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Old 05-25-2020, 05:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Bachmann Climax and lots of questions

Hello folks,

I've been dabbling in garden railroading for a number of years, but I am still very much a novice.
For several years a Bachmann 55t Shay has been the sole motive power in my tiny garden empire. That changed when I treated myself to a new DCC and sound-equipped Bachmann Climax as a birthday gift.
I thought it would be easy...

Up until now I have been running a dead-rail layout, with on-board radio controlled power and sound in the Shay. It's a Spektrum DX7 DSM2 transmitter that I use for my model airplanes -- seems to work great and I already had it available.

Enter the Climax.
I bought the DCC and sound equipped Climax as Bachmann stated it was easily converted to battery/RC, and I knew I wanted to run sound in it. I thought that I could pull the DCC receiver (decoder?) and install an RC receiver along with onboard batteries and everything would be set to go.
Now I'm thinking I was wrong about that and would likely have been better off buying the basic model and adding sound and RC.

Since I have this Climax sitting on the bench, I have to figure out what my options are.
Is there a wireless DCC system that will work with the components installed in the Climax? Is it capable of wireless operation, or is it only able to pick up DCC signals through the rails?
What are my options for control and sound that will plug into the socket in the locomotive? It seems that it's supposed to be a universal socket, but I can't find any good information online about what fits there.

Is there a DCC system I can buy that's wireless and will just work with what's in the Climax?
Conversely, what do I need to swap out to make it RC? It seems like I have to pull the sound/DCC board and Install something in it's place. Is there a drop-in solution? (Not including the battery, of course. That's a separate bridge to cross.)

Where is the speed controller in this thing?
Is the board that plugs into the socket the speed controller, or is the speed control handled by the lower board that has the socket on it? If the lower board isn't the speed controller, what does the lower board do?

Ideally I'd like to have one control system for my railroad to simplify things, so converting the Climax to RC, or the Shay to DCC looks like what I'll need to do.
If it makes a difference the Shay has a Railboss board, Spektrum receiver, and a Phoenix P8 in it.

I apologize for the wall of questions. I have been searching for answers online for the last several days and haven't been able to find much in the way of helpful information. Usually my Google-fu is pretty strong too.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmcchaser View Post
Hello folks,

I've been dabbling in garden railroading for a number of years, but I am still very much a novice.
For several years a Bachmann 55t Shay has been the sole motive power in my tiny garden empire. That changed when I treated myself to a new DCC and sound-equipped Bachmann Climax as a birthday gift.
I thought it would be easy...

Up until now I have been running a dead-rail layout, with on-board radio controlled power and sound in the Shay. It's a Spektrum DX7 DSM2 transmitter that I use for my model airplanes -- seems to work great and I already had it available.

Enter the Climax.
I bought the DCC and sound equipped Climax as Bachmann stated it was easily converted to battery/RC, and I knew I wanted to run sound in it. I thought that I could pull the DCC receiver (decoder?) and install an RC receiver along with onboard batteries and everything would be set to go.
Now I'm thinking I was wrong about that and would likely have been better off buying the basic model and adding sound and RC.
>>> yes that might have been easier


Since I have this Climax sitting on the bench, I have to figure out what my options are.
Is there a wireless DCC system that will work with the components installed in the Climax?

>>> sure, but you need a system that "feeds" the decoder to it's track inputs.


Is it capable of wireless operation, or is it only able to pick up DCC signals through the rails?

>>> as equipped and by definition, DCC decoders are designed to pick up the combined power/control from the rails. See previous answer how to feed it not from the rails.



What are my options for control and sound that will plug into the socket in the locomotive?

>>> there are plenty, but the modification you want is to have a gadget that simulates the power from the track, so you disconnect the track pickups and hook this gadget to it. For Airwire, it is called the convrtr, Crest makes the DCC version of the revolution.


It seems that it's supposed to be a universal socket, but I can't find any good information online about what fits there.
>>> stems from the original design from Aristo.. but your problem is not what is plugged into it, you have that done already.


Is there a DCC system I can buy that's wireless and will just work with what's in the Climax?
>>> nothing that plugs in, but the Airwire and the Revolution systems are simple, battery to the "gadget" power input (2 wires) and output from the gadget to the track pickup wires (2 wires)


Conversely, what do I need to swap out to make it RC? It seems like I have to pull the sound/DCC board and Install something in it's place.
>>> yes


Is there a drop-in solution? (Not including the battery, of course. That's a separate bridge to cross.)
>>> no and why spend the extra money to buy another controller and sound system that you already have


Where is the speed controller in this thing?
Is the board that plugs into the socket the speed controller,

>>> yes


or is the speed control handled by the lower board that has the socket on it?

>>> no


If the lower board isn't the speed controller, what does the lower board do?
>>> power for lights and smoke and chuff sensor.


Ideally I'd like to have one control system for my railroad to simplify things, so converting the Climax to RC, or the Shay to DCC looks like what I'll need to do.
>>> yes it would be nice, you have to choose what path.


If it makes a difference the Shay has a Railboss board, Spektrum receiver, and a Phoenix P8 in it.
>>> if you stop using the decoder in your climax, you will be spending more money for a new controller and sound system.


I apologize for the wall of questions. I have been searching for answers online for the last several days and haven't been able to find much in the way of helpful information. Usually my Google-fu is pretty strong too.
>>> all the googling in the world would not really answer the questions you have, your questions are clear and to the point.



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Old 05-26-2020, 02:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Converter devices Greg mentions are quite simple. 4 wires to connect, 2 from the battery, 2 are DCC out. I have more experence with the Air Wire converter, program changes can be made by changeing CV's
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The device used by Crest / Revolution is the same idea. I would favor the Revolution since it is 2.4 GHz, not 900 like the Airwire.


In terms of operation, there's more information of the screen of the Revolution, but I judge both their user interfaces are poor. Learnable, but poor.


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Old 05-27-2020, 06:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for the feedback folks. That definitely gives me more information to work with.

I am curious about the preference for 2.4Ghz over 900Mhz. Is there a difference in use or operation?
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Old 05-27-2020, 07:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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900 MHz v. 2.4 GHz, I’ve used both operating trains on Andy Clarke’s humongous 2 acre layout and tested both for control at approximately 300 feet. If you need more range than that, you need a roundy round layout.
With the AirWire transmitter it is possible to change CV’S, not so easy with the revolution.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually 900 might work better all things equal.


But the 900 band is crowded with other ISM unlicensed devices so interference is a consideration, especially considering the very elementary modulation scheme used in AirWire...


2.4 has more users, but better modulation and encoding and channelization practices.


In the middle of a huge open space with no electronic neighbors 900 is fine... still a lower data rate than 2.4...


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Old 06-15-2020, 10:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for writing with patience.
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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ok marwen, I have added you to my ignore list. When you finally have something to say, email me and let me know. Otherwise I will no longer see your posts.


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