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Author Previous Topic: Welcome- What are you using or thinking about Topic Next Topic: What happened to battery Powered Radio Controlled
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Rickie
New Hire

Posted - 11/17/2017 :  09:24:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello, Corsair,

I hope you give battery powered and radio controlled systems a real good look. I can't help but think that this plan will offer the model railroader a great deal of realism, fun and satisfaction while at the same time cutting down dramatically on layout construction time and future track/wiring maintenance. In my book it's a no brainer.

I may have complained recently on this forum about the manner in which the products are currently being marketed, but I do admire the concept and think that it's the answer for more realistic operation plus I have total respect for the R & D development. I plan on using a deadrail operating system no matter what.

Regarding Del Tang deadrail products, please note the following correspondence I recently had with Andy Rutter of Micron R/C in England.

Hi Rick

I am a major reseller of Deltang products but I am not the manufacturer so I have no information on the status of Diijiit Electronics in Canada. I have good stock of all of the Deltang model rail R/C equipment and I have customers in Canada so you could order direct off the Micron R/C website (www.micronradiocontrol.co.uk). Order turn-round is currently 1-2 days and the average shipping time to Canada is 4-5 days.

I have copied this email to David at Deltang and he will be able to provide you with definitive answers to your questions about Canadian resellers.

Regards
--
Andy
Micron R/C

I also have received a second email from David at Del Tang almost immediately after receving the above email from Andy. I have copied it here below:

Rick,

I am a sole trader and I do not currently have the capacity to supply Diigiit, sorry. Prioritizing things has allowed me to reduce lead times from several months to just days. This is a more sustainable business model for everyone. Most resellers carry stocks of what they find to be popular. I believe Micron UK typically has all my products and many more.

Tam Valley recently announced that they were withdrawing from Radio Control which prompted an agreement for them to continue but to focus on manufacture and sell their RC products though a sole reseller. Bluerails has a similar short list of resellers to me and a very small product range. The RC Train market is young so I think consumers have to accept there will be many adjustments as the market evolves. I think we are decades away from it maturing. I am in my eighth year of business and don't intend stopping any time soon. Micron UK is an independent business that has been around for much longer than I.

Regards, David.

The two letters posted above indicate that Del Tang products should be available by way of the Micron Radio Control website and I plan on doing so immediately in order to test the actual product in one of my locomotives and also to test the ability of the reseller (Micron R/T) to supply me. I will post the results here.

I am also buying at least two "Starter Kits" from Bluerail. I have had a couple of very good conversations with Pete Steinmetz from Deadrail Installs (deadrailinstalls.com). He is very happy to spend time with customers explaining how the Bluerail and Tam Valley products work.

Purchasing the Bluerail Starter kit (the best deal financially as far as I can discern) can be done through the Bluerail internet site (bluerailtrains.com). In my case, I am directling Bluerail Trains to send my two starter kits to Deadrail Installs where Pete will add a couple of features for me. Both companies are in California. Then Pete will forward the two kits to me.

Thks

Rick







Country: Canada | Posts: 35 Go to Top of Page

Rickie
New Hire

Posted - 11/17/2017 :  09:48:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Bernd,

Hope all is well.

As usual, Bernd a very interesting post. You have done a heck of a lot of research. I previously followed your development of a handheld controller on another website and didn't realize it had been your work I was reading.

That Eddy Current Transmission idea and accompanying video is really interesting. Great description and videos of what it can do and how it works (or possibly used to work before the whole initiative may have seemingly disappeared)

The fact that as long as we arrange the motors to be directly geared into the driving wheels we will suffer from jerky starts is true.

Rick




Country: Canada | Posts: 35 Go to Top of Page

Corsair
New Hire

Posted - 11/17/2017 :  3:09:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bernd, Rick,

Thank you for the responses. I think I'm actually convinced that a 6V setup would be sufficient if I wanted to try this out with the SW1. The Stantons are geared so fast, 6V will probably still go 40-45smph.

I really want to try battery power. The universal nature of it, being able to run anywhere with rails is great. It also suits the layout I want to build. My goal is a portable switching layout. Not having to install a rats nest to every frog, spur and siding sounds great. Not having to access that rats nest later for troubleshooting makes simple benchwork like a foam covered door more viable. It just makes sense.

