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StuartM

Battery powered/Radio controlled locos

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.....I think DCC decoders are an excellent choice for a gateway system, where the RF module drives the DCC decoder. This limits the RF module software to sending and receiving RF info and translating to DCC commands, which must be easier than replicating all the existing, debugged, paid for DCC features.

 

David, sorry if you are already aware of the following, which follows exactly that logic.

 

Tam Valley DRS-1

 

 

They are demonstrating with an On30 loco with the battery in the loco tender...an issue where there is no other space available such as in a small tank engine.

The beauty of this solution is that there is fully compatibility with an existing command and control system and it leverages the existing standards and equipment already available.

 

More stuff, including that video.

 

from someone working on implementation that allows both battery and track options for power and data.More stuff, including that video.

 

A different video from someone working on implementation with both battery and track options.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron

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Oh wake up,

Electronics are as cheap as chips, the manufactures of dcc controls just put a high end price tag on them, same with sound chips etc, these things cost pennies to make, they're just profiteering, that's what businesses do.

You've seen the RC helicopters for £25, its the same technology. Sure the battery might be a little more costly, but so what, look at what you're getting, a wire free locomotive that can run over trackwork as complicated as you like, because there IS NO WIRING involved, anywhere on the layout, ever!, plus no wheel clean, no wiper cleaning.

I'm sorry to get annoyed over this, but the technology is already available and is very affordable, the only two barriers to a battery powered remote controlled model railway layout are the manufactures and the naysayers of doom.

 

In the video, the Transmitter, receiver and chip cost me less than £20, you can't tell me that a manufacture like Hornby or Bachman can't reduce this cost through bulk purchase.

 

And for those who want to continue to buy second hand locos, just think of all the locos that would flood ebay as the rest of us scrapped our wired fleets and replaced them with battery/wireless technology.

 

You're forgetting the important correlation between high volume and low price. These toy helicopters and similarly 2.4GHz radio systems are produced in their millions, yet there still isn't the worldwide demand from the large scale railway fraternity to produce a Transmitter that is suited to the needs of a loco driver, instead of a pilot or racing car driver.

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I have been wondering whether it would be possible to break up one of the small (and cheap) model helis and replace all of the "works" in a loco with it. If so that would be much the same price as adding a DCC chip. The little helis have "batteries" that recharge very quickly so it should be possible to have a few live-rail charging points on a layout.

 

I've done nothing about this because the mechanisms are too big for an N gauge tank loco. But it looks like they should fit in an OO gauge loco.

 

One shortcoming may be that the very cheap systems have a very limited number of "frequencies" so only 2 or 3 locos could be controlled simultaneously.

 

Someone in another topic drew my attention to the DT systems which (to my amateur eye) look very interesting. All I want is my locos to move slowly without stalling.

 

Someone on this topic has said the DT systems "are rubbish" without any explanation for his opinion. Perhaps if he sees this he would be kind enough to explain. As far as I can see the DT systems have the capability to operate some auxiliary features. I have no interest in DCC sound. Even in O gauge locos it is far from realistic. It needs large floor based loudspeakers and a big amplifier. (Imagine the sound from competing layouts at exhibitions :) 

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I have been wondering whether it would be possible to break up one of the small (and cheap) model helis and replace all of the "works" in a loco with it. If so that would be much the same price as adding a DCC chip. The little helis have "batteries" that recharge very quickly so it should be possible to have a few live-rail charging points on a layout.

 

I've done nothing about this because the mechanisms are too big for an N gauge tank loco. But it looks like they should fit in an OO gauge loco.

 

One shortcoming may be that the very cheap systems have a very limited number of "frequencies" so only 2 or 3 locos could be controlled simultaneously.

 

Someone in another topic drew my attention to the DT systems which (to my amateur eye) look very interesting. All I want is my locos to move slowly without stalling.

 

Someone on this topic has said the DT systems "are rubbish" without any explanation for his opinion. Perhaps if he sees this he would be kind enough to explain. As far as I can see the DT systems have the capability to operate some auxiliary features. I have no interest in DCC sound. Even in O gauge locos it is far from realistic. It needs large floor based loudspeakers and a big amplifier. (Imagine the sound

 

from competing layouts at exhibitions :)

The short answer is not that would be of any use.

The battery which is somewhere between 3-6v would not be powerful enough for a loco, unless you wanted creep speed for a very limited length of time

The small helicopters I'm thinking of have no speed control, in other words the motor is either full on or off so would be no good for controlling a train loco

 

Rgds,

Stuart

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The short answer is not that would be of any use.

The battery which is somewhere between 3-6v would not be powerful enough for a loco, unless you wanted creep speed for a very limited length of time

The small helicopters I'm thinking of have no speed control, in other words the motor is either full on or off so would be no good for controlling a train loco

 

Rgds,

Stuart

 

The main rotor control does seem to be on/off, but there must be some king of finer control over the tail rotor to allow for accurate positioning in flight.

