Jump to content

Radio Control ?

Recommended Posts

fungus said:

Have a look at http://www.protocab.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. They were demonstrating at Scaleforum in Leatherhead last month. Quite impressive!

It's certainly something we will have to keep a close eye on. Must admit that the idea of operating a garden railway without track wiring is becoming increasingly attractive.

The Protocab website refers to a demonstration with O gauge products and I can see that being successful but I'm still not convinced that there's sufficient space in all OO gauge models for the necessary equipment. I wouldn't want to go down the route of having a permanently fitted vehicle next to a loco just to hold a battery bank but perhaps in time there'll be ways to overcome that. If all else fails then I guess we could upgrade to O gauge!

It makes you wonder how such an advancement, if it proved viable, would affect the hobby as a whole. Most of us have large collections of locos already and even the smaller collections would possibly be prohibitively expensive to replace. There are lots of modellers already holding back from going down the DCC route due to the expense of having to fit locos with decoders so imagine the work involved with opting for a radio control option - not to mention the cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites
mick said:

The Protocab website refers to a demonstration with O gauge products and I can see that being successful but I'm still not convinced that there's sufficient space in all OO gauge models for the necessary equipment. I wouldn't want to go down the route of having a permanently fitted vehicle next to a loco just to hold a battery bank but perhaps in time there'll be ways to overcome that.

The demos I saw were all 00 gauge locos - no tank engines yet though! At the moment it's just on the edge of feasible, but batteries are getting smaller for a given charge capacity every year. Some model aircraft are battery driven now, which would have been unthinkable in the days when lead-acid batteries were the forefront of technology.

The other advantage of this system is that it will run perfectly happily alongside your DC or DCC locos, on the same track. So you only use the new system for new locos, and you don't need to change anything, even when your last DC loco has worn out. Even then, you don't need to change your track, but you can then disconnect the power from it. And if you build a new layout, the wiring is much simpler.

The only disadvantages I can see in the battery-powered radio-controlled loco are that it's not yet commercially available so it's expensive or time-consuming, and not as compact as it could be; there are no agreed standards so everyone will have different interfaces for charging etc (it took mobile phone manufacturers 20 years to agree a standard charging interface); and batteries are not yet compact enough for the smaller locos. All these can be resolved, but it could take 10 years or more before it becomes "the accepted way of doing it".

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

I'm a new member here, and this is my first post, so Hi and from what I can see the site looks excellent.

My main hobby is R/C Boats so anyone thinking about using R/C for trains might be interested in some pioneering work Ron Dean (Dean's Marine a well respected Model Boat Kit Manufacturer) has been doing on some of the smaller Airfix plastic model boat kits.

The smallest "craft" Ron has R/C'd is this "SCHWIMMWAGEN". It is tiny.

I would imagine that this model is not that much bigger than one of the larger tank locos.....excellent chance to experiment with full rc control without the need for carrying equipment in coupled trucks or carriages.



Incidentally my Model Boat Club also has an active Railway Section :-


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...


I'm new here but interested in using radio control for garden railways as I think there would be a lot of advantages in terms of simplicity, not having to worry about track cleaning, not having to worry about electrics out doors, etc.

I saw the comments above but things have moved on a bit it seems to me. I model narrow gauge and have a couple of locos now with radio control and internal batteries in the loco in 009. This uses the DelTang electronics which works really well. So far I have only used it indoors.

There is a video of one here:

And one of it uncoupling here:

Is anyone else trying this out for garden railways? I'm thinking of it in 0-16.5 outdoors, fitting it in a Smallbrook loco as a trial. Any thoughts?



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Finally made it to the local club to test my Hornby loco modified with the excellent Deltang micro 2.4 Ghz Receiver/ESC and TX2 transmitter module. Electrical pickups have been removed from the loco and tender wheels and the power is supplied to the loco motor via the tender to loco pickup wires and connection. The track had power applied just to light the Pullman coaches. Battery power is supplied by 3 x 3.7v Lithium Ion cells of approx 300mah in series giving a nominal 11.1v. I initially tested the loco with 6 heavy Pullman coaches but suffered severe wheel slip on the gradients.

The Transmitter is in a test box and has 2 independent speed controls, 2 direction switches and an inertia/brake slider.

The purpose of using RC is to eventually build an OO garden railway and having power and control onboard, means no worries about electrical connections being affected by the weather

The table top running without rails was for any sceptics ... :-)

Thanks to the Bracknell Railway Society for allowing me the use of their excellent facilities (I have yet to build my own OO garden railway) ..

