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rka

Advice for a complete novice

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Hi there,

 

I've been looking through the various threads on here trying to find out what would be a good and relatively inexpensive kit to try battery powered locos with.

 

I model in 4mm and most of my locos are old Lima ones so there is a lot of space in the bodies for a system.

 

Would it be possible for some of you to point me in the right please?

 

Regards Richard

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OK, I have converted some of those. I will have a think and make up some shopping lists, keeping things as simple as possible

 

Question - are you running DC? - are you OK with soldering wires together?

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This was my shopping list from another thread.

 

Single cell 3.7v battery with UM connectors - you can probably fit quite a large one in a Lima body

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/lipo_1s.html


Rx41d-x-v5 DSM2/DSMX Micro Receiver with Bi-Directional ESC (pre-wired version)

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/rx_dt_land_v5.html#dt_rx41d_v5

 

UM battery extension lead chopped in half to give me a charging port - get another one for the charger

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/conn_picoblade.html

 

Micro slide switch to turn it off/on (always better to charge it when it's off)

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/switch.html

 

My controller is a Tx22

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/tx_rail.html#tx22v2

 

USB charger

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/E-Flite-1S-USB-Li-Po-Charger-300mA-EFLC1008/352591796442?hash=item52181bd8da:g:HQMAAOSwKF9c9IfU

 

Voltage step-up if more power is needed (you may need an Rx6x receiver to handle more voltage)

http://www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk/regulator.html

 

The wiring is (obviously) the important thing to get right.

 

-Charging port and battery need to be permanently connected

-Battery and Rx need to have on/off switch in between them

-Rx and motor need to be connected the right way around

Edited by Corbs
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45 minutes ago, wasdavetheroad said:

OK, I have converted some of those. I will have a think and make up some shopping lists, keeping things as simple as possible

 

Question - are you running DC? - are you OK with soldering wires together?

Hi,

I'm ok with soldering and I don't have a layout as yet, so I think this might be a good way to go from the start.

 

Regards Richard

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1 hour ago, rka said:

Hi,

I'm ok with soldering and I don't have a layout as yet, so I think this might be a good way to go from the start.

 

Regards Richard

Maybe I little to early to decide between DC, DCC or RC. How big will your layout be, how many locomotives, do you want lights, sound, to be able to operate accessories?

 

If you want the simplest RC system just to check it out my to buy list would cost about £112 plus postage, similar to Corbs list. £12 of that would be the 3 batteries, the rest could be sold on as second hand so if you did not want to proceed you could get back some of the cost.

 

It so happens I have a unconverted Lima class 47 sitting in front of me.

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What I would suggest is doing the CD motor conversion first, then it's unlikely you'll need an upconverter and you don't need to fit diodes as the motor already runs fine on 3.7v.

 

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4 hours ago, Corbs said:

 

I'm not planning on a big layout with loads of trains, so maybe best to go DC as I'm not bothered about sound and lights. 

 

I like the idea of the radio control so I might have a bash.

 

Most of my Lima locos are dual motored or have had modern motors with dual drive bogies, would either approach work with the r/c and battery system?

 

Regards Richard

Edited by rka

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Just a quicky question for Corbs:

 

As you know I've been following your RC venture with grewt interest since your first SiF postings on it, even fitting units in a baby Skarloey of all things.

 

As I am soon to start track laying the NWR, I am to finally convert to DCC.

 

Two main reasons, smoke and sound on demand.  Less wiring is a bonus.

 

Lack of these extra functions is the only thing stopping me going RC instead.

 

Thoughts????

 

I know some firms are workijg on RC functions but they are way too sluggish to get stuff to the market.

 

Persuade me otherwise!!

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I think that the current market is so into sound that to be competitive commercially, RC will need to offer it too. Smoke is still so divisive (to me and some other people it never looks right). I think RC would not be able to support smoke due to the extra power required for a heating element.

Stay-alives have helped DCC a lot, too but they IMO still mask an underlying issue.


For me, RC and DCC are miles better than Analogue control, but DCC/RC is a personal choice and each has their up and down sides. The slow speeds and indifference to track condition that I have found with RC makes it the choice for me (because I am lazy, can't be bothered to clean track, can't be bothered to wire track up, etc. - charging batteries is by comparison not much effort for me).

 

Things like 'add dropper wires to every piece of track to achieve good running' to me are ridiculous.

 

The thing is, if you have RC on even one loco, it doesn't matter what the rest of your fleet is, RC doesn't care, RC can run on BRIO if you want. You don't have to convert one way or another.

 

I'm not sure if I made the right choice by starting on the smallest loco I had (because I would advise using a big loco to fit everything in more easily), but it did work as an excellent proof of concept.

