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Discussion Starter #1
i am going to purchase the ALCO RS-3 DIESEL (ART-22000 SERIES) and its prime mover set from aristo craft within the next few months ... i was doing research on it and it has :
New modular PC Board with plug & play capabilities
DCC & Radio Control Ready
Plugs for Battery Operation
Etched Metal Fan Screen

i was wondering what i would need to get it rolling on the rails

 

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DCC does require track power. Except for one brand of R/C made by Airwire.
There are other non DCC options including the RCS and EVO equipment I make.
What you can do depends on how much you want to spend and how complicated you need it to be.
One big advantage of battery power is you can use low cost track.
No need for expensive Stainless steel track.

The sort of decisions you will need to make are:
What sort of battery R/C. Two stick car type of proprietary.
Trail car or all on board. Trail car is very simple.
Sound or not.
The type of batteries. Plenty of choices.

I am pretty sure you will get good advice on what you can and cannot do.

BTW. The RS-3 is a good choice except it is a bit hard to fit everything on board.
UNless AC have changed it, the PnP receivers will require removing the speaker to make room.
The RS-3 is arguably one of the smoothest running of all LS locos.
 

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You appear to be just starting,kind of a clean slate. If you can make contact with a few people who are running with battery RC/DCC and get some demos it will go a long way in helping make a decision. If you are close to me here in Washington state I will demo what I run.
 

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The latest RS-3 has not interference between the speaker and the socket. Older ones can have the insides rearranged to be correct (it was a factory screwup) and there are sites that show you step by step how to do this.

If you use the onboard socket, you have a choice between Tony's stuff and the new Aristo TE to plug into the socket and the QSI with AirWire, which makes it easy. The new Aristo TE is due in a month or two.

Very little room for batteries inside, but it could be done. There is a speaker provided. If you go QSI, it is motor and sound in one unit. If you go Tony's RC system, he can walk you through the interfacing (Tony, your plug and play unit will do the trick, right?) and if you go the new Aristo TE, it will only work with Phoenix and Dallee, but it's a brand new product, so be aware of that.

You need to determine if you want sound, and if you are willing to have a car with batteries coupled to the loco.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks all ... well i do want sound and id like the simplest option avalible .... it says its DCC/ R/C ready and its plug and play ... does that mean i just plug something into it and go or what? as it says it plugs in for easy battery operation and it says there is a speaker installed for aftermarket sound .. so that means i have to buy sound ? ..
 

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OK, it's going to be controversy here because everyone has their favorite solution.

1. There is a socket in the RS-3 that accepts 3 different kinds of hardware.
2. The latest Aristo is no problem, one that is more than a year old or so will need some work inside to get clearance to the socket, like I said before.
3. There is a speaker supplied, and it is fine.
4. There is no sound supplied.

Now before we get into details, what is your budget, and where are you going to go, how big a layout, how many locos, etc.

Look into the future, and figure out your end point.

Why? Because the decision you make on control will live with you a long time.

You can go from mild to wild, and you get what you pay for, more $$ in, more functionality out.

So, answer these first, before I recommend a top of the line system when you only want one loco forever and want to spend the minimum $$.



Read this page, and the pages indented below... these are my FAQs (not the be all to end all, but a place to start)


[url]http://www.elmassian.com/trains-mainmenu-27/beginners-faqs-mainmenu-49[/url]

This is my best advice.... until then, run track power and do not buy a lot of electronics.

Regards, Greg

 

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Discussion Starter #11
well in the future ... far future i see a grand layout with 3 to 5 engines running on it but for now is a big oval outside with the aristo craft prime mover set on it
 

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Track power vs Battery is the holy war of Large Scale. I'm a track power guy. I started last year knowing zilch, and now I'm in way over my head!



The Aristo RS3 will run out of the box on conventional DC track power--just lay some track, attach it to a power supply/throttle, and you're off and running. It's a good engine--I just ordered one myself!



The RS3 also has a "plug and play" socket for adding decoders. A decoder lets you run the locomotive by either wireless remote or by DCC (digital command control, more about that in a few lines). With a decoder installed onboard, you can run one or more locomotives independently. To do this you need to buy a decoder, (which could also be called a receiver), and a transmitter. Most transmitters can send signals to multiple decoders.


Some people like to run on batteries. You put batteries either in the loco or in a trailing car, and then the batteries feed power to a decoder, which then gets your signals about speed and direction from the transmitter. Batteries have many advantages but I've never installed them or really run an engine with batteries so I've got no knowledge to share. Tony's RCS systems are very highly regarded, and the aristo locos are configured to accept batteries from a trailing car--you just throw a switch. Aristo will sell you the battery car with battery, ready to go. You would need to buy a transmitter and decoder--from RCS, as mentioned, or the one I like a lot, QSI, which has sound built in. I' not sure you could fit batteries in the RS3, bt I've never tried


You can also use DCC. DCC systems put a steady voltage on the track, say, 24 volts, and then use the track to send digital signals to the loco. These digital signals can control a remarkable range of stuff--DCC is both complicated and extremely sophisticated. I use a version od DCC and to be quite honest, really still don't understand all it can do. But I'm having fun learning


You can use track power outside--probably most people still do. It has, like batteries, advantages and disadvantages. You need to make sure of continuity between track sections, and you need to keep the rails reasonably clean


I've ended up using constant voltage DC and wireless remote. I have 8 locos sitting on the rails mostly in a car barn, and can run them all independently. Some of them are run on Aristo's 75 mhz system, which is now discontinued, and some on QSI/Airwire. I just walk around with the throttle and run them in and out of the barn.
 

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Mike, Every body i know starts with DC to get you up and running quickly,play with your trains and enjoy them the other choices can come later, theres alot of choices,each has there pros and cons everyone here has strong oppioins based on what they run so egos get really twisted sometimes...usually in the end they all cost the same, you sve a little on one system but spend more on accesorry and vissa vessa on the others so i would suggest you read the forums for a while and you can get a pritty good ideal of what each system has to offer and base your decision on that.... myself track power is the only way to go with either DCS os QSI for track powered loco. QSI sound units are cheep and sound as good as and better than most of the other dc sound units i base this on the fact i have many sound and control units and i can say this with fact.i like lots of smoke on my steamers all the time that cuff with the drivers so the best smoking and sounding system out there is dcs, all my steamers will be powered with it because of these reasons these are my opions of course and to each there own...
Nick
 

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Mike,
It boils down to how you want to do your railroad. Do you want switching operations, or just want to sit with a drink and watch it run? I prefer the latter. Battery is best for switching. Each has it's advantages, I have both and live steam also. One of my favorites to run a a battery power McKeen car I made. Like TAC, mine has a DPDT switch and I just sit it on the track and throw the switch. I have several locos set up like that, vary the voltage to suit the loco. My new Aristo Pacific is great on track power, even with track I have not cleaned in quite awhile, so if you get enough pickup points, track power is pretty easy. I put 6 Gary Raymond power pickup ball bearing axles on my Zephyr and man that works great! Del Taprio has some neat setups for battery power also.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks again all ... im the guy who likes to be active with my railway, switching ops and coal and log runs drop off etc etc etc .... i am going to go with the remote control im thinking now the battle begins on what exactly i need to run that RS3
 

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Mike,
If having a trail car behind the RS-3 doesn't worry you I would go that way.

If it does worry you then everything needs to go on board.
It can be done but will require some creative placement of components.
 

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Or......

You can buy pretty well any box car you like and:

1. Install the batteries and R/C yourself which is very easy to do.

2. Charge the batteries.

3. Then simply plug it in, turn it on, and start RR'ing.
 
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