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Can an Airwire reciever be used to control a live steam loco? Overall, I like the features and functions of the Airwire system (and the fact that I can use the transmitter with a wireless DCC HO layout with a little modification), but if I invest in a r/c system, I want it to be able to handle my future needs as well. Eventually, I will want live steam locos, and I don't want to be forced to buy a second, independant control system.

As I understand it, the Airwire reciever serves as a DCC command station, albeit limited to a single loco, which you must then attach a DCC decoder to. I would think that there is a way to use the outputs (presumably with the decoder) to control servos instead of an electric motor. Is such a product available, or easily built?

If not, is there a system out there that can handle both live steam and battery powered locos? Long range isn't much of an issue, since I plan on building so that I can get to the tracks easily for switching, though it would be nice to set it and let it run.
 

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Posted By DKRickman on 04/07/2008 6:52 AM
SNIP If not, is there a system out there that can handle both live steam and battery powered locos? Long range isn't much of an issue, since I plan on building so that I can get to the tracks easily for switching, though it would be nice to set it and let it run.
Yes.
My RCS can do both from the one TX-24 handpiece.
Even at the same time if necessary.
At the RCS website hover your cursor over "Large Scale" and then click the relevant subject.
There are downloadable pdf price lists and sample instructions for both Live Steam and battery R/C.
 
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Posted By DKRickman
Long range isn't much of an issue,

not to me either, but I do get excellent range with the RCS Elite and TX-24 in my battery locos!
cale
 

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To answer the original question, I was tossing around the idea of using a DCC servo controller. They do exist, and there are ones that can be set to respond to DCC speed commands.

I have never tried it, but it would be interesting for exactly the case you stated Ken, where you may have a number of Airwire sparkies, and then want to add a live steamer.

There are a couple of companies that make the DCC servo control boards, one is Tony's Trains...

Regards, Greg
 

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Ken...more info here http://www.mylargescale.com/Community/Forums/tabid/56/forumid/35/tpage/1/view/topic/postid/12521/Default.aspx#12521

Some other things to consider too.


a. Cost...Airwire RX's are more than twice as expensive as cheap 75MHz RC rigs...that come with servos already.


b. Size...Airwire RX's are a LOT larger than 75MHz RC RXs.


c. Antenna...75MHz antennas are larger than Airwire antennas...and you need the antenna outside the "can".


d. Range...this is controversial and whether it's important depends on how you like to operate...but the 75MHz systems are walk-along-side systems IMHO...and the Airwire is a sit-and-drink-a-beer-and-control type system.
 

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Ooooops.

I almost forgot and thanks to Mike for reminding me.

I also make an Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) that will work with low cost 2 channel 75 Mhz R/C.
Under Large Scale open "On Board Bat" then EVO.

This will enable operators to take full advantage of the excellent range available with the 2 stick R/C and control both a live steam loco with servos and a battery powered loco using an EVO ESC.
 

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DKRickman,

A little clarification... The Airwire receiver has a built in 10amp motor driver, head/reverse light functions, a few amp on/off function for smoke unit, and a 1 amp max DCC bus that you can plug other standard DCC decoders into. Seems like using this receiver and altering to control servos would be a waste of money, as they aren't cheap (~$140). You could probably use the QSI Gwire reciever and hack into some decoders to save money, but still a lot of work and you'll still need servo driver circuits or decoders.

I would think the easiest way is to go the standard live steam route and get the Spektrum DX6 (or DX7 or Futabas version) 2.4gHz digital system (75mhz analog systems are a thing of the past!!). About $200 for the transmitter, receiver, and 4 servos last time I checked. And the receivers are small, have very short antennas and are pretty cheap (under 40 bucks) and will directly control your servos. Then just buy the Airwire TX or other wireless throttle when you need it for your HO stuff.

Just some food for thought.
-Ray
 

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Posted By ConrailRay on 04/07/2008 8:25 PM
DKRickman,
A little clarification... The Airwire receiver has a built in 10amp motor driver, head/reverse light functions, a few amp on/off function for smoke unit, and a 1 amp max DCC bus that you can plug other standard DCC decoders into. Seems like using this receiver and altering to control servos would be a waste of money, as they aren't cheap (~$140). You could probably use the QSI Gwire reciever and hack into some decoders to save money, but still a lot of work and you'll still need servo driver circuits or decoders.
I would think the easiest way is to go the standard live steam route and get the Spektrum DX6 (or DX7 or Futabas version) 2.4gHz digital system (75mhz analog systems are a thing of the past!!). About $200 for the transmitter, receiver, and 4 servos last time I checked. And the receivers are small, have very short antennas and are pretty cheap (under 40 bucks) and will directly control your servos. Then just buy the Airwire TX or other wireless throttle when you need it for your HO stuff.
Just some food for thought.
-Ray




Granted, the Airwire system is not the cheapest in the world, but..

