Some time in the late 1970's or early 1980's I purchased-several model railroad products from this firm and am still using them on my layout. Attached is a photo of their circus animator which no longer works. This was a delightful addition to my circus, controlling sound and light to liven up the scene. The box you see could play a variety of audio clips through speakers hidden under my big top grandstand. Kids loved it and I am sorry it failed. Over the years I have never seen this at shows. They also sold sound effects for gas stations, guys cutting trees in a forest, and a ststion master calling trains. Anyone out ever heard of them.?
Replies sorted oldest to newest
I remember it was a name floating around in when I was barely old enough to read, much like QSI, Depotronics and Dallee. I also remember Ron Zweig in NJ had one of these for his layout to play station sounds as well as his own circus.
Very much a fallen flag from a much different time...
I had one. It had a couple of different whistles and horns. Station announcements and city traffic noise. I had the Blue Comet and the Super Chief for arrival and departures. I would think they also would of had the 20th Century and Broadway Limited maybe in a different version. But not sure if those trains were that popular at that time before the Nineties as I don’t believe they were offered in sets. I think K-Line in the late 80’s was the first to offer them in heavyweight sets.
When I was doing RoW sounds I remember a number of small electronic companies. One I recall did synthesized sounds for steam and diesel locomotives. I believe it was called Starr Electronics. There were a few others but they have all come and gone. The only survivor I know of is QSI and I believe Fred and Pat sold to someone else. A few years ago Fred was trying to sell off his sound library.
Phil, do not take my reply as volunteering, but a little research on the web brought me to another forum where there were some pictures of another model. Google "Roanoke Electronics Super Horn". The internal construction is classic and common for that time period- so my first guess is at least one of the capacitors failed over time, and likely the whole unit could use a good "going through" and re-cap session. Again, I'm not saying 100% it can be fixed, you just never know, but I would think at least of a few of the skilled electronic folks are capable of a stab at fixing it.
Again, as a betting person, I would replace all the electrolytic capacitors, and then start measuring the voltage regulator and power section. It might just start working.
I have a Roanoke Electronics Sound box made with custom sounds for the PRR. It took me over a year and a half and a threat to get it as the owner seemed to have "bit off more than he could chew" when he was swamped with orders for his products. My box still works 👍 great! Roanoke seemed to have folder right after I finally got my sound box.
Gentlemen: Thanks for your replies. A member of this forum contacted me and he is going to try and get it working again. He follows this forum and may find Mr Barry's suggestions useful. I also believe that PRR horseshoecurve may have analyzed the situation correctly. Too bad as he had some remarkably creative video clips! How did your PRR souinds work for you? Phil
I have one of Roanoke's diesel prime-mover sound cards, installed in an early Lionel SD40 dummy unit I bought for the train below:
The only sounds were of the diesel itself, keyed somewhat to track voltage. No horn as you'll probably notice, just the stock Lionel one in the powered unit. It can be a bit hard to pick out its sound over the train's noise after it gets rolling (it's in the third unit #8204) since consumer camcorders' mikes pick up sound from all around. In-person it's easier to hear.
Hi Phil, first off I want to say I love your layout. I haven't seen it in person, but I did see it through TM's shows. I've been interested in these Roanoke Sound systems and I have a MK-II on the way. I've been curious and interested in finding the circus version, but of course they don't pop up for sale. But I hope you can get yours going again. Would it be possible to do a video demonstration of it? Have a wonderful evening!