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What else can you do with a PR-2?

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What else can you do with a PR-2?
Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 8:20 AM

The Digitrax site lists the PR-2 as a SoundFX programmer.

Is it also a general-purpose decoder programmer, that can be used to set and read back CV's, or does it only deal with the sound portion of those decoders?

If it can do CV's, is it generic, or will it only work with Digitrax decoders?

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 8:51 AM

Do you know if it will do CV's on non-Digitrax decoders?

Does it work with any of the CV management software, or only Soundloader?

Actually, I don't care if I can connect it to the layout.  The computer is in another room, and I'd rather not have another computer project anyway.

I'm thinking of getting one, and I'd be a lot more interested if it could stuff besides SoundFX.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by jamnest on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 10:27 AM

The PR2 is a Digitrax Sound Programer only, which allows uploading of sound files to the decoder.  If you want to do programing with your Digitrax/Computer you need to get a Digitrax MS-100 (RS-232 port) or a USB Locobuffer for a USB port; then down load Decoder Pro.  If you are going to program sound decoders you will need to add a Power Pacs to do blast mode programing. (Not needed if you have a Digitrax Zepher as it already does blast mode programing.)

JIM

Jim, Modeling the Kansas City Southern Lines in HO scale.

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Posted by Stevert on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 1:53 PM

Wow, there's a lot of misinformation in this thread!

Here are the facts:

The PR2 is a stand-alone programmer.  That is, it doesn't need a command station.

However, it does need a computer and appropriate software to drive it.  Digitrax's SoundLoader and JMRI are both appropriate software packages.  There may be others that I'm not aware of.

Since every sound decoder manufacturer uses different methods to load sounds, the PR2 will only load sounds on Digitrax decoders.

The PR2 will program any make/model of decoder that follows the NMRA specs WRT reading/writing CV's. 

HTH,
Steve 

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Posted by Stevert on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 8:39 AM
 davidmbedard wrote:

What misinformation?  I dont see any.

David B

This:

 davidmbedard wrote:

It will only deal with SFX decoders.

 

and this:

 jamnest wrote:

The PR2 is a Digitrax Sound Programer only

  As I stated, although the PR2 will load sounds to Digitrax decoders only, it is perfectly capable of reading/writing CV's on any decoder that follows the NMRA specs WRT reading/writing CV's. 
 

Also this is far too general of a statement:

 jamnest wrote:

If you are going to program sound decoders you will need to add a Power Pacs to do blast mode programing.

  QSI decoders, because of their high current requirements, may require a programming power booster such as the Power Pax.  For many other sound decoders, a simple resistor is all that's needed. 

  But even that's not an absolute.  I've reliably programmed BLI sound decoders with my Super Chief and not even a resistor, let alone a programming booster.  And Digitrax's sound decoders were designed specifically to not need a booster (their 32-ohm speakers are part of that design).  I've also programmed those with a bare Super Chief.  No problems whatsoever.

Steve

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:04 AM

Thanks.  I think we're all on the same page about this thing now.

The SFX0416 comes with an 8-ohm speaker, according to the Digitrax site.  The SoundBug comes with a 32-ohm speaker.  My LHS has my order in the shop now, so I'll be picking it up in the next day or so.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by steve58 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 11:30 AM

The Soundbug I bought a few weeks ago came with an 8 ohm speaker.

Even with the 8 ohm speaker, the prime mover sounds are too quiet. The rest of the sounds, although not very loud, are okay.

**** 'course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong ***********
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Posted by Trynn_Allen2 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 4:34 PM
There was an article in this months MR about that.  Most decoders can handle two speakers.  Just make sure that they are in series and not parallel.  That might boost the volume output.
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Posted by jim22 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 8:42 PM
 steve58 wrote:

The Soundbug I bought a few weeks ago came with an 8 ohm speaker.

Even with the 8 ohm speaker, the prime mover sounds are too quiet. The rest of the sounds, although not very loud, are okay.

My soundbug also came with an 8 ohm speaker.  I actually used a smaller mini-oval speaker instead.  I think I got plenty of volume out of mine, but it depends a little on which sound project you are using.  It is critial to use a speaker enclosure to keep the sound waves from the front and rear sides of the speaker from canceling each other out.  I built an enclosure out of styrene.  I put a couple holes in the bottom and sealed the speaker to it with hot glue.

Jim

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Posted by steve58 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 9:47 PM

I'm wondering myself about being dependent on the sound project. I installed it in a Athearn SD40T-2. I have a 16mmx35mm oval and also built a box. Actually, this was one of the easiest sound installs I've done so far. The speaker hangs down from the rear weight (after I milled it down) right near the open grills.

