Steam locomotive whistle

Posted on Jan 3, 2013

The waveform of a steam whistle is a complex combination of white noise and an audio frequency oscillation. The noise generator is a transistor (Ql) biased into zener mode. The audio frequency oscillation is a straightforward mixture of two similar (but not identical) sine waves, which after their addition produce a more complex waveshape. The sine wave generators are twin-t oscillators.

Steam locomotive whistle
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Preset RV1 mixes the two sine waves so that an appropriate waveform is obtained. RV2 mixes this waveform with the white noise. Adjustment of all three presets will result in the required sound. Integrated circuit IC1 is an operational amplifier used as a simple mixer/amplifier which combines the steam whistle, chuffer, (generated elsewhere) and two-tone horn sounds into one, suitable for amplification by an external amplifier.

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