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5th Jun 2004, 11:00 AM
I have a four year-old. This of course allows me to play with toys that I might not consider just for myself. I have four of these small scale radio controlled cars. Until you brought it up I never thought of trying to convert the mechanisms in one of them over to a loco.

I have read about the possibility of RC for model railroading but never really paid much attention to the topic. Your idea is very intriguing.

I am thinking one of the most useful applications of this technology could be for portable or temporary layouts. Imagine not having to worry about wiring or track power. Additionally, if you do building the charging into a maintenance facility, you are forced into an operations scheme. You wouldn

ClassC
5th Jun 2004, 11:06 AM
The biggest drawback. Completely new system that would make everything you currently own unusable.

If the wheelsets are insulated than it could exist on a DC or DCC layout.

In H0, Athearn's new Challenger is advertised to have radio control of sound and motion, running on DC or DCC. Uses track power, not batteries. Though there would certainly be room in that sewer pipe for a lot of batteries. Horizon is big time into RC so the future might be on us very soon.

YHR
5th Jun 2004, 11:11 AM
It opens up many possibilities as multiple train operation suddenly becomes a whole lot simplier. These ZIPZAP SE things are pretty good value for the money. I don't know what car you have. The SE means you get the upgraded radio with mulitple frequecies and a programmable receiver. This is a big deal in my opinion, as changing between frequencies is effortless and foolproof.

A joint venture???? If only I had the time. I just want to get the right people thinking about it, so maybe it can become a reality.

jschuknecht
5th Jun 2004, 01:22 PM
First, I'd just like to say that even if it might not come to anything, it's always good to at least sound out ideas like this, because you never know what might come out of it.

As I understand it, DCC already allows individual control, and you can match speeds and link locomotives so that you control multiple engines at once. Is this not true? If it is, I don't understand what benefits an RC engine could have over DCC. Please let me know if I am missing something.

---jps

5th Jun 2004, 01:34 PM
I don't understand what benefits an RC engine could have over DCC

Top three advantages...

1. Eliminate Wiring
2. Eliminate Wiring
3. Eliminate Wiring

Overall it would be a LOT less complicated. (IMHO)

pbender
5th Jun 2004, 02:17 PM
I don't understand what benefits an RC engine could have over DCC

Top three advantages...

1. Eliminate Wiring
2. Eliminate Wiring
3. Eliminate Wiring

Overall it would be a LOT less complicated. (IMHO)

Actually, it wouldn't eliminate wiring. It would only eliminate the control bus.

If you want to do something interesting like track detection, operating signals,etc, you still need the wiring to be in place. There isn't any way to do these things without wiring (even the real railroads have wired track detection).

With either DC or DCC, We can already run our trains with Wireless throttles, and, we already have to have at least 1 pair of wires (aka the rails) around the whole layout anyway.

I still believe DCC is the better option. It takes most of the complication out of wiring a layout, since 2 wires (logically anyway) can run the whole thing. You need 2 more wires for feedback information (track detection, turnout possition,etc).

Paul

5th Jun 2004, 05:37 PM
Well, I partially agree with you.

I could easily have wireless signals, switches, and detection. But even if I didn't, the wiring for those items would be much simpler than even DCC. I would probably want those items wired for power. Digital wireless does exist, and over one frequency you could control many devices (X10).

ClassC
5th Jun 2004, 06:09 PM
Actually, it wouldn't eliminate wiring. It would only eliminate the control bus. Sure it would. Most model railroaders do not do the extended electrical stuff. They put trains in the track and hope that the track and wheels are clean enough that they don't have to thump the table too many times. Battery powered RC locomotives put trains into the same thought/reaction pattern as cell phones. Charge them and use them.

pbender
5th Jun 2004, 07:13 PM
Actually, it wouldn't eliminate wiring. It would only eliminate the control bus. Sure it would. Most model railroaders do not do the extended electrical stuff. They put trains in the


I don't know that I could agree with that statement.

I don't know of too many modelers that don't have at least one remotely operated switch. While the controllers could be wireless, there would still be wiring between the reciever and the device controlling the throwbar.

