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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started to research how I want to run my garden trains. I know alot of you will try and talk me into battery power but for now I will be sticking with Rail power. With that in mind I would like to know how I can put power to the tracks that is constant and be able to control the actual engine. Something like a Crest Train engineer with the reciever inside of the engine. How well does this work? Is there a lot of modification to the locomotive to install this? Is there any other brands other then Crest? Also, What would any of you suggest as a power supply to track itself?

Thank you in advance,
Shawn :D
 

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Shawn

Any of the radio control products can take the power source from the rails instead of batteries.

The Crest TE onboard products have been discontinued and will be replaced (eventually) by a newly announced product. The last time Aristo did this sort of thing (discontinued the 27 MHz in favour of the 75 MHz) there was an 18 month gap between discontinuance and new introduction. i would not hold my breath this time.

I cannot recommend a power source as our group (the Ottawa Valley Garden railway Society www.ovgrs.org ) totally uses battery power.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Posted By Dougald on 09/02/2008 8:28 PM
Shawn
Any of the radio control products can take the power source from the rails instead of batteries.



Well, I don't believe that is true. The only one I can think of is LocoLinc. While AirWire and RCS may work from track power, given the promise to keep it constant and not reverse the polarity, I doubt if they would recommend it.

My standard recommendation for someone starting out is the good ole' Aristo-Craft (Crest) Trackside Train Engineer. No modifications to your loco(s) but you still have radio control. Get all of your landscaping, bridges, trackwork, and the rest of the major components of your garden railroad going. Then start refining the way you control your railroad. I think battery power is the way to go, but I also think it is too much for the average newcomer to take on in addition to all of the other challenges of getting a railroad established.

The modifications it takes to make a loco ready for constant track power with on-board R/C is about the same as converting to battery power. So why not just eliminate the track cleaning and all of the electrical continuity problems at the same time?
 

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The Crest receiver out of the case will fit n a tender or a boxcar.
You need a diode bridge as this unit is polarity sensitive, and a storage capacitor for the unwelcome intermittent track power/contact.

Also, isolate the motor power pickups, and use all the power pickup points you can for better track contact. I aadd power pickup to tenders and first cars behind engines and I get a great improvement in power pickup on my brass track.
 

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Yes, the Aristo/Crest TE will work as described above. A good power supply is their "Elite" which is a constant voltage (no integral speed knob). You will want some sort of fuse or circuit breaker between the power-supply & the track... & as Dan recommended above, a bridge rectifier on board the receiver car between the track power pickups & the receiver. (in case you change directions or set the car down on the track facing the "wrong" way).

Some sort of capacitor to get over the dirty spots also helps, though it is hard to have enough reserve power in capacitors to really make much of a difference.... so then you start toying with charging batteries from the track... & well, you see where that gets you.

But this will work. I ran this way for years. Having the higher voltage on the track (22.5 for the elite, I adjusted mine up to 24.5) helps the power get through dirty track.. but wheels still get dirty, etc. This method also alows for multiple, independent trains on the same track (as long as each has their on on-board receiver, or receiver in a trail car.

You might also watch ebay for used on-board receivers. They are a small version that will fit in a loco.

--
craig
 

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And, right now, Aristo has a sale, but a transmitter-receiver set and get another receiver free!

"But" a transmitter? Must need another cup of tea.
 

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I reccomend them highly. That's what I'm currently running..



The Elite power supply is great as well. I may go battery someday, but I'm really happy with the track power TE setup as seen above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looks like I will have my TE within a few weeks. I will probably endup buying the Elite power supply as well. Now I have new questions. When the system is set to PWC does this mean that there is a constant voltage to the track? So any siding that are track powered are able to run? Does this mean that the lights in our trains will be on? Im kinda lost still. Sorry.

Shawn
 

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Posted By Sesh1975 on 09/08/2008 8:50 AM
Looks like I will have my TE within a few weeks. I will probably endup buying the Elite power supply as well. Now I have new questions. When the system is set to PWC does this mean that there is a constant voltage to the track? So any siding that are track powered are able to run? Does this mean that the lights in our trains will be on? Im kinda lost still. Sorry.
Shawn

PWC stands for Pulse Width Control. In linear mode the output of the TE is a constant DC voltage. You set the amplitude using the up down buttons on the hand-held. In PWC mode the output switches back and forth from a high value to zero at a high rate of speed. As you change the speed setting with the up button the amount of time the output is high increases compared to the amount of time it is zero. The motor basically sees this as a DC voltage, but is able to respond better at low speeds.
Lights in the train will vary with the voltage on the track, unless that car has a voltage regulator chip in it. Sidings will always see the same voltage as the mainline unless you have purposely isolated the siding with insulating track joiners. (This would allow you to turn the power to the siding on or off. e.g. to park a loco on a "dead" siding while running trains on the main.
 

