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Dave Bodner came up with an MP3 player prototype that can activate sound files with a simple reed switch. Because the sounds are stored digitally in MP3 format, the sound quality can be better than any of the dedicated sound units currently on the market (e.g., Ram, ITT, etc.) and is only limited by the quality of the source.

I purchased Dave's prototype and did some modification so that any reed switch could access any of eight "chosen access" sounds or 80 "random access" sounds. Literally thousands and thousands of sound byte are free for download on the 'Net. Thousands are specific to railroads and include station sounds as well as service area and train sounds. These can be mixed at will using free software available in the 'Net.

I initially modified the Dave's MP3 player to allow for four reed switches to access any of the 8/80 memory locations.



Two reeds are on my mainline "leap frog" and two are in my service facility area. The two in the service are placed near the diesel fill and coaling/water fill, respectively, and are placed alongside of two existing reed switches that make the engine stop for service in either of these locations. The stop time for the engines is totally adjustable (>3 minutes).

This shows the two of the four reeds switches. These are/were purchased from Goldmine Electronics at 2 for a $1. They are sealed and are exactly the right size to nestle between the European ties without any type of fastening devices (e.g., screws, glue, etc.).



Two were installed along the "leap frog" section.





And become invisible when ballasted.



Two were also installed in the service area. The reed you see is actually the one that stops the train. The sound trigger is next to it in the ballast and you only see the wire.





The regulated power source for both the MP3 player and amplifier was placed in a plastic bottle along with my trolley automation "bypass/override" where it was easy to access the switched power.





And this is tucked in the proximate vegetation for camouflage. When the bush "heals," the bottle will disappear.



A speaker enclosure was constructed out of 4" PVC to house a 3.25" speaker and fits in the Pola water tower. This will produce the service yard and engine sounds.



The speeder shack was modified to contain the MP3 player. The bottom was raised on a "foundation" so that the structure could continue to sit on a paver and notched so wires would be routed in through the rear.



And the AristoCraft Victorian station received a similar treatment.



A set of computer speakers were purchased at Goodwill for $6 and modified so that the wires could be unplugged for easy removal. (Feet were later added to ensure that the speaker stays above any water that may find its way under the station.) This speaker produces station banter and will also do "call outs." One computer speaker was not used and was replaced by the water tower speaker.



This shows the position of the MP3 player and water tower/speaker,



and the general layout of the components.



All buttoned up and ready to go! :D

 

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Now that's pretty cool!
 
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