Radio control - a bit sideways

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zebedeesknees
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Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby zebedeesknees » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:59 pm

I have been playing around with r/c for a while, using both Plantraco and Deltang products. Simple enough, with tenders and diesel loco bodies, room for batteries and receivers, but for small engines, not so. Having toyed with the idea of a battery pack in a brake compartment or van, the obvious (now) idea struck of putting a receiver in one too.

Yes, no track wiring is an ideal, but most of us, I believe, have our wired track and section switching, so that can be used for this idea. I already had a Lima full brake fitted with bogies having short-one-side wheelsets so as to pick up for lighting, when the thought occurred that this could be used to place current on the track. Initially the idea was to have the full brake in the train, supplying the small shunting loco through the track. Then, provided the van was located anywhere on the track within the section, the loco could be powered, and controlled by radio, whether or not it was attached to the train. In fact, a loco could be taken off, placed in a siding or shed road, then by conditional link switching, isolated and another loco selected to pick up the train.

Wait a minute!!! This method can enable [i]any[i] normally wired with pickups loco to be radio controlled, at the cost of just one receiver and transmitter..

Ted.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:12 pm

With the minor problem that you are still reliant on the track wiring and loco pickups which the whole point of the radio control is to avoid :o
Regards

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zebedeesknees
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby zebedeesknees » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:16 pm

Thanks Keith - I tried to make that point in my post.. hence 'a bit sideways'.

Ted.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:55 pm

Maybe you should have posted it on the first of the month :)
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Tim V
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Tim V » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:11 pm

A radio controlled pannier with batteries was apparently seen at Trainwest, on - wait for it - St Ruth a 2mm model. I didn't see it myself, so I don't know if I was having my leg pulled...
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zebedeesknees
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby zebedeesknees » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:02 pm

Perhaps I am posting this electronics stuff to the wrong forum..

I don't agree that 'the whole point' of radio control is just to eliminate wiring and pickups. The holy grail would be to be able to have no traction wiring or pickups, shorts between all wheels, and track circuits like the real thing, but we can get there slowly, in discrete steps. I think I can detect a resistance (!) to r/c from those who have invested in DCC, rather like, though not as intense as, that from the EM lobby towards P4/S4. It was that DCC bias that caused me to stop bothering with my MERG membership.

I like the idea of choice.

An existing DC layout could be made 'wirelessly controlled' simply by adding a receiver between the psu and the track, the reverse process to my first post. Okay, I understand that DT now sells though agents such as Micron, but from him I built a Tx22 kit for a purchase price of £23, and bought a receiver (Rx) for £29.

If a layout is wired for DCC, all that is needed in a DC loco is a rectifier and a DT receiver, and the loco is ready to go, assuming a suitable transmitter is to hand. For extra safety, perhaps one of those little Traco voltage regulators could be placed in series, a 12v one in this case. They have the advantage that they do not get even warm, despite a wide input voltage range. I suspect they are 'switched mode' like the modern lightweight wall-warts. With this, one can visit a DCC layout and run locos by radio control using the track power. Or for that matter, a layout with 12v DC available, as the rectifier in the loco will mean that the polarity won't matter. The voltage regulator would have to be by-passed or left out in this case though.

The 5v version of the Traco v.r. is also very useful for battery power, as an input+output conditioning circut is available that connects to a bare Li-Po battery which can be very small. These lithium battery protection boards can be bought on Ebay for less than than 2 pounds each. They require 5 volts in and provide 5 volts out. From that, given that space is available, an adjustable DC-DC Boost Step-up Power Converter Module XL6009 (also Ebay, and also under £2 ea) can be fitted to boost the 5 volts to 12 for the receiver and motor. These are about the size of a PP3 battery. Better is to use a 6 volt motor.

But I fear we are still stuck in the 20th Century...

Ted.

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby David Knight » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:02 pm

It all sounds very interesting Ted but it is the question of space for the receiver that concerns me especially with engines like this;
Neilson pug at Nether Upton.jpg


Cheers,

David

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby grovenor-2685 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:48 pm

I think I can detect a resistance (!) to r/c from those who have invested in DCC, rather like, though not as intense as, that from the EM lobby towards P4/S4. It was that DCC bias that caused me to stop bothering with my MERG membership.

I like the idea of choice.


No doubt those who have invested heavily in DCC will prefer to keep it than start again, just as lots with DC don't want to move to DCC. Radio will pick up those who are interested or see benefits for themselves. None of those other peoples choices restrict your choice. MERG does not have a bias as such but if more members are using DCC than other options then there will be more discussion of it within the group, the only way to get discussion on your preferred topic is to initiate it. Just as in any other forum :)
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Guy Rixon
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Guy Rixon » Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:47 am

The thing that deters me from battery solutions is not the battery size, but the running time on one battery and the charging time. I would like my locos either to run for a full exhibition day, or to charge really quickly. Reading the protocab web-site it sounds like running time is not easily predictable and the charging time is a few hours, with the loco tethered. If anybody knows a way of getting better battery life and charge rate in a small package I'd be interested.