I need to do some reading later on Deltang's site and figure out what would be appropriate. I read up on the rx6x line, but didn't look at much of the rest.

Now one area I would be curious to hear more about is charging from the rails so that handling can be minimized. If we figure that 5V is enough to drive the switcher, couldn't a small board like this work?

https://www.adafruit.com/product/1944

Rectify incoming track power, knock it down to 5V, and then feed the receiver off the PPM board? Seems like I could run a dramatically smaller battery that way and just power strategic sections on the home layout.



Country: | Posts: 13 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/17/2017 :  4:48:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Rickie,

All is as well as can be expected. Thanks for asking.

One needs to do some research to figure out the whatís and howís. I usually like looking outside the model railroad box to find material for use. The box thread you must be talking about must be this one that I posted on the Freerails forum.



My plan is to bring all this information to this forum. Iím not really happy with the Admin on that forum.

The Eddy Current Transmission was quite a find. Something I could wrap my mechanical mind around. It was great fun developing that on a test bed. That Modeltronics noise maker is a voltage frequency device. As the voltage increases the sound gets faster. This is something I wish the modern noise makers were capable of. Iíd be the first on the block to try it out. The original founder of the eddy current drive I believe passed away back in 2012 and the company sort of disappeared from the face of the earth. Iím just glad I was able to get hold of some of their literature that explains their product and how it worked. Saved me a lot of research time and experimenting. Iím still working on improving on the drives. I have yet to combine one with an R/C control system.

Iím very happy to see that David is providing for at least one vendor. When I first got going with Deltenag, I ordered from David directly. Iím also on a UK website, RMWeb http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/ that has a radio control section. They highly recommend Micron Radio Control. Thanks for posting that letter from David, very encouraging. Well with that news from David it looks like I may not proceed much further with the R/C equipment I have posted on.

The FlySky is not very encouraging after using Deltang receivers. I temporally hooked everything together and the motor speed gave very poor performance. The speed control from zero to full voltage was quite fast. Not very good for switching. I will continue the project more as a test bed for now and then switch over to a Deltang receiver.

Bernd

P.S. Iíve got more ideas but need to at least finish one project before beginning another.


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Edited by - Bernd on 11/18/2017 12:35:16 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/17/2017 :  5:13:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Corsair,

quote:
Originally posted by Corsair

Bernd, Rick,

Thank you for the responses. I think I'm actually convinced that a 6V setup would be sufficient if I wanted to try this out with the SW1. The Stantons are geared so fast, 6V will probably still go 40-45smph.


I wonder if 6 volts will work when you have a load on the engine and going up hill. Reason I say that is the motor armatures don't have the mass of the larger motors that come with the engine originally. I guess a test base needs to be built to find out. If you do go that route please post your results.

quote:
I need to do some reading later on Deltang's site and figure out what would be appropriate. I read up on the rx6x line, but didn't look at much of the rest.


For a six volt system I'd use this one. They are 6 volt receivers.



quote:
Now one area I would be curious to hear more about is charging from the rails so that handling can be minimized. If we figure that 5V is enough to drive the switcher, couldn't a small board like this work?


I'm not a proponent of charging from the rails yet. I'm more interested into getting power from the rails and rectifying it on board, such as I did with the three steamers pictured above. They will run on DC, AC, and DCC equipped layout out. I've tested them with 12 volts DC, 16 volts AC using a "bell transformer", these are transformers used for you door bells, and I've tested them on NCE DCC track power. They all worked flawlessly. Now, I'll say this sort of tongue in check, you can always hook a 12 volt battery up to your portable layout. It is after all battery powered.

quote:
Rectify incoming track power, knock it down to 5V, and then feed the receiver off the PPM board? Seems like I could run a dramatically smaller battery that way and just power strategic sections on the home layout.



See statement above.

Good to here some input from you. Perhaps some experimenting on your part with what you suggest might be in order. Post your results here.

Bernd


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Corsair
New Hire

Posted - 11/17/2017 :  7:55:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bernd

Hi Corsair,

I wonder if 6 volts will work when you have a load on the engine and going up hill. Reason I say that is the motor armatures don't have the mass of the larger motors that come with the engine originally. I guess a test base needs to be built to find out. If you do go that route please post your results.


