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Jerry, or anybody else, I have been seeking info on actual operating experience with the Revo.

I most interested in slow speed operation. How do trains start and stop using the Revo. How does that compare to the conventional Aristo TE operationally?


When a train leaves the station does it look real? When you start a heavy freight does it hit 30 mph in 5 seconds? How easy is it to adjust "momentum" results?

Have you done any switching?


Having pulled the throttle on the 1:1 the scale stuff can be a little less than realistic.


Thanks Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Posted By Tom Parkins on 30 Sep 2009 11:31 AM
Jerry, or anybody else, I have been seeking info on actual operating experience with the Revo.

I most interested in slow speed operation. How do trains start and stop using the Revo. How does that compare to the conventional Aristo TE operationally?


When a train leaves the station does it look real? When you start a heavy freight does it hit 30 mph in 5 seconds? How easy is it to adjust "momentum" results?

Have you done any switching?


Having pulled the throttle on the 1:1 the scale stuff can be a little less than realistic.


Thanks Tom



Hi Tom,

No switching yet but I did run the Revolution with both E8s and a GP40 where one thing that I really liked was the very slow speed operations including starting and stopping with momentum. Most other remote systems I have tend to increase speed in visible notches (my MTS is not running on 128 or more steps).

I have personally always preferred tethered remotes for switching but I just might change my mind after some more experience with the Revolution.

Others can probably give much more information backed by a lot more experience.

Jerry
 

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The slow speed operation is dependent on how well your particular locomotive runs at slow speed. I got a Bachmann K-27 and Aristo C-16 both to crawl, but my LGB mogul is a bit jack-rabbity. So, I'd say if your locos are capable of slow speeds, this controller will accommodate.

The nice thing about the Revolution is the graphical display of where your throttle is set. It's not quite as nice as an old-fashioned knob with a definite start and stop, but it's as close a second as you can get with push-button controls. You can at least look down and see where your throttle is set. You can set your start voltage to jump to say 20% at the first push if your loco starts moving at 21% so you're not holding down the "up" button interminably waiting for the throttle to catch up with the locomotive's operating range. After that, it's very responsive based on how many speed steps you have the unit set for. I've got mine set at 100 steps, which I find quite adequate.

The momentum works very well, and can start even my jack-rabbit mogul off fairly slowly. It definitely takes some getting used to in terms of operating, though. There are times I think it'd be nice to have two displays--one for where you have your throttle set, and one showing where the momentum adjustment has it sitting. I found myself frequently pushing the throttle button more in my impatience to see the train actually start to move. This is as effective as pushing the elevator button repeatedly. It does nothing to make the train move any quicker, it merely sets the top end of the speed that much higher.

I found the momentum particularly annoying when doing switching (my usual operations mode), so I cut it back to 5 or 10%--enough to not be instant, but not so much to where the delay is bothersome. I can press the down button and stop the train on spot to couple. I'll just as frequently use the reverse key, as that slows the loco down to a stop, waits a preset amount of time (I've got mine set to 5 seconds) and then starts moving the opposite direction at the same speed. 5 seconds is enough for me to make sure the coupling is secure, or to throw switch points, etc. Note that this ramp up and down is independent from the momentum setting, so if you've got a lot of momentum built in to your throttle setting, you can use the direction keys to stop and start quickly instead.

I've not found any control system that mimics the 1:1 throttle. Pushbuttons are sadly ill-equipped to relay that sensation.

Later,

K
 

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Jerry,

I have a total of 9 Rev receivers installed in various engines and battery cars. So far (overall) I'm very pleased with the performance. Although there are issues (some of which you mentioned), the system is very easy to install, program, operate and most important it's reliable. I'll summarize my results with the Good, Minor issues and the Bad.

The good:
- Price is very reasonable
- Size is very small. I have a 4400mA 14.4V battery and receiver fitted in a 4 wheel bachmann coal car (that's one small battery car)
- Easy to install particularly in Aristo PnP engines
- Easy to program and modify settings
- Not that hard to install in USA disels (I like the adapter board that has screw terminals)
- Works great in Bachmann K-27 socket (and I assume the Bachmann mallet)
- Range is always good although tunnels and going behind mountains does affect reception (it is line of sight after all)
- Speed control is very good especially on battery power
- MU setup is very easy to do.
- Transmitter and display are easy to understand and see (even at night with the lighted display)
- I'll purchase the forthcoming trackside receiver unit which I understand will provide up to 20A and either PWC or linear output. This will be great for the longer trains or trains with lighted passenger cars that would overload the 5A capability of the existing Rev receiver.


