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Dan, STRONGLY recommend a geared loco such as the Accucraft Shay's if you're dealing with grades. They WILL run satisfactorily "out-of-the-box" without RC if you so desire, will NOT run away down grades.


Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the "Ruby" series
- if you plan on running a Ruby on a line with grades (mine is 3%), RC is an absolute MUST. I just converted my own Ruby (#11, one of the 2-4-2 tender versions) to RC a couple of months ago. A couple of attempts previously at running it here WITHOUT RC resulted in spectacular wrecks!
(Such as flying off curves at around 150 scale MPH!
- followed by a 2-foot drop to the ground!
). I've got to order a replacement smokebox door from Accucraft (unless I can manage to repair a hinge damaged from one of those wrecks
). Under RC control now, she can now be SAFELY controlled (slowed & stopped
) when going downdgrade. I used a Spektrum DX-7 aircraft style radio for the conversion, controlling BOTH the throttle & reverser on the Ruby (haven't gotten around to taking pictures of the install yet). Also, DON'T expect a Ruby to be able handle much of a train on grades; mine can barely manage to haul it's 4-wheel tender & either ONE 8-wheel car or 2 4-wheel cars (Bachmann side-dump cars).

The Shays (I have both 2 & 3 cylinder versions), by contrast, will handle a train of 6 ~ 8 8-wheel cars without difficulty as long as steam pressure is up.
Even though not a necessity, I have RC control in both; I ONLY control the reverse lever on the Shays, as by varying the amount it is moved, it will also double as a throttle.
(I use the manual throttle only as a "master steam on-off" valve in that case). The 3-cylinder Shay was my first live steamer, & converted using a 75 MHz. RC-car style radio (this was about a year or so before the Spektrum digital spread-spectrum RC radios became available). Here's a couple of close-ups of the RC install in the 3-cylinder Shay-


Because of cab space limitations, I removed the manual reverse lever on the floor, & made a small aluminum bracket to hold an RC servo in it's place, directly connected to the reverse linkage (the switch directly above is the RC system on/off switch):




The 75 MHz. FM receiver is mounted to the rear wall of the cab, just below the roof using velcro; it sits partially on the throttle body, insulated by some wood blocks fastened to the receiver body with double-sided foam tape. There being no other easy place to hide the battery pack
, I made up a WATER-PROOFED
battery pack, & glued it INSIDE
the tender water tank! (It's been sitting in the water for over 4 years now!
)...




I just recently bought a Mich-Cal #2 (2-cylinder Shay); since Accucraft designed this engine from the outset to be RC-convertible, it was MUCH easier to do a "stealth"
RC installation...







...including LED head & back-up lights (powered off the RC system battery)...






In the case of the 3-cylinder Shay, I set up the RC car transmitter so that the "steering wheel" functioned as a "center-off" throttle, similar to some of LGB's power packs. (Turn the wheel right & the Shay ran "forward"; turn it left & it ran in "reverse"). How far the wheel was turned in either direction determined how fast the engine ran. This made it so simple & intuitive to control that I became a hit at a local train show with it - handing the RC controller off to the kids to let them (very safely!) run the train!
...






For comparison in the same video - the Ruby was running under MANUAL control only (I had to chase it!
), note the speed difference! (On LEVEL track, Ruby will handle a decent train!
). Tom
 
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