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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-05-2013 04:34 PM
East Broad Top
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

The biggest issue I find with converting to battery R/C (or DCC for that matter) is getting into the loco and figuring out what goes where to install the electronics. Almost every loco is different. While "plug-and-play" interfaces have made things a bit easier, there are still some ideosynchracies that get in the way of things being truly universal in how to go. Some recommend gutting everything and starting from scratch (whcih is certainly a viable option in some locos), but other locos--if you want to take advantage of some of the on-board electronics they have for lights, chuff triggers, etc., it's not quite so clear-cut.

My other thought as it comes to battery R/C systems is not to get so hung up on trying to pick one specific system. In all likelihood, you're probably going to want a second transmitter at some point, for multiple operators, redundancy, or whatever. Why not make the second transmitter you buy a second system? Each system on the market has different strong and weak points, which can be exploited to fit each individual installation. That, and if you've got multiple systems, one supplier can hit a dry spell for whatever reason and not leave you hanging.

Later,

K
10-05-2013 10:51 AM
Osvidar
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

K,
Super helpful post thanks.
What are the typical pitfalls those new to battery/remote fall into?
BTW: Got my indoor RR running and ~1/8 wired for cabs. Using all the "Starter set" (X4) gear we've collected, some extra track and an old MRC 'momentum' throttle. It's 32' of dogbone mainline w. two sidings and three 'industries.'
Want to go outside, hence the interest in battery power & remote control.
What are the typical pitfalls those new to battery/remote fall into?
10-02-2013 02:26 PM
CliffyJ
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

Jim,

Great job on navigating this major decision. So many factors; it was sure a challenge for me, only recently (about 3 years ago).

I ended up similarly: rail power / DCC, and am very happy with that decision.

You're correct in seeing the roadbed issue as another biggie. Might want to start a new thread on that, ha ha!

Cliff
10-01-2013 02:21 PM
Greg Elmassian
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

If you focus on minimizing maintenance, I'll guarantee you will have more fun enjoying your trains!

Stick there and you will be happy, as opposed to people who used different priorities and were unhappy with reliability, time to get things running, and resetting track and switches.

It's what I have done, and would not do a thing differently after about 9 years.

Regards, Greg
10-01-2013 11:43 AM
calaski8123
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

Posted By BigRedOne on 29 Sep 2013 12:56 PM
Posted By calaski8123 on 09 Aug 2013 11:39 AM
Wow great stuff guys thanks. It's overwhelming. The last thing I want to do is settle on a system and find out its not what I want later one and have to start over. Sound is really not an issue but I could possibly see going over four locos at some point in the future if I really get hooked. If I solder the track connections and use concrete roadbeds, can I effectively limit the amount of maintenance? Other than some cosmetic ballast and maybe some repairs from my dogs, I'm thinking there shouldn't be anything else if I go electric track power? I bought used LGB stuff from my friend. I have four locos right now and have another in mind. Not planning to run all at once but be nice to have that ability if I wanted. The costs seem reasonable with battery, I guess a little less with track power but more initial work in soldering everything? I really need to decide on the roadbed and track type before winter. I would like to lay a test circle and see how it holds up over winter. I will have some very specific questions once I get started but for now I'm just researching and trying to learn. Does anyone live in the northern NJ or southern NY area that would be willing to show me their layout? Even eastern PA would do i'll drive up to an hour or so. Jim

I think soldering the connections will be a big headache. Especially outdoors, where track will move, solder joints are just going to break. You'd want to solder a short jumper wire to each track section, not solder the sections together. Look into rail clamps, which pinch to the rails with bolts (check out the SVRR Online web site.) LGB makes a conductivity grease that can be used prior to joining track sections, too. You can run a feeder wire underground, to supply power to multiple points around your railway.

Did you get any of the little plastic connectors LGB include with their starter sets? Part number 1150, I think. These will help hold the track sections together, though they do nothing for electrical conductivity.

