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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm almost sold on the advantages of running Al track and battery power, thanks to Marty and many others.
Now I'm trying to figure out what batteries and RC system to use. I know the info is out there somewhere, but I've spent the last hour looking at old posts and don't feel like I know much more than I did when I started.
Sooo... I will be running sparky - mostly short trains, on some grades (up to ~2.5%) I figure if I want to occasionally run smoke I'll probably switch the engine temporarily over to track power. Mostly Shays, Climaxes, Connies, Annies.
Do you have suggestions? Do you build your own packs? I have some electronics experience, so if I have a drawing, I will hopefully be able to work it out.

Thanks for your help!
Matt
 
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Matt

I have been really happy with the RCS Brand of control. Dave Goodson (TOC) has been an invaluable resourse for my self installs of the product. Tony Walshman produces a bullet proof system that I can wholeheartedly endorse (for whatever that may be worth)....I usually buy my NiCad and NiMh from Dave as well....that said I have tossed a few together too!

Give Dave a call, he is good to listen and offer suggestions! 425-823-3507...I've never called Au, but Tony is very good to respond to needed help or questions as well!


If you have further, or I can help...feel free to contact me offline.

cale
 

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I have the stuff.
I can walk you through your own installs.

E-mail me.
 

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I saw the "almost sold" part and was thinking you was saleing your trains.
All I can say is our club has so many different RC/ battery set ups (base on their own needs) ,but we all run together and have a great time.
I don't know which way is best for you.
 

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I tried Airwire...and it cost me another $55 as they said I fried their board while I was hooking up my lights. RCS is much more forgiving. And cheaper. Plus RCS is better at controlling locos.
 

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Matt

Each of the major RC systems has its strengths. You did not say exactly what your needs were so it is difficult to give really sound and helpful advice.

I cannot speak to Locolinc as I have not tried it myself ...

Aristo is the low cost provider ... OVGRS members use it extensively when sound is not being installed or when very high amperage draw is required (diesel MUs for example) even if we mostly curse its ergonomics

RCS is the favourite for general usage ... most ergonomic, great support, very nice loco control, good range and easy (relatively) installation of sound ... moderately priced but becomes competitive with Aristo when sound is considered

Airwire is not commonly used here but is favoured where DCC outputs to control sound cards are desired ... it also has the greatest range and a few folks prefer its ergonomics to RCS; it is the most expensive base model but can be price competitive depending on the options to be added.

There is no compelling reason why you could not use different installations in different locos ... most OVGRS members do just that. Although some would argue that having only one hand held controller for use with all locos will reduce costs generally (I would agree), for practical purposes an extra controller or two are needed and the extra cost goes for naught if the system does not meet the specific need.

In summary ... once you state what features are most important to you, there is a system out there that will meet your need.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your responses gents.
In hindsight, I was a little vague about what I was asking, but you all touched on it.
I am looking for your experience and opinions on what you have used, so I can know better what is available.
Doug, your info was very helpful, thank you. I should have mentioned that I do plan to run sound - probably various brands, depending on the engine. Range would be an important item, along with cost, of course.

I should probably start a different, more specific thread(s) to break up ideas on R/C systems and battery types/brands/sources.

So far on batteries I'm leaning toward NiCad ~14.4 to 18V. Any opinions?
As far as radio, I'm tending to look at RCS.

Thanks again,
Matt
 

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Matt, thanks for considering RCS.
It would be very helpful if we knew what sorts of locos you will be installing the equipment in.
RCS is not just a one size fits all on board R/C equipment.
I make various Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC's) to suit different installation situations.
They all work the same way but, some have higher current ratings than others, and some are a different shape.

I have no vested interest in batteries one way or the other.
What I can tell you is I only ever use Sub C NiCd cells where they will fit.
12 cells = 14.4 volts which is ideal for most plastic steamers and small diesels like the GP-9 etc.
16 cells = 19.2 volts which is ideal for larger diesel locos such as the SD-45 and most brass locos.
They last longer in terms of the number of recharges available, compared to NiCd, and do not self discharge as fast as NiCd cells do.
Other battery R/C users will have a different opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Posted By TonyWalsham

What I can tell you is I only ever use Sub C NiCd cells where they will fit.
12 cells = 14.4 volts which is ideal for most plastic steamers and small diesels like the GP-9 etc.
16 cells = 19.2 volts which is ideal for larger diesel locos such as the SD-45 and most brass locos.
They last longer in terms of the number of recharges available, compared to NiCd, and do not self discharge as fast as NiCd cells do.
Other battery R/C users will have a different opinion.



