Model Boat Mayhem

Technical, Techniques, Hints, and Tips => The "Black Arts!" ( Electrics & Electronics ) => Topic started by: unbuiltnautilus on September 15, 2018, 02:37:57 PM

Title: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: unbuiltnautilus on September 15, 2018, 02:37:57 PM
I have recently purchased  the Forge Electronics 16 Channel Sound Effects Unit from Scale Warship. Excellent turnaround on the order from Scale Warship, and nicely packaged too.
The unit comes pre=packed with sixteen ( plus two ) sounds with a maritime theme. These are selected by multiple presses of your Tx stick to select the sounds. I purchased it for a non-boat project, that is currently under wraps for at least another week ( Secret 10 my ears!! ), for which I needed to change out all the sounds for others.
Initial set up was a breeze. The unit takes its power from the Rx, with the usual warnings regarding exceeding the maximum input voltage etc. It is also supplied with a little tinky 1" speaker, I assume for testing purposes mainly, this has been replaced with a 4" speaker attached to a cardboard tube ( although the little speaker will be getting painted gold and re-purposed within the project, so nothing wasted..). Volume output is excellent, with an inbuilt volume control, activated via the radio.
Then came the replacing of the sound files, well outside my comfort zone! However, following the well laid out instructions, and a bit of online file converting, the project now speaks...and plays Taps.
Excellent piece of kit and well recommended, now to see if I can break it :}
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: afb on September 15, 2018, 05:58:03 PM
Thank you for the positive review. Indeed, I supply the tiny speaker so users can get started right away. It works reasonably well for high pitched sounds like a whistle or a shrill horn, but for volume, bass response and quality I recommend using a larger speaker such as you have done. But if space is really at a premium, this speaker works remarkably well, though a tad pricey - judging by its form factor it may well be intended for model railway enthusiasts who seem to have deeper pockets than boat builders! (

For audio file manipulation and format conversion, Audacity is a free and easy to use tool - adjust relative volume levels between the sounds in your set, top & tail and even alter the pitch of audio tracks grabbed from Youtube or sound libraries . . . . . and more (
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: unbuiltnautilus on September 16, 2018, 08:40:38 AM
You are welcome, credit where credit due. Not many new discoveries make me smile, but the earworm that is the volume control track is now stuck in my head..thank you for that :o .
The last 'new' thing that impressed me somewhere near as much as this multi-sound unit, was Dolphin Glaze, a rather brilliant low viscosity two part finishing filler, it literally pours out of the soft 'toothpaste' tube it is supplied in. Also it has a rather useful self levelling quality that is most useful.
Anyway, love the little blue box :-)) .
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: afb on September 16, 2018, 08:48:35 AM
The delightful ear-worm is a midi version of the opening riff from Europe's big hit 'The Final Countdown' which I looped and converted to mp3
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: Willit on February 23, 2019, 08:55:46 AM
I have a pair of these in tugs, I couldn't be happier with mine!
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: T888 on February 23, 2019, 09:53:56 AM
Must agree, many of my warship models have Forge electronic installed,  Like servo slow, switching units and sound units. I have found Alan very easy to deal with, he has got a good knowledge electronics, which has allowed him to translate my specific needs for my models in to some special units.

Also I may be temping fate, but over the last 6-7 years of using Alan's units I've never had a failler, also there are competitively priced.

At this time I've been lucky to get hold of an early "Forge" prototype Gun control unit, which I'm retro fitting to my 1/128 scale GRAFF SPEE. ( very briefly this unit controls gun rotation, speed,elevation, sound and has flash Ability built in)

When this unit comes on the market it will no doubt be a very popular unit with Warship modellers and modlers of other type of ship no doubt they will find ways to use it to meet there needs like Possibly cranes etc ???.

Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: afb on March 03, 2019, 11:50:27 AM
Further to Dave letting the cat out of the bag, for those of you who are curious here are a few more details of the new gun controller. The picture shows a prototype unit such as Dave is currently evaluating. The production board will only differ in that it will have a 3.5mm stero jack socket for use with an external amplifier for those wanting an  attention grabbing 'bang' when their gun fires! Otherwise the unit features the very same 3W sound module as reviewed by 'unbuiltnautilus' at the start of this thread and whose output volume was judged to be 'excellent'.

