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StuartM

Battery powered/Radio controlled locos

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In case anyone is interested ...

 

Following Giles' helpful references I have had a long exchange of correspondence on the FreeRails forum

 

http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=4451&forum_id=45&page=28

 

and I am thinking of building a simple computer-controlled radio-controlled system for my 3 n-gauge locos using a Deltang transmitter and receivers.

 

...R

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Battery powered? I want power through the air!

So did Nikola Tesla in the early 20th century.

 

While contact-free, close proximity, electromagnetic charging mats are available, wireless power still hasn't gone anywhere.

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With radio control 4mm scale, we could go back to steel wheels, steel rails and ........MAGNADHESION!

 

No need to add weight to a loco for better grip = more free space inside loco body (and possibly lower power motor needed) = more room to fit electronics or same electronics fit in smaller loco.

 

I am now going to hide behind something very substantial! :mosking: :whistle:

Edited by Tiptonian
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With radio control 4mm scale, we could go back to steel wheels, steel rails and ........MAGNADHESION!

 

No need to add weight to a loco for better grip = more free space inside loco body (and possibly lower power motor needed) = more room to fit electronics or same electronics fit in smaller loco.

 

I am now going to hide behind something very substantial! :mosking: :whistle:

The battery would add the weight required for traction adhesion

In the case of ngauge, the battery would take the place of the metal chassis and again would provide traction weight

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Thank the Lord for men in sheds!!  This is a brilliant idea and wouldn't it be great if the big manufacturers took it up.  Trouble is that they've gone down the old DCC route now and that would have cost them a fair bit in research and development so they're not likely to give all that up.  I agree, the electronics are relatively cheap, probably a lot cheaper to do than DCC, but that's the crunch - no real money in it for them.  Such is life!

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Manufacturers could start moving in the direction of battery power if they built all new locos with lower-voltage motors that would run on a single LiPo cell's 3.7v. It would be trivial and very cheap to include a suitable resistor to allow the "out of the box" loco to run on existing 12v DC or DCC systems. I doubt there would be any difference in the price of the motors themselves.

 

Such low voltage motors could pave the way for battery powered DCC systems with control signals and top-up power going through the track but with much greater operational reliability.

 

And the more enlightened could easily use radio control instead of DCC.

 

...R

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I'm one of those 'giving it a go'. I'm starting with some basic innards from one of those 'S' scale rc cars which retail about £5. They contain a micro motor (12x6mm), receiver, controller and small battery. No variable speed but that will be added. I've always hated track wiring with a passion so this is a logical step for me. I plan to use it in every scale I model (1:32, P4, HOm). The acc+ess and red arrow systems are good but outside my budget and, to be honest, are premium prices for electronics which can be bought for much less elsewhere.

I'm keen to see developments in rc/ir as this is the way forward. Railway modellers are very slow to change but I'm not one of them. Technology is there for the taking. I'd love a wifi setup, controlling the trains from a tablet or smart phone with virtual loco controls on screen. When I win the lotto i'll make it happen

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The Wifi smart phone bit is trivial if you have a phone with a browser.

 

I can already do that with a small web server program that I wrote and which controls the trains through my Hornby Elite.

 

I am in the process of designing a new chassis for my old Grafar Prairie tank so I have room to install the motor from a small relay a Deltang receiver and a LiPo cell. I'm still wondering whether to make the chassis with plastic or brass.

 

I don't foresee any problem controlling a Deltang Tx2 transmitter from my PC  (and smartphone) and, apparently, the TX2 can control up to 7 locos - though I only have 3. There should be no problem converting the other 2 to radio control - one is a DMU and one is a tender loco. I might even be able to insert a 2 or 3 cell Lipo so there is no need to change the 12v motors.

 

...R

 

I'm one of those 'giving it a go'.

...snip...

I'd love a wifi setup, controlling the trains from a tablet or smart phone with virtual loco controls on screen. When I win the lotto i'll make it happen

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I now have a 6v battery, but am still waiting for the 6v motor/gearbox to arrive. I expected it last week, but it's on the slow boat. Going 6v means I don't need a voltage regulator - I can feed 6v to my wireless/MC board as it has a regulator built in. It also outputs regulated 3.3v which I can use for the logic power on the motor controller.

