Sounds: Whistle and Chugga-Chugga

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Clark A., Nov 28, 2004.

  1. Clark A.

    Clark A. Member

    Are there any devices (HO) that make a good sound steam whistle for an affordale price? Also, are there any devices (HO) that hook onto the train to make a chugga chugga sound in sync with the train's speed? (I know that there are ones in coal cars for O scale)
  2. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member


    Are you talking about decoders with sound that you can place in locomotives?

    If that, it varies depending on model and manufacturer.

    Personally, I just got a Soundtraxx B280LC installed in my Bachmann 2-8-0. The pre-installed speaker has an excellent whistle, bell, and wonderful chuff and airpump to match with the trains speed.

    If not in a locomotive, the MRC Soundstation isn't too bad. It's basically two computer-sized speakers connected to a remote control. There's steam sounds, couplers, "All Aboard", diesels, and others. I have it, but it hails in comparison to sound systems in locomotives.

    I don't know of any sound devices that can be put outside the locomotive that judge the speed and what not... Anyone know otherwise?

    Hope this helps. Good luck. :D
  3. Clark A.

    Clark A. Member

    I'm basically talking about a whistle that you can operate not on a train and a chugga chugga noise for on the train.
  4. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Years ago Tyco made a chugga-chugga Baby Ruth boxcar. Basically had a big hollow wheel full of BBs fitted into the car. You still see them a lot on Ebay. Don't know of any electronic chugga-chugga cars made.
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I've got a couple of electronics kits that do what you ask.

    A whistle, and a diesel engine noise generator.

    from here: EN/catalogs/CTG0001299

    That is an Australian store in $AUS ($10 AUS = about $7.50 US), but I'm sure there will be one in the US somewhere.

    I have not made up the "whistle" kit yet, but I did with the deisel sound generator. You must use a "PWM" controller to get the deisel sound generator to work properly.

    A PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation) controller puts "pulses" of DC 12 Volts on the rails to drive your trains. The more "pulses" the faster your train. Normal controllers just vary the voltage to control your train. You don't have to make any special mods to your loco to use a PWM controller.

    The other kit on the page is a CDU for switching turnouts.

    You could, go the "whole hog" and go DCC (computerised train control) which means putting a little circuit board and speaker inside your loco, and that will give you both a deisel, or steam choof choof and whistle/horn through a tiny speaker in your loco. But you need a DCC controller to do that, and that gets quite expensive. ($250US+ for the controller, and about $50US+ for the little circuit board for each loco).
  6. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    Clark -

    One aside to Woodie's comments.

    DCC decoders (the little circuit board inside each loco) are available for as low as $20 each (or even less). I've seen them at $12 each - though that was in packs of 10. These are generally as good as any, just maybe controlling fewer "features" like fancy lighting effects for your diesels.

    There are also DCC controller systems available for around $80-100 (Bachmann, Atlas), though in that case I'd urge you NOT to go with the lower-end, but rather with a mid-range system for $250-$300 (MRC Prodigy Advanced, Lenz System 100, etc.)

    Having said all that, DCC decoders WITH SOUND start at $70 (one by MRC for diesel or steam) and go up. Soundtraxx is often viewed as top of the line and goes from $120 upward. and are two good resources to check out for more info.

    If it were me, I'd go DCC (I can say that with surety - I did). I did it at first just to simplify running (no more need for blocks, vastly reduced wiring, ability to do things you just can't do with regular DC like run through reverse loops without flipping any polarity), but quickly found that being able to add on-board sound was a huge plus. I also happen to like that my layout is hooked to my computer and I can run the whole thing off the screen if I wish...

  7. Clark A.

    Clark A. Member

    I'm very confused by DCC, can you 2 or others describe how to set it up, how its different, what it does, etc? Thanx
  8. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Have a look a bit further down the list, and the DCC forum pages. There are some good links in the first thread on that page that helps and has some good info.

    Basically, DCC puts Computer commands through your tracks that get picked up by the circuit boards in your locos. Your throttle generates these commands, like, **LOCO 01 MOVE FORWARD AT SPEED 60** and the circuit board then applies voltage to the motor to run at **speed 60**. As you turn your throttle down, it will send computer command to run at the slower speeds. You might then push the "lights on" button, and the DCC controller wil generate the computer commands to **LOCO 01 LIGHTS ON**, and on will come your loco lights, and send it to the loco via the tracks.

    The more expensive decoders (circuit boards for your locos) have a tiny speaker attached to them too.

    So your button on your controller might be "sound whistle", and the DCC controller will generate the computer command ""LOCO 01 SOUND WHISTLE** and your loco will go TOOT!!

    By doing it this way, you can have many locos on the one track going in different directions or speeds.

    Switch your throttle to LOCO 02. And then the commands generated will be picked up by LOCO 02, while LOCO 01 still continues to run.

    Get the idea? :cool:
  9. rcline

    rcline Member

    Clark - I bought a good flat car with crates loaded on it from Walthers a short time back. It has a little speaker and batteries in it and when you pull it, it goes chug-a-lug in perfect time with engine speed, in fact I was pulling it last night when I found out that my little 0-6-0 steamer out pulls my diesels on my REALLY steep inclines. Wouldn't you know it,on my track, old fashion steam out works modern diesels!
  10. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    You might want to look into some of the things MRC has offered, they had (I think they don't make it anymore, but hobby shops/ebay should have it) a thing that you wired between your powerpack and the track, it produced either a chug/whistle or diesel rumble/horn sound depending on which (steam or diesel) you selected. The sound came out a large speaker mounted under the layout. That way you could get sounds for steam or diesels, even if they were running light (without any cars) without any modifications to the engines or cars etc.

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