How much does it cost to convert to a battery operated RC system with sound?
Air wire 900- RCS- does not matter- Phoenix sound. 21.6 volt Li-on or Nmh batteries.
And where do your have them done?
Thnaks in advance.
Depends on a number of things but assuming you don't have a battery charger (Triton) or 12vdc power supply for it and you pay some one to do it it could go to $1100 -$1200 Do it yourself and take off $350. Have a battery charger and power supply take off $225.
Most battery/RC users will have a hand held throttle from their favourite system and a battery charger for their favourite battery type. These of course will have to be acquired initially and these sunk costs are the primary reason why folks don't like to change systems once they have one installed even though in a sense each loco is self contained. Personally I use both RCS and Aristo RC systems of varying types depending on the application.
Now for costs. Aristo is the least expensive. For high amp draw situations, I like the 27 MHz trackside board removed from its case and installed in a loco. This receiver/motor controller costs about $120 from a discounter (I get mine in Canada from Art Knapp). The installation will involve some switches, jacks and noise suppression so figure another $10-15 for components. If sound is required an accesory board will be needed (cost $70 approx) though I would recommend using a higher end system if you wish to install sound. The Aristo 75 MHz mobile has had range problems due to poor aerial choices and inadequate motor noise suppression - our club members have a wide experience with them and have finally gotten reliable operation from them. See www.ovgrs.org for lots of battery RC details.
The RCS system has a number of ergonomic and functional advances over the Aristo and would be my choice if sound were to be used. Cost of an RCS Elite system of appropriate amperage runs to about the same price as an Aristo system including the accesory board.
Sound is easily installed with RCS and controlled with RCS - the cost of Sierra runs to a bit under $200 and of Phoenix just over $200 - I have never used other sound systems.
Installation of all this stuff can be done commercially and Larry's $300 plus is certainly a figure which you could work with. I have had some custom installs done by Dave Goodson and I have done some of my own (guess which ones are better!)
Battery packs can vary in price depending on whether you wish to use NiMH or Li ion, whether you have a custom pack built od roll your own, the number of cells you wish to use, and on whether you use Double As or sub Cs. For the typical B'mann steam loco, I would use 14.4V or 12 cells double As NiMH. I have an Aristo diesel powered by 19.2V of sub Cs NiMH and am in the process of building a heavy duty power car containing a pair of Aristo Li ion packs. I suspect that you can obtain battery packs from a discount supplier for well under $50 for NiMH while the Li ion may be a bit more. Make sure you have appropriate charging technology as the use of the wrong charger (especially with Li ion) can cause fires.
I have no experience with other systems though there are folks who swear by their Airwire RC.
I would also suggest that you take a look at the newly announced but not yet fully available GWire system that uses QSI sound - this may give a lower overall price for a fully configured system. Keep in mind that it is not yet available widely and that it may have some teething problems.
Similarly, Aristo has announced a new RC system coming soon as a replacement for their 75MHz mobile but it is also not yet available. Typical of Aristo products, I would expect it to be a low price leader but I would also expect a few idiosynchrosies along the way.
1. TE transmitter and receiver: $130 (I found where I can get them for $110.)
2. Small Scale Railways sound card with 1w amp: $90
C. 2 Battery holders from junk box. Free (about $7 at Radio Shack)
4. 12 AA "Coppertop" batteries from Wal*Mart: $7.50 (Coppertops seem to last the longest)
That comes to $235 or so. I started out without the sound card and added it later.
Thanks for all of the replys.
Looks like there are many different ways to go about this task. Different costs too.
And then you must pack it up and ship it to whom you will have do the install, and I am sure the cost of shipping back and forth will get pricey.
Some of mine are just set up with a simple DPDT switch, just throw it and let it run till the batteries run down. I also have some with R/C, one with the Aristo, which I like and one with RCS which I also like fine. Jerry
Posted By woodone on 04/03/2008 8:50 AM
I have installed an RCS system. having range problems. ....
Can you give me some help on getting that information?
425-823-3507 Dave Goodson-Call Him!
Answer to post question:
If I remember right....When I did my Annie Install with Sierra Sound and RCS Elite Throttle, with TX 24 remote...it ran somewhere near $500+/-...that includes 14.4v NiCads, plugs, wires, etc (everything) except labor to install (I wanted to and did that part)...
With RCS depending on what you are putting it in and what you want it to do...you at least need:
to answer your question completely, I'd recommend the same advice above..>Call Dave-tell him what you are looking to do and let him help you decide what you need and then figure cost...He is a dealer, and it's really that easy! He has always been very Gracious in his helps given to me!
I have talked to Dave and he was most helpful. On the range problem he sugested using a wheel wiper to use the rail on one side to act as an antenna. I have done that but still not happy with the range. As long as you are close to the rail it works farily well, move away and you loose control of the locomotive.
Any one know the correct length the antenna should be for 27mh.
Thanks for all the input,
This has been a learning experience for me. An I am still learning thanks to all of the good ideas that show up here on the boards.
If you send me an E mail detailing which loco it is you have the RCS installed in and what if any motor noise suppression components you have fitted, I will be glad to help.
I will also need to know which RCS Transmitter it is you have. If you are not sure a brief description of how many buttons on the front and whether or not it has a pushbutton in the side. Also if it has an LED showing through the label or if it has a buzzer when you press a button.
I take it the TX has a good battery?
It would also be helpful to know what if any sound is fitted and how close the antenna is to the controller, batteries and speaker if fitted.