WOWSound Rotate Feature

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The "Rotate" feature has been a big part of WOWSound for many years, and has been an option made available to users as an extension of Audio Assist which makes initial setup of your sound decoder lightning quick. In all previous versions of WOWSound, both Steam and Diesel, the Rotate feature has been able to change between horn, whistle, or bell sounds upon a single button press. This feature is incredibly convenient, and a fantastic aide for professional decoder installers and first-time users alike. Without ever having to touch a programming track, or set down your throttle to look at a manual, you can use a single button to configure the most common sound options within moments.

The button to which the Rotate feature is mapped may vary based on the decoder version or OEM supplier. Function mapping information can be found in the Quick Start Guides included with OEM decoders, or in the literature pamphlet included with a decoder purchased from TCS. For most decoders, the default button is 9 to use the Rotate feature.

Principle of Operation

The Rotate feature works by changing the most recently played sound to the next one in order after pressing the button. To use the Rotate feature, play some sound such as the horn/whistle or bell sound, then press the Rotate button to begin cycling through the available sounds. Once the Rotate button is pressed, the new sound set is locked in automatically. In the case of whistles and horns, using the Rotate feature will simultaneously change all of the individual sound types (Playable, Short, Grade Crossings, Forward Quill, Reverse Quill, Stop Blast). This means that you do not need to manually re-assign all of the correct sounds to each of the buttons these sound types may be mapped to.

Note: When rotating horns/whistles, Audio Assist will announce the name of the newly-selected horn/whistle set - this is not true of all sounds. Rotating bells, for example, will play a sample sound of the new bell.

Since there are typically so many sound options on the decoder, you may find yourself rotating past the desired sound, or wanting to go back to a previous sound. To do this, you can use the direction key on your throttle to change the direction of the rotation. Normally, the Rotate feature cycles through sounds in Alphabetical (or neumerical) order; however, by setting the throttle to reverse, this will cause the Rotate feature to begin cycling through the sounds in reverse alphabetical (or neumerical) order. You may use this ability to "go back" if you found something you liked and do not want to go all the way around again, or if you want to go to one of the last options in the list more quickly when starting at the beginning.

Video Demonstration

Check out our video demonstration of the Rotate feature in action!

WOWSteam Version 4.6 Addendum

In Version 4.6 WOWSteam, launched in mid April of 2022, two major updates were made to the Rotate feature:

  1. The Rotate feature can now be used to Rotate through Chuff Sets. While in motion, use the Rotate button to change the chuff set in real time. This new addition to the Rotate feature allows you to program in a new chuff set without ever having to touch a programming manual, or even enter the Audio Assist program. The biggest advantage is the ability to hear the chuff sounds change in real-time while running. Listen through the different chuff types to find the one that suits your locomotive best!
  2. The Rotate feature now automatically locks itself out when not intentionally in use.

Item 2 was a common issue and point of frustration for many users, who found that between power cycles of their system, or when transferring between layouts, their bell or whistle would change. This issue is caused by de-synchronization between the decoder's memory of the function's status, and the command station's transmissions of the function state (on or off). These de-synchronizations would cause the bell or whistle to change, seemingly randomly.

To correct for this, the Rotate feature now requires TWO sequential presses of the Rotate button (default 9) within two seconds to enter Rotate mode and begin rotating sounds. This change prevents any single state changes to be ignored when powering up or when transferring between command stations. If the decoder sees two state changes, then the only explanation is that you, the user, are very intentionally trying to use the feature and as such Rotate mode will become active. Once in Rotate mode, any subsequent presses of the Rotate button will allow you to continue rotating through the sounds. After approximately 10 seconds of not using the Rotate feature, the system will exit Rotate mode and you will be required to press the button twice again to enter Rotate mode.

NOTE: When the decoder is in motion, the most recently played sound is most likely to be a chuff, so the Rotate feature will select chuffs as the sound type to rotate. For this reason, as well as the two reasons above, the recommended way to use the Rotate feature is as follows:

For Bells and Whistles:

  1. Stop the locomotive. Have it stationary on your track with the throttle set to forward.
  2. Press the Bell button or Whistle button on your throttle.
  3. Press the Rotate button (9) two times in rapid succession to enter rotate mode.
  4. Press the Rotate button (9) as many times as needed until you find the sound you want.
  5. If you go past the sound you want, switch the throttle direction to reverse.
  6. Press the Rotate button (9) as many times as needed until you get back to the sound you want.

For the Chuffset:

  1. Set the locomotive to a speed that is not 0 in the forward direction. We suggest using a speed with a good chuff cadence so that you can get a good sense of the chuff sounds. You may consider using rollers so that the engine does not get too far away.
  2. Press the Rotate button (9) two times in rapid succession to enter rotate mode.
  3. Press the Rotate button (9) as many times as needed until you find the sound you want.
  4. If you go past the sound you want, switch the throttle direction to reverse. Wait for the locomotive to stop and change directions. If your locomotive has high momentum, you may use the brakes if you want.
  5. Press the Rotate button (9) as many times as needed until you get back to the sound you want.