New to battery power/radio control - choice of brand?

Andreas

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Hello together,
Here are my experiences: I have only had an inherited garden track for 6 months. All locomotives are controlled digitally with Massoth. Since I want to play and not build a 1:1 copy of the world, this system is too complicated for me.
I have equipped 2 locomotives with battery and control from Fosworks (and My Locosound). The points are set by hand. Uncoupling is also done by hand with the help of a wooden spatula (like doctors have to look into the mouths). This is the solution for me - as long as I am still fit.
It is simple and reliable. The CV programming drove me crazy. I spent hours on it only to realise that the decoder was not working properly and had a partial defect.
I found my way with Fosworks and manual work.
 
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Andreas

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AHEM! Young Man! One does not play, one tests.
You know:
growing older is obligatory
growing up is optional

(translated with DeepL - I hope you understand the meaning correctly in English)
 

tedtherep

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Your first statement was in effect you are not great in electronics. Suggest RCS, as they can do the install and programming for you, rather than just sell you a box of parts. Well worth the extra cost to have then do it.
 

Greg Elmassian

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Ted, if you hover around a person's name, you can not only see his flag, but normally his country of origin.

Andres is in Germany. I think your reference to RCS is an installer in northeast USA.

Regards, Greg
 

beavercreek

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I have tried a few systems through the years.

I started with Aristocraft/Crest's 27mhz Traine Engineer (TE) back in 2005.
It is/was a great track powered (with option of loco based receivers) system with simple controls and options for different locos from the same transmitter.

That was replaced with the Revolution TE system (DC, and later, DCC versions)
Another great and good value system. Nice handset giving a good range and multiple locos, sounds etc.
I have both the DC system for the analogue locos, for battery power (on board RXs) and RC track power (using the lineside RX) and also DCC version (for battery locos with DCC decoders).

I have the Deltang RC system for my Livesteam locos to control direction, throttle, lights and blow off valves.

I flirted with the Tamvalley RC DCC 'deadrail' system for battery powered DCC locos using a Stanton S-Cab controller , and although the syatem was ok, the range is limited.
The Revolution DCC system is a better deal, easier to set up and also more integrated.

I know folk who use Fossworks or more expensive systems like Airwire etc. They seem to like those and are happy.
I would recommend a good look at the Revolution system (DC or DCC) as it covers most bases very well and is good value to boot.
Here is the link:
 

rentren

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Thumbs up (I chose wrong source, hence not displayed) for that most likeable signature, glad to read it again. But gladder yet to read your reply.

I was leaning toward Revolution TE system (DC), as a relatively nearby acquaintance does use it and is entirely satisfied. 'deadrail', BT and iPhone idea dropped, Greg, I think, raised the point of reading display in bright daylight. Furthermore tactile knobs and button preferable as the hand will find, while the eye is elsewhere. Not possible on a mobile screen.

I won't get going right away. It's a cost question. I will have to arrange layout parts that are save for BP/RC (no power in rails) and other, conventionally powered parts for non-altered locos. Then a loco, two or three can get refitted.

I was looking for just that sort of experience/thoughts wrt Airwire, Fossworks,S-Cab, Tamwire in addition to my preference Revolution TE. And that preference reflects the fact of a user and his help available nearby.

Oh, and for me the Swiss flag is flown whence I hail, but as mentioned before, Canada is home, West Kootenays/BC.
 
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bcochran75

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Good morning from the smokey Kootenays/BC. It's not the heritage steam engines ...

Doing a search and then some reading I come up with (in alphabetical order) BlueRailTrains/deadrailInstalls, CVP AirWire900, and RCS of New England amongst the top search results.

My electronics knowledge is small, soldering I do some (30W iron) but full of fear to fry electronics :-], and all my rolling stock is LGB (dated, fit for tight curves). While there are about 300ft of track, and about a dozen switches (and LGB controls), the extension of the layout fits within a 25ft circle (wrt BlueRailTrain who tho' currently suffer from parts shortages).