Minor Issues:
- Most engines need the capacitor boards if oerating on track power. My two E-8s won't run reliably without them on clean SS track. It's intersting yours work fine without.
- I've had one Aristo Dash 9 that would immediately cause an overheat as soon as throttle was applied. Different receiver had same result. Looks like Dash 9 defect.
- Using the socket for the Rev receiever means hard wiring a sound card (i.e. you loose use of the socket for anything else). Too bad Aristo didn't add sound
- You can't presently upgrade the firmware on the transmitter without sending in the unit
- You can't send the information from one transmitter to another. You must program each seperately.
- You must purchase the large capacitor boards, and smoke control units seperately.
- Loss of link can occur for no reason on occasion. Changing cabs up and back down reestablishes link. Others have seen this same issue.

I know Aristo is working on fixes to several of these issues with future firmware releases.


The Bad:
- I've given up running my two E-8s (each with their own receiver) while pulling 9 USA streamliners using track power. Even with the capacitor boards, occasionally one of the engines will lose link and stop while the other is still pulling. I've tried everything immaginable and can't fix this issue. They pull fine together when using battery power. I believe this may be an E-8 issue as much as anything, but it's very frustrating.
- The Rev receivers produce a PWC voltage which is incompatible with some sound cards (Soundtraxx for one). Reportedly there are "adapter" boards available to help with this issue (at a cost).
- I have seen some (occasional) overheat issues while operating on sunny days even while pulling a light 10 car load. Happens with an SD-45.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the system and the flexability it provides for operating off of track or battery power. It seems the overall operatation is more reliable with better control when using battery power.

Just my experience to date....
 

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Bret, a comment on your E8 situation. I run DCC track power, and had a similar problem, one loco stopping. It was also with an 8 car USAT streamliner consist. What I found was that I was drawing a whole heck of a lot of current (3 e8's each with 6 extra pounds of lead).

I had a bad connection at a rail clamp, and under the heavy current load, I was actually resetting the QSI decoders. It was easy to see this because it reset the sounds. Of course I repaired that electrical connection.

The TE is much more sensitive to short term power glitches, as evidenced by Aristo saying you need the capacitor board for track power. Possibly your problem is power fluctuations that the capacitor board cannot handle alone. It sure fits the situation, since it does not happen to you on battery.

(Yes guys, I have an Aristo Rev TE at my house)...


Regards, Greg
 

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Jim,

Nice layout and video. I'm glad to see yours work just fine. I'd sure like to put my E-8s at the front of that streamline consist and run them with Rev receivers onboard to see if the problem still persists.......Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I appreciate everyone's comments, photos and videos.

One thought worth bearing in mind is that when installing a receiver into a loco it is a good idea to plug everything into it FIRST.

By this I mean to plug in the capacitor board (it plugs into the bottom of the receiver) and the smoke board and anything else both for easy access and so that you can install the plugs without putting pressure on the wrong parts of the circuit boards.

Also be sure to raise the small antenna to be sure to get the maximum reception distance (I forgot to do this on all three receivers I have installed so far).

Jerry
 

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Jerry,

My experiences with the REVO have been positive. In two plug and play installations, both were pretty easy. The main difficulties I encountered were overcome by adding the capacitor boards.

I did a non plug and play locomotive last night, an old aristo FA. This is my post from an ongoing thread on the aristo board I started:

Two things got me that others should be aware of:


1. The non plug and play board allows for installation of the receiver in one of two ways. My first guess was correct, but problem 2 caused me to go in other directions. The board and receiver have printing on them, make sure you line those up correctly. I could not find this information in any of the literature provided or online. When installed correctly, the capacitor board plug slot interferes with the fuse on the non-pnp board. Not too bad, as I was able to sort of push it to one side.


