Building the Multi-Power Loco....

Zerogee

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Today, I managed to put in a little time on my Multi-Power Loco project - the idea of which is to take an LGB track-power loco (an OBB 2095 "Whizzy Cranks", as it has a nice boxy body with plenty of room for added internal gubbins) and turn it in to a "touring" loco that I can take, and run, anywhere that has 45mm gauge track - be it dead rail, DC or DCC - and still maintain complete DCC control of all the loco's functions including all the bells and whistles of an XLS sound decoder.

The plan is to make the loco instantly switchable between track and battery power, but still with full DCC control under battery power courtesy of a Tam Valley DRS (Dead Rail System) RC module and a Stanton Radio Cab wireless DCC handset.

Progress today included locating two miniature toggle-switches (rated at 6A) in the chassis plate, positioned as close to the loco's central battery box as possible (this is where the "real" loco keeps its batteries, and also provides a perfect place for the model's battery pack - a 14.8 volt, 5.2Ah Ansmann Li-ion 8-cell block with built-in protection board). The switches are snugged in tight to the battery box to keep them out of the way of the pivoting power bogie, they should still be easily reachable with a finger slipped under the loco's side skirt (oo-er missus....). Both switches are DPDT centre-off toggles; one switch (with the red/black wiring) will be connected to the battery pack for charge/off/run settings, the other (with the white and brown wires) will toggle between track power and battery power being fed to the decoder - in the track power position the track pickups will feed directly to the XLS decoder, in the battery position the power from the battery pack will be fed to the Tam Valley DRS module and then to the decoder. The power mode switch has a centre-off position which will isolate the loco from any power source if needed.

I scratched my head for a while about how to retain the battery pack in place - it needed to be secure enough to stay firmly in place if someone turned the loco upside down - while also making it possible to remove the pack if/when necessary (obviously this requires body removal, another good reason that the pack shouldn't move about when the loco is inverted to remove the locating screws!).

A poke around the retail shop/counter at Rapid provided a solution to the problem - some wide heavy-duty zip tie straps which I could cut, make holes in and screw into place, and which have the great advantage of having a little finger-tab that makes them releasable when depressed! If anyone is interested, the Rapid part code is 04-0656, but I've got a bag of about 100 or so of them here so if anybody wants a few then just ask!

The straps, cut to length and firmly secured with screws and plastic washers as seen in the photos, do a great job of keeping the battery pack solidly in place - I've turned the loco chassis upside down and given it a bit of a shake, and nothing moves at all.

Anyway, here are some pics to illustrate what I've been rambling on about - more later, as I start to install the DRS unit and the XLS and then get everything wired up.....

The toggle switches, seen from under the chassis plate:

BoBo switches under.jpeg

The battery pack retaining straps:

Battery straps1.jpeg

Battery straps2.jpeg

Battery straps3.jpeg

Jon.
 
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Rhinochugger

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Keep 'em coming, Jon >:)>:)>:)>:)>:)
 

dunnyrail

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Today, I managed to put in a little time on my Multi-Power Loco project - the idea of which is to take an LGB track-power loco (an OBB 2095 "Whizzy Cranks", as it has a nice boxy body with plenty of room for added internal gubbins) and turn it in to a "touring" loco that I can take, and run, anywhere that has 45mm gauge track - be it dead rail, DC or DCC - and still maintain complete DCC control of all the loco's functions including all the bells and whistles of an XLS sound decoder.

The plan is to make the loco instantly switchable between track and battery power, but still with full DCC control under battery power courtesy of a Tam Valley DRS (Dead Rail System) RC module and a Stanton Radio Cab wireless DCC handset.

Jon.
That all sounds very interesting, I have fitted out my wizzy cranks to be a bettery only job, I think it nice that the Batteries fit in the Battery Compartment on the Loco which is prototypically labelled as such.

I have some of the Tam Valley Kit:-

- DRX186 DSHi Power RX 869MHz
- DTX022 DRS1MkII Transmitter 869

I wonder what if any of mine is similar to yours and the issues of the Stanton RC Wireless DCC Handset, sounds like my searched for option to Battery/DCC to install in some of my other Locomotives.
JonD
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
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That all sounds very interesting, I have fitted out my wizzy cranks to be a bettery only job, I think it nice that the Batteries fit in the Battery Compartment on the Loco which is prototypically labelled as such.