And now I'm open to suggestions, comparisons, pointing out importance of features. I want to go BP & RC because of the simple function of track - it's the track, not the power feed (a Y, a turn loop, some sidings, some blocks, ...lotsa wire, toggles, and room for trouble).

RCS comes with a local advantage as it were, an acquaintance a good hour's drive away and offering help (10 years experience with Revolution Train Engineer, suitable boards; Aristo IIRC)

TNX and if you can let it rain here ...TNX again. -- Ren(ard) / rentren

PS ...dunno why I 'fly' the Swiss flag, nothing against the former home, but I'm in da colonies with maple flag for a long time, the smokey West Kootenays to be more precise, not the Alps with floods and mud flows. Choices, eh?!
I have just started installing Battery R/C this year in my Bachmann engines. I've done an Annie 4-6-0, a DCC sound ready Climax with trailing car, a three truck shay, a Heisler, a C-19, a K-27 and a LGB Porter with a trailing tender.

In all these I have used AirWire+Phoenix Sound combinations like a AirWire G4 and Phoenix Sound P8. I am not too picky about sound other than I want the right sound for the engine and Phoenix has a large sound library. I use an Airwire T-5000 throttle for everything and can program the Phoenix Sound boards with their program software and program the decoder with the T-5000.

I am not much for hacking engines apart which to me seems to be popular with battery/sound conversions. Basically I look at the space available and decide what AirWire/Phoenix combinations to use. Then I map out the wire connections on paper and research any questions I still have. When all is ready I put the project together.

I have read about many installs on line with various manufacturer's components and can't find any reason to not use what I do. I made a trailing car with a battery and an Airwire CONVRTR-60 converter that I can use with any engine I might put a Phoenix Sound SM18 decoder/sound board combo into or that comes DCC sound equiped like my Climax or any other brand decoder. The car has the on-off switch and charging receptacle and the engine has the programing jack with it.

I think I am just keeping it simple that way. IMG_2000.jpg
 
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rentren

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TNX for the details!
 

bcochran75

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TNX for the details!
A couple of things I don't like about Phoenix Sound is that you don't get a choice of bells or whistles. You get the bell and whistle that comes with the sound file you've chosen. And you only get the sounds that come with the file, like the Porter does not have an air pump. So if you added an air pump on your Porter, you can't hear its sound if you select the Porter sound file. You can select another sound file that has a pump though.

Also the programing software is a learn as you go, trial and error prospect. Phoenix does not tell you what to expect with each possible programmable item, just what it is. You have to play with it and observe the results. So far I have not been able to get the number chuffs to correspond to the driver rotation. I can get 4 chuffs to a rotation at one speed but it varies as the speed changes. I don't use triggers for chuffs which would solve that problem. I use the decoder speed to determine the number of chuffs. It is one of the programmable features I just haven't mastered yet.

Also the AirWire T-5000 throttle does not read CV's. You can only program a number for a chosen CV. When you use the programing funtion of Phoenix Sound there is a DCC programmable selection and some sound files allow you to read the CV value of the available CV's and some don't. There are only a few CV's you are working with. When you program the Phoenix Sound file you are programing CV's I think. Don't quote me on this.

My Climax came with DCC and Tsunami Sound and I can use it with track power and my Digitrax system to read and program all the CV functions. Once that is done I can then use it on dead track and battery power using the AirWire CONVRTR on the trailing car.

That is the way I would go if I didn't use an AirWire+Phoenix Sound set up.
 

bcochran75

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I deleted my message
 
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dunnyrail

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Thumbs up (I chose wrong source, hence not displayed) for that most likeable signature, glad to read it again. But gladder yet to read your reply.

I was leaning toward Revolution TE system (DC), as a relatively nearby acquaintance does use it and is entirely satisfied. 'deadrail', BT and iPhone idea dropped, Greg, I think, raised the point of reading display in bright daylight. Furthermore tactile knobs and button preferable as the hand will find, while the eye is elsewhere. Not possible on a mobile screen.