That makes sense. Practical testing will be the only answer.

quote:


For a six volt system I'd use this one. They are 6 volt receivers.



Thanks

quote:
I'm not a proponent of charging from the rails yet. I'm more interested into getting power from the rails and rectifying it on board, such as I did with the three steamers pictured above. They will run on DC, AC, and DCC equipped layout out. I've tested them with 12 volts DC, 16 volts AC using a "bell transformer", these are transformers used for you door bells, and I've tested them on NCE DCC track power. They all worked flawlessly. Now, I'll say this sort of tongue in check, you can always hook a 12 volt battery up to your portable layout. It is after all battery powered.



The layout will always have access to power. I just acknowledge that I have moved cross country twice in the past two years. At some point, the whole thing may (will) go into a Uhaul or POD. A simplified 12V system with a handful of feeds is pretty easy to bulletproof relative to a DCC friendly arrangement. So expanding on this idea a little, the goal here isn't so much to be able to operate in a cave, as to ensure that the loco has clean power and signal at all times.

So from that picture, what I am seeing is that the loco is track powered, aided by a capacitor, and the control signal is radio? If so, that is certainly something I have wondered about. Enough capacitance to run for a minute or more comes in a pretty small package, relatively speaking. If I power the "easy" stuff on the layout, I'm not sure there's a practical difference in battery vs capacitor.

quote:
Good to here some input from you. Perhaps some experimenting on your part with what you suggest might be in order. Post your results here.

Bernd



I'll be happy to post results. I would defiantly like to try one of those adafruit boards in a practical test. It's potentially a very simple solution, even if I have to bump up the voltage with another circuit. At that point, it's just a homebrewed version of the Stanton BPS, reduced in capacity, (maybe) size and cost. So long as fitting the physical components is practical, I like the concept of battery with opportunistic charging. Seems like the most flexible possible answer. On paper at least.



Edited by - Corsair on 11/17/2017 7:57:05 PM

Country: | Posts: 13 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/17/2017 :  8:41:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Corsair
So from that picture, what I am seeing is that the loco is track powered, aided by a capacitor, and the control signal is radio? If so, that is certainly something I have wondered about. Enough capacitance to run for a minute or more comes in a pretty small package, relatively speaking. If I power the "easy" stuff on the layout, I'm not sure there's a practical difference in battery vs capacitor.


What you are seeing on the tenders of the steam engines are Deltang Rx41d-v5 DSM2 receivers, an ADD1, a higher amperage output. The rest of the electronic circuitry is a bridge rectifier and a volt regulator, don't remember now if it's a 5 volt or variable set to 6 volts. The capacitor is a filter in the voltage regulator circuit to filter out ripples. In other words it smooth's out the DC voltage. These engine will run on DC, AC or DCC applied to the rails because of the voltage regulator. It supplies the voltage to the receiver that then controls the 6 volt motor. I had to use 6 volts because these were David's first receivers he produced. They have a couple of other channels for lighting and such but I never used them. Never got that far in testing out the receivers.

Now that I know where I can get the Deltang receivers I'll get back to these projects more often, amongst others that are on the bench.

BTW, the battery connected to the layout was sort of a joke. I did that with a circle of HOn30 equipment. I posted a video of a battery powered HOn30 engine running on battery power. All I did was connect a nine volt battery to the track and let the engine run around in a circle. It was pretty funny.

Later,
Bernd


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Corsair
New Hire

Posted - 11/18/2017 :  11:47:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The larger version of the adafruit board was available at Micro Center, so I went to grab one and get a practical sense of it. It's too wide for either the SW-1 or the Kato GP35 on the shelf. That said, had I known in the beginning I wanted to use it I could have probably made it fit. Both are too far along for actual machining on the chassis.



The smaller version isn't that much smaller, so this is a fair representation. Compared to the dimensions on the BPS, it's the same length, a little wider and MUCH thinner. If you pulled the plugs off it's basically just the wafer. I have an MDC 2-8-0 kit around here for a fun build some day and this is a perfect fit for the little tender. For scales larger than HO this would be very easy to fit.

