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Radio Control for Dummies?

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Can someone educate me on R/C for 16mm scale please? My last flirtation was with Tamiya 1/10 cars, and the components in there were much, much too big to be of any use to railways. 

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Great idea for a topic Q, and of course we'll need to see peoples set-ups for controlling battery electric loco's and live steam :)

I'm pushed for time at the mo' but will post something up over the weekend.

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The Deltang equipment is my go-to now. I've ordered my stuff from RC Trains and can only say positive things about them. They have receivers for battery locos which include speed control as well as accessory control, and they are tiny. The live steam receiver is even smaller. Its all 2.4ghz so glitching is not an issue.

 

Here are some photos I took when I upgraded my RC system to include sound on my Essel Chattenden. 

 

The original system on dismantlement

34012027735_4c5fc27012_c.jpgIMAG0618 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

33882303901_28ea0a9e49_c.jpgIMAG0619 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

The sound module

33970632806_277e111209_c.jpgIMAG0633 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

The receiver

33970631696_8f8bccb35e_c.jpgIMAG0655 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

33882303101_36038cc391_c.jpgIMAG0656 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Mounting the speaker

33970631206_3dc537cd55_c.jpgIMAG0647 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

33970631306_61813df32b_c.jpgIMAG0648 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Mounting the sound module

33970631886_dacd5a7219_c.jpgIMAG0657 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Some not so neat knitting!

33970631976_e0efcd27b6_c.jpgIMAG0658 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Moving the on/off switch and fuse

33970634666_867cc1802e_c.jpgIMAG0644 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

33970634816_b51042c3d0_c.jpgIMAG0645 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Antenna in cab

33970632186_882dee1a4a_c.jpgIMAG0660 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

Back together

34012027085_3072efb614_c.jpgIMAG0661 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

My remotes. Battery electric one on the left, and live steam on the right.

33970632416_bd8e8fe0ff_c.jpgIMAG0662 by Matthew Jones, on Flickr

 

With the battery electrics its pretty much plug and play. The things to consider what voltage is required for the motor, and can the receiver take it? I think the Deltang equipment is okay up to 18Volts (or 14 AA cells), which is more than enough for 99% of garden railway locos. Batteries are the other consideration. You can buy premade battery packs, or buy tabbed batterys to make your own. I have used both. I tend to go for the largest battery I can get in a body as I quite like to leave trains running for long spells, so larger the cell, the more time spent pottling round. I also use rechargeable rather than one use, with a charging socket/lead in suitable place on the engine. I am sure there are more things to consider, but its a bit hard to advise without knowing what you want to fit RC to.

 

For the steamers, again its plug and play, but its a bit trickier as you have to get the linkages right and then adjust the servo settings to match. I've done this on a couple of engines now. My standard fitting is 4 AA cells (4.8v), servos on regulator, revereser, and gas (servo size depends on how big the steamer is), and then quick links with M2 push rods and connectors. Some people say steam and electric don't mix, but as long as you are sensible/careful with the installation, I've never burned out a servo or receiver so I no longer believe that old adage.

 

What project are you considering?

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Another endorsement for RC Trains - excellent website and I have no doubt that the new owner will be just as helpful as Rik.

 

Regards.

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RC in live steam is not all that hard(most of the time) but it depends on the brand of the engine.  A manual control Roundhouse model is just a simple change over with the RC bits from Roundhouse, 2 servos, a 2.4ghz reciever and a four AA battery pack, The style of the battery pack depends where you want to mount it.  Accucraft take bit of thinking and maybe drill a couple of holes to mount servos.  Both my Pearse and Merlin engines were RC right from the factory.  But one has been updated to 2.4ghz, same servos and battery pack, just swap out the reciever.  The new 2.4 stuff has just a stubby antenna, no long antenna wire to hide somewhere on a hot steam engine.  My Pearse still has its 75mhz AM radio for the moment, and with most everybody already being on the new 2.4 band, its almost totally glitch free.  But you still have a long antenna on the transmitter.  For the moment, both of my live steamers use the old large twin stick radios.  But newer hand held controlers like above are offered now for live steam and I plan to further upgrade both engines to use one common controler.  The days of bulky handheld radios are a thing of the past if you want them to be.     Also battery technology has come a long ways in recent years with good duration batteries that can fit under the bonnet of many diesels that might normally run on track power.  I have converted several LGB diesels and the Accucraft diesel to onboard batteries.    

