Friday, June 22, 2018

Atlas Acquires Walthers N Scale Locomotive and Rolling Stock Tooling

Below is a press release by Atlas Model Railroad Company Inc.

June 22, 2018

For Immediate Release:

Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc., and Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. have reached an agreement under which Atlas will purchase all N scale locomotive and rolling stock tooling owned by Walthers, including the Walthers N tooling as well as former Life-Like tooling. Atlas will incorporate this tooling into its Atlas Master, Atlas Classic, and Trainman N scale lines. Walthers will continue to offer N scale items in its Cornerstone, SceneMaster, and Walthers Controls brands, including new items as well as items currently in those lines.

“We feel that this tooling has found a great home with Atlas. They have a strong N scale offering and these tools will help them bring some exceptional products back to the market,” said Phil Walthers, President of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.

Tom Haedrich, Executive Chairman at Atlas added, “We’re pleased to be bringing these former Walthers N scale models back to the market so that they can be enjoyed by present and future model railroaders alike. These locomotives and rolling stock will fit right in with our existing N scale lines and we are committed to producing them with the latest technology, prototypical accuracy, and high quality you’ve come to expect from Atlas.”

Established in 1932, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. distributes model trains, accessories, and related items from more than 200 manufacturers, and also manufactures its own exclusive items for its WalthersProto, WalthersMainline, WalthersTrainline, Cornerstone, SceneMaster, Walthers Controls, and WalthersTrack lines.

Founded in 1924 and incorporated in 1949 as Atlas Tool Co. Inc., present day Atlas Model Railroad Co. produces locomotives, rolling stock, track, and accessories in N, HO and O scales for its Atlas Master, Atlas Classic, Trainman, and Atlas O lines.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Clarification on Discontinuing Economi Decoders

On June 6th I published a post concerning SoundTraxx's supposedly discontinuing the 100 and 200 series of Economi decoders (the PnP Economi board #882004 and the 21 pin decoders #881006 & 882006 are continuing to be produced) and the reasons for the confusion surrounding this. After talking with Soundtraxx, they clarified the situation. The two series of decoders are being temporarily discontinued due to the parts shortage until one or both of the following occurs:
  • A different parts supplier is found that can furnish parts in the quantity needed by Soundtraxx
    • Knowing that these parts are used by most of the huge end-product electronics manufacturers (Sony, LG, etc.) in extremely high quantities, if there were other producers then they are most likely also sending their parts to them.
      One thing that worries me here is that if it turns out to become an American supplier, the price will go up.
  • A decoder redesign can be accomplished utilizing parts that are readily available
    • Not the easiest solution. While redesigning you have to insure first, that the new parts will do exactly what the current ones do and second, Soundtraxx can be assured they will be able to get them now and in the future (i.e. supplier stays in business, doesn't discontinue them).
Whatever the solution, I would bet a lot of money that Soundtraxx has been working on this for a while.

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Such a deal Soundtraxx has for you!!!!

If you are interested in Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 decoders you HAVE to go to their website and check out the deal Soundtraxx has on these during the month of June. The gist of it is if you have an old 2nd generation Tsunami (the purple shrink wrapped ones) or certain competitors' sound decoder that you're thinking about replacing, buy a Tsunami 2 decoder in the month of June, send in the receipt plus the older decoder plus their filled out promo form and they will send you a new Tsunami 2 decoder for free!!! Buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) never had it so good!

There are some restrictions involved but they are completely reasonable and there is a list of acceptable/unacceptable decoders given in the June Promo Form. I've got a couple of 2nd generation decoders I need to replace so I'm off and running on this deal. Get Hot!!!

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Soundtraxx Discontinuing ECO 100 and 200 Decoders!!

On June 6th Soundtraxx announced that they were discontinuing the Economi ECO 100 and ECO 200 sound decoders. The new products announcement on YouTube for June 6th gives the reasoning behind this and also shows some alternatives. If this proves to be true, the one thing I'm really going to miss is their size. The ECO 100 was really small and would fit in some really tight spaces.

I'm a little taken aback by this as their website page concerning the Economi decoders shows them as NOT discontinued. I will be keeping an eye on their website to see if anything changes. Anyway, they do show one new product that is interesting, the 9 pin to 21 pin decoder adapter.