I did figure out that a 500mAh battery fits very comfortably under the hood. Adafruit also makes a tiny USB charger that lacks power path management, but would be appropriate to charge the battery when disconnected from the decoder. In this case, the switching the decoder off would enable the charge circuit, which would run whenever it has powered track under it.

I think I'm on the same page as far as the track power circuit. Basically, if I take the incoming power, rectify it, and then use an up/down 12V regulator like this:

https://www.pololu.com/product/2096

The model will accept track power on anything DC or DCC. In this case the capacitor is a 'damper,' and not necessarily sized for a keep alive? Is there a practical reason you would not want a very large capacitor?

Deltang gives this schematic, is this the basic idea with the addition of the regulator?



I think the hardest thing about approaching this subject is the sheer number of "correct" ways to make it work. From a newcomer's perspective, it's hard to know which path to commit to. I'm settled on wanting radio command, the specifics of power and control less so.



Country: | Posts: 13 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/18/2017 :  12:32:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Corsair

It's too wide for either the SW-1 or the Kato GP35 on the shelf. That said, had I known in the beginning I wanted to use it I could have probably made it fit. Both are too far along for actual machining on the chassis.


This is one reason I would rather use a 6 volt motor. You don't need that much circuitry to run the engine. I'm looking at more of a non-electrical solution using battery or track power.

quote:
The model will accept track power on anything DC or DCC. In this case the capacitor is a 'damper,' and not necessarily sized for a keep alive? Is there a practical reason you would not want a very large capacitor?


A larger capacitor helps smooth out any ripple left on the DC current.

quote:
Deltang gives this schematic, is this the basic idea with the addition of the regulator?






Yes, that's basically it.

quote:
I think the hardest thing about approaching this subject is the sheer number of "correct" ways to make it work. From a newcomer's perspective, it's hard to know which path to commit to. I'm settled on wanting radio command, the specifics of power and control less so.



I'm taking this one step at a time. I'm going to work first toward using track power and then add the batteries later. Looking at Deltang's Rx6x series it looks like you can use any voltage from 3 up to 18 volts. These are the unit's he calls "surface receivers". I don't have any of these at the present. Looks like I need to make a purchase and see how Micron R/C website is to purchase from.

Bernd


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Edited by - Bernd on 11/18/2017 12:33:34 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Corsair
New Hire

Posted - 11/18/2017 :  2:46:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bernd



This is one reason I would rather use a 6 volt motor. You don't need that much circuitry to run the engine. I'm looking at more of a non-electrical solution using battery or track power.


I can see that. No argument that having to accommodate batteries and 12V makes things complicated. Only a 1S (3.7V) can be reasonably charged without battery removal. The electronics native to 1S cells like 5V in and out. That plays nice with Deltang and 6V motors, but nothing else. FWIW, that adafruit board would splice in really well before the receiver in your tenders. Then you could plug in any LiPo you like and it will take care of itself.

quote:
A larger capacitor helps smooth out any ripple left on the DC current.


Okay, so a scenario exists where you keep everything on-board 12V and just fit lots of capacitor under the hood. Enough juice to run for minutes at switching speed seems doable. I guess my only question there is would a large cap draw power too quickly and overwhelm the upstream electronics? Is that "in-rush current"? How do you even figure stuff like that out?

quote:
I'm taking this one step at a time. I'm going to work first toward using track power and then add the batteries later. Looking at Deltang's Rx6x series it looks like you can use any voltage from 3 up to 18 volts. These are the unit's he calls "surface receivers". I don't have any of these at the present. Looks like I need to make a purchase and see how Micron R/C website is to purchase from.

Bernd



I don't think I took purely using track power too seriously before this conversation, but I'm seeing some real benefits now. Compared to using a "keep-alive" type circuit, that's a very simple and DIY friendly schematic in the last post. Presumably, it would feed a Deltang receiver or a DCC decoder equally well.

I have to say, I put pen to paper on the price of importing Deltang equipment and it's a shame the pound is doing so lousy. Micron is the one place I found in stock on train friendly transmitters and receivers and the cost savings versus DCC start to get mighty thin. You save substantially on the controller versus something like the S-Cab or CVP, but the receivers actually cost more than an NCE radio decoder. By the time I convert 2-3 locos the cost is the same either way.