  Not the best pic, but you can just see the twin servos at the top of the pic, they are tucked along side the boiler in the right side tank on this Pearse W&L Countess.  The reciever is mounted under the engine between the middle and rear axles. Battery pack is carried in the rear cab bunker and is a flat style 4 AA pack.  I have also used AAA battery packs when space is tight.  You can see the excess antenna wire wrapped around a white piece of cardstock, and its soldered to the brass steam dome, which is then insulated from the boiler.  This goes away when I convert this model from 75mhz AM to the new 2.4ghz RC control.     Mike

countess%20in%20bits_zpsj9tggwpe.jpeg

Edited by artfull dodger

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You may it useful to peruse this site, which is one of the main independent suppliers of RC systems to garden railways. There are others of course, and the Association of 16mm NG Modellers' Handbook contains quite a good summary of the current RC options.

 

http://www.brianjonesmodels.co.uk/index.html

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Here comes one of my Playmobil adverts ........

 

If you run on 45mm, rather than 32mm, and want a cheap "toe in the water", buy the Playmobil RC freight train set http://www.argos.co.uk/product/1115396 (it can be found cheaper by shopping around).

 

The loco is absolutely excellent, and the RC kit that it uses is ideal: 2.4GHz, with a very well-designed handset. It is incredibly stable, and the range is greater than the instructions state - I'd say 30m+, even with obstructions in the way. You can take it all to bits and create a new shell for it, if you don't like the modern German look. You could possibly still come out "quids in", by simply stripping the RC gear out of it and using that in another loco!

 

I've got RC locos in very retro (and to be avoided!) 27MHz, slightly retro 40MHz, and 2.4GHz formats, and this Playmobil toy is as good as the best of 'em.

 

If you decide, on the other hand, to DIY, it isn't at all difficult. 2.4GHz is a blasted sight easier to get to work satisfactorily than 27MHz was!

 

Kevin

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Thanks Nearholmer. That has kind of convinced me that the special offer I saw today is too good to pass up. (See my post on the Starting from Scratch thread)

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For a lower cost, and potentially more flexible setup, have a read of the topic that Robin2 started on OO gauge RC. It's based on an Arduino, nRF24L01 transceiver and an H-bridge motor driver. Being built from separate components, it takes up more space than Deltang, but if it can be fitted into 4mm and 7mm locos, as I'm planning, it won't be a problem in garden gauges. With a bit of electronics knowledge, that you can get from loads of information online, and a bit of programming, you can build a system that suits your requirements, and two way communication is possible, so the loco can send data back to the controller. I'm working on using the smallest versions of an Arduino, rather than programming the microcontroller chip as Robin does.

 

This equipment is widely used in RC vehicles, and it's incredibly cheap, either from UK supplies or direct from China. I haven't got it working yet, but I'm not far off. For the cost, it's worth giving it a try.

 

As far as RC for Dummies go, I started learning about Arduinos by reading "Arduinos for Dummies"!

Edited by BG John

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In case Nearholmer doesn't see my other post, I bought the Playmobil set.

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Are the Playmobil wheels metal or plastic?  if metal are they insulated, in other words can you mix it with  electric track powered locos?

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The modern yellow diesel has plastic wheels, as do the wagons, so yes entirely compatible with two-rail track power.

 

Way back, Playmobil actually made track powered locos (well, I suspect LGB made them for them), and there has always been complete compatibility between the Playmobil trains and LGB, including couplings. The idea seems to be that Dad and Grandad have LGB, and the kids Playmobil, with everyone able to play together.

 

Kevin

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The GOG gazette for this month has a good blow by blow account with sketches about fitting out a connoisseur 0-4-0T 7mm (about the smallest O gauge loco) with this gear.

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