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Discussion Starter #1
I'm making a Thomas the Tank Engine train for my daughter. She loves Thmas, but I'm not ready to send 300 bucks on ebay for a used Lionel thomas train that was junky to begin with. I found a Thomas pull toy on ebay for 6 bucks and I'm in the process of adapting an old Bachmann big hauler to fit it.

I was wondering about remote control. There's probably room for an aristo 75 mhz receiver in there, and I have one around. But is there a simpler, cheaper way to do just forward and reverse? I wonder, for example, if the Aristo basic train engineer unit would work. I could attach it to track power and use it to run "thomas" around. or I could put it in a trailing car.

Any other options? Single frequency, simple, easy controller, forward and reverse, speed control. Maybe adapt an RC toy? My son, now 17, left a lot of RC toys in his wake
 

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You can chop the workings out of most any RC toy and put them to use. Otherwise, I'd go for an Aristo Basic. She'll figure out how to use it pretty quick.



Trinity here is 4. That's an Aristo Trackside unit.
 

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Yep. Nothing inside it but a little PC board, but it's almost the width and length of the basic receiver case.
 
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I'm a Battery and RCS guy, but in my Thommy Mack, I used a DPDT switch to control direction....easy for kids-cheap too!...
Look at HLW on the members site...the presidential coach looks good painted like Annie and Clarabel!
cale

 

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Like Torby said. Visit Radio Crap or Toys R Us and by a cheap R/C car. Now you have R/C forward and reverse but most likely not the right voltage to run Thomas. I think Thomas likes 12v. And Thomas would only run while you hold the button down. not bad for running a car but a huge waste of transmitter batteries running a train.

So you will need to add two latching relays, a 12v source and you're off and running.

I did this to add R/C whistle and bell to a Christmas train. The R/C was so cheap it was going off randomly due to electronic noise (interference) in the house. Not bad for a bell and whistle, not so good for an operating train.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is not a Lionel Thomas train, it's a loco I'm making from a wooden Thomas pull toy, using either a bachmann big hauler motor block or an old LGB mogul block. Probably the big hauler, unless I can't adapt it.
It will be run on track power--there's no way to get batteries into it without a trailing car, which I don't want to do, and I run on track power anyway.

The basic train engineer says "12-22 volts" on the case, so it should be fine with track power. I don't need a lot of range--20-30 feet would be fine. But I'm concerned it won't have enough range even for that, because there's not many options for concealing an antenna in a lock of wood
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No Problem--thanks for the help

Here's a picture of the toy that I'm adapting:



It' made of wood and MDF and it's mostly hollow inside.

I don't have the big hauler at the moment, it's in storage at my folks place, but I measured my Annie and a Big hauler block should fit with some sawing and chiseling and cursing

I'd like a remote controlled thomas that my three year old an other neighbor kids can run with no fuss or confusion. But on track power, not batteries
 

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Posted By lownote on 04/21/2008 3:36 PM
This is not a Lionel Thomas train, it's a loco I'm making from a wooden Thomas pull toy, using either a bachmann big hauler motor block or an old LGB mogul block. Probably the big hauler, unless I can't adapt it.
It will be run on track power--there's no way to get batteries into it without a trailing car, which I don't want to do, and I run on track power anyway.
The basic train engineer says "12-22 volts" on the case, so it should be fine with track power. I don't need a lot of range--20-30 feet would be fine. But I'm concerned it won't have enough range even for that, because there's not many options for concealing an antenna in a lock of wood




I tried using a TE Basic as an R/C unit with the antenna stuffed up (properly zigzaged) in an FA and was lucky to get 5-6 feet of range. I think it would be too frustrating for a child not to be able to control the engine reliably over 5 feet away.
 

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I just put a TE basic in a bachmann 10 wheeler and I can only get about 5 feet of reception with it. I am going to experment with the antena and see if I can get it to work better. Will let you know.
 

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How do you have the antenna?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did a lot of research and while some people report decent range with the Basic, most people say it's more like 5 feet. If I were willing to make some noise suppression stuff for the Bachmann drive, caps across the contacts and a choke, maybe it'd be worth it, but then I've got to buy components and buy the Basic TE--I'll probably just use the spare 75 mhz receiver I have on hand
 

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I mounted a Basic TE in a trailing car, wrapped the antenna around a piece of cardboard and mounted it horizontally above the BTE. In the HLW Mack I put two Radio Shack chokes before the motor. With this setup I have a range of approx 25-30 feet. I know you don't want a trailing car but a BTE should work just fine as a track-side unit. If it does't have satisfactory range try placing chokes in series with the motor, how difficult can that be?
Bill
 

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I'll probably just use the spare 75 mhz receiver I have on hand




That sounds like a good option for 2 reasons:

1. You already have the remote to operate it.
2. You know it and how to use it.
 

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If you are going to run track power then the basic TE wil get about 25-50 feet if you leave the antena out in the open at least thats what I was getting before I went to battery power and had to put the antena inside the tender.I wrapped the antena around and around the base just under the coal load.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As mentioned several times, I'm using track power only. I once asked Tony Walsham if it was possible to use RCS onboard with track power and he said absolutely not and added that to do so would violate the "philosophy"of RCS.
 

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Please let me explain what I did say.

I certainly did say, no, it is not possible to use constant track power as the power for on board RCS R/C controllers as they are supplied.
I do not supply such equipment as I am fully committed to battery power only.

I also said that it would be possible to use such power with an RCS on board R/C controller provided the loco was fitted with a bridge rectifier from the track pick ups and suitable capacitance to ensure the track voltage was clean enough for use.
 
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