 

I have a 7mm scale 0-6-0 chassis fairly free running now for a test but that loco is a bit too small to hide the hobby-form electronics I'm using. I have another 0-6-0 (whose chassis is a mess) which is slightly bigger but that makes all the difference - the battery would fit in one side tank, the electronics in the other, with the motor between them.

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Hi all,

I have now got my old Graham Farish large prairie 2-6-2 tank working with battery power and radio control. You can see a short video on Youtube

 

 Apologies for the background radio sound and the Loco isn't as noisy as it sounded to the camera.

I am using a Deltang Rx41d-v5-w receiver, a Deltang Tx1-M transmitter that is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. I have replaced the Grafar motor with a small motor from a servo. It is all powered by a cylindrical Turnigy Nano 80mah LiPo battery.

I had to make a new chassis for the Loco so that I could fit the motor and drive the rear axle rather than the centre axle.

I have included a full-wave rectifier (4 small diodes) so I can recharge from some track sections without worrying which way the Loco is oriented.

The electronics works very well but I think I need to tinker with the wheel quartering to get it to run smoothly at low speed. It works fine if I omit the centre axle with the motion!

I have also posted this on the FreeRails forum.

...R

Edited by Robin2
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Hi all,

 

I have now got my old Graham Farish large prairie 2-6-2 tank working with battery power and radio control. You can see a short video on Youtube http://youtu.be/83FlmFimUew. Apologies for the background radio sound and the Loco isn't as noisy as it sounded to the camera.

 

I am using a Deltang Rx41d-v5-w receiver, a Deltang Tx1-M transmitter that is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. I have replaced the Grafar motor with a small motor from a servo. It is all powered by a cylindrical Turnigy Nano 80mah LiPo battery.

 

I had to make a new chassis for the Loco so that I could fit the motor and drive the rear axle rather than the centre axle.

 

I have included a full-wave rectifier (4 small diodes) so I can recharge from some track sections without worrying which way the Loco is oriented.

 

The electronics works very well but I think I need to tinker with the wheel quartering to get it to run smoothly at low speed. It works fine if I omit the centre axle with the motion!

 

I have also posted this on the FreeRails forum.

 

...R

Good job, but it would be better if the loco was running atop of the baseboard and then put on the rails as this would prove that the loco is not being powered or controlled from the track

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Thanks Stuart,

 

It runs perfectly well on the table top - but without direction!

 

I doubt if anyone who is seriously interested in converting to radio control will need proof. People who want to believe it's not possible will, of course, demand proof.

 

...R

Good job, but it would be better if the loco was running atop of the baseboard and then put on the rails as this would prove that the loco is not being powered or controlled from the track

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Thanks Stuart,

 

It runs perfectly well on the table top - but without direction!

 

I doubt if anyone who is seriously interested in converting to radio control will need proof. People who want to believe it's not possible will, of course, demand proof.

 

...R

Its not me you have to convince, I'm the preacher here, its some of the flock who still need convincing

I understand the lack of direction on the table top, but it does prove that the loco is working free of the track.

Rgds,

StuartM

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The battery would add the weight required for traction adhesion

In the case of ngauge, the battery would take the place of the metal chassis and again would provide traction weight

Oh no it wouldn't. The batteries are usually LiPos and a size suitable for a 2mm loco will weigh only a few grams.

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I agree with you but I don't understand your point.

 

If weight is necessary lead could be added. My Grafar large prairie has a die-cast body so I don't think I have lost much weight by switching to an aluminium chassis.

 

(And I've just discovered that Americans spell aluminum they way they pronounce it!)

 

...R

Oh no it wouldn't. The batteries are usually LiPos and a size suitable for a 2mm loco will weigh only a few grams.

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impressed with the discussions in this thread etc, but I have come here for one reason....

 

Would it be possible to make a Remote control Diesel in N gauge? I think it is.... 

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impressed with the discussions in this thread etc, but I have come here for one reason....

 

Would it be possible to make a Remote control Diesel in N gauge? I think it is....

A quick search on youtube would suggest it might be possible,

 

however the one thing that struck me was "FIRE HAZARD!"

Edited by StuartM

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In spite of Stuart's entertaining video link I presume you mean an NGauge battery powered model of a diesel railway locomotive.