Grade crossings signals are another fairly common accessory. While simple gates (without lights) could be weight operated in larger scales, in N-scale, there isn't sufficient weight to make this happen, so at least the track detectors have to be wired to something, even if the whole thing is battery operated.


track and hope that the track and wheels are clean enough that they don't have to thump the table too many times. Battery powered RC locomotives put trains into the same thought/reaction pattern as cell phones. Charge them and use them.

And toss them when something breaks (or the batteries die completely)? I hope things don't come to that.

Paul

colonel_26
5th Jun 2004, 11:21 PM
The only problem I see is the need to overcome the short charges available in the batteries. 45 Seconds of train operations would be too short. And then taking the locomotive off the tracks everytime to re-charge would be a pain in the butt too. but I'm sure technology will develop that will make longer lasting batteries available..

YHR
6th Jun 2004, 02:09 AM
The only problem I see is the need to overcome the short charges available in the batteries. 45 Seconds of train operations would be too short. And then taking the locomotive off the tracks everytime to re-charge would be a pain in the butt too. but I'm sure technology will develop that will make longer lasting batteries available..


45 seconds of charging gets you 9 minutes of run time. With a metal wheelset on one set of trucks, charging could simply mean pulling into a powered siding. Wait 45 seconds and you are back in business.

Pbender.

I bet 90 % of model railroaders don't use signaling on their layout. If signaling was required the rails could be used as a transmission source since that is all that they would be required for. Photo sensors would work just as well as they do in the current environment. A constant 9v source of power to the track could be used for signaling, powering turnouts and recharging onboard batteries. Actually the micro motor that is used for the steering would work great for turnout control if it was mounted on the layout to control a turnout. These could be all tuned to a different frequency to allow you remote operated turnouts using the current controller. I'll have to give that a try!!!! This gets better all the time. One ZIPZAP SE car could yield the componets to build an RC locomotive and control one turnout, all for 30 bucks.

If we stop to think outside the box the concept has many things going for it. Currently $30 buys you a programable receiver,transmitter, onboard batteries and car. To cross this technology over to trains is a simple case of wanting to do it. If these mini RC guys got with the right train manufacturer, a quality well performing locomotive could be developed that would ensure these things were more then throw away toys.

6th Jun 2004, 07:50 PM
Just thought of another idea.

My iPaq handheld has a LiPolymer battery. Now supposedly this type of battery can be molded into any shape. You could create a battery that has the exact shape of all the voids inside your Loco.

Not sure about how well it would drive a motor, but I can run my iPaq with a wireless card in it for hours.

Just a thought.

jschuknecht
6th Jun 2004, 09:10 PM
In N-scale, we already see a significant amout of weight being removed to make room for DCC electronics as it is, are we going to take more away for RC electronics and batteries? Batteries aren't light, but they aren't that heavy either.

With the amount of wiring that DCC does and doesn't require, I don't see it being that much of an issue, personally. I see more of a benefit if you don't have to insulate and seperately wire frogs anymore. Handlaying turnouts would be alot simpler. But if you have both rails connected electrically, won't that short out the wheels that you have wired up for recharging?

Just some thoughts. I assume that down the line, the battery issue would be resolved, but engines do a bit of work for a battery to last too long.

---jps

colonel_26
7th Jun 2004, 09:22 AM
YHR:
45 seconds of charging gets you 9 minutes of run time. With a metal wheelset on one set of trucks, charging could simply mean pulling into a powered siding. Wait 45 seconds and you are back in business.


Thats nine minutes of run time pulling light weight on a small RC car, now when you start hooking up 12+ pieces of rolling stock to it, that little motor is going to use up a lot more power..

qballrail
9th Jun 2004, 07:40 PM
An RC loco would be a great idea, to a degree. I posted to the Atlas forum before about a switch on the loco. The RC feature would serve a similar purpose. Rather than having to install a frog or remove the loco from the tracks while running another, this might be the solution. It would be nice to have one loco run while the others are sitting without having to remove power.