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Ok. We just got back from a show during which one of our goals was to investigate RC control of engines - rail powered and/or battery.

After three hours of question we came away with only one set of brochures that seemed interesting - and intelligible. Locolinc.

Searching for previous discussions on this topic were less than complete so my question is (forgive me if this is old news) "How do users feel about Locolinc Tx/Rx/Sound and why did you switch to something else?

Thanks

Dave
 

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I had all locolinc for some time. I have been using airwire now for almost two years. My reasons are: #1 and most important is the range. #2 and almost as important to me was the fact that it is digital unlike the analog system locolinc is still using. this alows me to use phoenix p5 sound boards which are just the best and cheaper than previous boards. With a computer I can customize my sound in my loco to suit me. Locolinc makes a fine product but with old technology.
 

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I also started with Locolinc and Soundlinc. They do work however, i too changed to AirWire.

I find the Locolinc transmitter to be bulky to use. Also, it is limited by the number of locomotives that it can control. The most natural sound unit to use with Locolinc is the Soundlinc however the selection of locomotive sounds is very limited. Another limiting factor is trying to install a 75 mhz antenna within the locomotive.


I like the AirWire transmitter better. You can easily use any DCC sound unit with AirWire. The AirWire easily gets much better range than the Locolinc and the receiver antenna is only about 3" long. The AirWire unit allows you to address up to 9999 different locomotives.
 

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I have a friend with LocoLinc. He brings it over to me on a regular basis to try and fix it. I don't want to mess with it, so he takes it to Denver and waits 6-9 months for resolution to his problem.

I gave up on AirWire due to several problems I have whinned about here before.\

I am now using my own system, which will be available to the public shortly. It uses common hobby shop 75MHZ AM radios along with my "RailBoss" board. This not only gives you the speed control functions you would suspect, but it also provides automated station stops and back 'n forth trolley operations.
 

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I've had Locoliinc in my equipment for 10 years and have never had any trouble with it. Don't really know what the range is as my layout is about 50 ft. across and I have control that far at least.I think Locolinc was the way to go when I first started and it has been good for me.I can run 2 or 3 consists at once and think hat is as many as I can handle at once.I also use Sierra Sound and the two get along well together. Just my 2cents worth.
Fred
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the thoughts on this RC. It looks like it's good enough for anything I might need it for. I'm indoors with a layout that can handle two trains only and I use one or two locos on any train. I have Sierra sound in 4 or 5 but of course I can't get any more of those.

I think I would wire up the battery back-up installation.

Seems like a lot of $$$$ though. Two transmitters and 8 receivers (just the right number) is well over $2K without all the taxes. Can you imagine spending that kind of money and then not being completely happy with the system.

As an aside: I started out in large scale with the basic TE and although the transmitter was ok it sure was old, old technology. Everyone else has LCD displays. I also used the AirWire during a friends installation. Loved the transmitter - hated the receiver.

Dave
 

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Dave,

I've used Locolinc with Phoenix sound since 1997-8. Still using original units. Been very reliable.

The range is about 50 feet although under certain circumstances maybe a bit farther. The transmitter is a bit bulky but still easy to handle and I've had some say they like the size and find it easier to operate with one hand. The range hasn't been a problem since I follow the trains around for operation. In the case of a large loop the engine will continue to run at its set speed even after getting out of range but adjusting it is problematic. In some cases people have claimed up to 100 feet range but I have seldom seen it this far.

I chose the Locolinc KT-16 because you can store up to 16 loco addresses in it. The KT-32 and KT-64 can store 32 and 64 engines respectively. That means you can in most cases store your entire roster in one transmitter. I have two and have all my locos in each one so either can control everything I've got. Another handy feature is that if you let someone new run an engine you can address it in both transmitters at once. Thus if say a small child makes a mistake you can stop the engine with the second transmitter.

Each receiver has its own unique number/address which can be assigned to any number, 01-16, in the transmitter. One to four lokies can be called up at one time to allow multiple lokies to be controlled in the same train with one transmitter. There is also an adjustment feature that allows each engine to be brought closer to the others in speed. You can't adjust engines that are widely different but it works great if the speed differences aren't too great.

The Locolinc also has auxiliary features that allow for control of switch machines, etc. I haven't used this feature myself since all my switches are manual.

Locolinc is good quality, long lasting and reliable. The downside is the transmitter is bulkier than some of the other brands. The range is a bit less than ideal but this problem is shared by most of the other products out there. It can be set up for automated features or complete operator control such as whistle on demand which is what I use. I understand that Airwire has greater range but I have no direct experience with Airwire so I can't vouch for that.

