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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several years ago I bought a Lionel Rail Scope 0-4-0T locomotive (with a black & white camera in the loco). I never got it to work very well and wrote it off as not suitable for a large layout.

At the last Diamondhead I bought another one that was pretty much new in box (unused). I thought that between the two of them I could get at least one working.

I finally gave up and took the camera out of both locos but went ahead and added a headlight and smoke unit to both locos so they are worth their cost in what I can do with them elsewhere on the layouts. For one thing they do a nice job of pushing and pulling a track cleaning car around the layout.

That leaves me with two Lionel cameras and receivers that I would like to put to some use such as transmitting images to assist in parking trains on remote sidings.

Does anyone have any positive experiences with the Lionel Rail Scope camera systems and if so can you suggest what I might need to do to use them in a fixed position? My thought is to use a remote (X-10) receiver with an ac adapter to power and to turn the individual Lionel cameras on and off but first I need to find a way to get them to work or to confirm that they are both broken.

Any ideas or suggestions? So far I've been unable to get anything on a TV connected to the Lionel receivers.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Jerry, I had one of the RailScope cameras on my old O-scale (2-rail DC) layout; I picked up one of the HO ones, removed it from the HO loco, & re-installed in a  Weaver Alco FA cab.  I didn't want the "through-the-headlight" - noticably mainly when viewing lettering passing by the camera lens.

Lionel had developed this system as a way to "work around"

How well did it work?  Even in B&W, it was a novelty at the time, & wowed   (& this was on an indoor layout with nickel-silver rail!); I had a yard throat with about 3 or 4 turnouts in a row, the picture ALWAYS completely broke up passing through there.

For YOUR purposes, you may be able to check the cameras for operation by feeding their output (the lines that originally connected to the track pickups) into the VIDEO input of a conventional TV (RCA-style jack).  To be on the safe side, I would advise installing a capacitor (say maybe .001 uFd or so) in series with the center connector of the RCA jack (mainly to protect the TV input from any possible DC from the RailScope).  If you verify that they are working, you could just use a video selector switch (probably from Radio Shack) to select between them.   OR, you may just want to get NEWER  video cameras for  the fixed locations - the Lionel ones are  also low-resolution  by today's standards, &  you can pick up pretty decent closed-circuit (or wireless) cameras these days relatively cheap!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Tom,

That is the exact sort of information I was looking for.

The only purpose I have in mind is to observe trains parking at remote sidings to know when to stop them when I cannot see them. If the resolution is good enough to tell when a caboose is about to reach the end of track bumper that is good enough for me.

I hate to buy something new when I can discover a way to make something I already own work instead. Also I hate to throw anything away that can be salvaged.

I also have an unused very inexpensive little black & white TV that I can test with and not worry about burning it out (it has no other use now anyway).

Thank you for your explanation and suggestion.

Jerry



Posted By Tom Lapointe on 03/21/2008 6:31 PM
For YOUR purposes, you may be able to check the cameras for operation by feeding their output (the lines that originally connected to the track pickups) into the VIDEO input of a conventional TV (RCA-style jack).  To be on the safe side, I would advise installing a capacitor (say maybe .001 uFd or so) in series with the center connector of the RCA jack (mainly to protect the TV input from any possible DC from the RailScope).  If you verify that they are working, you could just use a video selector switch (probably from Radio Shack) to select between them.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tom
 
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