In contrast to my servo based gun controller

this unit uses a stepper motor to rotate the gun so that rotation in excess of 180 degrees can be achieved - 270 degress is typically required for battleships. With no rotation constraints the stepper motor can achieve any angular rotation including continuous. Also with 4096 steps per rev the rotation is extremely smooth.

Again in constrast to my earlier servo based unit the speed of rotation is now proportional to joystick displacement. A potentiometer also allows users to set the maximum speed of rotation to suit their particular installation.

A further RX  channel is available so the gun may be fired at will and the aforementioned sound unit is used to create the 'bang' (users can substitute their own gun sounds on the microSD card). In the absence of a 'fire' channel the unit can be configured to automatically fire at the limits of rotation or (once) when the gun comes to a halt after movement. Provision has been made to drive a white LED to give a muzzle flash (most probably a below deck LED will be used to feed an optical fibre threaded up the gun barrel). If a further RX channel is available there is provision to drive a servo to elevate the gun and another servo output automatically provides a recoil action for those clever enough to engineer this.

In the absence of an elevation channel the gun will automatically elevate and depress as it rotates, the minimum and maximum elevations being user configurable.

The sound module also gives verbal guidance during the setup procedures.

For use at exhibitions it is possible to put the unit into a demonstration mode where it sweeps from side to side automatically elevating and depressing as it does so. For user convenience this mode is triggered from the transmitter by holding the gun at its extreme limit of rotation (with the joystick still pressed) for ten seconds. Further jogs of the joystick select three different angular rotations at three different speeds. A press the other way cancels demo mode. During this mode the gun may be fired at will and though 'auto end stop' firing is possible I think it would quickly get very irritating!

Multiple guns can be daisy chained from the stepper motor drive output to turn in synchronism and an expansion board is available to feed 4 guns maximum. The expansion board has provision to reverse the direction of rotation of any of the guns so those at the stern can turn to face in the same direction at those at the bows.

The unit takes a 7 to 12v supply to operate - no power is taken from the boat's 5v receiver supply. Why? well traversing, elevating, firing and recoiling all at the same time would overwhelm the BEC in most ESCs so a separate 3A UBEC is fitted. Correction, the relay coil *IS* fed from the 5v RX supply and its relay contacts connect the 7-12v to the unit - I've fitted this as many ESCs have a dinky on/off switch that shuts down the BEC but DOESN'T turn off the main 7-12v battery supply. I liken this to leaving a loaded, cocked revolver in your desk drawer -there's no reason for it to go off but you wouldn't do it! Thus the relay is fitted to prevent the gun controller remaining powered with the ESC switched off for those who fail to disconnect their battery after use.   

Only available following satisfactory conclusion of several user evaluations, price not yet determined but you can probably manage with one kidney anyway!
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: C-3PO on March 04, 2019, 07:44:44 AM
Nice one Alan - looks like this is the "Shaken, Not Stirred" version

Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: afb on March 05, 2019, 07:35:25 AM
Jonathan - were I just about to begin this project your RCC system would be ideal for the plethora of controls and set-ups necessary to fully utilise it !
Title: Re: Forge Electronics Sound Unit recommendation.
Post by: C-3PO on March 05, 2019, 08:20:10 AM
Hi Alan,

The RCC concept certainly opens up a new playing field I believe having laboured in the past with the still elegant 4D-systems touch screens, let alone the jab the stick X times for this function approach. I have a small mount that holds my phone on my RC handset and it works really well. It also works well on my iPad and other tablets where more screen space makes it easier for the fat fingered amongst us.

I have overcome the "Wi-Fi" access point range limitations and can now boast 500m - 1km with very little effect on latency but a dramatic effect on my brain as it's got pretty complex.

I have some significant functionality updates just going through final testing before making it more pretty with CSS and Javascript.

Expect to see a "Q" version in the future?