I like Locolinc very much and am well pleased with it but Airwire wasn't available when I R/C'd my fleet so I can't give a comparison to it or to Del's new system. Also I use battery and not DCC so I can't comment on that use either.
 

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Posted By dawinter on 10/28/2008 9:20 PM


Seems like a lot of $$$$ though. Two transmitters and 8 receivers (just the right number) is well over $2K without all the taxes. Can you imagine spending that kind of money and then not being completely happy with the system.


What if you spent only half of that amount? 2 Tx's 8 Rxs and 8 RailBoss boards for under $1000. And of course, you would actually only spend $140 for 1 Tx, 1 Rx and 1 Railboss board to see if you liked it prior to outfitting your entire fleet.
 

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I have had Locolinc for about 10 years. I had some initial problems with fitting sound because of having to also install an opto isolator between the receiver and the sound card. But once that was done it ran ok. I was and am some what disappointed with the range. To have total control, I have to walk around with the locomotive. Not so much of a problem here, smaller layout, but at the last house I had a lot more track and distance to cover. The beauty of it for me at the time was, the dual power input. Battery and track. When running on track power if you have a dirty or dead section, the battery immediately takes over and continues to run the loco, without a pause. Behren Reeves is also a really nice guy to work with. He has fixed my Tx and receivers (due to my fault) on more than one occasion.
I shall continue to use what Locolinc I have until they life expire.

However, I looked at, and was very impressed with the AirWire system. So far I only have one receiver and the 9000 Tx. It's not the simplest of setups, but I got there with the help of Stan,Greg and a few other guys on this site. The Tx is just so easy to hold and the range covers my whole yard layout. Besides I no longer use track power. For me, Airwire is the way forwards.

Rod
 

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I have locolinc and have no problems with it. I got into it fairly reasonably by finding some used receivers. The TX is a bit bulky but I never seem to notice it. If anyone has the two amp receivers used, let me know I could use two more. I find they are very easy to install myself, and I am not the greatest with electronics stuff. They are incredibly easy to program, it is easy to do MU consists. I also use TE onboard 75mhz and TE 27mhz in a battery car. The range is about the same for both. over 50 ft which is adequate for me. It may be further but I have never tried it further. I will definitely buy more. Airwire and RCS are very nice as well, and I have used them on friends layouts and enjoyed them.

If you can try some of the different brands at a friends by all means give it a go before you buy, You may want to give Robby at RLD hobbies a call as he has very good prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Further to the original question:

In the 'battery back-up' mode, Can I simply switch a battery powered train into a track powered siding (say 12 - 24 V) and have it sit there and charge up the battery?

Thanks

Dave
 

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23. Can I charge batteries from the track?
Yes, the KBC-110 Battery Charger fits inside the locomotive and can charge batteries when there is track power. The charger is unique in that it will handle input voltages from 12 to 18 volts d.c. and will charge batteries up to 20 volts.
There you go Dave. Staright from the Locolinc web site.

Rod
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Posted By Rod Fearnley on 10/29/2008 2:33 PM

23. Can I charge batteries from the track?
Yes, the KBC-110 Battery Charger fits inside the locomotive and can charge batteries when there is track power. The charger is unique in that it will handle input voltages from 12 to 18 volts d.c. and will charge batteries up to 20 volts.

There you go Dave. Staright from the Locolinc web site.

Rod



Thanks Rod. I surfed around and swam right over it.

Dave
 

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Hi tony, I just looked at a Pdf from their web site and it states, Lead acid or ni cad. I have sent you a copy of the Pdf. (won't attach, need your e-mail address)

Rod
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just received email from a friend who told me the Keithco August '08 brochure states: KBC-110 ($43.95) is for Lead Acid, and the KBC-550 ($99.95) is for NiCd and NiMh.
Quite a difference in price but the difference makes sense.

Dave
 

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Dave,

I have very good luck with my LocoLinc system.. If you go with LocoLinc get a Black Cat antenna.. Improves the range a bunch.. Also the word I got on the battery chargers is they are very slow to charge.. They use very low current.. The problem that I have is there own sound system, not enough different sounds & very hard to hook up a different sound system..

BulletBob
 

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Dave if you are considering Locolink, you should contact John Burden of the Winona Garden Railway in Guelph. John sells and uses Locolink. In a recent telephone conversation he mentioned he had found a way to dramatically increase Locolink radio range
 

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Paul,

Is there any way you could relate John's Locolinc range solutions to this forum? Perhaps through you? It would be greatly appreciated.

Doc
 
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