It's all pros and cons. The Deltang supports more functions in a single chip solution, and leaves the door open for 6V battery power on future models. A cheap-ish DCC based solution is available stateside in the form of the NCE decoder, but things get messier and more expensive if you want more than 4 functions. Generally speaking, I do, although plenty things like number boards could be set by reed switches Leaves the door open for sound in future models.




Country: | Posts: 13 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/18/2017 :  3:47:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Okay, so a scenario exists where you keep everything on-board 12V and just fit lots of capacitor under the hood. Enough juice to run for minutes at switching speed seems doable. I guess my only question there is would a large cap draw power too quickly and overwhelm the upstream electronics? Is that "in-rush current"? How do you even figure stuff like that out?


There is a bit of confusion here about this circuit. The two capacitors and the voltage regulator is a step down converter. The voltage regulator will take an incoming voltage and step it down to 5 volts. That would be a 7805. There are different makes of voltage regulators for different voltage out puts. The capacitors smooth out the voltage to a more pure DC current. They do not act as a ďKeep AliveĒ source.

So letís follow the current from the track to the input of the receiver. Letís say that there is 12 volts AC coming in to the bridge rectifier. Coming out of the bridge rectifier will be a DC voltage, a bit higher than went in, with a ripple left over from the AC current riding on top of the DC current.
Pardon the crude representation. Track current coming into rectifier and then going to first capacitor, C1.



Coming from C1 going to voltage regulator.



The voltage regulator then out puts an almost pure DC voltage. C2 will take care of any ripple from there. Now, if you have pure DC on the track those capacitors would not be needed.

I hope this clears up any confusion on the voltage regulator circuit.

Bernd


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Rickie
New Hire

Posted - 11/18/2017 :  3:58:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It seems to me (and it's just me), but if I were to go to track power and radio control then I'm going to need to wire the layout and that's something I'm trying to avoid.

If there are no financial savings when comparing purchase costs that's ok with me, it won't deter my decision to go with a non-wired layout.

Rick



Country: Canada | Posts: 35 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 11/18/2017 :  9:42:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here's some more interesting info on radio control/battery charging.

http://www.clag.org.uk/battery-radio.html

Bernd


A PESSIMIST sees a dark tunnel
An OPTIMIST sees light at the end of the tunnel
A REALIST sees a freight train
The LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER sees three idiots standing on the tracks

Country: USA | Posts: 2356 Go to Top of Page

Rickie
New Hire

Posted - 11/19/2017 :  12:08:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bernd,

If you get a moment, could you possibly type out a shopping list for me for Del Tang equipment in order that I may purchase from their webpage. I am leaning toward 4 individual locomotive styled transmitters TX21's and one with Selectra, so a TX22.

This leaves me wondering about which receivers to order.

I'm running mostly Bachmann 2-6-0 locomotives (fairly large tenders)
..... and after you note the recommended Receivers, do I need anything else in particular?

I'll get my Lipo Batteries locally.

Thanks, Bern'd

Your thoughts? Thks Rick



Country: Canada | Posts: 35 Go to Top of Page

Corsair
New Hire

Posted - 11/19/2017 :  10:28:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rickie

It seems to me (and it's just me), but if I were to go to track power and radio control then I'm going to need to wire the layout and that's something I'm trying to avoid.


It's all relative. The layout will already be wired for lights in buildings, streetlamps, etc. Even if you power some track, you're skipping the DCC command station, boosters, frog juicers... A basic 12V wall wart hooked to a simple power bus will do. At the end of the day you will have to put the complexity somewhere. I think it's just a matter of choosing a balance of layout complexity vs. locomotive complexity with R/C. For me, my main goal is smooth running all the time including long indoor docks and rusty spurs. Reducing the layout complexity is just a major bonus that gives way less to go wrong after a future move.

I think everyone will have a different answer here. Dead rail and R/C together cover a huge amount of ground. Lots of reasons someone might approach the subject.


quote:

If there are no financial savings when comparing purchase costs that's ok with me, it won't deter my decision to go with a non-wired layout.

Rick



I don't think there is savings in any of this versus a wired layout, quite the opposite. A conversion to DCC is $30 or less. I'm trying to keep per loco costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 to $125. Component cost will definitely play a role in deciding between Deltang and DCC. I can meet my goals with either, so cost is as good a factor as any to split hairs.



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