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby billbedford » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:40 pm

David Knight wrote:It all sounds very interesting Ted but it is the question of space for the receiver that concerns me especially with engines like this;


The Deltang Rx63 is 9.6 x 16.6 x about 2.5 mm
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby billbedford » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:54 pm

Guy Rixon wrote:The thing that deters me from battery solutions is not the battery size, but the running time on one battery and the charging time. I would like my locos either to run for a full exhibition day, or to charge really quickly. Reading the protocab web-site it sounds like running time is not easily predictable and the charging time is a few hours, with the loco tethered. If anybody knows a way of getting better battery life and charge rate in a small package I'd be interested.


The problem with the running time is that unless you can quantify the duty cycle of a loco you can't match it to the output of a battery. A battery that discharges in an hour on a continuous run may last a full weekend if the the loco does 2-3 minute trips on an end to end layout.
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Knuckles » Fri May 27, 2016 10:11 am

I have a question then, for many many years, probably a decade or so I have been interested in going DCC but have put it off for many reasons.

The main reason DCC appeals to me beeides less wiring is only really for two reasons: smoke and sound.

I have ran Seuth smoke units many times but they always require the engine to be bollocking around at express speeds to generate the voltage - with DCC you just turn it on and off at will whatever the speed.

With sound I would buy a system that has function buttons on the outside rather than menu scrolling.

So they are the reasons DCC is likely in my future.



Now for RC I am under the impression you can't have all these functions, or can you?
And if you can then you got chips, smoke gen's speakers and RC equipment to jam into the same loco somehow.


What ye say? :/ Seems like asking for too much.
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby MarkS » Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:02 pm

Wait a minute!!! This method can enable [i]any[i] normally wired with pickups loco to be radio controlled, at the cost of just one receiver and transmitter..


Or using an App on your phone, just like this?
http://bluerailtrains.com/
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Mark.
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Tim V
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Tim V » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:05 am

Power over radio? Tesla was right after all....
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:29 pm

Tim V wrote:Power over radio? Tesla was right after all....

Not quite!
His concept was near field magnetic transfer which can work at quite low frequencies...now available for charging some phones etc and soon to be in Tony Hagon's locos.
That is NOT radio, which is long distance electro-magnetic radiation...a very different animal which usually ( except for N N's submarines) uses much higher frequencies.

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby ClikC » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:21 pm

Knuckles wrote:The main reason DCC appeals to me beeides less wiring


That right there, is the number one lie of DCC.

If you talking an 'OO' set track 6x4, then yes. For any other type of layout, DCC will likely have the same as, or more wiring than an equivalent DC layout.

As an aside, I've always wondered why no one (to my knowledge) hasn't designed a RC system which charges the batteries through the rails, as sort of an extension to the DCC stay alive systems, but much improved (i.e. doesn't stop reacting to commands). Would primarily act like using your mobile phone while plugged into the mains.

With a bit of cleverness of design, you could have the fiddle yards wired to 'charge' at one voltage, and the rest of the layout could operate at a lower voltage for track circuit detection and/ or Absolute block signalling. Maybe I'll research the possibility as part of my HND unit 8 research project new year.

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Knuckles » Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:22 pm

It isn't the lie of DCC.

The lie of DCC is "You only need 2 wires" because although you can convert some DC layouts to DCC with only 2 wires the initial layout still has loads of wires in thus more than 2.

My mini P4 layout I'm crawling on was wired quicker and more simply than it would have been if DC even though I haven't brought a chip or Command Station yet.
But yes as you said track complexity and additional control often means more wires. Lack of isolation switches and need for traditional Cab Control reduces wiring but I suppose Power Districts may take their place.

It is a subjective issue defined only by individual requirements. Need VS want etc.

-

Edit: I think no one designed the rail charging RC is because one attraction to RC is no wiring needed. If you were to charge through the rails you would need some wiring or switching to avoid shorts.

That said if only certain rails were live and not a cohesive electrification then your idea indeed sounds good to me. You could just hook up the straight sections of track and leave the turnouts dead, this way unless your layout was Newcastle Station throught or something the batteries would always have juice in. This reintroduces need for loco pick up again though, a requirement that RC eliminated.
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:38 pm


Knuckles
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Knuckles » Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:46 pm

Very very interesting! If I'm not mistaken that looked like a multifunction decoder too. Think he said so.

If this type of thing develops and if we can indeed easily cram all the gubbins into our vehicles one day then we may be on to a winner. Going to keep a close eye on all this.

