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I am considering purchasing a RailPro R/C system to control some of my O gauge locomotives when I convert them to battery power.  

I would appreciate any comments that forum members may have about this system.  I am especially interested in comments about using the system in diecast and brass O gauge engines.  Do the metal bodies block the signal from the RailPro decoder?  RailPro decoders do not have an external antenna.  RailPro's website says that their decoders have been used successfully in brass HO locomotive.  

I am also interested in general comments from G and HO users about the system.  I understand that this system is widely used in the Eastern US in these gauges.  I don't know anyone in CA who uses the system.  

Thanks for any feedback that you can give me.   NH Joe

 

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This looks good to me.  In my opinion, unless you're going to control your whole empire with a computer, etc., R/C direct to the loco is the way to go, and RailPro even has a dongle that allows a PC to control the loco!  Given today's technology there's no reason to have a "command base," etc.  Metal loco bodies are a sticking point.  That might be the only reason I can think of to propagate the signal up through the rails.

I've been thinking about direct R/C for a while (I looked at Airwire though, not RailPro.)  Airwire's decoders are designed for battery powered operation.  I'm not ready to make the leap to battery power, so I would be installing a rectifier / voltage regulator circuit between the track pickups and the decoder.  I've been sternly warned that they are very picky about variations in input voltage, so anyone considering this approach needs to allow room for a helper circuit like this in their loco or tender.

I wonder how difficult it would be to make resin castings of every coal tender body in my fleet to address the issue of signal reception?  I never liked die-cast tenders.  Now I really don't like them!  Following this thread.

Last edited by Ted S

Hi Guys, as an installer of RailPro products it is great system.  The current model will run on track or battery power. It has a built in rectifier. Is rated for a full 6 amps continuous and you get a 13 watt audio amp. Radio range in brass/diecast locos is 40' and plastic body is 90'. There are repeaters available if needed.

RailPro is a integrated 2.4Ghz radio control on board system w/sound for our trains.  No extra boards or WIFI adapters needed. Each loco gets a module the size of a granola bar. That's it.

Don

@Richie C. posted:

"That's it."

I'm interested. What about sounds - bell, horn, whistle - and integration with command control functions and systems like Legacy and DCS ?

Is that part of the system, yet ?

Thanks

 

According to the RailPro website, they offer everything that the standard DCC has.  Most RailPro installations are HO with track power.  They have only recently come out with a G/O gauge board.  Check out RailPro's website.   NH Joe

RailPro has a full compliment of engine settings under the tools button for each loco.  Each loco is tweaked and those setting are saved. No CV's to deal with. Then dial in a "load" setting for your train, 0 to 100%.  This algorithm takes momentum to the next level as it  simulates pulling a load by adjusting speed and sounds together.  There is a delay as the engine starts to pull, prime movers rev up and the engine breaks away with the train. Nice rolling starts and stops can be done.

Hi Casey, the RailPro does not need to use back emf or cruise control. It uses bi-directional communication based on your loco current draw. Using the "Set Load" function from the touch screen, dial in a loading percentage from 0-100%.  This is totally different than any other system. The effect is more constant speeds and better sounds. However, because it simulates a real train it will slow down a little on big enough grades then the speed will return on level track. I would refer you to O scale operators for their experiences. I operate G scale running outdoors.

Don

 

@Casey Jones hopefully Don will give you a definite answer.  But most of these newer wireless systems are designed for low-current DC "can" motors.  All postwar Lionel locos have universal series-wound motors.  Although universal motors will run on DC, current draw is pretty high (up to 2.5 amps per motor.)  It might also be necessary to separate the motor ground from the chassis ground.  In a metal-bodied steam loco designed for use on 3-rail track, that could be very difficult. 

The only command control solution I know of that's specifically designed for postwar Lionel, is the Electric Rail Road (ERR) AC Commander.

Last edited by Ted S

Gunrunner John you probably already realize this.  But the 1.2 amp total limit is for accessory outputs such as smoke, lights, etc.  The line immediately above it shows motor current up to 8 amps.  So if it doesn't require an isolated ground, it could work with Postwar.  What kind of speed control you would get with those old motors running on DC is anyone's guess.

Hi Guys, nice to see all this interest. My experience with O gauge is mostly 2 rail. I have converted newer Lionel 3 rail to RailPro with can motors. I do not go with open frame or any AC motors. You guys can quickly educate me on what you need for 3 rail.

The continuous current rating is 6 amps. The lighting outputs are rated at 1.2 amps . When you go above , like a smoke unit the RailPro displays an error. I do not suggest to any 3 railers this will replace Lionel or MTH control systems with all the same features. 

In the 2 rail models all is good. With Lionel 3 rail and MTH we would remove their electronics and replace with the RailPro board. Why would you do that? Because you want on-board radio control with great  sound, battery power, independent operations and no track cleaning.

Don

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