At this point I'm using the default sound scheme because I don't have a programmer or know anyone that does. I was playing with the alternate horn and noticed that when you just blow the horn, if plays at a certain level. But if you do the grade crossing one, it is significantly louder. This is only with the alternate, the first horn volumes are pretty equal. Based on this, I wondered if volumes weren't very dependent on how the scheme was recorded.

To this point, I also cannot figure out how to get a short horn, other than using F7 for the crossing sequence. I use the NCE Powercab and can blow horns anyway I want with SoundTraxx and QSI decoders. I guess the Digitrax is a loop, and that's the way it is, unless you have a programmer and make a short "toot".

**** 'course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong ***********
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Posted by steve58 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 10:32 PM

David, here's a question for you. If I were to use a SFX0416 with a Digitrax decoder, would I have the typical CV conficts like you do when you use a Soundtraxx DSX with some brand of decoder?

Right now I have a variety of decoders and sound. Some Soundtraxx LC (don't care for the motor control that much), Soundtraxx DSX with TCS for control (TSC good motor control, pain to program). This was the first Digitrax decoder I've used and I have to say that I REALLY like the motor control. Part of what keeps me from some of the other sound decoders is those 32 ohm speakers. There just isn't much choice. Other than the one that comes withe the Digitrax decoders, I've found some smaller dia round, but that's it. 8 ohms, another story, round, oval, rectangular, high bass if you have tons of room.

**** 'course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong ***********
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Posted by jim22 on Thursday, March 6, 2008 8:53 PM

Not to beat a dead horse, but I recently put in a soundbug with a TCS decoder and an SFX0416 with an NCE decoder.  Both came from the factory with 8 ohm speakers.  I installed them with 8 ohm mini-oval speakers in enclosures.  I am using the factory diesel scheme on one and the RS-32 project in the other.  Both are loud enough for me, but I do like them a bit subdued.

Try out all the horn options.  I think one of them is supposed to be playable, which my NCE PowerCab doesn't support.  That may explain the volume problem.  I also found that some of the optional horns respond better to short presses of the horn button on the throttle.  The SD38 project is relatively happy to respond to a very short press with a short toot.  The RS32 requires a short but very deliberate press or it ends up playing a long toot anyway.  Maybe this is a result of the length of the looped center portion of the horn sound. 

The SFX0416/NCE combo allows CV programming in either fairly well.  I have them set to the same long address, but unique short addresses.  I do my programming on the main in OPS mode.  The first step is to change CV29 to activate the short addresses in both simultaneously.  Then I can use the short address to program CV's in the desired decoder only.  Finally set CV29 back to activate the long addresses.  Works pretty well.

The soundbug/TCS combination is not well behaved at all for programming.  Programming on the main usually results in the engine taking off at max speed.  David suggested using the decoder locks to sort this out - I have not tried that, but I am suspicious it won't work either.  One or both of the decoders must be trying to "talk back" to the programming station.  I will avoid this combination in the future, and either use a soundbug enabled digitrax decoder or an SFX0416 instead.  For this engine, I ended up using a computer jumper block that I can remove to isolate the sound decoder from one rail.  Unfortunately, I have to remove the shell to access the jumper.  Next time I have it open, I'll try locking the decoders.

Jim 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, March 7, 2008 7:00 AM

Just an update.  I installed an SFX0416 in my Bachmann Peter Witt trolley last night.  So far, the physical installation has been easy.  I cut off the speaker and wired up a 5/8 inch round speaker that fits in the speaker enclosure of the trolley.  (Yes, the trolley has a speaker well in the chassis, with a tight-fitting cover plate.  Nice touch.)  I used some tacky glue to tie up the original Bachmann decoder out of the way, and wired everything together.  This all went pretty smoothly.  I was able to program / read-back from the SFX0416 by putting a light bulb on the headlight lines.  (For those not familiar with this decoder, it has no motor outputs.)  Right now, it's down on my workbench and will remain there until at least Monday, because we've got a ski trip planned.

The SFX0416 comes with 2 installed "sound schemes," basic steam and and SD38/2, I think.  The volume is preset to 9 out of 15.  I found it a bit quiet, but I haven't played with too many CV's yet.

I'm curious - does anyone use the speaker that comes with the decoder?  The SFX0416 is billed as a decoder that will fit in an N-scale loco, which it probably will, but the round speaker looks to be over an inch in diameter.  That's not going to fit in too many HO applications, let alone N-gauge.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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