Yesterday a few friends came over to help out with a large project.
Replacing the QSI decoders in the F-7 fleet with Loksound sound decoders.
Photos and details can be seen here on Trevor's blog, http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/?p=7708. Why repeat what he's said?
But I will take a moment to talk further about why I decided to go to this trouble.
While there are people out there who really love QSI decoders and the features they come with, my experience has been less than stellar.
I have found the QSI products a royal pain to program. They use a goofy extended address format that pretty much demands the use of their proprietary programmer. Which is fine, but the trials I went through to first get a programmer and then get the damn thing to work was nothing short of rage inducing. The owner of QSI couldn't figure out how to get the drivers to work on my pc, while my "Nerds On Site" guy figured it out in 2 minutes.
The actual software I found to be clunky and firmly rooted in DOS era.
The clincher was watching my friend Bob Fallowfield program a new decoder for me. The sound files are software and loaded onto the decoders. So updates are easy. Improvements to controls and sounds can be made by loading new software. No more replacing chipsets or whole decoders when technology moves forward.
And then there's the actual sounds. The first time I heard a Loksound decoder I was hooked. The diesels sound like what I have heard. The prime movers rev up and then the loco moves, like it's supposed to. And nice and throaty!
And then there's Matt Herman. The Loksound guy in North America. Any company who offers such congenial and helpful customer service that Matt brings gets my money in a heart beat. You can meet Matt at many of the train shows across North America over the course of the year. He gets what we want from our models and works hard to take care of the rare problems. That all companies behaved this way.
Now it's back to the bench, as not all the units got done yesterday. And then there's all the programming. But I'm actually looking forward to that task.