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My wife and I have decided to make our holiday layout permanent. We're going to expand it some--here's a very rough preliminary track plan:


chnm.gmu.edu/courses/omalley/plan.jpg


We have to work around what's alredy on the ground.


 


So I'm trying to figure out control options. We have an aristo pacific and an lgb mogul and a number of LGB  four wheelers. We have two power supplies and two aristo 10 amp controllers. I'd lie to be able to run a more sophisticated and flexible setup without going broke. Control systems are hard to understand. I hate to say this, but it's pretty clear the guys who write the manuls and explanatory material for this hobby are not now and never were English majors in college.


So here's what I think I know


1. Aristo train engineer--reasonably priced. as I understad it, I could install a remote reciever in each loco and run them independently--correct? Can I trigger sounds in locos? Can I trigger LGB turnout motors? Maybe? Pros: inexpensive, can work with all brands (I think). Cons--limited features


2. MTH: I like their cars,  I like the 1/32 scale, I like the Hudson. The DCS system seems really sophistcated and flexible. Cons--proprietary, can't run the little LGB locos or the mogul easily or even the Pacific without expensive additions that are more than I paid for the engine. I'd pretty much be putting the other stuff away and committing to MTH


3. LGB MTS--I haven't even looked at this, LGB's production is all messed up and there stuff is pricey. Should I?


4. Airwire--I have no idea what this is/does/how it works except that it's wireless remote control. Their "web presence" is willfully opaque


5. Battery/RC-seems intriguing, but the whole conversion process also seems time consuming, expensive, and daunting


I know there are other systems, but it's really hard to figure out.


I'm thinking I don't want  full-on DCC, and that I'll probably just buy some Train engineer onboard recievers and TX units and call it a day. Aristocraft is really a juggernaut--they have so much stuff at reasonable prices that it's hard to ignore


Any thoughts?
 

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1. Aristo train engineer--reasonably priced. as I understad it, I could install a remote reciever in each loco and run them independently--correct? Can I trigger sounds in locos? Can I trigger LGB turnout motors? Maybe? Pros: inexpensive, can work with all brands (I think). Cons--limited features



 


There are 2 different TE's, soon to be 3. The "trackside TE" just replaces one of your 10 amp controlers with a receiver and everything works like it does now except you use a remote. Since the receiver is powered by DC, you can mount it on the train with batteries at a later date. There's an "accessory receiver" that can manipulate lights, sound systems and the like. There's also a "switch controler" that can run your LGB switches.


The other TE is a little unit that mounts in the train with a battery. It has outputs to go to your sound system, lights and such.


 
2. MTH: I like their cars,  I like the 1/32 scale, I like the Hudson. The DCS system seems really sophistcated and flexible. Cons--proprietary, can't run the little LGB locos or the mogul easily or even the Pacific without expensive additions that are more than I paid for the engine. I'd pretty much be putting the other stuff away and committing to MTH



 


I know a couple guys that have this. It's pretty cool, but you're right, pretty expensive.


 
4. Airwire--I have no idea what this is/does/how it works except that it's wireless remote control. Their "web presence" is willfully opaque



 


This is a DCC system for gardens. Instead of sending the signal and power through the rails, it sends the signal through an R/F link. Power comes from batteries mounted on the train. Apparently it can work many DCC accessories. Looks cool, but I haven't had a chance to play with one.


 
5. Battery/RC-seems intriguing, but the whole conversion process also seems time consuming, expensive, and daunting



 


Remember anything about basic electricity? Can you solder or crimp lugs and put nuts on screws? It's easier than you think. Careful with this though, once you try it in one loco, you'll want to change all your locos./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue2.gif


 
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Torby. I can do that kind of work, but I'm still leary of having to explain why there are all sorts of odd batteries and chargers lying around.


 


So I'm stil confused about Train Engineer. I was assuming that if I bought this unit:


www.aristocraft.com/catalog/crest/trainengineer/images/55491.jpg (the onboard 75 mhz. TE reciever)


that I could run a train on track power and the receiver would control the loco--the same as the trackside unit but on the loco. Am I wrong about that?  Does the Aristo 55491 only work with battery power?


Thanks again for taking the time


 


 


 
 

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Your track plan has some reversing loops, so your choice of RC and Battery is a good one.  I use track power so I cannot answer you train control questions.


I can, however, give you some advise on the LGB switch motors.  Judging from the URL used to reach your track plan, you live somewhere here in northern Virginia.  I used the LGB switch motors for many years in Denver without any significant  problems.  I can't say that for the same motors used here in Virginia, we moved here in 1993.  The moisture here caused them to very extensively rust.  They also filled with dirt and insects.  I have now replaced them all with hand throws (LGB manual).   They got to the point where I couldn't even manually throw the switch.


There are a number of layouts in the region, I suggest that you visit some and see how they operate.  There is a local GR club.  You should be able to get their contact information from Garden Railways Magazine.


My other piece of advise is to simplify your track plan.  It is a very nice track plan, but it's going to be a long time before you are running trains.  I think that it is too complicated for someone starting out.  Start with something relatively simple and then expand.  My train in Denver was relatively complicated.  I had blocks with signals, automatic switches,  operating crossing gates (LGB).  My train here is far less complicated.  I have a single large oval with 2 long passing sidings and a point to point reversing track that services the coaling tower.  I do not regret one bit going with a simple track plan.


I do sometimes use the Aristo TE to control the voltage coming out of the transformer.  It is a good system.  I also have a Bridgewerks transformer with radio controlled output.


Welcome to MLS. 


 


Chuck N


 


 


 


 
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Chuck--that track plan is already more than half built and running. We set it up as a holiday layout. It's shown in this thread: http://archive.mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=49613&SearchTerms=westover


and here's a video of the train going around


http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/omalley/train/


So most of the hard work is done


The only part I'd be adding really would be the big loop that goes off to the botttom right, and the freight yard. I thought I would power the freight yard seperately using track insulators  or try to use the LGB supplementary switch/track sensirs (I have some but I'm not using them yet) to control the polarity of the track that leads into the freight yard.


 


That's interesting abut the switch motors--so far they've been fine but it's only been a couple months
 

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www.aristocraft.com/catalog/crest/trainengineer/images/55491.jpg (the onboard 75 mhz. TE reciever)




This is the "Onboard" system. It's intended to mount in the loco and run from batteries.

To keep the chargers straight, I'd just get one for each loco. Of course, right now I only have 1 loco with rechargable batteries, the other runs from Duracell copper tops.
 
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I really dig my RCS setup for full Battery and RC....Not too much to the install....maybe a little patience and understanding... the tech support of Dave and Tony are Outstanding!


 


www.rcs-rc.com


 


cale
 
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