operations and realism.

  2. Trevor,
    The sound sounds great, but my experience switching from the cab, I feel that the brake squeal is coming on a tad late. Maybe it’s the difference between the audio and the visual on the clip, but I noticed that the locomotive stops before the squeal ends. When drivers are applied (locomotive brakes), depending on how many pounds of pressure you apply, the drivers will squeal quite a bit before the loco comes to a stop. I don’t know if you can change this at all,but it was a minor detail that my ear caught. I’m assuming that the brake squeal is just for the locomotive, so if you set the trainline with a train, you should also hear a brief (2-3 sec.) release of the drivers when you actuate the drivers. Hope this isn’t getting too deep into the weeds for you.

    • Hi Craig:

      Good point – and not in the weeds.

      As I mentioned, I’m still getting my head around using these decoders and the video was rushed. I suspect the squeal was late because I applied the brakes (Function 7) late, so the locomotive stopped before the decider could generate the sound.

      Using a sound decoder, I find, is a lot like playing a musical instrument. One does get better with practice.


      • Makes more sense now.
        Now what would be really cool would be to have the locomotive or train start to move when you release the brakes and the train is sitting on a grade with no throttle applied. But I’m sure your layout isn’t trying to replicate the fun of starting a train on 2.2% mountain grade either… Air brake and train handling rules kind of go out the window on mountain grades. If you haven’t acquired a copy of the CN air brake rules, you might consider finding a copy. With the sound of air brakes you could replicate initial terminal tests, locomotive daily inspections, etc.

        • Trevor,
          I forgot to add just another operational interest that you can now do with your mixed trains, but you should check the CN airbrake rules just to double check. When a passenger train leaves it’s initial station (in your case it would be Port Rowan heading back) passenger trains make what is called a ‘running airbrake test’. What this test does is tests the functionality of the brakes to ensure that they will actually work at higher speeds. As the train leaves the initial station and gets up to speed (in your cause only a few miles per hour) the engineer makes a running set. In other words applies brakes while letting off the throttle. As soon as he feels the train slow down a bit, he kicks off the brakes and pulls a notch or two to get back up to speed. Next time you take the train, see if you notice this when the train leaves the station. It’s barely perceptible but it’s yet another visual and audio challenge to present to the operators. With the brake and drift function of the decoders this should be relatively easy to replicate. I would have to double check the rule book but I believe this test is only done once, but it may be done at every station stop.

  3. Hi Trevor, Really like the short video, even if you thought it a little rushed. The whole impression of the scene was terrific; to me the essence of switching on a model railroad. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, Gord

  4. Much like the TCS name WOW! Great effects and it makes you want to slow down to execute the lift with all the correct steps. Do you have a cab light in the lok?

    • Hi Tom:
      No, I don’t have cab lights. (I have them in my Proto:48 SP equipment, but frankly you can’t see them – even in a dark room.)
      Since the Port Rowan branch is strictly a daytime operation, I barely even have need of the headlights on my S scale locomotives: photos from the era show that even at grade crossings, the locomotives are running with no headlights.
      Given that the headlights required the generator to be running – which effectively put a big hole in the boiler – I can understand why crews were reluctant to run with lights on in daytime. It wasn’t until diesel-electrics took over that powering the lights became a non-issue…

  5. Trevor,
    OK, the CN in the 1950 was similar to the Colorado Midland Rwy in the 1880s and 90s. When the headlights were not used during daylight hours except for inclement weather. I have the headlights with lights mounted, but rarely on during operations on my 1895 era layout.

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