I have some of the Tam Valley Kit:-

- DRX186 DSHi Power RX 869MHz
- DTX022 DRS1MkII Transmitter 869

I wonder what if any of mine is similar to yours and the issues of the Stanton RC Wireless DCC Handset, sounds like my searched for option to Battery/DCC to install in some of my other Locomotives.
JonD

Thanks JonD - yes, as we've discussed several times before, this system is the next best thing to the mythical DRC300 - and in one very important way it's better, in that it does actually exist..... ;)

I'll be able to let you know very soon whether or not it actually works!
The Tam Valley receiver I'm installing is exactly the same one that you have; I also have the DTX022 Transmitter, but that's only needed if you are using the output of a regular DCC central station - most of the time when visiting I expect to be using the S-Cab handset only, which is a fully-functioned DCC wireless central station and transmitter combined. However the option is always there to hitch the Tam Valley transmitter to my 1200Z, which then means I can drive the loco in wireless mode using a Navigator!
As far as I can see, the ONLY thing that was promised for the DRC300 which the Tam Valley system does NOT provide (due to differing proprietory data buses) is the ability to control the loco directly with a wireless Navigator, without needing the 1200Z in the picture at all - but the S-Cab gives you the equivalent of this anyway.....

Jon.
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Ze storm iss at its height..... NOW, IGOR, THROW ZE SWITCH!!!

Mein Gott.... My Creation, IT LIVES...!! :devil:

Ahem, sorry about that...... what I meant to say was that I've just put all the stuff into the running chassis, wired it all up and..... IT WORKS! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Tested first on DC track power, then on DCC track power from the 1200Z, then finally I plucked up courage to throw the switch to the "battery" position, all power to the track now OFF, turn on the S-Cab and it all works just as it should - full wireless DCC control over driving, sound etc, all on dead rails!

Photos of all the internals to follow shortly......

Jon.
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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It always amazes me when my projects work :nerd:

Yes, me too Chris... even though I'd checked, double-checked and then triple-checked all the wiring-up (theoretical and actual), I was still quite expecting something in there to go pop or fizzle (or worse, BANG!) as soon as I threw the power switch.....
But, no smell of burning electronics (so far), exploding batteries or the like, and it all seems to be working as it should - little short of amazing, actually!

The only thing I haven't yet installed is the light wiring with the pair of 5v regulators (with the Schottky diodes to protect the decoder outputs, courtesy of Arthur picking up a potential problem), these will all go into the roof of the bodyshell because all the floor space is now pretty much full, as you'll see in my next post....

Jon.
 

Zerogee

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OK, time for more piccies.... sorry that a couple of these are not great quality, will try to re-do them later with better light.

The completed and reassembled running chassis: from left (driver's end) to right:
Tam Valley DRS hi-power receiver (stuck to weight with thick DS foam pads designed to hold number plates on cars)...
Lots of messy wiring, under which can just be seen the selector toggle switches...
Battery pack, now with 20mm quick-blow inline fuse tucked down beside it which wasn't there in yesterday's photos....
Volume Pot for sound decoder, next to bl**dy great FRS7 speaker....
XLS sound decoder, also stuck to weight with a number-plate pad...
Finally, at the back end, the flying lead which will serve as a charging point for the battery pack - it will simply lie curled up on the floor of the rear cab, and when needed I will open the sprung cab door and hoik it out with a finger.... I didn't want to put it through the bodyshell anywhere visible, and there really aren't a lot of other options under the chassis - it will also mean that I don't have to turn the loco upside down to find the socket!

BoBo test install3.jpg


Detail of the driver's end: showing the Tam Valley receiver and the Stanton Radio Cab (S-Cab) wireless DCC handset.....

BoBo test install2.jpeg


Detail of the rear end, with the XLS decoder, speaker and volume pot: from this end the inline fuseholder can be seen tucked down by the side of the battery pack.