I won't get going right away. It's a cost question. I will have to arrange layout parts that are save for BP/RC (no power in rails) and other, conventionally powered parts for non-altered locos. Then a loco, two or three can get refitted.

I was looking for just that sort of experience/thoughts wrt Airwire, Fossworks,S-Cab, Tamwire in addition to my preference Revolution TE. And that preference reflects the fact of a user and his help available nearby.

Oh, and for me the Swiss flag is flown whence I hail, but as mentioned before, Canada is home, West Kootenays/BC.
Revolution is a great system but setting up can be a bit tricky till you get your head around the terminology of what is what. I found a sheet listing the varying names and conventions that I was using helped with not just that first installation but later ones. Not the neatest of lists but I think it shows the varying settings that are different. On your first installation the quick start is your guide but setting some of the parameters up front will help as they can be forgotten part way through! Well I know I did in my first one.
1BD1726B-F9FD-4825-B467-B69F3C4BF105.jpeg
 

rentren

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Thanks for the for the alert and your list. Thus relieved to have the help of a user in relative vicinity.
I've meanwhile ordered the necessary items to adapt two 'roomy' locos, LGB 2095 ÖBB diesel and LGB 2045 RhB Ge 2/4 #205, and the less 'roomy' LGB 2070 U-series steam engine. The work will be carried out with the help of the experienced Revolution user mentioned. Your list will give me occasion to query him about settings topic in order for me to become somewhat fluent in this matter.
A separate issue is sound, particularly for the RhB 205. I'm currently exploring sound options on a German G scale dealer site, Modell-Land, and their various Youtube links.
 

dunnyrail

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Thanks for the for the alert and your list. Thus relieved to have the help of a user in relative vicinity.
I've meanwhile ordered the necessary items to adapt two 'roomy' locos, LGB 2095 ÖBB diesel and LGB 2045 RhB Ge 2/4 #205, and the less 'roomy' LGB 2070 U-series steam engine. The work will be carried out with the help of the experienced Revolution user mentioned. Your list will give me occasion to query him about settings topic in order for me to become somewhat fluent in this matter.
A separate issue is sound, particularly for the RhB 205. I'm currently exploring sound options on a German G scale dealer site, Modell-Land, and their various Youtube links.
If you go for the sound you mention, it will probably be a DCC chip. Thus you would need to ensure that you get the DCC version of the TE. Somewhere on here I thought I had reviewed it but not sure now, I have certainly got a test setup for trying my one out and the following pics may help with wiring. Note how I have used a DPDT CO in the Slide Film Canister, this means that I can connect the chip to a DCC setup to program it. This is from the Brown and White from the Chassis, the switch swops that between powering the chip via chassis on track for programming or via the Revo DCC chip which is the fed from the battery. The wiring loom is a Fosworks one. But you can easily make one up yourself if you are handy with a soldering iron.
11F4C279-6AC0-4656-BEA1-D5B42FFD8744.jpeg 0B7CFF3B-ACBF-44A0-B940-225C58F93FB8.jpeg
 

Zerogee

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Thanks for the for the alert and your list. Thus relieved to have the help of a user in relative vicinity.
I've meanwhile ordered the necessary items to adapt two 'roomy' locos, LGB 2095 ÖBB diesel and LGB 2045 RhB Ge 2/4 #205, and the less 'roomy' LGB 2070 U-series steam engine. The work will be carried out with the help of the experienced Revolution user mentioned. Your list will give me occasion to query him about settings topic in order for me to become somewhat fluent in this matter.
A separate issue is sound, particularly for the RhB 205. I'm currently exploring sound options on a German G scale dealer site, Modell-Land, and their various Youtube links.


Are you getting the DC or DCC version of the Revolution setup?

(Edit: just seen JonD's post above, while I was typing mine, some duplication of comments....)

