TrainBoss™ Defect Detectors

Cooling a Hotbox

Hotbox! And miles from nowhere. This Colorado & Southern Ry. Beet Run crew will be late for supper as they wait for a hot journal box to cool. Then they'll proceed slowly to the nearest siding to drop the bad order car.

You can cut the suspense with a knife as the last car of your Hotshot passes the Defect Detector at Milepost 92.6. Here comes the report — No Defects! It's smooth sailing from here as you listen to the usual statistics: Axle Count, Train Speed, Train Length, Temperature, and a very business-like "Detector Out".

Recreate the sound of modern railroading on your layout with the TrainBoss™ Talking Defect Detector. Customize its messages to match your railroad. And watch your crews sweat everytime they pass! Model railroad operations will never be the same again.


Check out this video demonstration of TrainBoss™ Defect Detectors in action.

Hotbox and Equipment Defect Detector for model railroads

  • Three installation options:
    1. Single Detector reporting axle count, speed, & length — the best match to modern detectors
    2. Double Detector for double track or two widely-separated single track locations — reports axle count
    3. Clearance Zone high/wide load detection approaching bridges, tunnels, and other close structures — reports axle count
  • Voice report or visual display options to match your railroad era:
    1. Modern male or female automated trackside voice reports (1980s – Today)
    2. Trackside and remote operator displays (1940s – Today)
    3. Train crew voice reports (all eras)
  • Speaks/displays 6 types of defect alarms for passing trains: hotbox, dragging equipment, high car, wide or shifted load, sliding wheel
  • Reports train axle count, speed and length, temperature, and total axles per session
  • User customized voice reports to match your prototype
  • User defined alarm probability for each defect type, 1/30 to 1/8000 cars
  • Infrared Axle Sensors support day and night operation in all scales
  • Volume-controlled speaker output and stereo jack for powered speakers
  • 200 mA alerting outputs drive LEDs, motors, relays, or other railroad electronics such as C/MRI, DigiTrax, and JMRI
  • Inputs to 1) Repeat last message, 2) Force alarm on next train, 3) Clear alerts

Simple installation

  • One-piece Axle Sensors slip under installed track for correct alignment
  • Screw terminals for all circuit board connections
  • Factory configured for immediate use
  • Polarity-independent DC (9-12 V) or AC (7-9 V) at 250 mA required
  • 8-Ohm speaker or powered speakers not included

Included parts:

  • TrainBoss™ Defect Detector Circuit Board
  • Axle Sensors (2)
  • Push-Button Switch
  • Panel Template
  • Vinyl Tubing
  • Product Manual

See the Sound Samples to the right for a demonstration.

Notice: This product simulates defect detection for model railroads and does not sense the true condition of rail cars.

Talking Defect Detector     Model No. TB-23F/M

TrainBoss™ Talking Defect DetectorModeling defect detectors of all eras, the Talking Defect Detector speaks and displays 6 types of defect alarms for passing trains with the probability you assign. The Talking Detector also reports axle count, train speed and length, and temperature — just like automated detectors on the prototype. For a bygone era, listen as rear trainmen report defects and speeding engineers. The Talking Detector can also be configured as a Displaying Detector. Speakers and Display Bezel not included.

The Voice Chip of your choice (male or female) is included. Please order by voice type:

  Female Voice Model No. TB-23F   $149.95  

Male Voice Model No. TB-23M   $149.95  

Important: If your rail is larger than Code 125 (1/8"), please let us know. We will provide longer LED leads on your Axle Sensors.

Custom Word or Phrase         Item No. TB-CWP

Boulder Creek Engineering is happy to add a word or phrase that's special for your railroad. We'll record and add it to the more than 120 words and phrases already included with the TrainBoss™ Talking Defect Detector. And we'll load it on as many Talking Defect Detectors as you order.

Custom words or phrases must be ordered separately for each automated voice type, male and female, if both are desired. For example, "Colorado and Southern Ry." in both male and female voice would be two orders of that phrase for a total of $20.

Be sure to include your email address with your order so we can contact you for pronunciation or other questions.

Custom Word or Phrase (60 letters max.):

Item No. TB-CWP   $10.00 each  

Voice Chip                         Item No. TB-VC22F/M

TrainBoss™ Voice ChipYou can change the automated voice on your Model No. TB-22F/M or TB-23F/M Talking Defect Detector from male to female or vice versa by swapping the Voice Chip.

Please order an additional Voice Chip by automated voice type:

Female Voice Chip Item No. TB-VC22F   $30.00  

Male Voice Chip Item No. TB-VC22M   $30.00  

Upgrades                     Item No. TB-UG2223F/M
                                    Item No. TB-UG2123F/M

Customers who desire the latest features and vocabulary can upgrade their current Talking Defect Detector to Model No. TB-23F/M. You must send your Talking Defect Detector circuit board postpaid to Boulder Creek Engineering and order the desired upgrade below.

If you are upgrading to the opposite gender voice with Custom Words or Phrases, (for example, you have custom words in a male voice model and are upgrading to a female voice model) you must reorder your Custom Words or Phrases separately, Item No. TB-CWP above. Existing custom words in the same gender voice do not need to be reordered.

Please order by original model number and final upgraded voice type. (For example, to upgrade a Model No. TB-22 to Model No. TB-23 with Female voice, order TB-UG2223F.)

  Upgrade 22 to Female 23, No. TB-UG2223F   $10.00  

  Upgrade 21 to Female 23, No. TB-UG2123F   $20.00  

Upgrade 22 to Male 23, No. TB-UG2223M   $10.00  

Upgrade 21 to Male 23, No. TB-UG2123M   $20.00  


Display Bezel                             Model No. BZ-25

TrainBoss™ Display BezelSmoked lens bezel installs in front of the TrainBoss™ Defect Detector display. This gives a clean look for fascia mounting.

Model No. BZ-25   $4.95