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Hi Richard,

 

I'm not familiar with the kit Corbs has suggested, but have you considered the Protocab system?  The components they use are certainly compatible with the diesel locos you are proposing to convert.  I already run the system with great satisfaction having converted a Bachmann A1 steam loco.  All the equipment fits in the tender under the sloping coal space so you'll have plenty of room.

The practicalities of wireless control have given me no wiring on the layout (apart from point motors) and faultless running regardless of the state of the rails.  I've even painted some less used lines rusty and the train still runs!  The Protocab boys have just offered a whole new range of goodies including contactless charging and a super new controller.  Check out their website or even better see them for real at Warley next weekend.

Bob

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I've been looking at Protocab for a few years but waiting for that magic "We have sound and smoke" development that they nor the competition ever seem to get around to.

 

I'd agree smoke doesn't scale but I still think it looks better than non, as you say a personal choice.  Sound is highly desirable.

 

Wiring track doesn't bother me too much, some of it i enjoy doing.  Stay Alive's are also a reason DCC interests me seeing as I like filming and crappy running I'm sick of.  Quite a battle that never ends quite frankly, but if I go RC no sound n smoke and would still have to wire the layout for point motors and anything else so.....eh, dunno.

 

Maybe just bung some RC gubbins in 'Naughty' loco's that can't balder over a scale coin on the rails.

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4 hours ago, rka said:

I'm not planning on a big layout with loads of trains, so maybe best to go DC as I'm not bothered about sound and lights. 

 

I like the idea of the radio control so I might have a bash.

 

Most of my Lima locos are dual motored or have had modern motors with dual drive bogies, would either approach work with the r/c and battery system?

 

Regards Richard

Ok, if you think you will use DC then it might be better to spend the £112 on other stuff. None of my Lima diesels are dual motored, they must be conversions, so I have no experience of adding RC to such models.

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32 minutes ago, wasdavetheroad said:

Ok, if you think you will use DC then it might be better to spend the £112 on other stuff. None of my Lima diesels are dual motored, they must be conversions, so I have no experience of adding RC to such models.

Fair enough,

 

It might be something for a few years time.

 

Thanks for your input though.

 

 

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Protocab was originally intended to be "DCC over radio" so would have the capability to drive sound cards etc.   Because of this, though, it is also quite expensive.

 

However, development has been slow.  They are not there yet with DCC capability, and the part that goes  in the loco whilst fairly easy to connect up and configure is relatively large, certainly compared to the Deltang equipment that Corbs uses, as I do.  The DelTang equipment is also noticeably less expensive than Protocab.   

 

As Corbs says, it's not an all-or-nothing descision, a single radio control loco will happily work alongside a DC or DCC fleet if you want just to try it out.  A good place to start would be a shunter, this would make the most of RC's low speed control and reliable starting.

 

Frank

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If you are interested in computer programming as well as battery powered radio control then you should be able to make the RC equipment for a loco for under £20 using an Arduino-type microprocessor (£2) and an nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz transceiver (£2) and a motor driver chip (< £6) plus a battery (< £4) and (perhaps) a voltage step-up (£2) module.

 

A transmitter would just need a microprocessor and nRF24 module plus 2 x AA alkaline cells and some switches. If you want a fancy case then that will be the expensive bit.

 

...R

Edited by Robin2

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This is an interesting discussion for me as I had not been aware of the Deltang system before now and wonder how it compares with Protocab.  My initial thoughts are that whereas Protocab comes as plug and play there seems to be a fair bit of DIY and background knowledge to assemble the Deltang system.  Maybe I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me! 

 

Protocab equipment has all been tested for compatibility within components so I can be confident it will work.  However, if you are going along Robin2's approach you will need to be sure what you are using will work, is safe, and you won't end up with a molten heap of locomotive!

 

I am not in any way connected with Protocab, other than as a satisfied customer, who has enjoyed the excellent one to one service available for any problems that may crop up.

 

Whilst sound is not available, there are a number of functions on the Protocab controller which are quite useful.  Separate braking and acceleration rates can be set for each loco as well as a "friction" setting to replicate a tired and worn out engine.  Another useful feature is the motor polarity switch which keeps the loco going in the same direction as your control knob - handy after you've turned the loco on the turntable.  This is all currently available.

 

The new controller, which will be at Warley, additionally gives capability for 128 locos as well as an indicator showing state of battery charge.  The 3.5" touch screen also has the option of rotary or slider control.

 

For my money Protocab seems to be a shade more user friendly than Deltang - and it's British!  It's surely the way to go if you are looking for wireless control.