BoBo test install1.jpeg

Next job, doing the lights and then finally putting the bodyshell back on!

Jon.
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Hmmm, now that I've got this working as a proof of concept, I wonder if I could shoehorn it all into a steam loco....? With a smaller battery pack (2.6Ah 4S1P rather than the 5.2Ah 4S2P used here), it SHOULD be possible to put it into something like a Saxon IVk without too much difficulty.....? I have a second Tam Valley receiver...... ;)

Jon.
 

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Thanks Cliff - good to see you on here again, you've been missed!
Of course a lot of this project is building on the trials and tests you did with the Tam Valley DRS equipment, all I've done is to combine everything into a self-contained multi-role loco.....

Jon.
 

dunnyrail

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Wow Jon result, on my Wizzy I just put the Charging Socket (I tend these days to use Peter Spoerer pre wired kit and a Smart Charger) on the Battery Box as below. Bit obvious but I can live with the convinience of that.
image.jpg
Looking at the s-cab DC Radio Handset, this does indeed look like the BX. Did you import direct from US? Thinking that I must give this setup a try. Link to Stanton for any others interested and yes Jon we have talked about this, just that my mind forgets all the waffling that I have been doing on here now over 10k messages!

http://www.s-cab.com/price-list.html

JonD
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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............
Looking at the s-cab DC Radio Handset, this does indeed look like the BX. Did you import direct from US? Thinking that I must give this setup a try. Link to Stanton for any others interested........

http://www.s-cab.com/price-list.html

JonD

Hi JonD, yes, I bought my S-Cab direct from Neil Stanton in the US - took him a week or so to make me one as a special order for the 869MHz frequency band (you have to ask for that of course, to match the EU-version receivers), but once he'd built it the package arrived promptly and (luckily) wasn't subjected to a Parcelfarce ransom demand and VAT charge.
Very good service from him, responded quickly to questions and was very helpful. The S-Cab doesn't look as sophisticated as a Massoth Navigator, but it is easy to use and it does the job well - the built-in battery with USB socket recharging is a particularly nice touch.

Jon.
 
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Zerogee

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For anyone else thinking of trying out the Tam Valley DRS, some excellent news - I've just been to have another look at their website, and they've DROPPED the price of the Hi-Power receiver by 30 dollars! That's something you don't see every day..... The receiver module is now 89.95 USD instead of 119.95 USD.....

http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/products/drs1deadrailcomponents.html

To avoid any confusion, in the description of the 869MHz "Euro band" version of the receiver it states that it won't work with the Stanton Radio Cab - what this means, of course, is that it won't work with the standard US-band S-Cab, which is why you need to special-order one with the 869MHz transmitter. for UK/Euro use....

Jon.
 
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Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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A quick pic of the inside of the BoBo body shell with the 5v stabiliser boards for the head and tail lights stuck under the roof with DS number-plate pads.... note the pair of Schottky diodes on the input terminals of each board. Outputs are wired directly to the original LGB lighting wiring, inputs are wired to a 3-pin plug (common +ve, separate -ve to each end of the loco) to make it simpler to remove the bodyshell completely for working on the loco innards in the future.

BoBo lighting boards.jpeg

Jon.
 
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Timmo

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Hi Jon

What a great post. You have done more or less what I have been hoping to do, but thought not possible in UK, which is:
  • Stanton S-Cab Throttle, but with
  • Stanton ECO-400 with receiver. This is the Soundtraxx Econami 400 DCC and sound board coupled to an S-Cab receiver
I was put off because I thought that S-Cab was only available with US frequency. Your news that Stanton will do a Euro special is great news.

I am a newbie to DCC and battery radio control but keen to learn. Would it be possible for you to post a parts lists of all the bits that are needed and where to source them? Such as:

  • 5v stabilizer boards
  • quick blow in-line fuse
  • loudspeaker
  • miniature toggle switches
  • etc, etc.
If you could that would be so helpful.

Plan is to install in Aristocraft and Bachmann steam outline locos.

All the best.

Tim
 

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Hi Tim, glad you like the project...... happy to help if I can!

