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John, Your comment is right on as to the expense of conversion.  Comparing the embedded factory bells and whistles  to an $XXX expense  per engine to go battery RC, can be a real stumbling block.

I know that as a DC operator, early on I did consider DCC.  At the time I had 63 engines and the math was overwhelming.

However, The wiring on my way-to-large RR was equally overwhelming in how it was dragging on.   That's when I got my first R/C.

Battery R/C comes in may iterations.  From a basic $99.00 Piko system to $300+ bells and whistles set up.  Our local R/C plane store will do an locomotive complete with system, controls , battery  installed for about $125.

Getting older, tired & sore with diminished ambition,  The R/C was the answer for me.   I still have an array of PS-2 & 3 equipped locos which are enjoyable, but the satisfaction of not having to wire the peninsula additions is a welcome trade off.

Plus I got rid of several excess locomotives to off set the conversions.

It'll be very hard to teach this old dog that new trick.  I understand the attraction for some folks, but I'll stick with the wired layout.  After all, I have all the basic stuff done.   Also, many of my switches are not easily accessed by hand, so I'd be wiring at least half of them anyway.  I still have to wire stuff like building lighting, accessories, signals, etc.  I just don't see saving track wiring as all that big a deal, certainly not big enough to blow up my whole fleet of locomotives for battery power.

RSJB18 and GRJ--I like your RJ45 solutions and I will be using them. For something like the RJ45 female sockets, or pre-made cables, where is a good source? I saw some at All Electronics I think...

Don

Both Home Depot and Lowes carry a good selection of tel/data wiring components. If you have a electrical supply house nearby they would have most of what you need too.

Bob

John,  I wholeheartedly agree with your approach considering the size of your loco roster. your layout size, your desire of full features, and most of all your ability.

Your layout's well worked out design makes more sense than my own in several ways.  Your layout's end game is much more attainable than mine.

Mine is just growing like ivy meandering around the basement to five different destinations.  I should have started this one 20 years ago.

Last edited by Tom Tee

GRJ--The reason I went with the DZ-2500 is their small size. I knew I was never crawling under the layout--not with these remains of what used to be a decent human body--so all the switch machines will be visible--just like old-fashioned Lionel!

Don

I totally understand your decision.  The rock-solid Tortoise machines would probably be the best solution, but they are not TMCC addressable and installing 40+ under the layout didn't have any appeal for me.  My DZ-2500s will be on top of the layout, but I will disguise them with pieces of paper or cloth to which ground cover or brush has been applied, or something similar.  I'm still working that detail out, but not worried about it.

George

GRJ--The reason I went with the DZ-2500 is their small size. I knew I was never crawling under the layout--not with these remains of what used to be a decent human body--so all the switch machines will be visible--just like old-fashioned Lionel!

Under table switch machines would have taken a lot more time, truthfully I just didn't want to spend the amount of time it would take to use the Tortoise switch machines, my top choice for under table models.  It's the same reason I have the Atlas turntable, it installed in a flash where other turntables would have been structural work and a lot more time to support the pit and get it installed properly.

One aspect of the DZ-2500 that I like is the indicator of switch position on each switch, I can see at a glance if a route is proper.

I'm in the middle of this as well.  I just finished installing the last two tortoise machines (14 total) and building my first (prototype) control panel.  Thankfully, there is  no more guessing if points are nailed to the stock rails or not when the switch is thrown.   I only run Legacy and Conventional (no dcc, dcs etc) and layout is only 7' x 21' so it wasn't bad at all.  Next up LED Signals.

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