 

It should be much easier than my Large Prairie because there should be a lot more space inside the body.

 

...R

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In spite of Stuart's entertaining video link I presume you mean an NGauge battery powered model of a diesel railway locomotive.

 

It should be much easier than my Large Prairie because there should be a lot more space inside the body.

 

...R

If that is the case, the model in the video shown at the start of this thread is ngauge (just about)

The 9v battery is slightly to large to fit into an ngauge bodyshell,

However by replacing the chassis with a chassis shaped battery (see previous posts)

And adding a radio transmitter/receiver to a dcc decoder, the electronics would not be much larger than dcc decoders presently used today.

So to answer the question, yes, this idea would work for ngauge as well :)

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The model shown in my Video in post #85 is definitely NGauge and entirely self contained. However it doesn't use DCC. The tiny Deltang radio receiver contains an electronic speed control so it just require two wires connected to the battery and two wires to the motor. And switch between the battery and the radio. The battery is an 80mAh LiPo cell giving 3.6volts. It's 30mm long and 7mm in diameter. The motor came from a small servo and measures 8x10x10mm.

 

I am planning to convert a Grafar "Crab" (tender loco) and a Class 101 DMU using the original motor and a pair of batteries giving 7.2v. Space is surprising tight in the Crab but should be ample in the DMU which is more like the size of a diesel loco.

 

...R

If that is the case, the model in the video shown at the start of this thread is ngauge (just about)

The 9v battery is slightly to large to fit into an ngauge bodyshell,

However by replacing the chassis with a chassis shaped battery (see previous posts)

And adding a radio transmitter/receiver to a dcc decoder, the electronics would not be much larger than dcc decoders presently used today.

So to answer the question, yes, this idea would work for ngauge as well :)

Edited by Robin2
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The model shown in my Video in post #85 is definitely NGauge and entirely self contained. However it doesn't use DCC. The tiny Deltang radio receiver contains an electronic speed control so it just require two wires connected to the battery and two wires to the motor. And switch between the battery and the radio. The battery is an 80mAh LiPo cell giving 3.6volts. It's 30mm long and 7mm in diameter. The motor came from a small servo and measures 8x10x10mm.

 

I am planning to convert a Grafar "Crab" (tender loco) and a Class 101 DMU using the original motor and a pair of batteries giving 7.2v. Space is surprising tight in the Crab but should be ample in the DMU which is more like the size of a diesel loco.

 

...R

look forward to seeing the results,

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The bits I needed for converting my Grafar Large prairie were:

 

Deltang Rx41d-w5-w receiver -- £29

Deltang Tx1-m transmitter - £12

LiPo Battery £0.76

Servo to donate motor and some gears -- about £8

Arduino Uno microcontroller to generate control signals for transmitter £25.

Bits and pieces to make new chassis -- about £3

 

Bear in mind that the transmitter has 7 channels which can manage 7 locos if you only need movement control. If you wanted lights you might need 2 or 3 channels per loco. So the full cost of the transmitter and the Arduino can be shared over 7 locos. I will also be using the Arduino to control fiddle-yard-turntables and, possibly, points and signals.

 

This is not expensive compared to the cost of a Hornby Elite plus DCC decoders. And then there is all the fun of doing it.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Say someone was starting from scratch, do we have an estimate of the comparative costs of RC and DCC?

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The bits I needed for converting my Grafar Large prairie were:

 

Deltang Rx41d-w5-w receiver -- £29

Deltang Tx1-m transmitter - £12

LiPo Battery £0.76

Servo to donate motor and some gears -- about £8

Arduino Uno microcontroller to generate control signals for transmitter £25.

Bits and pieces to make new chassis -- about £3

 

Bear in mind that the transmitter has 7 channels which can manage 7 locos if you only need movement control. If you wanted lights you might need 2 or 3 channels per loco. So the full cost of the transmitter and the Arduino can be shared over 7 locos. I will also be using the Arduino to control fiddle-yard-turntables and, possibly, points and signals.

 

This is not expensive compared to the cost of a Hornby Elite plus DCC decoders. And then there is all the fun of doing it.

 

Hope this helps.

Fancy starting a thread on this so we can follow your progress?

I for one would be interested to see your approach

Rgds,

Stuart

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