2. The main problem yesterday was related to the old FA board. Wires coming from track pick up are black and white. Wires going to the motors are green and red. However, from the board itself to the old switch board, the colors do not match. I had a lot of 'fun' trying to sort that out, and eventually tore out the old board, which got me in more trouble than I was hoping for. I finally got it straightened out. Now, I have black wires pulling power from one side of the track and white wires from the other. The original way had white and black opposing each other on the trucks, which when wired together causes a nice easy short circuit. I believe I will have to adjust the B unit the same way or else I will have a short circuit situation again. (I think the wiring thing has been documented elsewhere, but I completely forgot while I was doing my initial wiring).
Anyway, once I sorted that out, the REVO worked well, although I had the whole shell off and no where to run it late last night. Once I get the B unit straightened out, I will take some pictures.


Tom asked about slow speed operations. I have found that the trains tend to run better at slower speeds, likely because of the cap boards. I like this system a lot better than my old aristo TE or power packs.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Posted By markoles on 02 Oct 2009 07:18 AM
Jerry,

My experiences with the REVO have been positive. In two plug and play installations, both were pretty easy. The main difficulties I encountered were overcome by adding the capacitor boards.

I did a non plug and play locomotive last night, an old aristo FA.

Hi Mark,

Your timing is perfect.

One of my FB-1s has a short so I thought I would start with it in adding the Revolution to some of my FA/B-1s. I did put very cheap decoders into a F1 ABBA and later removed them because their total current drain was greater than my MTS could handle and the cheap decoders were not dependable in multi-unit consists.

Someone had suggested using a single Revolution receiver to run both a FA-1 and FB-1 and I am going to try it.

I installed my 4th Revolution receiver yesterday for a friend. I finally remembered to raise the antenna.

As I installed it we talked about the options and he decided to try it without the large capacitor board (I did install the single capacitor) or smoke board. He will use the smoke switch on the E8 to control the smoke and even with the single capacitor that comes with the Revolution the E8 ran fine on my caboose layout with brass track that has not been cleaned in months. We will see how it works with his layout as well.

As you also found out I have learned to disregard the color coding in my FA/B-1s.

When I was at the HAGRS I bought some 4 wire and 6 wire harnesses and I will use one of them to wire the FB-1 to the receiver in the FA-1. It should work because the lights and smoke units will be getting their power from the rails and not through the receiver. To simplify my installation I will probably only feed track and motor power between the FA-1 and the FB-1.

For anyone who intends to disassemble an Aristo FA-1 or FB-1 the following shows a tool I invented years ago. I made it from a coat hanger that works beautifully to pull the top from the lower frame. Just insert it by the steps as illustrated and gently pry it up with a long nose pliers as shown:






Two cautions are that both the screws that hold the mud flaps(?) and the hand rails tend to push in at the bottom and against the frame making frame removal much harder. I remove the screws and pull the handrails back slightly and the frame comes out much easier. It is not unusual for dried paint to act as a sort of adhesive making frame removal difficult as well.

Jerry
 

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...- The Rev receivers produce a PWC voltage which is incompatible with some sound cards (Soundtraxx for one). Reportedly there are "adapter" boards available to help with this issue (at a cost).

As I understand it, this problem exists between the Sierra diesel sound boards, not the steam ones. Why the difference, I don't know. I haven't hooked my steam Sierra up to the Revolution yet, but I got a wiring diagram from Stan Cedarleaf showing how to do that. (It's very straightforward from looking at it.)

Later,

K
 

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Jerry,

I have built up to FA to be the lead and the FB to be a slave unit, sort of like the real thing. I have 4 wire connectors, and when I removed the switches in the doorway, the four wires fit nicely through. I am running power pick up from the B unit, tying it in to the A unit to give a better overall power pick up. Then I have another pair of wires taking the motor wires back to the B unit. The last pair of wires is for the speaker that fits very nicely where the smoke unit fan used to be!! Now, I have stero sound!!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Posted By East Broad Top on 02 Oct 2009 11:26 AM
...- The Rev receivers produce a PWC voltage which is incompatible with some sound cards (Soundtraxx for one). Reportedly there are "adapter" boards available to help with this issue (at a cost).

