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Many thanks to the crew at the Big Train steamer setup for helping with my newly constructed Ruby kit. Thanks, as the timing setup now works fine. What I learned since may not be unique:

1 - Break-in is very important to seat the cylinder seals. For me, a total of one hour's running to fully loosen it prior to trying it out on the track.

2 - If an outdoor layout has any appreciable grade - mine up to 2.0% in two places - the Ruby does not do well unless at roller coaster speed to accomodate those grades. It races like a bat on any downside of the 2% and easily leaves the track.

3 - The remedy appears to be singular: Install a radio control servo for the steam input control.
or run it only on a separate circle of level track.

I imagine on MLS there is discussion on what size of servo and how to install it and what receiving unit is best used. I have set up radio control (2 channel) model boats for racing.
Any suggestions from readers are appreciated.

Wendell
 

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I recently added RC to my Ruby/Forney using Spektrum DX6 radio with HiTec HS-81MG servos. It really makes it easy to control the loco on grades. (I have up to 3 1/2% grades on my layout) The throttle sticks some and will not quite close all the way but it is easy to stop by putting the Johnson bar in neutral. There is a bracket available which comes with 2 servos installed. (advertised in Steam in the Garden) The tender on my Forney made it easy to install the on board components.

The complete locomotive


Servo installation


Electronics


With the tender installed
 

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the Ruby does not do well unless at roller coaster speed to accomodate those grades. It races like a bat on any downside of the 2% and easily leaves the track.
Ruby has pretty small cylinders (3/8" if memory serves), so it doesn't have a lot of power - hence the "pocket rocket" nickname. If you could find a pair of 1/2" cylinders, that would make a huge difference. You might want to email Insane Rocket Kid as I think he still has a couple pair to sell.

Even with R/C, there is a time lag between throttle and actual motion.
 
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