If you are using the DCC one, then you can use any DCC sound decoder with full control over all the sound functions - you might find my two threads useful, on converting a 2095 BoBo and a Saxon IVk:

Building the Multi-Power Loco.... - G Scale Central

and

Multi-Power Loco Mark II.... this time it's steam..... - G Scale Central

These are both using the Tam Valley RC modules and Stanton S-Cab transmitters, but the installation process would be pretty much the same with the Revo gear.

The two locos I converted are both built to be multi-purpose - they can be operated several modes: track power DC, track power DCC, or "deadrail" battery/RC DCC, at the flick of a switch. As well as being able to take advantage of whatever power and control is available at any line I'm visiting, having the track-power option also means that you can do any CV programming of the DCC decoder on a prog track linked to a regular DCC central station, rather than having to fiddle about with programming the decoder via the RC handset.

When the selector switch is set to track power, then the RC receiver and battery pack are taken completely out of circuit and the loco's decoder is directly connected to the track pickups as with any normal DCC loco. Throwing that switch to the "deadrail" position connects the battery and RC system while disconnecting the track power pickups.

Jon.
 

rentren

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The one sound decoder needed (DC and DCC available from Massoth and pricey too) is for the RhB #205, an electric veteran as Revolution 'cards' are available as steam or diesel only, no electric. Before I go for more fitting 'voices' I want to hear the steam and diesel sounds which come with Revolution. I will have the above forum exchange along to query the nearby (80km, 1 1/4 hrs 'down stream' from Kaslo) man in the know. great shop and lotsa knowledge available for lucky me. Thanks to both of you JonD and Jon!
 

dunnyrail

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The one sound decoder needed (DC and DCC available from Massoth and pricey too) is for the RhB #205, an electric veteran as Revolution 'cards' are available as steam or diesel only, no electric. Before I go for more fitting 'voices' I want to hear the steam and diesel sounds which come with Revolution. I will have the above forum exchange along to query the nearby (80km, 1 1/4 hrs 'down stream' from Kaslo) man in the know. great shop and lotsa knowledge available for lucky me. Thanks to both of you JonD and Jon!
Welcome, both Steam and Diesel are very USA based sounds, I have in the past because that is all that was available with the non-DCC ones just ignored to US sound option in the card (cos sound became the only cards available) and put in a My Loco Sound or other sound card, in some instances not the easiest of options.
 

Greg Elmassian

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this is the age old issue of wanting a lot of customization, but not a lot of commands to achieve it.

If you want good sound, it can take more tweaking.

Out of the box, the "original" revolution usually takes very little changes, perhaps you would tweak the "Start speed", usually that is all.

Also, out of the box, most DCC decoders need nothing.

Playing with lots of CVs is rarely necessary for the first install and running.

But people want to tweak things.

Post #9 by the original poster indicates "continental narrow gauge" (which in the USA means like Colorado), but clearly European Narrow gauge.

So DCC decoders with sound seem to be required to get the customized sound files.

I'd go with the Revo DCC system if cost is an issue, otherwise perhaps AirWire or another wireless system that connects to any DCC decoder.

Yes battery power costs more than track powered DCC given equivalent sound quality.

If it was me, I would go track power and save the money, since the most recent posts now reflect the cost of outfitting the fleet. You could go the revolution DCC system, run from track power, and later convert to batteries when you want to buy 10 battery packs, several chargers, and buy new batteries every 5 years or so.

Greg
 

rentren

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Well, I'll be reporting back (will take a month, easily, thus maybe new post). There are, inevitably, several options and once experience is made, ...I hope not to smirk at myself - wrong system 8-] - Phoenix, Massoth and ML (see German site and in German only) offer continental European narrow gauge sound. Some both DC and DCC. Revolution may deliver suitable enough (very generally, small engines, steam and diesel, and maybe not convincing the discerning ear). I take it from there (they do not offer electric engine sound at all, it appears).
This exchange here so far much appreciated! I'm not stumbling into it entirely blind.