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NineElmsNigel

Radio Control ?

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Having a Son and 4 Grandsons gave me the opportunity to share my interest in all things modelling, from radio controlled planes and boats to RC cars and it occured to me that with RC equipment becoming smaller and more reliable, would it be feasable to run an RC OO gauge railway powered by on-board 11.1v 3s Lipo batteries -

Advantages:

No track wiring and no connection issues

4 channel receivers could operate lights, sound etc.

Each loco/unit independantly controlled via a dedicated transmitter (Although the channel allocation can be changed to control any loco)

Battery charging for steam locos could be setup via a water tower/hose concealing the charging lead and connector ... 8-)

Disadvantages:

Limited runtime, although I reckon at leat 20-30 minutes would be feasable with a 10-=15minute charge time

Expense - 180 Mah 3s Lipo Battery, receiver and speed controller around £60 per loco

Potential Installation problems..

Feasable? or am I just dreaming .. I am a Piscean after all .. ;)

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None of us here do truly remote control as you describe it. Some use remote controls to run trains with DCC. DCC being a modulated AC voltage that carries digital information. This means that the voltage stays constant for less hassle with dirty spots. The trains then have DCC decoders in them.

Fear not though. There are many places on the web. http://freerails.com/view_forum.php?id=45" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Wow- Thanks for the link - Just what I was looking for - That saves re-inventing the wheel ....

I am surprised that no-one on the forum has tried RC though, given the huge benefit of hardly ever having to clean and maintain outdoor track - Just charge and play ...

I have to give this a go so will let you know how I get on ... Thanks again (now where is that Christmas list ....)

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With some 00 gauge locos it's difficult to fit a decoder and small speaker let alone a battery pack. I think space limitations within the loco body would be the greatest disadvantage to an OO gauge RC fitted vehicle rendering many installations virtually impossible. Larger scales would I'm sure be just fine.

Other than the track wiring, which if done correctly ( bonded rail joins) needs doing just the one time and requires only 2 wires from your controller to the track for the majority of installations, I don't see that RC has any advantages over the present DCC control providing track and rolling stock wheels are kept clean. We already have individual control of any loco and an array of sounds, lights etc at the press of a button. We can add multiple controllers to enable more than a single user or control more than one train individually ourselves from a single controller. Trains can be left running for hours on end without any attention should that be desired and no recharging is necessary. I have a dedicated wireless hand-held controller to control my entire layout (albeit just a few lengths of track at the moment :oops:) so I'm not sure what additional benefits, if any, radio control could offer to an OO gauge modeller and whether any benefits would outweigh the disadvantages.

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All good points, both from the OP and those who replied (Griff & Mick, you know who you are ;) )

I can see advantages using RC as a stand alone method of changing points and signals. These could be put out before a running session and taken in afterwards. This removes the problems we have with leaving electronics and connectors to the elements when we are not using them. Cheap pound store or so called bargain shops carry ranges of remote control toys at this time of year. These have transmitters, receivers and servos in them for very little money. It may be a solution to that problem we all have?

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If I was going for RC then I'd still have the track powered.

Stick 16v AC on the tracks and rectify in the loco so you don't have to worry about polarity. Have a small battery in the loco which is charged form the trackand works as a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for when you hit a dead section. Radio Control the loco.

That said, I'm with Mick. DCC gives you the same remote control as Radio Control. I can wander around my garden and control trains with my iPad. Yes I need to keep the track clean, but thats a 5 minute job. With Stay Alive chips a bit of grubby track isn't an issue.

But if you know your way around RC kit, then fitting it to a garden railway could be great fun.

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I know of only one instant where traditional radio control was used in OO and was a bloke called David Clarke who used the first two or three wagons to house the radio control and then used the next six wagons to hold batteries. In coaches the first four bogie coaches were used. Admittingly this was a 20' x 40' indoor railway. He was unable to run light engines, so all movements had to have a train attached.

I personally think that radio DCC is far more flexible than traditional radio control and as Mick has stated with small locos being difficult to fit decoders into at least we don't have the extra headache of finding a position to place a battery.

Roy.