Thanks for watching

P.S. Apologies for the cheesy choice of music ...


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

Dear Potential OO R/C ers,

I have been interested to read the various posts regarding OO gauge radio control. It really is very easy to do as someone else has already done all the difficult technical stuff. I`m surprised there hasn`t been more interest/take up.

I run my OO models in a garden workshop and find the constant cleaning of the track to get good electrical contact a real chore. I have been a fan of Radio Controlled models for many years so looked into the R/C solution. Using an Antenna Models of Troon LC302 speed controller and Acoms 2.4GHZ radio I converted a Lima Type 52 Western Model about two years ago.

It has been very successful. The control is superb and of course is totally unaffected by dirty track. In fact the more rust and tarnish the better as it grips better!

I now use track power on two running loops for my track powered locos (when I can be bothered to clean the track). I have an electrically dead track marshalling yard area where the radio control comes into its own. Shunting with points changes and tension lock couplings is a lot of fun as it is so easy. No wiring / switches etc The best of both worlds!

I reckon the hardest part is selecting the batteries to fit the space available in the loco and connecting it all up , which can be a bit of a fiddle. Don`t be put off- you can do it! You need a loco with space for the batteries, ten cells needed ideally to get 12v and the biggest capacity you can fit. This is now a lot easier with modern NiMh cells. I have found that a cheap way to buy NiMh cells is to buy welded up battery packs and modify them as necessary. Beware advice on not short circuiting them as there is a lot of energy in a small package!

I am doing a Warship (Lima again) conversion at present as the Western works so well.(smaller space, so more thought needed on cell size) . I also have full brake support coach fitted with radio which can be used to control a Steam outline loco (with not enough room in it for R/C) via jumper leads.

My total track loop length is about 40 feet and batteries will last long enough for an operating session if you charge beforehand (they last longer than me) . If you have a longer length of track than me R/C would be OK but of course with shorter operating time unless you use the support coach option with large battery capacity. R/C suits my needs very well, but your needs may be different.

I hope my contribution is useful.

Look for another post which I did a couple of years ago when I did the first conversion. (UK Train Sim forum site) its a bit more technically detailed.

Search OO Radio control (or maybe you did that already!)

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have now installed the new DelTang Rx60 Receiver/ESC in a Hornby Clan Line Pacific loco (or rather tender) and thought I would share this.


I wanted to make the installation relatively Plug and play so have installed a 4 pin socket for power and motor connection, made from SIL turned pin miniature sockets (Turned Pin sockets ) and have made the plugs from the same pins removed from the plastic casing, soldered and shrink tubed to the wires.


Rx60 - Rx61 and Turned pin SIL socket strip


SIL pins soldered to wires which were connected to the tender wheels power pickups


The tender pickups originally transferred track power to the loco via a live connecting pin - This now transfers power from the Rx60 to the loco


The completed installation .... Quit neat even if I say so myself :cool:

The batteries are Li-Ion 3.7v protected cells - They have a small circular protection circuit board which limits charge voltage and cuts power when low voltage limit is reached. I have yet to fully test these by charge cycling but the protection PCB can be removed if necessary ...

This conversion was my second, so only took about 1 hour .... Will update after testing

Thanks .. Andy

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I have posted some Videos on Youtube of my Radio Control installations in a OO Lima Western locomotive and Triang Big Big Train O gauge Hymek. Also some short demonstrations of them working.

Search youtube for "OO Radio Controlled" and "Triang Big Big Train Hymek".

Its easy to do and works really well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent work Andy, very interesting.

Any chance of a list of parts necessary to convert a loco, and suppliers?

How much would you estimate the cost of conversion?

Ian R

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

Apologies for the delay Ian – Lots of family birthdays, (including my 65th) in the last 6 weeks or so. List as follows:

RX61 Receiver from DelTang http://www.deltang.co.uk/ - Current price £27

Trustfire Li-Ion 10440 batteries .. 4 for £4.45 - Ebay (free shipping from China – Approx 2 weeks delivery)

Sil socket strip – Turned pin (10) – Ebay - £1.59

Heat Shrink tubing for above – Ebay - £2

DIP switch - 1 way SPST - Ebay - Approx £3.00 for 10

That just about does the Loco receiver wise – You then need a Spektrum DSM2 compatible transmitter or one of Davids TX20 kits - £21 - http://www.deltang.co.uk/tx20a-kit.htm

Also a suitable Li-Ion charger for the batteries – I use an IMAX B6 LiPo charger/discharger only because I had one which is used for the grandsons R/C car racing, again available from Ebay for around £30 or cheaper.