Unless you already have concrete - such as a poured patio - I think you'll be happier with a less-permanent choice, at least until you settle on the track configuration you like. I'm leaning toward using some kind of landscape product, like bricks or stone tiles, to outline a "right-of-way," which I'll then fill with small gravel. Then lay the track, and more gravel to be level with the top of the ties - I want the prototypical look of ballasted track. This method should give me enough elevation range to cope with the slight grade on my lawn (live steam especially likes a flat railway) and be easily modifiable. I want to be able to take everything up and restore the lawn with minimal effort, too.



I meant soldering jumper wires and using the locking track clamps... Thanks for correcting me. The concrete method I was thinking about was detailed on this site by one of the members. It looked pretty good. I have all winter to do my research and determine the best option. My concern with prototypical using a trench, gravel and then ballast was washout during storms and winter. I'm trying to remove as much maintenance as possible. Otherwise, I know whenever I want to run the trains I'll go out, spend an hour or two fixing things and then my time will be up!
Jim
10-01-2013 11:39 AM
calaski8123
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

Not interested in going to club meets... none around here anyway.

No interest in live steam

As far as the size, I eventually do want a large railroad but over years... not buying all at once.

Jim
09-29-2013 12:56 PM
BigRedOne
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

Posted By calaski8123 on 09 Aug 2013 11:39 AM
Wow great stuff guys thanks. It's overwhelming. The last thing I want to do is settle on a system and find out its not what I want later one and have to start over. Sound is really not an issue but I could possibly see going over four locos at some point in the future if I really get hooked. If I solder the track connections and use concrete roadbeds, can I effectively limit the amount of maintenance? Other than some cosmetic ballast and maybe some repairs from my dogs, I'm thinking there shouldn't be anything else if I go electric track power? I bought used LGB stuff from my friend. I have four locos right now and have another in mind. Not planning to run all at once but be nice to have that ability if I wanted. The costs seem reasonable with battery, I guess a little less with track power but more initial work in soldering everything? I really need to decide on the roadbed and track type before winter. I would like to lay a test circle and see how it holds up over winter. I will have some very specific questions once I get started but for now I'm just researching and trying to learn. Does anyone live in the northern NJ or southern NY area that would be willing to show me their layout? Even eastern PA would do i'll drive up to an hour or so. Jim

I think soldering the connections will be a big headache. Especially outdoors, where track will move, solder joints are just going to break. You'd want to solder a short jumper wire to each track section, not solder the sections together. Look into rail clamps, which pinch to the rails with bolts (check out the SVRR Online web site.) LGB makes a conductivity grease that can be used prior to joining track sections, too. You can run a feeder wire underground, to supply power to multiple points around your railway.

Did you get any of the little plastic connectors LGB include with their starter sets? Part number 1150, I think. These will help hold the track sections together, though they do nothing for electrical conductivity.

Unless you already have concrete - such as a poured patio - I think you'll be happier with a less-permanent choice, at least until you settle on the track configuration you like. I'm leaning toward using some kind of landscape product, like bricks or stone tiles, to outline a "right-of-way," which I'll then fill with small gravel. Then lay the track, and more gravel to be level with the top of the ties - I want the prototypical look of ballasted track. This method should give me enough elevation range to cope with the slight grade on my lawn (live steam especially likes a flat railway) and be easily modifiable. I want to be able to take everything up and restore the lawn with minimal effort, too.
09-29-2013 12:09 PM
BigRedOne
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

I didn't see it mentioned, but there are additional factors which can favor one solution over the other:

- Will you be taking your trains to a club or other railways? Battery will operate no matter what power system your host uses.

- Do you want a large railway, where cost differences in track material may be more significant?

- Will you mix electric with live steam?
09-29-2013 11:39 AM
Greg Elmassian
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

He would sell his dcc control system, power supplies, and perhaps decoders..
(and of course spend even more money )

Greg
09-28-2013 02:13 PM
eheading
RE: Battery/DCC Cost Question

If you get dissatisfied with DCC and track power, why would you sell anything to go with battery power. As far as I can see there is nothing you are doing that wouldn't let you do either track and/or battery power.

Ed
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