This allows you to use an 8 to 9 pin adapter if you have a standard NMRA 8 pin plug or hardwire a 9 pin plug to a locomotive, plug the 9 to 21 pin adapter into it and then plug a 21 pin decoder into that. This might seem like a lot of work but if you are stuck with a 21 pin decoder and no locomotive with a 21 pin motherboard (just so happens I am stuck with one of these), then this is the ideal solution. Think about it. It's really not that different from working on plumbing is it (adapter for this, adapter for that)? I have found these adapters on Ebay for $12.95 with free shipping.

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Woodland Scenics Just Plug Lighting System Additions

Since I gave the clinic on Woodland Scenics' Just Plug lighting scheme they have added several new sorely needed components to the system.
  • Extension Wire Spool 50 ft. - allows much more distance to put those odd ball lights off by themselves.

  • Extension cable kit - contains 2 cable ends and 2 splicing connectors for implementing the wire mentioned above
  • Port Sharing Device - use this with a Light Hub or Sequencing Light Hub (described below) to add up to four Stick-On or Nano LED Lights per Light Port - essentially another hub
    Remember that a single power supply can support a maximum current draw of 1000 milliamps (1 amp). You can figure the total current draw of your lights by simply summing the individual draw of each lamp as I explained during the clinic.
  • Sequencing Light Hub - can add up to four lights that individually sequence on and off - includes dimmer and speed controls - can turn sequencing off to use as a Light Hub and add an optional Auxiliary On/Off Switch - see the warning above
There are other new products on their website. Check them out.

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Digitrax LNWI Mystery Solved

After much research plus trial and tribulation. I finally have Digitrax's LNWI WiFi interface figured out and working properly with our club layout. The Digitrax forum on has been alive with discussion on this hardware. Some of it correct and ot. Some close and some not so close. Here's what I've figured out.
Key point 1:
    The LNWI channel number must match the duplex channel number 
    (minus 10) that the UR92 is set to.

        The UR92 supports duplex channel numbers 11 through 26 while
        the LNWI only supports channel numbers 11 through 21 
        (1 through 11). If the UR92 is programmed to any of the 
        channels 22 through 26, there is no guarantee the LNWI will
        function properly. Read as - Don't use it!! (or change the 
        UR92 channel number). Hopefully, Digitrax will fix this in 
        a future firmware upgrade

Key point 2:
    The Loconet group name must match between the UR92 and the LNWI.
    Since the LNWI itself has no way to program the group name, how 
    can this be done?

        a. With a throttle plugged into the UR92's front panel and the 
           LNWI plugged into the UR92 and both turned on, make a change
           to the group name and save it. This will update the LNWI to
           the changed value.
        b. With power off to the UR92 and the LNWI plugged into it and
           powered on, power on the UR92. The LNWI will be told what 
           the group name and the channel number is.
        c. Use the DigiGroupSetup utility provided by Digitrax
           to set up the values. (I cannot get this to work I believe
           because my LocoBuffer-USB interface has a different baud rate
           than the utility supports. Please leave a comment if you 
           figure this out).  

Key Point 3:
         The 'network number' has nothing to do with the UR92. Set this
         via the LNWI's OpSw's as per the instructions. This changes the 
         LNWI's IP network number in case another model railroad club is
         using the same number as your club. It can be 0 through 7. (For 
         the techies it's the third octet in the IP address
         the 7 in this case)

Key Point 4
         How can I check what these values are set to on the LNWI to make
         sure they are correct? Simple!! Look at the connections page on 
         your phone (or android device or iPad). You'll see this:


             Dtx     -> the Digitrax identifier (can't change this)
             1       -> the duplex channel number
             YYYYYYY -> the 8 character loconet group name
             XXXX    -> the LNWI ID set by Digitrax (can't change this)
             7       -> the network number
If the channel number and group name displayed on your wifi device do not match what's programmed in the attached UR92 there is no guarantee the LNWI will work properly and it will probably corrupt what duplex throttles can acquire and control. I have seen an improperly configured LNWI hijack a DT402 throttle and not allow it to control ANY locomotive.

The Digitrax knowledge base article on the LNWI (KB1053) is located here. As long as you follow the above setup instructions you shouldn't have any problems. Have fun.

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Railroad (Yours) Inspired Apparel And More...

I received an advertisement in the mail the other day and thought it may be of interest to some readers of this blog. It's not limited to just railroads either. Here's a tee shirt example:

They also offer Polo shirts, sweatshirts and a whole lot more. So if you're interested they are located here.

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.