 

A few modellers have tried to use small motors with varying sucess, they seem to work quite well in space-constrained locations, but I'm still not convinced having prototypical axle-hung motors in larger scales (4mm and above) will deliver the power or torque required or are even necessary.

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Back to the old chestnut of torque, speed and power.

 

These parameters are linked by a simple formula:

 

Power = Torque x Speed

 

Most RTR models have a top speed far in excess of what is needed for realistic operation.  This is because:

 

*  High reduction gearing costs money to make

*  Slow running trains are boring for the trainset customers

 

If we design for a lower top speed, say full voltage = 30mph for freight, 45 for MT, 60 for XP then the power of the motor needed to achieve the torque required to move the train will be less.  So small motor + high ratio gearbox = no problem.

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If solutions to this requirement are already available in some form, why are people busy trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak and trying to make a square wheel work in the process?

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Where are they "already available in some form"?

 

And in what form?

 

What have you in mind with your "square wheel" reference?

 

...R

 

 

If solutions to this requirement are already available in some form, why are people busy trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak and trying to make a square wheel work in the process?

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Where are they "already available in some form"?

 

And in what form?

 

What have you in mind with your "square wheel" reference?

 

...R

 

If solutions to this requirement are already available in some form, why are people busy trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak and trying to make a square wheel work in the process?

 

I can think of at least three reasons:

 

1. If we just kept to the early solutions we'd all be driving Model-T fords and riding in parliamentary carriages.

2. It's a hobby and some people like to experiment with these things, just as some people like scratchbuilding or kitbuilding even though a RTR model is available.

3. Someone thinks the existing solutions aren't what they want and think they can do better.

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I was wondering if this competition will ever get round to being judged?

But if it does, this one subject has attracted more comment that all the other entry's,

which makes me think that there is enough interest in the idea for one of the big three manufactures to at least take a look at the feasibility of producing a rtr battery powered/rc loco for the UK market.

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I can think of at least three reasons:

 

1. If we just kept to the early solutions we'd all be driving Model-T fords and riding in parliamentary carriages.

2. It's a hobby and some people like to experiment with these things, just as some people like scratchbuilding or kitbuilding even though a RTR model is available.

3. Someone thinks the existing solutions aren't what they want and think they can do better.

 

 

Hi Dajt,

 

For me, you've hit the nail right on the head.

And your point 2 is something i've been brooding over for a while now.

 

I have not done anything about it, except talk myself into the project, and roughly arange the major components into a crude block diagram:-

Human Interface, Radio comms, Decoder and Power supply/storage. See - Simples ;)

 

I was also waiting to see if I could enter this in a "Challange 201x" but I might just "challange myself" instead.

 

Kev.

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I don't disagree with your comments but I'm not sure why you included my post in your reply as only the person I referred to (Oakydoke) is in a position to explain his own comments. 

 

I fear, now, that he will feel he has been let off the hook, but I hope not as I would like to hear his opinion.

 

...R

 

I can think of at least three reasons:

 

1. If we just kept to the early solutions we'd all be driving Model-T fords and riding in parliamentary carriages.

2. It's a hobby and some people like to experiment with these things, just as some people like scratchbuilding or kitbuilding even though a RTR model is available.

3. Someone thinks the existing solutions aren't what they want and think they can do better.

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Where are they "already available in some form"?

 

And in what form?

 

What have you in mind with your "square wheel" reference?

 

...R

 

I was referring to the fact, as pointed out by Ron, that R/C systems specifically designed for model railways have been available for some time. Up to recently these have been aimed mostly at the larger gauges, but there are now commercially available systems for H0 and larger.

Unfortunately, it seems these are not street legal in the EU.

 

By "square wheel", I was referring to the attempts to use inappropriate R/C kit for this application.

 

 

I don't disagree with your comments but I'm not sure why you included my post in your reply as only the person I referred to (Oakydoke) is in a position to explain his own comments. 

 

I fear, now, that he will feel he has been let off the hook, but I hope not as I would like to hear his opinion.

 

...R

 

"..let off the hook" ?

I'm not on any hook thank you.

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Some confusion while posting due to site freeze, back button, Post button, etc. I didn't mean to quote you.

 

I don't disagree with your comments but I'm not sure why you included my post in your reply as only the person I referred to (Oakydoke) is in a position to explain his own comments. 

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I was (is) very confused by (manually) following this topic.

Indeed, some strange things have been posted, (almost as if two topics have been merged), but I'm sure that this has not happened.

 

What ever, (Doh! I hate myself for saying that), a very invigorating, thought provoking and wishful thread this is turning out to be.

 

 

Regards,

Kev.

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Thanks,

I will look back over Ron's posts.

 

Regarding "inappropriate R/C equipment" ... If it's legal, it works and I can afford it how could it be inappropriate?

 

I think I was really hoping you would take a few paragraphs to describe the sort of system you consider appropriate because it would be very useful for a newcomer to have an expert's view (I mean this seriously).