I want decent sound with at least whistle control.

I want to run either live steam, or battery power, or both at the same time.

I want to control multiple locomotives independantly.

I do not want to purchase a transmitter for each locomotive.

So far, it apears that there are DCC servo drivers that would work with the Airwire system (roughly $140 for battery, $180 for live steam). RCS is also capable of running both, and at roughly the same prices, though reversed in favor of the live steam models. Are there inexpensive (under $100 US) 2.4gHz recievers to control a battery locomotive? Can either 75mHz or 2.4gHz systems handle a single transmitter working with any one of a number of recievers (and if so, how many)?
 

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I do not want to purchase a transmitter for each locomotive.

RCS is also capable of running both, and at roughly the same prices, though reversed in favor of the live steam models.

Ken,
I can recommend the RCS approach; I have two systems in my battery+r/c locos and I have friends that run the live steam version and it works as advertised with no glitching. However, it is designed for one-tx-per-loco, so it doesn't quite meet your specs.
Are there inexpensive (under $100 US) 2.4gHz recievers to control a battery locomotive? Can either 75mHz or 2.4gHz systems handle a single transmitter working with any one of a number of recievers (and if so, how many)?

The Spektrum DX6i mentioned is pretty close to your requirements. The transmitter can bind to any one of 10 receivers. The rcvrs are around $40-50 and are very small. I just installed one in a Ruby and I'm very happy with it.
To control a battery-powered loco with a conventional (aircraft-type) r/c rig like the Spektrum DX6i, you have to go to the r/c car section of the showroom. They have high-power motor controllers that will plug in to a conventional rcvr. The problem I found (a few years ago) was that they are mono-directional: like planes, race cars only go forward! However, with the 6-channel capability of the DX6i, I think you could rig up a reverser to the "gear up/down" button. Or, if you look around, there may be a motor controller designed for a tank that can reverse.

(Edit) Yes, I thought so. The off-road crowd have reversible motor controllers.
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0093p?&C=MJD
 

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Hello Pete.
Thanks for the glowing testimonial but I should like to correct a couple of errors please.
I can recommend the RCS approach; I have two systems in my battery+r/c locos and I have friends that run the live steam version and it works as advertised with no glitching. However, it is designed for one-tx-per-loco, so it doesn't quite meet your specs.

Not so.
That is a long held myth.
The RCS TX-24 can control as many locos, both live steam and battery R/C as you want from one TX-24.
You can run them one at a time or ganged together in multiple units.
The TX-24 can also independently control any three locos simultaneously on the same track.
To control a battery-powered loco with a conventional (aircraft-type) r/c rig like the Spektrum DX6i, you have to go to the r/c car section of the showroom. They have high-power motor controllers that will plug in to a conventional rcvr. The problem I found (a few years ago) was that they are mono-directional: like planes, race cars only go forward!

Again not so.
I also make the EVO series of battery R/C ESC's that are designed especially for Large Scale locos.
The EVO series are also designed to eliminate glitching.
The RCS TX-24 cannot operate DCC equipment.
About the only drawback using the Spektrum R/C is operating multiple locos at the same time independently on the same track. I am not quite sure how you would do it.
That ability is something you can do with both AirWire and RCS.
 

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Tony,

Forgive me for not being conversant with your latest-and-greatest products.
About the only drawback using the Spektrum R/C is operating multiple locos at the same time independently on the same track. I am not quite sure how you would do it.

I'm not sure why you would want to do it. Gang them up as a multiple unit - sure. But running "three locos simultaneously on the same track" sounds like a nightmare. Maybe, if you had a huge loop of track and wanted to run 3 trains you could sit with your favorite beverage and occasionally adjust a train so it didn't catch up with the one in front? [Personally, I'd be sitting with my beverage dreaming up a complete control system to keep the trains separated automatically.]

I've had the pleasure of trying to manage a double-header with two widely disparate locos, and it is a very difficult juggling act. I don't plan to repeat it very often.
 

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Peter,
Consider yourself forgiven.:)
I'm not sure why you would want to do it. Gang them up as a multiple unit - sure. But running "three locos simultaneously on the same track" sounds like a nightmare. Maybe, if you had a huge loop of track and wanted to run 3 trains you could sit with your favorite beverage and occasionally adjust a train so it didn't catch up with the one in front? [Personally, I'd be sitting with my beverage dreaming up a complete control system to keep the trains separated automatically.]


I agree absolutely. I know of a very few people who have the manual dexterity to run two trains independently at the same time on the same track, without crashing them.
I know of no one who can run three at a time without crashing.

Running 3 trains on different loops is probably a little less difficult.

But, that is what all the manufacturers claim their R/C equipment can do.
So I made mine do three because it could.
I do not recommend such a practice. Mainly because when the inevitable crashes occur, I'll give you one guess who gets the blame./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif
 
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