Not sure if you aware of the FreeRails forum at http://www.freerails.com/ but there is a lot of info there regarding RC trains

Hope this helps – BTW, I watch the DVD of the K &WR every so often and it keeps my enthusiasm going to one day build my R/C garden railway .. :D

Thanks .. Andy

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

I have blown the dust of this thread just to let everyone know after sitting in the packet for about 3 years in the back of draw l finally plucked up courage and fitted my Tam Valley battery powered receiver to a old Lima class 47. AND IT WORKS !

OK the wireing looks like spaghetti and the soldered joints are massive blobs rather than delicate joints but to my surprise l actually got it to work

No more track cleaning for me, well for one loco anyway !

Pictures and maybe even a video in the next few days, probably. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 months later...

Hi, after reading on here and on other forums I decided that Radio control could be the way forward for my garden railway. It's been in and out of use for over 20 years and not had a train run for the last 3 years. So I bit the bullet and bought a Deltang Rx65c reciever, a transmitter and a few bits and bobs for wiring. The idea was to build a power coach to test out various trains without too much rewiring and expense.



I used the Deltang Rx65c reciever because it's for brushed motors, so the first train to be tested was an old Princess Elizabeth that had seen better days.

For the first test I swept 3 years of muck from a short section of track;

A positive result I think.


Edited by stray
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, stray said:

Hi, after reading on here and on other forums I decided that Radio control could be the way forward for my garden railway......A positive result I think.

Pleased to see you've managed to get something up and running.

Personally I still feel that DCC offers too many benefits for me to consider battery operation and remote control. As I've said previously, I encounter very few problems with power loss anyway and it takes 10 minutes or so for me to go round and clean the tracks before I can begin running trains. The addition of a stay-alive capacitor to a DCC fitted loco could easily remedy many problems that users often experience but I've not found them necessary even for outdoor running.

Still, whatever method we employ to keep our trains circling round or running to and fro, the enjoyment is to be had from seeing them operating and it's good that there is more than one way of doing so. I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you use the Tam Valley system you can use your existing DCC controller so retain all the benefits.  Instead of wires from the controller to the track they go to a small stubby ariel or both if you wont. Tne Deltang system has the ariel in the hand controller. The advantage of the Tam Valley system is that you have as many locos assigned as your controller allows whilst the Deltang one is limited to 12 per control handset.

Was looking at a battery wagon or coach myself, you try putting a battery in an 0-4-0 tank loco !

Link to post
Share on other sites

you try putting a battery in an 0-4-0 tank loco !

I haven't bought any Lipo's yet, but I've got several Li ion 18650's, that's why I built the "power" coach.  The receiver isn't hard wired in, so I'm going to put a single 18650 in a wagon to try with a tank engine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have seen on you tube a guy who uses small batteries used in Vape (fake ciggie things) Low voltage but uses an voltage upper thingy . Sorry techno wizard l am not!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the vape batteries are the 18650's (same as I'm using that I got from old laptop battery packs), they'e 3.7v. I put one in a wagon, with the Deltang Rx65c reciever and a voltage booster.


The green PCB is the Deltang reciever and the red PCB is a voltage booster.



I stuck it on my little test track (too cold outsie)

The battery wasn't fully charged, and it still ran for over half an hour.

Edited by stray
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been testing the EDL PP3 li-ion battery  600mAh,   tested on a 4.6 yard loop and setting time/lap  and running until battery is flat.

10 sec lap     (scale speed 71mph)     1hr 20min           94miles range

11 sec lap      (scale speed  64mph)   1hr 30min           96miles range

16 sec lap      (scale speed 44mph)    2hr 30min          110miles range

I have ordered some Poover PP3 batteries   700mAh    these should perform better.

Test loco is an old Lima Deltic,    lots of room to play with.


Link to post
Share on other sites

just a follow up, I have reduced the boost voltage from 15 to 12v,  and repeated the 10 seconds per lap run.

run speed                   71 miles

duration                      1hr 50 mins.

distance traveled      130 miles     

this has made the system more efficient,   any thoughts on this?      


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...