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Do not forget the Aristo special sale this month, buy the trackside transmitter/receiver package and get a free ($10 shipping) second receiver.
 

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Yes, you can do what you want. I do it all the time, remote control on constant track power. I would not go with Aristo, however, I'd go with QSI. I have aristo 75 mhz onboard receivers in five locos and it works fine. But I'm phasing it out.

Backstory: aristo makes/made two different radio control systems.

1. works at 27 mh. This is often called the "trackside" system. It was designed to vary the voltage to the track so that people running one loco at a time on track power could control voltage and direction remotely. It's big--for a while they made a smaller "onboard" 27mhz unit, but they discontinued it a long time ago. The existing 27mhz unit is good for putting in a trailing car, like a boxcar, but it's probably too big to put in a loco. Guys who run batteries use it a lot.

2. works at 75 mhz. You need a gray 75 mhz transmitter, different from the black 27 mhz transmitter. This system is small enough to go into a loco and it plugs right into aristo's onboard socket, if you are using aristo engines. Easy. It works well. The range can be a little unpredictable, but I like it. I'm currently running five locos with aristo onboard 75 mhz units. It's relatively inexpensive. Downside: it's hard to run accessories, like a soundcard or switches. Also it's been discontinued. I'm annoyed becaue i invested a good deal of money is a system they are phasing out.

Aristo is coming out sometime soon, they say, with a brand new system that runs at 2.6 (or maybe 2.3) ghz. It's supposed to be great--it will butter your toast and part your hair and do all sorts of great things, they say, when it actually exists, which it doesn't yet.


I've been switching over to the QSI system. The QSI boards combine remote control with high quality sound. They work on track power, battery or DCC. They are plug and play with aristo locos. To use them as you describe, you need to buy an Airwire throttle (pricey, but you only need one)and what QSI calls a "GWIRE" card, which is a little plug-in receiver for the Airwire throttle. The QSI board and the Gwire card are cheaper than buying a control board and a separate sound card. I've installed two QSI cards in two aristo locos and I'm very happy with the system. See my review posted in "product reviews." You get excellent sound and a very sophisticated level of control

As far as power, I run mine using a Meanwell 24 volt 10 amp power supply, which I bought on ebay for around (as I recall) $40. The Meanwell unit converts your wall AC into DC. I send the power outputs of the Meanwell into an aristo 10 amp controller. I then set the aristo controller (also called a throttle) to put 20 volts on the track. The aristo throttle is useful to have because it has excellent built in fusing/circuit protection, and if I ever want to run an engine the old fashioned way, track power and a fixed position, wired throttle, I can. Both have been sitting outside, in a plastic box, since November with no signs of trouble
 

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Hanging on to them for now. This stuff gets expensive!

Some I bought used myself--a couple seem to have burned out the lighting control circuits.

Aristo says they can "no longer source the components" So I'm thinking I want to hold onto the extras as spares. I've managed to burn out a bunch of them installing them in other maker's locos. I've figured out how to do it since, but I had some trouble early on. Let me take an inventory and see where I stand

Aristo also says the new system will not include sound, but I assume it will be very competitively priced when it comes out
 

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Posted By Sesh1975 on 09/10/2008 10:39 AM
How do you take advantage of the Buy One get One free promotion???




Hi Shawn.... Go to the Aristo site... http://www.aristocraft.com. Click on Consumer sales and Special Offers and it will walk you through the steps.. :)
 

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All one needs is a full-wave bridge rectifier on the input.
RCS used to make one like that, but the number of folks who wanted track-powered on-board R/C was so small, we quit.
That's all LocoLinc has is a bridge.
Throw one in and you're set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Posted By Curmudgeon on 09/10/2008 12:58 PM
All one needs is a full-wave bridge rectifier on the input.
RCS used to make one like that, but the number of folks who wanted track-powered on-board R/C was so small, we quit.
That's all LocoLinc has is a bridge.
Throw one in and you're set.




Oh no! New lingo that I have yet to understand. Can you please explain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Posted By Stan Cedarleaf on 09/10/2008 12:32 PM
Posted By Sesh1975 on 09/10/2008 10:39 AM
How do you take advantage of the Buy One get One free promotion???

Hi Shawn.... Go to the Aristo site... http://www.aristocraft.com. Click on Consumer sales and Special Offers and it will walk you through the steps.. :)" border=0>





Thank you Stan!
 

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Posted By Sesh1975 on 09/10/2008 1:31 PM
Posted By Curmudgeon on 09/10/2008 12:58 PM
All one needs is a full-wave bridge rectifier on the input.
RCS used to make one like that, but the number of folks who wanted track-powered on-board R/C was so small, we quit.
That's all LocoLinc has is a bridge.
Throw one in and you're set.

Oh no! New lingo that I have yet to understand. Can you please explain.



Sesh.

What is it you don't understand?
 

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Don't mind them, just go and look at the info Stan gave you.
 
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