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I have been using R/C Systems with Deadrail for 2 months. The experience has been very rewarding and has givin me new life in this hobby.  I would like to have you that are in R/C Systems and Deadrail to share your experiences here on this topic forum. Please share the good and the bad experiences. Share pictures and videos along with ideas. I for one am looking for the ideas on how to make my layout the best it can be for me. I hope you all feel the same for you by asking how to and help with problem solving. So with that said I would invite you to join in starting with the next post. 

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Just got done with my 2nd conversion to battery power/deadrail with a legacy NW2 switcher. I find that trying to get all wires and components in the shell was a no go. So I added a tender. I did not want to do that. Have any one of you doing battery power a idea on what I could do differently to make hardware fit .  I am using mto #9 battery also railpro module.  I added cab lights and hooked up front and back lights using leds from evans lighting. Here is a picture  of a 20220902_08290720220902_082855not finished tender along with legacy NW2.


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I also have a lionchief plus that I converted to battery keeping the Lionchief + R/C installed. Now that is simple. I think I will install the railpro module some time soon with a new speaker.  I want to give it a better sound than what it has now. .  I also just love deadrail . I really feel that my 2 converted engines have ran so much smoother , have not had a problem with one exception I forgot to tighten one of my kadee's after the conversion on one engine. That caused a derail. 

Great job Bill.  That looks great.  I think you will find the deadrail runs wonderful without many of the technical issues that come up with track power.

With smaller engines, you have to compromise with either a smaller battery or a battery tender car.  I like way you did yours.  I did something similar with my 44 tonner and a scratch-built transfer caboose to house my battery.

I left the MTH board in the 44 tonner for my sound.  So I needed a car to hold my battery and BlueRail board.  But because I wanted my transfer caboose to look as close to the prototype at possible, I still had space challenges. 

I ended up using an 11.1V (3 cell) LiIon and mounted the BlueRail board to the battery.  The fit is perfect.  And I do not see any performance issues using the 11.1V vs the typical 14.4V I use in my larger engines.

Fortunately, MTO, XML and others have a large selection of batteries to make custom fits work for you.  Just remember to ensure you get a battery with PCB protection to prevent under current and over charging.

I discovered an unintended benefit of battery operation when I performed the MTH extended shutdown sequence.  Listen carefully what the engineer tells Al to do.

Have Fun!


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@BOB WALKER posted:

Over the past few years, I have run battery power with several different R/C systems. The R/C 's tested included LionChief and several versions of BlueRailTrains bluetooth products. A number of published articles (including OGRR magazine) have covered this. Current testing activity is centered on the new bluetooth R/C decoder from SoundTraxx.

Hi Bob - must have missed this article - do you happen to know the "Run #"?

Iʻd like to convert a LionChief to battery power for my track cleaning consist, and learn more about battery power.


The nice thing is that this engine and the cab2 remote didn't get along. I had continuous on going problems with trying to run operate it . I finally became so  frustrated that I put the engine on my display shelves and forgot about it. That's why I converted it to battery power and RailPro. The only thing amiss is she is running on 3 rail instead of 2rail.  But she runs so smooth that I am in love 🥰

Well it's been awhile since the last post. I also rebuilt 2/3rds of my layout. Starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.  I completely tore out all my electrical except for my switch machines. Tore up and replaced my 3 rail to 2 rail. Replaced scenery and buildings. Decided to use Dwarvin fiber optic lighting. I really like it,  simple and fast . After getting things back to order ran trains to make sure track and switches we r e working. Had to work on 2 switch machines and replace a small section of track that I was not happy with. I will add some pictures . 20220826_102443_00220230711_18422820230711_184301


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Last edited by Bill Grafmiller

I tinkered with Bluerail in one of my large Factory Test steamers a while back.  Even with the big areas in the steam shell and the large tender, finding the right fit for the battery, DCC card (or MTH PS3 card) plus the Bluerail / RC card takes some tinkering to get satisfactory.

I was super jazzed at first, but since our layout is still primarily DCS, we tend to forget about the Bluerail loco and charging / managing the battery tends to be a bit of a pain.  It's a shelf queen for now, but maybe in the future when I have more RC equipment it'll get more play time.

Here's a thread about the install.

I’m currently in a work stretch that precludes most train time, but I’m more and more convinced that battery power is my path to model railroading bliss, at least in my O scale modeling. For me (at least at the moment), sound is a secondary consideration.

My big thing is to get something converted to battery power, so I think my first candidate is going to be my Atlas B&M F3a/F3b pair—which was originally going to be a 2-rail pair of locomotives. The F3b ended up being an unpowered three rail locomotive when I received it in the mail, and the F3a was an unpowered 2-rail locomotive.