In my case the objective was to make a loco that could be taken to and operated on any line under either battery OR track power - if you just want a system that runs R/C all the time and you're not bothered about ever using track power, then yours can be slightly simpler than mine.
Almost all the small parts and electrical components in mine (switches, wire, fuse and fuseholder etc) came from Rapid - https://www.rapidonline.com/ - simply because I happen to live just a couple of miles from their main base and retail counter - but you can just as easily get them from other sources such as RS, Maplin etc. I actually bought my battery pack and charger from them as well, but again those are available elsewhere (eg: CPC Farnell and others). The only things I got via the Interweb were the cheap Chinese 5v regulator boards, which came from eBay - if you want them quickly then there are several UK stockists who will sell them for four or five quid each, but if you're prepared to wait a few weeks for them to arrive on the provervbial "slow boat (from) China" you can order them from Chinese suppliers for little over a quid a pop (which is what you then hope they don't go... ;) ).

I got an important piece of advice from another forumite over on a different thread about this project - https://www.gscalecentral.net/threads/techie-question-on-lighting-voltage.309192/ - where I was advised to fit a pair of Schottky diodes on the inputs to each voltage stabiliser, to prevent voltage back-flow from the capacitors on the boards damaging or destroying the function outputs of my decoder.... full details of why and how are in that thread.

Re the S-Cab and associated bits, Neil Stanton is a nice and easy guy to deal with, and very helpful. I would check with him that he's prepared (and able) to make his receiver chips in 869MHz, and not just the Cab handset - in my case I only wanted the S-Cab from him, as I was using it to control receiver(s) from a different company - Tam Valley Depot and their Dead Rail System receivers.

Whether you will need all the same parts as I used will, to a great extent, depend on exactly how you're doing your install and into what loco; I chose the LGB 2095 BoBo for this test project (a) because I had one already in bits, having been bought as a "non runner" and given two brand new motors, and (b) because its large boxy body meant I wouldn't have TOO much trouble with space for everything! If you're trying to install in a steam-profile loco you may have more issues of space - though if it's a US prototype you will hopefully have a nice large tender to work with....

There are lots of decisions you will have to make re things like the battery pack - I'm using an industrial-grade Ansmann Lith-Ion pack with built-in protection board, but it wasn't cheap; you could, if you prefer, go with something like NiMH cells which will save some money but give you less power-to-weight ratio. The Ansmann pack delivers 14.8 volts - plenty to run a G scale loco - with a capacity of 5.2Ah, which should theoretically be enough to run a twin-motor LGB loco for well over 5 hours! However this pack may be a little big for your use, and if you're willing to accept a lower running time between charges then you can halve the pack size and weight by going with a 2.6Ah version. Do bear in mind that makes like Aristo and Bachmann traditionally use motors wih a rather larger current draw that LGB's high quality Buhler motors, so that will impact on running time too, as well as possibly having to be careful about overall current draw for the whole system.

Anything else specific that I can answer, feel free to ask!
Jon.
 

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Well, latest update: the loco is all back together, bodyshell back on (another great thing about the 2095 is that the shell is only retained by four relatively easy-to-access screws - unlike many other LGB locos...), and it all still appears to work!
Tomorrow I'm taking it visiting for the first time, to a local GSS garden open day near Colchester, so we'll see how it runs on the open rails.....

A couple of pics of the post-reassembly testing, with the 5v regulated lights, which give the same brightness level in either track or battery mode....

BoBo testing1.jpeg

BoBo testing2.jpeg
 
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Neil Robinson

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Tomorrow I'm taking it visiting for the first time, to a local GSS garden open day near Colchester, so we'll see how it runs on the open rails.....

Good work Jon,
I hope all goes well tomorrow, an acid test indeed. Many times I've know locos that run fine on their home layouts misbehave when visiting! :eek:
 

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
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Good work Jon,
I hope all goes well tomorrow, an acid test indeed. Many times I've know locos that run fine on their home layouts misbehave when visiting! :eek:

Yes, quite.... Murphy is alive and well and takes a special interest in GSS open days..... ;)

Jon.