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Welcome to the Phoenix Sound Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Can't find an answer here? Try our new - and every expanding - Knowledgebase.
Which system should I use, The P8 or the PB11?
When in doubt, the PB11 is our universal 'runs on almost everything' system - DC track power, DCC, remote control, etc. The P8 system is for constant power - DCC or on board remote control - either battery or constant track powered, the P8 is not meant to run on variable DC track power.
Doesn't the BigSoundTM P5 with the P5T completely replace the BigSoundTM 2K2? They seem to do the same thing...
They may appear similar, but some major differences exist that keep the P5 and P5T combo from repalcing the 2K2. The P5 units have no BigBoostTM circuitry (low voltage operation) built in, and no battery input/charging circuitry. Lacking these, the unit will NOT make any sound until input voltage is over 6V. Also as a result the P5 units will not produce start-up, shut-down or idle sounds.
Can I still get sound chips for the Model 96/97 BigSoundTMboard?
Yes, we'll continue to supply the sound chips as long as there is demand for them.
Can I still purchase a Model 96/97 BigSoundTM board?
We have a limited number of the original BigSoundTM sound boards and will continue to make these available while supplies last. No new ones will be manufactured.
How do I hook up the computer interface if I do not have a serial port?
There are several after market USB to Serial adapters you may purchase. Keyspan makes an adapter called, 'Keyspan USB Serial Adapter.' It is basically plug and play to set up, and can be purchased online or at various stores(CompUSA, Best buy, Circuit City..). We have tested the Keyspan USB Serial Adapter and found it to work without out any problems. This has been tested on win 98 and XP. Please be sure that you purchase a full serial adapter and NOT a USB PDA adapter or USB Serial PDA adapter. Belkin makes several of models of each, so please be careful with your choices. For more information on specific adapters, please see our Knowledgebase entry with test results for certain adapters.
Do I have to purchase the Computer Interface software since it available as a free download on your website?
Honestly, no you do not. But there is a catch. You can not simply connect a 2.5mm stereo cable to an DB9 (RS232 Serial) connector and plug it in to your computer. The signal level is much too low to communicate effectively. We provide the software with a cable containing an interface circuit. We will happily provide you with a schematic and parts list if you desire, but many components are surface mount and available only from electronics supply houses. This is not a project for the casual hobbyist. If you wish to attempt this yourself, the cost in components and time will most likely far surpass our list price.
Is a version of the Computer Interface software available for the Mac?
Currently our software is designed to run on the PC platform. Some Mac users have reported success running our software with Virtual PC for the Mac.
How much is the BigSoundTM 2K2?
The Manufacturer's List Price for the BigSoundTM 2K2 is $295, about the same as the Model 96/97 BigSoundTM board. However, the overall cost of ownership is much less because so many capabilities are included for free. This is especially true when compared to some competing products. For example, you do not have to separately purchase sound chips, a DCC decoder, a battery charger or a BigBoostTM. Contact your dealer - many of them sell the BigSoundTM family of products below list. Help me find a dealer
Can the BigSoundTM be used in O and HO scales?
Yes, our older Model 97 boards were used in O scale and even occasionally in HO. The smaller and more efficient 2K2 board is easier to fit systems into these scales. The P5 system fits nicely into O scale and fits in HO boxcars comfortably.
Why does the BigSoundTM cost so much?
Quality is built into the BigSoundTM board. Advanced protection circuitry protects you from blowing your board because of some small error or short during installation. More importantly, BigSoundTM uses a 16-bit microprocessor (not 8-bit) which produces a substantially better sound. Also, sound data is not compressed on the board so it takes more memory, but the end result is unmatched fidelity in the playback. Finally, unlike some competitive boards where you must purchase add-on items separately, such as external battery chargers or even a speaker, these are included items with the BigSoundTM board, or are not required because they are built-in.
How do I control the bell and whistle/horn sounds?
There are three ways to activate these effects: train speed, trigger input and DCC command.
TRAIN SPEED: The crossing whistle/horn plays when you reach a set speed and can be played again by slowing down and speeding up. The crossing whistle speed is adjustable and can be determined by either the track/motor voltage or by a reed switch and axle magnets. The bell plays when your engine begins to move or slows to a stop.
TRIGGER INPUTS: Reed switches hooked between ground and the trigger terminals on the board may be used to trigger effects with track magnets, in an arrangement similar to that used by LGB. Outputs from remote control receivers may also be tied into these trigger inputs on the board.
DCC COMMANDS: The BigSoundTM recognizes DCC Function output commands transmitted on the track. These functions may be assigned to trigger sounds.
What is the maximum voltage the BigSoundTM 2K2 system can handle?
Track Voltage of up to 24V is acceptable; AC, DC, PWM DC and DCC are all acceptable.
Battery Voltage can run up to 20V and the system is protected against inverted (reversed) polarity.
Can I use a 4 ohm speaker?
Yes. The 2K2 board can drive a speaker load down to 4 ohms (two 8 ohm speakers in parallel)and is circuit-protected against shorts. Additional information about multiple speaker configurations may be found on our support page.
How long will a battery charge last if I don't run the engine?
The battery of a 2K2 system will retain an adequate charge for normal operations for several months. If the battery does run down, no damage will occur but the system will not function at low track voltage until the battery recharges.
Can I install the BigSoundTM 2K2 myself?
Yes. Any reasonably handy modeller can install the BigSoundTM themselves. We provide basic installation information in the manual with every kit. You will need to drill some holes and fasten the components into position. You also need a connection to the track or motor, which may require minor soldering in some instances. Non-powered cars may involve a little extra work as you need metal wheels and contacts to obtain power from the track. Some kits have additional notes that pass along tips which we have collected from our own experiences as well as those of other customers and installers.

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