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Author Previous Topic: MDC Shay DCC Topic Next Topic: Which Operating System  

alpha_1
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/15/2012 :  9:38:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all.

NWSL has developed a radio controlled operating system called S-Cab. Does anybody have any hands on with this system?

It looks pretty good at first glance.

Cheers!
Gord Schneider
President and Chief Engineer,
Kootenay Lakes Steam & Navigation Company

Country: Canada | Posts: 142

cajon
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/16/2012 :  12:46:37 PM  Show Profile  Send cajon a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Received this via email from David Rygmyr Oso Rails (nee NWSL):

Howdy!

This newsletter is dedicated to a brand new product we're finally announcing formally, the NWSL Stanton CAB (S-CAB) radio control Digital Command Control (DCC) system. Designed by Neil Stanton, we think this is a breakthrough product for model railroad control and operation and sincerely hope it'll help advance the hobby.

We've actually had this quietly sitting on the site for months; we demonstrated it last July in Sacramento at the NMRA's national convention. We have a growing installed base, mostly word of mouth; we've been holding off on formally announcing it until we thought it had a thorough field testing. We think that time has come, and we hope you like what you see.

Sincerely,

David Rygmyr
Oso Railworks, Inc.


IN THIS ISSUE
Overview of the NWSL S-CAB System
The S-CAB Components
Overview of the NWSL S-CAB System

The NWSL S-CAB radio DCC control system was designed for both simplified installation and simplified operation, and even has an optional battery system that can act as a backup if the system senses a lack of track power (dirty track, etc.) Or, you can run your engine completely off battery power and never worry about dirty track again. So...what makes the S-CAB different from the DCC systems already on the market? Glad you asked!

First and foremost, the entire system is contained in the handheld unit shown in this newsletter. Traditional DCC systems have a base station (and, optionally, boosters) whereas the S-CAB does not. The entire S-CAB system is built into the handheld CAB (controller.)

Traditional DCC systems require that you re-wire your layout for the electricity it uses to both supply power to the loco and to send DCC signals through the track to the DCC decoder installed in the loco. The S-CAB requires no re-wiring: S-CAB will work with whatever power you already have (DC, DCC, or AC...or battery!) DCC signals are sent directly from the handheld controller to a radio receiver connected to the DCC decoder inside your loco.

Finally, you have the option of installing the S-CAB BPS (Battery Power Supply) in each S-CAB-equipped loco. The BPS sits in the system and makes sure the decoder always has 12V, whether from the track, or if there is no track power due to say dirty track, then it runs entirely off battery power. In fact, if your track is completely unpowered, the S-CAB BPS will simply power the loco for the entire session--true battery power! Here's our friends at the "Dead Rail Society" with a demonstration of that (thanks guys!):

Runaway Porter.m4v
Runaway Porter.m4v
The design criteria for S-CAB was this: Simple, affordable, and fun, and we hope this provides an option for those of you that would like to use DCC with that criteria in mind. We know that S-CAB is not for everyone, for example if you have a large club layout then you'll want a traditional DCC system. Do you run more than a dozen locos simultaneously? Here too, a traditional DCC system is probably going to be a more robust solution for you. However, for individuals and small groups that just want to have some fun running a few trains around, optionally with a battery for uninterrupted operation, with minimal installation and at a reasonable cost, then S-CAB might be for you!

The S-CAB Components
Meet the components of the NWSL Stanton CAB!


First up is the hand-held controller (CAB.) The CAB contains everything--the "brain" (not my favorite term for this sort of thing but it'll do) and the radio transmitter (range 50-100 feet, depending on environment) and a rechargeable battery. To recharge the CAB just plug the CAB into a USB port (USB cable included,) let it charge overnight, and you're good for another couple of weeks. (The charger is built into the CAB, so there's no need to remove the case back, etc. The USB cable and connection does it all.)


There are two slide switches on the left: The bottom one turns the CAB on or off. The upper one allows you to toggle between CAB (running your trains) or CV (programming a decoder inside an engine, such as setting the decoder up for initial operation, or making changes later on.) Ready to go? 1-2-3, literally: Press <Loco#> then <number> and then <Enter> and you're now controlling whatever engine has <number> as its address. Slide the Throttle with your thumb and off it goes. Flip the Direction switch and it changes direction. One-handed operation; very straightforward.


