Ripping up the 3rd rails and going rc.

Like Bob Delbridge, two of my three battery powered locos have on-board sound. A small bluetooth amplifier PC board and a decent size speaker (2-21/2") fit easily into the locos and work well. The sound is controlled by the BlueRail app in my iPad and can be switched between diesel and steam.

As an easier alternate, a complete small bluetooth speaker chassis can be installed in a trailing tender/boxcar/toolcar. I've done this and works just as well.

 

I don't use Lipo batteries. I use old-fashioned rechargeable gel cells (lead-acid) as used in alarm systems, back-up computer power supplies and exit lights. They are the gel equivalent, in charging and performance, of automotive wet cells.

I don't do much switching on my little railroad; I just watch the trains go through the scenes.  I'm sure that all of you will agree that most MU consists of Diesels have at least one unpowered B unit, most freight trains have a boxcar, and most passenger trains have a baggage car. That's where my batteries are installed.  These cars feed power to the locomotives via flexible tether wires. I rotate several of them in and out of my train sets, when they run down.

I have a recharging track, where the switcher spots the battery cars, and the little workers plug in a two conductor lead with a coaxial connector, as found on wall-warts, that recharges the batteries.  The charger is mounted under the table. It's only turned on when I'm in the room, or close by. Simple.

Arthur P. Bloom TCA 86-23906 "I love the smell of smoke pellets in the morning!"

Are you folks aware of battery remote control systems like Locolinc and Airwire?  They are designed to do exactly what you've been discussing on this thread:

http://www.locolinc.com/

https://www.cvpusa.com/airwire_system.php

You don't need a DC-to-AC inverter or any exotic technology.  In fact, if you build a simple circuit consisting of a rectifier, capacitor, and maybe a Zener diode to cap the voltage, I'm pretty sure you could use these systems with AC track power too.  They can be installed in any can-motored loco with or without a flywheel, and make use of speed control via back-EMF (like ERR's Cruise Commander.)  Airwire in particular is aimed at G-gauge so it should have ample current capacity for O gauge.

The RC is direct to the loco (there is no "command base" to buy), and I'm pretty sure the loco can be set to keep going when the signal is lost, such as might happen on long bridges or "chicken wire" tunnels.  No more problems with too much or too little earth ground.  No more "check track" or "RF out of range" errors!  About the only disadvantage I can think of to this approach, is that because there is no central command base, it's more difficult to create a computer-controlled, fully-automated operation as you might with Lionel's Layout Control System (LCS.)

If I win the lottery and buy Roadside America, I would let my visitors run the trains using one of these systems!  Also, New Jersey Hi-Railers: have you thought about this approach?

Creep, coast, and pull.  It's not that hard...!

With regard to battery type, when I built my first battery powered loco in 2014, I used a 2000mah NiMH battery on a trailing car. It worked fine, is not as fussy as LiPo, but would not easily fit in a GP-9 or RS-3 shell. I switched to LiPo (1300mah) so I could get the battery on-board the locos. I provided small jacks conveniently located for recharging. I am careful to monitor the recharging current when recharging. So far, everything works fine. 

"Airwire in particular is aimed at G-gauge so it should have ample current capacity for O gauge."

Well...not exactly.  O gauge is admittedly smaller than G gauge, but the amperage use is not proportionate to the size. Most modern (last 30 years) G gauge trains use very efficient can motors or equivalent.  These use very modest amounts of current. Traditional O gauge (Lionel and clones) with series-wound motors use quite a bit of current when starting.

 

 

Arthur P. Bloom TCA 86-23906 "I love the smell of smoke pellets in the morning!"

I know this is repeated in the 3-rail scale forum, but 2- rail has for decades used more efficient can motors with rar earth magnets, silver graphite brushes, and ball bearings.

I long ago sold or gave away most of my series-wound motors, and now use only Pittman 8x2y motors (x and y vary).  One amp or less.

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