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This subject matter was discussed on another forum that I am on and the general conclusion was that you could never run Engine Light. The loco's themselves didn't have enough space in them to hold all the necessary equipment for radio control. batteries being the major headache in finding the necessary space for them. Wagons and coaches were required to store all the necessary equipment to run a RC controlled train.

DCC is at present the way to go but no doubt those clever little Japs will someday manufactor a complete package for a RC controlled locomotive. 0 gauge is proberly the easiest for starters but the way they can get thinks small 00 gauge RC loco's is not such a far thought thing.

Ian

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I had all my old Lima O gauge locos converted to battery powered radio control and then used the "as supplied" radio control G scale Bachmann "heavy hauler" steam locos, in versions 1 & 2 of the HFR. I didnt think I had the know-how to be messing with proper electrics outdoors and the already stated benefits of not having to clean track etc also led me into onboard battery power to run the trains. However, I still got fed up with charging battery packs or keeping loads of charged spare packs lying around - on the flip side, cleaning the rail head each session etc, isnt that much of a chore :) The other thing with using batteries is that they can be expensive to buy and when not used for any length of time, they will discharge themselves - then theres the issues surrounding "cell memory" etc. I think I will stick to my mains power and dcc. ;)

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Space for the battery is the biggest challenge - However, check this out .. http://www.deltang.co.uk/rx45-v5.htm especially the video of the N gauge loco .. So OO gauge tender locos are no problem to install micro RC and batteries but others will be a challenge.

The 2.4Ghz receiver and integrated ESC is 9.0mm x 9.6mm x 2.1mm - Brilliant :o - I was amazed how far RC miniaturisation has developed. The best part is, the guy who developes and makes these little beauties lives a 10 minute walk from me .. Currently, the receiver/esc module only supports up to 6V but there should soon be a version with a higher voltage capacity ..

I can understand the scepticism but as I am starting from scratch I would at least like to try this technology - And I can always wire the track if unsuccessful ... :D

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I must admit that I was indeed sceptical when you mentioned attempting to add radio control to an OO gauge loco but now I'm surprised at just what possibilities there are. I still think that there's a lack of space for it to be entirely successful and that there's going to be a need for frequent recharging which for me would negate any advantage of not having to power the track. I'm really looking forward to seeing just what you can do and I'm not going to dismiss the concept altogether so I hope we can be kept informed of your progress.

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Hear hear to that.

It has given me some ideas for point control that can be placed on the track when needed.

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One option for re-charging is to have a short section of siding 'live' - This would obviously need pickups to the wheels but no fiddling with connectors etc. Most small Lipo batteries will accept a charge of 2C or twice their capacity so a 30 minute charge should be sufficient - Provided the receiver/esc has a low voltage cutoff for lipos and the correct charger is used, all should be hunky dory

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Here is another application of RC in OO/HO modelling;

[video no longer available]

A bit if refinement required but the hard work done - I have just bought the same model of 2.4Ghz Transmitter on Ebay for £12.50 for my RC loco test so not expensive ..

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I have manage to do one so far :), more as a proof of concept than anything else

I used and old hornby ringfield Western.... plenty of room in there even more as you can remove the centre weight as the battery is heavier

I used a orange 2.4Ghz micro receiver (taken from a RC plane I erm.... crashed)

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__26124__OrangeRx_R415_Spektrum_DSM2_Compatible_4Ch_Micro_2_4Ghz_Receiver_UK_Warehouse_.html

A micro ESC with BEC I had laying around (taken from same plane)

And a 3 cell 850Mah lipo (borrowed from my Trex 250 RC heli)

Managed to shoe horn it all in and get it running, it worked well but only in one direction, slow speed operation was pretty good (this could be improved with a better ESC) and run time was a little over 40 mins.

Once I find some suitable Reversing speed controllers I plan to make a power carriage next. All the radio gear/batteries will be fitted inside an old LNER teak, with motor output leads. this will then connect to a socket on the back of my tender drive A4, All existing pickups will be retained so the A4 can still be used conventionally as well.

Other plans is fitting batteries inside containers on a spine wagon to give a "quick change" battery option

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As I recall OO/HO isn't possible in the garden because it's too small. The same must apply to RC in OO/HO. So even when you do make it happen, it won't have happened, because it isn't possible.

We need pics as soon as you get a prototype running. :)

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