As I understand it, this problem exists between the Sierra diesel sound boards, not the steam ones. Why the difference, I don't know. I haven't hooked my steam Sierra up to the Revolution yet, but I got a wiring diagram from Stan Cedarleaf showing how to do that. (It's very straightforward from looking at it.)

Later,

K


From what Stan told me the reason the steam units work is that the problem is the speed control for the sound units and the chuff contacts allow the steam units to work but they would not work on auto-chuff. This is the same sort of problem I ran into trying to get analog sound units to work under MTS. I finally found an old LGB schematic that worked with MTS and I intend to try it with the Revolution.

Stan had an adapter board that Sierra used to sell but apparently does not any more. Somewhere I think I have the Sierra Soundtraxx wiring diagram for their circuit.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Posted By markoles on 02 Oct 2009 11:44 AM
Jerry,

I have built up to FA to be the lead and the FB to be a slave unit, sort of like the real thing. I have 4 wire connectors, and when I removed the switches in the doorway, the four wires fit nicely through. I am running power pick up from the B unit, tying it in to the A unit to give a better overall power pick up. Then I have another pair of wires taking the motor wires back to the B unit. The last pair of wires is for the speaker that fits very nicely where the smoke unit fan used to be!! Now, I have stero sound!!

Mark

Hi Mark,

That is the sort of wiring I had in mind. I had already MUed my FA/FB-1's together (long before Aristo did) and I even added speakers to the B units but the sound systems I was using were unable to power two speakers (one in the A unit and one in the B unit). I plan to try to leave the switches in place as I intend to use them to control the smoke and lights.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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Posted By Jerry McColgan on 02 Oct 2009 01:38 PM
Stan had an adapter board that Sierra used to sell but apparently does not any more. Somewhere I think I have the Sierra Soundtraxx wiring diagram for their circuit.
Jerry
Jerry, you're having too much fun with the REVOLUTION.


Here's the diagram of the adapter board. It's just the first two pages which has the parts list and the major wiring diagram.

http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/st...%201-2.pdf

I'm not an electronics person and would have a hard time figuring out how to wire the thing from scratch. But I could put a kit together if I follow the numbers.

I have 2 of these boards in use and they work very well with the REVOLUTION and the Sierra diesel modules.

As mentioned, the adapter board is not needed for the steam modules when using reed switches to trigger chuff.

There are a number of posts with the explanation and images of the FABBA set that I'm running with one receiver. I did rewire all the F units exactly the same. They are daisy chained from the battery car, through three units and then to the lead unit. I used the All Electronics 4 conductor connectors used the red and black for power, yellow and green for speakers. With the hookup, I can run 1, 2, 3 or four units.
 

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Stan, thanks for clarifying what's going on between the Sierra and the Revolution. I believe the Sierra has a similar (or identical) issue with RCS. Since I've not hooked mine up to the Revolution yet, do you know if the idle sounds play on the Sierra steam sound without any extra circuitry? I know you need the opto-isolator for the RCS to get them.

Later,

K
 

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Posted By East Broad Top on 04 Oct 2009 09:00 AM

do you know if the idle sounds play on the Sierra steam sound without any extra circuitry?


Later,

K
Kevin.............. Now that you ask, I really haven't paid any attention to that. I'll make it a point to check it out later today and get back to you. I have standing sounds with the diesel module but that has an adapter board. They play as long as I have power to the unit.

I use a larger 1.2 amp hour 6 volt gel cell in place of the small OEM battery on the steam modules so I do think the standing sounds come on when I power up the unit. It's really funny that I never noticed. How come you ask such hard questions???!!!!????
 

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REVOLUTION to Sierra STEAM module wiring diagram that I'm using. I have all 4 sounds on buttons 1-4

REVOLUTION To Sierra STEAM module diagram

1 is bell
2 is whistle
3 Hiss
4 coupler clank.

I have the bell button latched so I can have the bell ring as long as I like.... The bell with ring when crossing a track magnet as well.
The whistle on button two momentrary and I have the module programmed so I can "play" the whistle as I like. It will "toot" once when crossing a track magnet.

These options are part of the Sierra setup steps...
 
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