 

...R

 

 

I was referring to the fact, as pointed out by Ron, that R/C systems specifically designed for model railways have been available for some time. Up to recently these have been aimed mostly at the larger gauges, but there are now commercially available systems for H0 and larger.

Unfortunately, it seems these are not street legal in the EU.

 

By "square wheel", I was referring to the attempts to use inappropriate R/C kit for this application.

 

 

 

"..let off the hook" ?

I'm not on any hook thank you.

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I can't answer for Oakydoke but for me the following points are important in a RC system for model railway use :-


 


addressable (Locos with a big address range)


immunity from nearby similar systems


rechargeable via the rails (under software/user control)


supplemental power from the rails (under software/user control)


digital outputs available, on board, for lights etcetera


feedback for diagnostics, battery level (big subject), rail voltage, motor current, etcetera


spare digital, analogue, counter/timer inputs for read back signals


Control via a PC (for all options)


Control via a “box with a knob on it” for “playing trains”!


 


 


Then there are other considerations:-


 


Power handling (motor size)


Battery life (range/endurance)


achievablity


open source hardware/firmware – i.e. I can change the way it works


Price


 


And if your really clever – intuitive as well!


 


 


My 5yr old's cheap RC toys just wont cut it – even with extensive modifications.


 


Kev.


 


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I discovered there was a previous long thread on this subject with many of the same contributors. Wouldn't it have been much more sensible to continue that discussion rather than start a new one. At the very least there should be cross references between the two

 

 http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/64384-any-other-ways-of-controlling-model-trains/

 

Taking both threads together there has been an awful lot of discussion of the merits and demerits and the commercial viability of radio control but as far as I can see the only working example in a small scale is the youtube clip at the bottom of this link

 

http://www.deltang.co.uk/rx45-v5.htm

 

It's all too easy to make a long list of must-haves that effectively rule out new options. As I think I said earlier all I want is a system where my n-gauge locos can move very slowly without fear of stalling. I only have 3 locos and I will worry about the problems of controlling 7 if I ever get to the stage of owning 6. With a small number of locos it is feasible to have a separate controller for each.

 

I don't have room for a continuous run so it would be sufficient to have a few minutes of run-time between charges. And in principle most of the tracks could carry top-up charging current so that the batteries should be fully charged most of the time.

 

It would be interesting to hear from someone who has "built" a radio control system from components in O-gauge or smaller. (As far as I can see standard aircraft systems with servos and normal batteries etc can be used on larger gauges).

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if you have a look at this page, you'll see a large range of discussion, including quite a few examples of actual built RC installs

 

http://freerails.com/view_forum.php?id=45

 

Particularly these two threads might be of interest

 

http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=1221&forum_id=45

 

http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=4451&forum_id=45

 

One way or another, most aspects of the subject are probably covered here....

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Very helpful,

 

Thanks Giles.

if you have a look at this page, you'll see a large range of discussion, including quite a few examples of actual built RC installs

http://freerails.com/view_forum.php?id=45

Particularly these two threads might be of interest

http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=1221&forum_id=45

http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=4451&forum_id=45

One way or another, most aspects of the subject are probably covered here....

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Hi everyone...

We're demonstrating at Scalefour North on 20 April.

Currently finalising the various components prior to getting conformance testing.

We'll be updating the website in the next few weeks, and we're always grateful for comments.

 

Best regards

Tony Hagon

Acc+Ess Ltd

 

protocab.com

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Hi everyone...

We're demonstrating at Scalefour North on 20 April.

Currently finalising the various components prior to getting conformance testing.

We'll be updating the website in the next few weeks, and we're always grateful for comments.

 

Best regards

Tony Hagon

Acc+Ess Ltd

 

protocab.com

Good luck

Someday all model railways will be battery powered/RC

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I took a cheap R/C car apart the other day to see what made it tick. It wasn't very useful. The R/C chip was pretty small and in DIP format, so easy to experiment with, but that's where the good news ended.

 

It is a chip made specifically for R/C cars and is basically a set of 5 on/off switches - one each for forward, backward, left, right, and "turbo", and needs a bunch of external circuitry to work. The TX side of the pair would still need to be driven by a computer and needs circuitry too so not much saving there. Not much use for our purposes.

 

I think these ready-made microcontroller-SystemOnAChip-R/F chips are the way to go. I've ordered another Wixel, this time without the header pins in it, along with a 6v battery made from 1/3-sized AAA batteries. I'm hoping I can make a slightly more compact R/F receiver without the header pins on the prototyping boards, and the 6v battery should be smaller than the 9v I have now. I have  cheap 6v 120rpm gearhead motor on its way and some cheap bevel gears ready to use. The bore on the bevel gears isn't exactly central... they're pretty nasty. I'm going to have to learn to cut my own.

 

Regards,

David.

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Good luck

Someday all model railways will be battery powered/RC

 

Battery powered? I want power through the air!

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