The word "programming" spooks a lot of people and has kept them out of the fun of DCC, but we think you'll find that with S-CAB it's a simplified process that lets you spend more time running your trains and less time plowing through manuals. In fact, we've posted both the Quick Start Guide and the entire User's Guide on our website so you can read them in advance. Here's the link:


http://www.nwsl.com/S-CAB_Radio_DCC_Control.html


Again, please keep in mind that the design goal for the entire system was simplicity, fun, and a relatively low cost. If you need to simultaneous control a huge fleet of engines with every possible option at your fingertips, then you probably want to look at one of the full-blown DCC systems. If you want an easy way to get started with DCC so that you can run a few engines and enjoy the benefits of DCC, direct radio control, and optionally some battery in your loco, then we invite you to keep reading.


Next up is the S-CAB decoder bundle, pictured above. This is what you'll install in your locomotive, just as you would a stock DCC decoder. There is no variation to installation; the red wire goes to the right rail pickup, the orange wire goes to the motor (+) terminal, and so on. (Unless you choose battery power, in which case there is a tweak or two.) In the photo above, the decoder itself is behind the circuit board you see: The blue rectangle marked "AF" is the antenna, and the chip to the left of it is the radio receiver. The decoder itself is attached tightly to the back of the board, with its hookup wires visible to the left.


One thing we need to mention here is that the S-CAB system, including starter kits, additional decoder bundles, battery options, etc. are available only from S-CAB Certified Dealers and you'll find a list of them on our website:


http://www.nwsl.com/S-CAB_Radio_DCC_Control.html

Believe me, this is not some kind of "exclusive club" kind of thing...far from it. In fact, the Certified Dealers are an important part of the process because they are the ones that will perform the intricate process of connecting whatever decoder you choose (from the list of supported decoders, also on our website and sure to grow over time) to the radio receiver board, and then shrinkwrapping the entire thing back into the "decoder bundle" you see in the photo above. They then ship this bundle to you for installation in your loco, or if you wish you can send your loco in to them and have them do it for you. (Interested in becoming a CD? Please contact us. Note that in order to be a CD, you already have to be a factory-authorized DCC decoder dealer, such as a certified NCE dealer, a certified Soundtraxx dealer, and so on.) Your Certified Dealer is also the person you'll turn to should your unit need warranty work or repair.

Your Certified Dealer can also assist you in tricky installation situations. For example, if you have an all-brass shell, the radio waves are going to probably bounce right off and never get to the receiver. Your CD can do things like set up the antenna on a piece of co-axial cable so that you can install it outside the shell, and so on.





The final bit, and this is completely optional (but very cool,) is the BPS (Battery Supply System) pictured here. The BPS consists of the circuit board and one (or more, if you have room) NWSL 3.7V LiPo battery cells. With a BPS installed, you can expect uninterrupted operation as long as the battery has power. If your rail has power, the BPS will automatically charge the battery on the fly. If there is no track power (either temporary, such as section of dirty track, or permanent, in that your layout has no track power at all) then the BPS will just keep going until the battery is exhausted and just stop. (As you can see in the photo above, under the yellow at the left edge of the battery, each NWSL battery cell has built-in electronics to protect it from overcharging, and from complete discharge.)



Recharging your battery depends on your layout and preference; as long as the loco is sitting on a section of powered track with 6VDC (but no more than 18VDC) or more present, it'll charge itself. (Those of you that want to run on an unpowered track setup might consider something like an isolated siding, with a 6VDC or more wall transformer connected to that section for the sole purpose of parking the loco and recharging the battery.) If your track is powered, but over time the battery gets exhausted from not enough track pickup along the way, just do the same thing: Park the engine on a section of clean track that has 6VDC more more present, and just list it sit there and charge.



All of this is explained in the S-CAB section of our website:



http://www.nwsl.com/S-CAB_Radio_DCC_Control.html



If you want to join in an S-CAB discussion group, there's a dedicated S-CAB group at:



http://groups.yahoo.com/



(You need to sign up for the group; we ask this so we can try to keep the spammers at bay.)



Here's a final video to give you yet another look at how this works. If you're interested, we encourage you to contact one of the Certified Dealers listed on our website. They're knowledgeable about the system and can assist you with any specific applications you have in mind. Above all...have fun with it! (Oh, by the way, we make these right here in Hamilton, Montana.)
K 27Bat2
K 27Bat2


That's it for now; we've been working on this for a long time and we're excited to finally release it. Some of our Certified Dealers have been demonstrating the system at local shows, so stop by and say hello if you see them holding an S-CAB controller and ringed by a bunch of smiling modelers.

