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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The kid and I are nuts for a new road engine. I thought I would start the research here. Both engines appear nice in person and the USA seems to have more detail, on the trucks w/chains etc. So... I have some basic questions.
1. I think they both have plugs to use battery power, is a reciever and batteries all that is needed in a trailing car?
2. Will either of these big engines manage 5-6 foot curves/switches? Even if the mfg says 8' min.
3. Are there previous forums that may help in this quest?
 

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1 Aristo is the only plug and play units. no rubber tires
2 I don't think so and you may kick off the car behind it. the Mac may do better .
3 I to love road engines, see my videos on U-tube under NTCGRR
if you want big engines you should have large enough curves.
USAT is very detailed but I have a box of their broken parts almost full.

Heres my 3 dash 9s

But to my surprise I don't have any photos of the 3 Macs

AH!!!! Found one
 

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I'd have to say that the USAT loco has more detail. its a good running loco as is the Aristo.


1 The USAT loco does not have battery plugs as the Aristo.

2 Neither likes 5 to 6 ft diameter track Need at least 8 ft.
3 There may have been other threads here about these locos, due a search.

I have both and the USAT locos tend to have more of a swing when going around curves. I got rid of the traction ties on the USAT loco by replacing the driving wheels that do not have the traction tires. Run so much better. Later RJD
 

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Just to clarify, the parts Marty refers to are detail parts, and if you get a USAT loco, gluing on some of the detail parts when you get it will keep you from losing them. In particular air hoses on each end can pop off. USAT locos also typically come with different stacks depending on if you run smoke or not, and they are not glued in, they come loose in a bag.

Regards, Greg
 

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One thing I might add also is if you notice I run different roads and usually keep them with in the same manufacture so I don't have any concerns with different motor speeds or power draw.

I love all the big diesels...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, we like both engines. Just got back from the BIG train show in Collinsville, IL. today! It was nice to see so many people show up this year. We picked up a train engineer for our very first battery powered conversion on a GP-38! I also learned about re-bending our 5 foot stuff to 8' with help from Ric and his trusty rail bender. Anyway, With the Dash-9 having plug and play, cheaper price etc. it may be the 1st choice.
All I need is a box car with a receiver and batteries correct? = plug and play...
 

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no, the only plug and play in Aristo is in their socket, the QSI, the Digitrax and the (now discontinued) Aristo 75 mhz would be your plug and play choices. the QSI works on DC, DCC and AirWire, the Digitrax DC and DCC, and the Aristo, welll forget about it.

You could buy the box car with most of the wiring complete from Aristo, and then add batteries, then you will be using their "trackside" train engineer, but with it in the boxcar.

Regards, Greg
 

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Check out our club page at http://ovgrs.editme.com/BPIndex for some ideas on building battery or power cars and their interconnection to Aristo locos. Over the years, many of our members have built these cars. Resisent expert Paul Norton has written up many of the installations he has done.

Club members have used a variety of Aristo and RCS products for their radio/battery power. The Trackside TE is most often our choice for a power car especially when no sound is desired. The higher amperage capacity of the TE and its modest cost makes it ideal in these situations.

For self contained units, the preference of many members is RCS. It is a very well engineered piece of equipment and when sound is being considered, is a better choice than the Aristo (in my opinion).

We do not have experience with Airwire. The original system, as introduced, did not seem to offer us any advantages over RCS and it was more expensive as well as needing a new learning curve. At the moment, Paul has a Gwire and sound experiment started to give OVGRS members some idea of the cost and capabilities of this system.

Regards ... Doug
 

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While you can build a battery car with a boxcar,



the easiest is a covered gondola.




Removing the snap on cover allows easy access to the receiver for programming and removal of the battery pack for charging. Replacing the cover hides the components and protects them from the elements. The ends of the gondola can also be folded down inside the car should extra cooling be required for the receiver.
 

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Yes, IF hes meaning plug and play to the battery car. Take it out of the box, throw the "to battery switch" plug into battery car, and play.
Most regular battery power folks think that way. We like to help new folks step by step VS dumping too much info on them.

Posted By Greg Elmassian on 11/29/2008 9:07 PM
no, the only plug and play in Aristo is in their socket, the QSI, the Digitrax and the (now discontinued) Aristo 75 mhz would be your plug and play choices. the QSI works on DC, DCC and AirWire, the Digitrax DC and DCC, and the Aristo, welll forget about it.

You could buy the box car with most of the wiring complete from Aristo, and then add batteries, then you will be using their "trackside" train engineer, but with it in the boxcar.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is the very site that convinced me to pick up the TE and convert my GP-38 to Battery! Once I have one of these cars I can use it on a Dash-9 correct? Or any other engines I modify with these plugs correct?
Now that I have a TE 27mhz, what is THE BEST choice for battery packs? Price considered of course...
 

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Yes, you can use a battery car with any locomotive that has a battery car plug added. The Dash 9 and most modern Aristo-Craft locomotives have the plugs and a switch to toggle between track power and battery power. It is easy to add battery car plugs to USA Trains diesels, but you do have to unplug the track power pick-ups or the results could be electronically catastrophic.





A track power/battery power switch could be added, but it can be complicated.





I installed the switch for a friend in his F3A and he has never used it in track power mode. Once you use battery power you probably won’t go back to track power.

The battery question is a can of worms, as everyone has their own preferences.

I used Ni-Cad battery packs in my first battery car in 1995.





They provided 1 3/4 hours of run time and lasted for years. These Ni-Cads did have to be completely discharged before being recharged.

When NiMH batteries became available at a reasonable price, I made my own battery packs with them.





These packs provided 3 1/2 hours of run time, could be topped up without discharging and are still in service.

When the Aristo-Craft lithium-ion battery packs and chargers became available I began to use them as it is easier to wire one battery pack than two.





These packs have had their problems however. The first generation packs would not charge properly and had to be replaced with second generation packs. Early this year, about the same time Aristo-Craft released their battery car, the third generation packs were released and found to be incompatible with the TE receiver. There were replaced with fourth generation packs, but the price increased by 50 percent.

I like the lithium-ion packs because they are small enough to fit in most fuel tanks, and I will continue to use them for on-board power conversions.





But given their history and hefty price tag, you may want to consider something else.
 

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Posted By Biblegrove RR on 11/30/2008 10:41 AM
Could we get the "HOW-to battery power a USAT MAC-70" on the OVGRS site?


The article on how to add battery power car plugs to a USAT SD-70 MAC is already on the OVGRS web site. Here is a short video of it running with a covered gondola power car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2BA6wyflEo

To view the article, just click on the link. USAT SD-70 MAC

I have not converted this or my Dash 9 to on-board battery power and radio control yet; too many other projects to complete first. They are now powered and controlled using my Evans powercar.
 

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Paul s the man, he can help you slowly walk through this. This thread will probably be moved to batt forum now.
All I know is two wires in two wires out...
As you can see in my photos, you can make any car you want into a batt car.
Don't let these folks bug you about draging a batt car around. I do eveytime you pull a consist. My self contain locos do the switching. Thats your next growth level.
 
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