Hey Tony,
What are you comparing to NiCd?

So far I have:
2 Bman Shays
1 Bman Climax
2 Annies
1 Connie
1 Bman 2-6-0
1 AR 2-4-0
1 AR 0-4-0
2 AR Pacifics

I think that's it. I figured I would start out by converting either a Climax or Shay first. If you could give me ideas, I'd be most grateful.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Matt,
I would go with an Annie first.
They are the least complicated to wire.
You will need a suitable 2 way or 3 way connector between the loco and the tender for the motor connections.
You will need a 4 way if you want to wire constant brightness reversing lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the link, Pete. I'll look at it ASAP. I don't know if I'll even convert the Pacifics, so that's not really an issue right now.

Tony, after I posted, I figured you might say that about the Annies. Is the Mogul wired the same as the Annies? I should also have mentioned that they are actually Christmas Annies, so I wasn't sure I was going to convert them. I really don't want them to be my only loco to run battery on until I can convert more. Any engine I do convert I will wire w/DPDT for track power option.

Thanks
 

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The b-mann mogul has the electronics in the tender not the loco, so it is a bit different than the annie. Like Tony said I'd do an annie first till you get the hang of it. They are a cheaper and more prominent loco that if you were to damage, (not that you would but strsnge things do happen) could be more easily replaced than the shay or climax.
 

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Posted By Matt Vogt on 07/23/2008 8:58 AM
Any engine I do convert I will wire w/DPDT for track power option.





Matt - Just a comment. Many folks converting to battery power for the first time want to hedge their bets by wiring in that "Track/Battery" switch. I am betting that once you see the benefits of battery power, you will never use that switch.

Also be aware, that not all battery power conversions require radio control. It depends how you run. But especially, if continuous running is your norm. An on-board locally controlled system works great and costs less. My Climax and Annies are quite happy running that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Posted By paintjockey on 07/23/2008 9:41 AM
The b-mann mogul has the electronics in the tender not the loco, so it is a bit different than the annie. Like Tony said I'd do an annie first till you get the hang of it. They are a cheaper and more prominent loco that if you were to damage, (not that you would but strsnge things do happen) could be more easily replaced than the shay or climax.





I understand your point, but like I said, the only Annies I have are Christmas editions, which are the least likely to be converted to battery. I think I'll probably jump in with both feet and do the Mogul, if it is the next easiest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Posted By Del Tapparo on 07/23/2008 11:14 AM
Posted By Matt Vogt on 07/23/2008 8:58 AM
Any engine I do convert I will wire w/DPDT for track power option.





Matt - Just a comment. Many folks converting to battery power for the first time want to hedge their bets by wiring in that "Track/Battery" switch. I am betting that once you see the benefits of battery power, you will never use that switch.

Also be aware, that not all battery power conversions require radio control. It depends how you run. But especially, if continuous running is your norm. An on-board locally controlled system works great and costs less. My Climax and Annies are quite happy running that way.




Welllll, what I meant was that I would like to wire it that way./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif
I plan to run trains about as often as I am working in the yard or have guests, and I really don't want to recharge after a couple hours. So I would really like to have the option to run continuously. I will also keep your suggestion of local control in mind. I hadn't thought of that lately.

Thanks,
Matt
 
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Matt,
I have an American that is on the docket to do next...I've done an Annie and they are a great place to start...but I'd bet you'd be ok with the Mogul....the tender should have enough room to store it all....for longer running (if you use the RCS stuff) you can always tack on a trail car that would by-pass the batt in tender for extra time...
cale
 

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I agree with Del about having the track-battery switch wired in.
Doing so unnecessarily complicates the wiring.
It has been my experience these last 20 years doing this stuff, that most people, once converted to battery power, only ever use battery power.
Which Bachmann 2-6-0 is it you have?
The small version is very light and will not pull much more than itself let alone a tender full of "stuff" unless you add an awful lot of weight.
If it is the Spectrum version, no problem, except the tender is actually quite small and means you will need to be very choosy about the type of batteries you select to use.
The Climax has the smallest tender casing and therfore is the most complicated of all to fit everything in.
The Shay will be OK but you will need to make sure the trucks themselves are in perfect condition before you start work on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If it is that complicated, I guess I will just plan to not convert the Annies so I can use them for long runs.

The Mogul is the Spectrum version. Would the Connie be any easier? Does anyone have any experience converting these?

Thanks
 
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