Beginners to on board and trail car battery R/C often do not know where to start.
The following is a brief summary of what types of equipment are available, & what is involved converting to battery R/C.
Each RCS R/C product has a downloadable PDF file elsewhere on this website explaining how to use it.
RCS R/C uses any of the low cost Park Flyer 2.4 GHz 4/5/6 channel R/C stick type transmitters (TX).
These new transmitters have VERY GOOD RANGE when compared to a small proprietary handset due to the much higher radio frequency employed.
No need to worry about poking anyone in the eye. They no longer have the long telescoping antennas of the older AM and FM systems.
|SPEKTRUM DX4e||DSM2-RA RX||OMEGA-3s ESC|
RCS R/C Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) are legal Worldwide for ground and air use. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) is completely ignored. There are literally thousands of frequencies available and the systems are self selecting for an available frequency. No more crystal swapping for system separation.
RCS R/C ESC's come fitted with a Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) for the receiver. No extra RX battery needed.
RCS R/C R/C ESC's are compatible with Phoenix®, SIERRA®, Dallee® and MyLocosound® sound systems.
RCS R/C ESC's are designed primarily for battery power. There is a Plug'n'Play ESC for AristoCraft® and Bachmann® locos that permits Plug'n'Play installation for AristoCraft® and Bachmann® locos.This will allow battery and or constant voltage track power. They have direction lighting, 4 x built in sound triggers, programmable default direction set and system reset capability.
INSTALLING BATTERY R/C
Firstly you need to determine whether you want all the equipment on board the loco or tagging along in a trail car.
Each has advantages and disadvantages.
A trail car set up is by far the simplest method and has the advantage of much more room for the batteries and equipment. Another advantage over an in the loco installation is, that, you can simply plug one trail car from loco to loco. With some steam outline locos the tender is big enough to carry everything and is after all, a sort of trail car. In a trail car, access to the battery pack is also much easier if you need to change the pack. If switching on and running is your thing then trail car installations are ideal.
Any of the RCS R/C Battery R/C systems can be installed in a trail car. If the trains you intend to haul are heavy, naturally you will need to choose one of the higher volt/amp (va) rated systems.
The biggest disadvantage is you have this "thing" always being lugged around behind the loco. That sure makes life difficult when switching. Also, having proper control of the loco lights and on board sound becomes a lot more complicated with a lot of wires running between the loco and the trail car.
Here is a typical Trail Car installation using the older # PRO-6
The trade off is generally a more difficult installation as most locos have to be dismantled. This may be a daunting task for a novice. Creativity in antenna placement is not required.
No more lugging a trail car around. Switching becomes a breeze.Interfacing with sound systems is greatly simplified, as is wiring constant brightness lighting to remain on when stationary, and automatically change direction.
NiCd and NiMh battery capacity is well over double what it was, even just 5 years ago, meaning long run times can be achieved without the need to keep changing battery packs. A very simple circuit is also available that allows the operator to plug in auxiliary batteries when running on the mainline and save the on board set for switching & light engine running.
There are LOCO SPECIFIC KITS for various brands of locos.
There is a third category that is quite popular.
TRAIL CAR WITH BATTERIES ONLY.
This is where only the batteries are carried in the trail car. Generally this method is used with AristoCraft locos that have the pigtail at the front and rear. The receiver, controller and sound system are installed on board and powered by the trail car batteries. This greatly simplifies installation but the penalty is you will always have a "THING" trailing behind.
RCS R/C also has published a number of HOW TO articles at various LS websites. These are listed with convenient clickable links elsewhere on the site.
RCS R/C provides comprehensive installation instructions and wiring diagrams.
Apart from various Installation kits for On Board and Trail Car systems, RCS also has PERFORMANCE ENHANCERS plus BATTERIES & CHARGERS.
Click HERE for a list of pdf instruction booklets for the brand of R/C being used and brand specific sound system wiring instructions.
Here is a brief glossary of abbreviations used by this and other websites when referring to radio control equipment. We would appreciate feedback as to abbreviations we may have left out.
|Remote Control Systems. Using off the shelf 5 channel 2.4 GHz DP R/C equipment to controlling model trains.|
|BTL||The abbreviation of BELTROL.|
|TX||Transmitter. Used by an operator to send the signals to the:|
|RX||Receiver. Either sitting trackside or onboard in a loco or trail car.=|
|MD||Motor Driver. Which interprets these commands and drives the motor(s). When used with DP systems also known as:|
|ESC||Electronic Speed Controller. Does the same thing as an MD.|
|PWM||A type of DC voltage that is often used to power the motor(s).|
|DC||Direct Current. As distinct from:|
|AC||Alternating Current. This is the type of voltage at the mains supply which is reduced and rectified to produce DC.|
|DP||Digital Proportional R/C that can set the speed output of an ESC so that is relative to the position on the TX stick.|
|AM||Amplitude Modulation. Used with low cost DP systems to transmit the commands. Very susceptible to RFI.|
|FM||Frequency Modulation. Also used with DP systems. Suffers less from RFI.|
|DSSS||Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum. 2.4 GHz DSSS systems transmit on a single selected frequency but on a very wide band. Only a small portion of that band is used for specially encoded information.|
|FHSS||Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. With a 2.4 GHz FHSS system, the transmitter transmits a narrow band signal and rapidly jumps from one frequency to the next, spending a few milliseconds on each frequency.|
|PCB||Printed Circuit Board. The fiberglass cards upon which are mounted the components that make the R/C systems work.|
|PCM||Pulse Code Modulation. Until the advent of 2.4 GHz, the least affected by RFI of the majority of DP systems.|
|RFI||Radio Frequency Interference. Can, and often does affect how the R/C systems work. Can be atmospheric, reflective or generated by the PCB motor driver and/or the motor(s). Usually requires some type of suppression.|
|IC||Integrated Circuit. Usually a small multi pin component that is often the brains behind how a particular system works.|
|VA||Volt Amps. Another way of saying watts. i.e. the amount of power required to do a particular job. I prefer it to watts as it usually gives a true reflection of what power the output circuit is capable of. Eg 120VA is = to 10 amps at 12 volts. Or, 12 amps at 10 volts. Or, 6 amps at 20 volts. Assuming of course the equipment can handle the higher voltage. RCS equipment is always rated in VA.|
|LED||Light Emitting Diode. A small device that uses low voltage and current to provide a long lasting light source. Can be very high powered for locomotive lighting. RCS uses them on the PCB’s to indicate direction and acknowledgement of programming changes.|
|MAH||Milli Ampere Hours. The capacity of a battery. 1200 MAH means the battery can give 1.2 amps for 1 hour.|
|NiCd||Nickel Cadmium. A type of battery Chemistry.|
|NiMh||Nickle Metal Hydride. Another type of battery Chemistry.|
|Li-Ion||Lithium Ion. Yet another type of battery chemistry rapidly gaining popularity.|
Lithium Polymer. Still another battery chemistry that should be treated with studied CAUTION!!!