 

Bob

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35 minutes ago, Platform10 said:

This is an interesting discussion for me as I had not been aware of the Deltang system before now and wonder how it compares with Protocab.  My initial thoughts are that whereas Protocab comes as plug and play there seems to be a fair bit of DIY and background knowledge to assemble the Deltang system.  Maybe I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will correct me! 

 

Protocab equipment has all been tested for compatibility within components so I can be confident it will work.  However, if you are going along Robin2's approach you will need to be sure what you are using will work, is safe, and you won't end up with a molten heap of locomotive!

 

I am not in any way connected with Protocab, other than as a satisfied customer, who has enjoyed the excellent one to one service available for any problems that may crop up.

 

Whilst sound is not available, there are a number of functions on the Protocab controller which are quite useful.  Separate braking and acceleration rates can be set for each loco as well as a "friction" setting to replicate a tired and worn out engine.  Another useful feature is the motor polarity switch which keeps the loco going in the same direction as your control knob - handy after you've turned the loco on the turntable.  This is all currently available.

 

The new controller, which will be at Warley, additionally gives capability for 128 locos as well as an indicator showing state of battery charge.  The 3.5" touch screen also has the option of rotary or slider control.

 

For my money Protocab seems to be a shade more user friendly than Deltang - and it's British!  It's surely the way to go if you are looking for wireless control.

 

Bob

The basic differences between Deltang and Protocab is Deltang has a much more extensive range of receiver and battery options. a more capable range of Transmitter (controller) options and it is a lot cheaper!. To offset this you have to do some of your own wiring, think of having to hard wire a DCC decoder. I await with interest the Protocab new product reviews. As far as the OP's question goes, you can get a Deltang starter system for about £112. The Protocab starter pack is £240. Deltang is British too.

 

A caveat about the Deltang system is the announcement a few days ago that some of the components of their receiver boards and transmitters will no longer be available which means they have stocks to keep production going into 2021. This means that David Theunissen has about a year to redesign the boards around substitute components. See the news section on the Deltang site.

 

I looked a Protocab but for me the killer problem was, although you could have 9 locos assigned to the controller, only one could be moving at the same time.. I have 3 continuous run circuits on my layout plus goods yards and a loco shed, so for my one man operation I can have 3 trains running on the through lines and one loco shunting etc. A Deltang Tx22 transmitter can have 12 locos running independently at the same time. Does the new Protocab controller fix this?

 

edit - Deltang also has products for other radio control applications such as boats and cars etc (see the radio control vehicle topics here on RMWEB, they mostly use Deltang stuff. this is because it is based on model aircraft radio technology. I understand that David Theunissen was one of the leading proponents of electric power for model aircraft.

Edited by wasdavetheroad
more information

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36 minutes ago, Platform10 said:

if you are going along Robin2's approach you will need to be sure what you are using will work, is safe, and you won't end up with a molten heap of locomotive!

That seems just a little bit extreme.

 

If you are referring to the risk of a LiPo battery exploding then that risk exists with every system that uses LiPo cells. I would never use or charge them unattended in any RC system. And their use in model trains puts much less strain on the battery compared to model airplanes because the currents used in model trains are so much lower.

 

...R

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44 minutes ago, Platform10 said:

Protocab equipment has all been tested for compatibility within components so I can be confident it will work.  However, if you are going along Robin2's approach you will need to be sure what you are using will work, is safe, and you won't end up with a molten heap of locomotive!

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Protocab also use LiPo batteries?

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1 minute ago, Regularity said:

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Protocab also use LiPo batteries?

Yes, however model railway locomotives require much lower discharge rates than hobby Lipo batteries are specified for. model plane and drone users need very large discharge rates because they need LOTS of power.

 

For example one of my little hyperion single cell lipo batteries has 160mAh capacity and is rated at 25C. This means it can provide 160mA of current for 1 hour or 4000mA for 2.4 minutes, theoretically, but you would need thick wires!

 

also with charging airplane users want to charge their batteries quickly while us sedate users don't mind using a slower charging rate.

 

The same rules apply though, never leave a battery charging unattended and use good quality chargers

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43 minutes ago, Regularity said:

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Protocab also use LiPo batteries?

 

28 minutes ago, wasdavetheroad said:

Yes, however model railway locomotives require much lower discharge rates than hobby Lipo batteries are specified for. model plane and drone users need very large discharge rates because they need LOTS of power.

That's precisely my point: Platform10 raised an objection of one product over another, but the objection applies equally to both.

 

Our needs in model railways are very difficult from those of the model aircraft hobby, and our focus should be on high quality, high storage, rather than on rapid charge/discharge.

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The protocab system does sound very fancy. I think they need to solve the sound issue first in order to appeal to mass market.

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