While I was mulling over how to get them to work with each other I happened upon a great deal on an Atlas powered three rail F3a, so after a shell swap, I now have a good running pair of 3 rail-scale locomotives that look pretty nice and run well together.

So it seems completely natural to not leave well enough alone and convert them to Blunami Deadrail power. I’m going to leave the three rail, “pizza cutter” wheels on them for now, mainly because most of my locomotive roster is now equipped with the deep flanged wheels, and with battery power eliminating the need for a third rail on my home layout I find I can easily overlook the non scale wheelsets as long as everything is converted to fixed pilots, proper handrails, and Kadee couplers.

If the deep flanges start to bother me (and I’m 99.5% sure they won’t ) I can begin to worry about fixing them at that point.

I’m not now, and never have been, a purist. My #1 gripe with “toy trains” was always more about swinging pilots and lobster claw couplers than anything else, and with deadrail really beginning to be approachable (and somewhat affordable) the “can I live with it” objections I used to stress over are rapidly disappearing.

There’s a ton of great looking three rail rolling stock and motive power (steam, diesel, and electric prototypes) out there, and with battery power and my ability to hand lay track I think I can have a good running, decent looking layout that will make me happy—and keep me engaged and energized to get it done (or at least fairly far along) before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

I may even reach some sort of tolerance for sound and smoke—in the same manner of the French reaching an accommodation with the automobile back in the day…

Jeff C

Jeff  when I moved from track power to deadrail/ Battery using  Railpro never regretted it. I eliminated the stress of cab2 issues that would drive me nuts. .  Sold cab2 and zwl . Completely striped all wiring for hot rail then replaced the 3 rail with 2 rail on 2/3 of my layout. In process changed my track layout and all scenery.  Just getting to where I can run trains. Took 3 legacy engines and stripped and replaced  with Railpro system ( i like it to be simple ).  Engines sounds are great . The point with me was the hot rail cab2 frustration  was getting to the point that I regretted to run trains because of electrical failures or issues so I started not visiting my layout . Then spotted a video by Ron045 on battery power with railpro. Best thing that could of happened. Now I find myself very much entertained with my layout. Welcome to battery power. Oh and yes I join you on the monster claw that ruins many o scale cosmetics . Love those Kadee's

Last edited by Bill Grafmiller

Completely striped all wiring for hot rail then replaced the 3 rail with 2 rail on 2/3 of my layout.

One important caveat: Unless you literally REMOVE the center rail from your existing 3-rail track system, you should not expect reliable operation of 3-rail wheels and flanges through 2-rail O scale switches.

Unfortunately the way a lot of 3-rail O gauge locos are made, conforming the wheels to NMRA standard O scale geometry involves skilled and irreversible machine work.  And that's a shame, because getting rid of the center rail could be a reason more folks would opt for battery on board.

Proto 3-2 my butt!  Give me a "bottom plate" or give me death!

Last edited by Ted S
@Ted S posted:
And that's a shame, because getting rid of the center rail could be a reason more folks would opt for battery on board.

Won't slow me down one bit.

Keen awareness of my age (approaching 'octogenarianship'...not much chance that word will ever appear on a Scrabble board!!) and mortality, plus the investment of time and money already put into my Gargraves/Ross layout, and everything else except the scenery and structures happily celebrating O3R heritage still makes dipping of the toe into BPRC an exciting adventure.

Heck, as much as I'd like to convert the whole shebang to Kadee couplers, too, it ain't  a'gonna happen either!

We...wife and I...were going to build an outdoor G gauge railroad.  In anticipation of that project we did the now-common thing: converted an LGB Mogul to BPRC.  WHAT A HOOT!!  Just running it on the carpeted LHS floor to a small crowd of track-powered hobbyists was reward enough, though.  That outdoor layout just never happened.  Again: Creeping age, mortality, chiropractors, wintering in Florida, etc., etc.,... It alters the perspective.

So the projects begin to get prioritized, and some things fall off the bottom of the proverbial 'bucket list'.

But BPRC on an O engine or two for the existing conventional O3R layout filling the basement?....that's a keeper.  And the enthusiasm of a small but growing list of Forumites for this has had a LOT to do with it!

Onward!  No do-overs!

Just MHO, of course.


Last edited by dkdkrd

I originally was going to build a layout with two separate main lines, one of them 2-rail scale, and one three rail, but it became obvious to me once I decided to convert my small motive power roster to  deadrail that I should have one standard for wheelsets on the layout.

I can build my own turnouts, but I don’t need the extra challenge of building a turnout to smoothly run both scale and hirail wheels, so it has to be one or the other.

Going to all scale wheels is harder and more expensive for me than converting everything to hirail wheels, and I don’t find hirail wheels to be that off putting in the big scheme of things—to be certain they aren’t as big a deal to me as the other two big bugaboos of traditional o scale, which are swinging pilots and lobster claw couplers…

Jeff C

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