I very much hate touch screen as control though, I also hate button 'tv remote' type control too. Very much a traditional analogue type knob me......didn't sound right did it! :D

I like to 'feel' the train in locomotion...oooh. :?
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:00 am

Knuckles wrote:It isn't the lie of DCC.

This reintroduces need for loco pick up again though, a requirement that RC eliminated.


Not if you use Tessla magnetic power transfer as mentioned previously in this thread. Although you wouldn't charge anywhere in FY as range is inches not feet. So specific nominated charge ( watering?) points only in FY or on shed.

This technology has become viable and affordable in recent years due to provision of sensible priced control chips.

Provided both transmitter, receiver and battery are designed as an integrated system it is safe and reliable.

However there are pitfalls:
2 years ago I upgraded my Smartphone and, as always, bought a one year old device.
After a bit I bought a new battery and a third party addon for inductive Tessla charging as the micro_USB socket is vulnerable when plugged once a day.
It comprised a skinny printed coil and a couple of thin chips ; the whole sat inside the case on the battery/sim and didn't increase thickness at all.
Charging overnight was fine for a short year until battery failed inside warranty period. Dealer refused to honour warranty as he said such a 3rd party addon had damaged the battery and invalidated my warranty. So another new battery installed without Tessla device...all is well.

The issue here is battery management technology.
If you buy an aircraft or a car fitted with Lipo batteries or a domestic solar storage battery system the charge/discharge profile is managed very pro-actively with temperature monitoring on every cell and much sophistication. Exploding aircraft aside, a car battery can be expected to last 4 years. A fixed solar store system can achieve 10 years, some guarantee 8 years life. Laptop PCs and cellphones give 2 to 3 years life with typuical 1 yr warranty, due to much cruder battery management and battery overheating. Presumably no space for enough more electrics and profits come from replacement batteries? This was doubtless my downfall with the Tessla gadget...it was NOT a fully integrated system.

My next Smartphone will have an integrated Tessla charge system I hope.

Back to Model railways use....
I suggest this is the future for wireless rail-free charging of locos but someone needs to design an integrated system as described above. I believe Tony Hagon and son are on it.

One day, when Derek Russan restocks my roundtuits, I may have a play with the discarded Smartphone Tessla gadget in a tender with battery and see how it goes.....just one more project in the pipeline!

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:12 am

grovenor-2685 wrote:

Ok. but he doesn't mention:

1. double heading, or how many bluetooth channels and so locos you can have.

2. what happens at an exhibition where the stand next door is using the same system.

3. Battery charging

Caveat emptor

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Flymo748 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:33 pm

Knuckles wrote:I very much hate touch screen as control though, I also hate button 'tv remote' type control too. Very much a traditional analogue type knob me......didn't sound right did it! :D

I like to 'feel' the train in locomotion...oooh. :?


I'm not sure whether I like the feel of a traditional knob or not, but I do recommend having a look at the ZTC range for a "proper" looking controller.

Not cheap (new), not particularly sophisticated in the range of DCC functions, but it does look and feel right ;-)

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Knuckles » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:45 pm

Aye indeed. The ZTC range has for years been on the top of my mental favourite list for systems I may launch with when I do take the plunge...unless RC seduces me by then.

The Digitracks Zepher also attracts me as it has a similar type control, is much cheaper and at a lower sophistication level.

I don't want everything but what I do want is Knob, Functions as buttons on the outside for quick SFX access and 4 digit addresses. Double heading programming would be nice but not that important.

I'm guessing 3.5 amps will be fine too, I doubt I'd need 5 amps as my plan is to have two engines going up and down the main, 1 shunting in the yard and possibly a max of 4 chilling in the fiddle yard waiting for their next turn. Maybe I would need 5 amps then. I don't know.

SFX and the option to turn smoke gen's on and off is all I want really. Stay alive capacitors are a likely choice too.


If a company would make a ZTC type controller that is a steam loco backhead they would be on to a winner. Use a screw reverser as a menu scroller, regulator for the...regulator, brakes for the brakes and the gauges could be buttons. Firebox door could be a fiery red emergency stop etc.

Would cost a packet but numpties like me would likely buy one!
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Will L
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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Will L » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:50 pm

Knuckles wrote:..I'm guessing 3.5 amps will be fine too, I doubt I'd need 5 amps as my plan is to have two engines going up and down the main, 1 shunting in the yard and possibly a max of 4 chilling in the fiddle yard waiting for their next turn. Maybe I would need 5 amps then. I don't know..


In the good old days of open frame motors some of them could draw up to an amp, but modern motors are much, much less thirsty. You'll get nowhere need 5 amps.

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Re: Radio control - a bit sideways

Postby Simon_S » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:31 am

Will L wrote:In the good old days of open frame motors some of them could draw up to an amp, but modern motors are much, much less thirsty. You'll get nowhere need 5 amps.


Heljan motors seem to be very inefficient, I've measured my 47 drawing 1.5A.


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