Steam, sound, computer control and S7.

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by SteveB, 13 March 2018.

  1. SteveB

    SteveB Western Thunderer

    I wasn’t sure what section to put this in, ‘Layout Progress’ seems to be the most appropriate. The four engines and the turntable along with the sounds and steam effects are all being controlled by my PC using some software called Train Controller.

    There’s a couple of bits in the video that haven’t worked as well as I had planned, for example the cylinder drains on the 8F didn’t work very well and the Std 4 tank went silent for a bit, but there’s enough to demonstrate the capability of the set up. There’s also a few sections of the video that could do with speeding up, but I haven’t worked out how to do that yet, so I leave you to fast forward them.

    The computer can control as much or as little as you want. My long term aim, once I’ve built a bit more track, is for the computer to control the majority of the locos and movement whilst I look after one or two.

    My layout is being based on the MPD at Bath Green Park in the 60’s until closure and my intention is to model it true to scale with no compression or simplification. I have much to do!


    jamiepage, cmax, fenman and 20 others like this.
  2. BrushType4

    BrushType4 Western Thunderer

  3. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Outstanding Steve :thumbs:
  4. Spitfire2865

    Spitfire2865 Western Thunderer

    Im not usually one for sounds and smoke, but that is absolutely fantastic.
  5. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I wonder if the smell is there as well?
  6. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Very impressive Steve..!!

    Have you noticed any issues yet with the smoke from the drain cocks making the track a bit grubby with regard electrical pickup?

  7. SteveB

    SteveB Western Thunderer

    Hi Adrian

    Only when I break wind:)

    Seriously Deluxe do a fluid which is supposed to smell of coal and oil, but it didn't live up to expectations and the smoke took ages to dissipate. The stuff from ESU is by far the best.


    adrian likes this.
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Western Thunderer

    Thanks JB. There is a residue which eventually builds up but it does take quite a lot before it becomes a problem. A simple wipe over with a kitchen towel removes it okay.


  9. Phil.c

    Phil.c Western Thunderer

    Very good indeed, O gauge i'm guessing...I'm not up on smoke generators, are they still oil based with a heated eliment, what about the steam side of it?

  10. Softvark

    Softvark Active Member

    Very good - I'm particularly impressed with the realism of the smoke as it usually looks wispy rather than 'cloud like'.

    Where do you get the ESU smoke fluid from?
  11. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    That is very good indeed, a definite feel of Bath already I think.

    Thinks, how good would something like that look on a G1 locomotive in the garden?

    I do have a Bachmann 57XX knocking about in the shed, I guess there might be room inside it...

    Seriously impressive stuff:)

  12. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer

    Having had the privilege of seeing Steve's layout live I can confirm the sound is even better in real life. the video makes it sound quite tame. The 8F sounds like a real steam engine.

    Great stuff Steve. Keep pushing the envelope.

    Last edited: 14 March 2018
  13. Michael D

    Michael D Active Member

    Absolutely fabulous Steve
  14. wychcan

    wychcan Member

    What a fabulous video well done
    Any chance you could write about how and what you used to to produce the effects?
  15. TheSnapper

    TheSnapper Western Thunderer

    Just wondering about all the "puther"...

    I remember trying out a Peter Clark unit fitted in my Class37 on Heyside once, and it nearly choked everyone!

  16. ChrisBr

    ChrisBr Member

    As people have already said, this is taking things to the next level - with the quality of modelling and sound as good as it can be now, adding realistic smoke/steam to steam engines is to me the missing ingredient in modelling and this is getting very close to being spot on.
    I too would be very keen to know more about how it has been done.
  17. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    Have a look through this thread for inspiration.
    Model smoke and steam
  18. Phil.c

    Phil.c Western Thunderer

    What's the situation with polution in the room when operating smoke for say half an hour?
  19. SteveB

    SteveB Western Thunderer

    There’s been a couple of questions about how long I can use the smoke effects before the fumes become a problem.

    As far as I can work out, the fumes produced are the same as the theatrical industry use for their smoke/steam effects, so that gives me a bit of reassurance that it’s not doing any harm.

    There is a massive difference between various brands of smoke fluid. The best one I’ve come across is the ESU one, that’s what I was using in the video. The generators were going for well over 15 mins in a closed room and there was no noticeable problem. On the other hand, if I was using the Deluxe product then I couldn’t have put up with any more than about 2 mins!

    The other thing to bear in mind is that you can always turn them off and they are reasonably adjustable in terms of the amount of smoke produced. My video shows quite different amounts of smoke being produced, from the diesel at one extreme to the Std 4 Tank at the other. These are all controlled by changing CV’s within the decoder.

    One thing I’ve been able to achieve recently is that each effect is controlled by one function key, so If I want to make the Safety Valves blow, then I just press a single Function Key on my DCC controller. Previously, I had to turn on the heaters, wait 5 or 10 seconds and then turn on the fan. I then had to remember to turn both off!

    If anyone is interested, then I’ll do a post on how this was achieved.


    ChrisBr, Dog Star, cmax and 1 other person like this.
  20. Tim Watson

    Tim Watson Western Thunderer

    Fantastic Steve. The smell of coal is well represented by Stockholm tar-based sheeps foot oil (I bought a can in a fantastic old iron mongers in Chagford 25 years agony). We have used it on Copenhagen Fields wafting from an aromatic oils diffuser. Quite honestly, I don’t think anyone notices in a large exhibiton hall, but smell-surround may have a future. There again...