Sincerely,

David Rygmyr
Oso Railworks, Inc.



Country: USA | Posts: 168 Go to Top of Page

simon1966
Fireman



Posted - 02/16/2012 :  1:21:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit simon1966's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I really think this is a step in the right direction and I like the fact that it uses DCC decoders as the main command method. There seem to me to be some limiting factors. First the size of the receiver. The I use NCE D13SR's all the time, they are my main low cost fleet decoder. They are not all that small and when you see the decoder mounted to the receiver in the quick start guide http://www.nwsl.com/uploads/S-CAB_QuickStart__1_.pdf you can see it is longer and a bit wider. This is going to be a tight fit in many locos. If you add the battery option as well it is really going to limit what it will fit into.

The second thing is the limit to the number of locos. The system does not use 4 digit addressing, so you can't use Cab number to identify your locos. It also is limited to 15 decoder address, so you could only have 15 locos on the layout at once. If you have more locos than this then you are going to have to share decoder ID numbers and make sure that no duplicates are on the layout at the same time. This would be very limiting except for the smallest of layouts. As you read the manual you can see that the throttle is not a memory throttle and does not retain information on the direction of travel of a loco if you are running 2.

Cost will be a bit of a factor for some, the $15 NCE D13SR now costs $60 with the receiver attached. With only a few decoders being supported it does not lend itself well to anyone already running DCC that wants to switch. Also, this is a low end decoder and does not offer features like BEMF, so those that like a higher spec decoder are stuck for the time being.

I really think this is an exciting innovation, especially the battery option, but it does seem to me to be rather limited in its appeal.



Country: USA | Posts: 2861 Go to Top of Page

simon1966
Fireman



Posted - 02/16/2012 :  2:38:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit simon1966's Homepage  Reply with Quote
BTW, I think NWSL is being very upfront about this stuff. They go to great pains to make sure that a prospective user understands that it is not all things to everyone and that straight DCC will be better for many.


Country: USA | Posts: 2861 Go to Top of Page

alpha_1
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/17/2012 :  7:11:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi guys. I spoke to the dealer closest to me about this today. He's just received his goodies so he's not that well up on this, but he's promised to call me to come have a 1st hand look at things when he's got a system installed and up and running.

Personally I'm quite excited about it. I, too think it's the way the hobby will go. A lot of possibilities and this is a step in the right direction, I think. I run smaller HO scale Bachmann Spectrum 4-6-0's and I'd like to know how well they'll work with this system, Since my layout will be only room size (9x16) I think this will suit me to a tee. The maximum number of engines running on my layout at a time would probably be two, so it looks like it might be a nice fit.

We'll see.

Cheers!


Gord Schneider
President and Chief Engineer,
Kootenay Lakes Steam & Navigation Company

Country: Canada | Posts: 142 Go to Top of Page

simon1966
Fireman



Posted - 02/17/2012 :  8:46:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit simon1966's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Gord, as long as you can get the receiver/decoder pack into the loco you should be good to go. I would be really interested to read your review if you go this route.


Country: USA | Posts: 2861 Go to Top of Page

alpha_1
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/17/2012 :  9:09:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It remains to be seen, Simon. The tenders on the Bachmanns don't have a lot of room as it is. I'll know in two or three weeks, apparently and I'll keep you posted.

Gord Schneider
President and Chief Engineer,
Kootenay Lakes Steam & Navigation Company

Country: Canada | Posts: 142 Go to Top of Page

sn3forme
Engine Wiper



Posted - 03/18/2012 :  2:31:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I ordered a
Stanton "starter kit" and placed it
in a Bachmann 2-8-0. Fit was easy
Wiring was easy (I am not into electronics)
and in a few minutes it was running
across the table on its own. I plan on
ordering more receivers as the controller
can handle up to 15 loco's. This is the
way to go for me.
Carl,
Pasco, Wa.



Country: USA | Posts: 153 Go to Top of Page

alpha_1
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/18/2012 :  2:38:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great to hear, Carl. I've yet to hear back from the dealer, but will contact him again this week. Sounds like a good setup to me.

Cheers all.


Gord Schneider
President and Chief Engineer,
Kootenay Lakes Steam & Navigation Company

Country: Canada | Posts: 142 Go to Top of Page
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