Silencing Soundtraxx Decoders

Having a lot or even a few sound equipped decoders idling away on a layout can get annoying fairly quickly. But it might be difficult to get your engineers to remember to mute their locomotives after they have finished their run.

Fortunately Soundtraxx programmed an automatic shut down feature called quiet mode, into the Econami and Tsunami2 decoders. With this feature enabled, when the throttle is set to “0” and all functions are turned off, the decoder sounds will shut off after a predetermined period.

Let’s say you want them to shut down after 30 seconds of idling. All you do is divide 30 by .25 and enter that result into CV113. Since the maximum value you can enter is 255, the longest quiet mode period you can achieve is 63.75 seconds–a value of “0” disables quiet mode. Decoder sound will remain off until the locomotive is addressed by another throttle. This feature works the same for all new Soundtraxx decoders, so give it a try the next time you feel the anxiety level rising.

The limitation of this approach is that getting your engineers to turn all the functions off at the end of a run may be more difficult than getting them to remember to hit F8 and just turn the sound off. For this reason on the Piedmont Southern I am installing automatic kill switches on the staging yard tracks. But that’s the subject of a future column so I can’t say more.

4 comments

  • To shut off power and therefore sound on my turntable tracks I plan to have each track have power connected through a SPST switch. Am I missing something about DCC that requires me to have both rails shutdown? I will also connect a green LED in parallel to each track’s SPST at the turntable’s control panel with the appropriate resistor. Power on lights green; power off no light.

    There is one flaw to this scheme but using SPDT switchbwill not solve it. For my locos to which I’ve added a current keeper, its going to take a while for the current tonrun down

  • Hi Larry,
    You’re certainly right about this one. I’ve got dozens of sound-equipped units, mostly consisted in either command station format, or advanced consisting. I have another solution… old school. The storage tracks on all three of my loco service facilities are all controlled by individual DPST toggle switches. Once parked, the switch is thrown and out go the lights, sounds, etc. Now the only Operator memory challenge required is to purge the addresses to avoid the dreaded Digitrax “Slot Max” message. As you may recall, I bought the new DCS240 to increase loco address memory, but never succeeded in getting the command station to communicate with any one of three different laptops. I wonder why Digitrax doesn’t just set the memory to 400 addresses right out of the box?

    • Bill—good setup with the switches. For my staging yards I am installing track occupancy detectors which will kill track power once the loco nears the end of track. That way it won’t require that operators do anything but drive them into the track. I find that operators have a short attention span when it comes to things like that.