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How Loud Is Your Layout???
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 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2016 08:07 am
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Bob D
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I've always pondered this, just how loud are my trains and layout.

I almost bought a sound/decibel meter this morning, then got to thinking if there was an App for one for my iPad Air.
Well, there's hundreds!  I downloaded Decibel 10th , a free app for my iPad Air:
http://zuriapps.com/decibel-10th/
Running a modified Weaver 4-6-0 (Weaver chassis, scratch built boiler, BPRC electronics), on my 2-rail layout (removed center rail) I was getting from 55 to 75 decibels around the approx 12x12 room.
Has anyone else found a good sound/decibel meter app?  I tried Netigen's "Sound Meter" but it was giving me readings of only 27db.
There's a number of free apps and a number costing only .99 cents.  there's a few more costing several $$$.

BobD.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2016 05:04 pm
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Si.
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Hi Bob.

There's simply just no way that ANY cellphone App. whatever the cost, can even attempt to measure dB meaningfuly.

The iPad, phone etc. has a crappy $0.10c microphone in it...
...the frequency-response of which, is about as 'flat' as The Alps.

It's designed for close-proximity mid-band voice pickup only.

All the low-end & hi-end, is pretty much discarded...
...if it weren't, you'd never hear anyone speaking clearly.
There's also a great deal of frequency-response shift...
...depending on how close the sound source is to the mic.

Anyone charging $$$ claiming 'acuracy' is having a laugh.

However, these Apps. 'MIGHT' actualy work, if...
...a proper measurement-mic. was connected to the device via. a USB preamp/interface.
The down side is, that bunch of tricks probably costs more than the iPad !!

There are though 'reasonably priced' self-contained dB meters available.
They wouldn't impress a recording-engineer...
...but for 'industrial-noise' type measurements, they are fairly acurate.

Cheers.

Si.

:moose:



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 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2016 06:08 pm
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Bob D
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Si, that's why I found a FREE one :glad: I figured it wouldn't be but so good.

I also found an app for a stopwatch and a time/distance/speed calculator so I can measure how fast my battery-powered O-scale trains are going, just for S's & G's :brill: :bg:

BobD.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 9th, 2016 08:32 pm
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Si.
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Hi Bob.

Now yer talkin' !

I have a talking-stopwatch App.
It's great for all kinds of things...
...I like it a lot for timing slotcar laps !!

It is quite interesting to work out how fast, in scale speed, models are going.

I calculated my Ferrari F1 speed ... INSANE !!

Cheers.

Si.

The dB App. is a bit of fun though ... I guess measurements are 'relative' anyway.

DAMN ! ... Just lost count on my rivet-work !



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 Posted: Sun Jan 10th, 2016 05:48 am
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Bob D
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Just sitting here at the PC it's reading between 45-50db, goes up to 60 or so as I type (heavy-handed hey?!?!?!) The only things I hear are the 4 fans in the PC and the refrigerator. It's telling me that is about right for an average quiet home so maybe it's a bit more accurate than I think.

When I was running 3-rail and using the MTH DCS system, the handheld readout told you how fast the train was going. But when I have to look at the train and guess (now that I'm running 2-rail and battery power with the RCS system from Tony Walsham), it's not going as fast as it appears.

I think looking at screen indications doesn't give the same sense of motion as actually watching something move.

Anyway it's all fun!

Bob



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 Posted: Mon Jan 11th, 2016 04:37 pm
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Herb Kephart
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The quietest HO layout that I was ever around was mostly hand laid track, commercial punched fiber tie roll, and 3/4''pine board (laid flat) for a base. No ballast, layout was so large for the time that it never got to the ballast stage--we were too busy running trains. Large engines, some scratch built, all double track with broad curves, 12 car passenger trains, huge passenger and freight yards.

And then I went to O scale trolleys with 9'' radius curves on my home layouts--and as they (who they?) say-- never looked back.

Herb



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 Posted: Mon Jan 11th, 2016 10:39 pm
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W C Greene
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Wow...I don't know how much sound my layout makes. It's hard to hear the trains above Bach, Miles, and Lennard Skinnard. I must be missin' something! LOL

Beaudreaux



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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 03:18 am
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George W
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I'd love to do a sound level comparison of my tracks ...

My first "pizza" layout (plywood base, foam & plaster hill) is noisy as all get out .. Partly due to how fast the engine needs to run to climb the hill and everything being "hard" formed.

My second test track (plywood base, cork track bed) was also pretty noisy. I later learned nailing down the track transmits the noise into the board.

My latest layout the track is just pinned (temporarily) to 2" foam, to which I want to add Woodland Scenics foam road bed using a flexible glue instead of nailing the track down.

Right now my On30 Porters will run near silent at low speed on the 2" foam .. except for a little clickity clack over the re-railer, they make a little more noise as they go faster.

Overall though, pretty quite ... But it's just a flat foam board 😕



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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 07:02 am
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Bob D
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Lowes used to sell 3/8" thick anti-fatigue matting on a 30" roll. I bought several feet of it and cut roadbed strips from it on my bandsaw. After laying the strips on the plywood base I fastened the track down using zip-ties every few feet.

Running trains on this was very quiet...until I added ballast. I wish I had had this sound meter app back then, just to see what the difference is between then and now.

A lot of my sound is coming from underneath the layout. I only used 3/8" plywood, most of which is 2 feet wide. Now with the track ballasted I may go back and cut off the zip-ties because the ballast should hold it in place.

I may try installing some foam rubber of some kind under the layout (no more wires to worry about :bg:) to see if that helps reduce the noise.

Trains are suppose to make noise, but I want to get rid of the unwanted kind.

BobD.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 10:32 am
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W C Greene
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Many years ago I was a tech at a local distributing plant, we had about 2 miles of overhead conveyors which made lots of noise. The management had us install "sound abatement" panels under the line which pretty much got rid of machinery noise. These panels were made of a sandwich of 2 pieces of soft foam with rubber (like inner tubes) bonded between. There was a metallic material bonded to top & bottom. All this was about 1" or 1.5" thick. This stuff was expensive back then (mid 1980's) but it did the job. Could be something like that would work to "end all noise", it could be made with "off the shelf" supplies and some silicone glue to stick it all together.
You might see if anyone sells "sound abatement" materials, it might not cost too much for a small thing like a train layout.
I will keep my stereo (remember those?) on and run my pokey little lokies. Oh well, I'm a dinosaur anyway.

Woodie



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