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The Learning Curve & Marketing Curve Required For B.P.R.C. Model Railroading
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 Posted: Fri Feb 16th, 2018 07:24 pm
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Rick Dow
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My personal foray into battery powered locomotives, controlled by a radio transmitter has been a bumpy but determined trail to this point.
But I am going to get to that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
There's a lot to learn in fits and starts.
The old "You don't know, what you don't know" maxim rules here.

The help from the experts at this Forum has made it all possible.
Until only recently, I knew just enough to be dangerous.
I'm still in the dangerous zone but am getting closer to the finish line (I hope).

The common saying "cash is king" works in business (I know from personal experience this statement to be factual)
but with regard to BPRC model railroading the saying might be: "Information is King." 

I'm not entirely a dunderhead by nature, but I sure have felt like one multiple times during the past two months or so.
But I am gradually "getting it." 

When I talk about BPRC to other model railroaders here in my home town,
they are quite interested but have absolutely no idea about the application procedures.
It's all Greek to them.

I'm sure this is a common position the vast majority of model railroaders find themselves in, when they consider BPRC,
and unfortunately many will give up trying almost immediately.

Most of the internet based BPRC articles I've read (and I've searched exhaustively) have succeeded in getting me interested,
but have lacked the hands-on application detail necessary to seamlessly move a neophyte into this type of wireless layout. 

I'm pretty sure that this will change because market success will demand an easier way for the average modeller to become involved.
But it will need to be driven by the manufacturers imv.

Rick



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 Posted: Fri Feb 16th, 2018 08:21 pm
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Michael M
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Rick,

I'm new to BPRC and it has been an uphill battle for me.
I've never been very good with electrical devices so this has been a stiff learning curve for me
(and yeah, I considered chucking the whole idea).

I started by using the guts from RC cars and had only moderate success.
I moved on to using 'FlySky' components because of their simplicity and pretty much idiot proof
(I've fried a few boards).

'FlySky' is inexpensive with transmitter and receiver costing about $20-25, plus an ESC and battery, with total cost around $30-35
Additional receivers are about $6-7
 
With much help from many people on FR I've made a lot of progress.
Couldn't have done it without everyone's help.




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Michael
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 Posted: Sun Feb 18th, 2018 11:57 pm
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Rick Dow
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Hi Michael,

Hope all is well in sunny Southern Cal.

You mentioned, With much help from many people on FR I've made a lot of progress.

When you indicate that you've made a lot of progress,
does that mean you're up and running trains using the FlySky equipment? 

Fellow Forum member, Bernd recently experimented with FlySky and unless I am mistaken,
he found that he struggled to make the electronic speed control work well for him.
As I recall, his test diesel locomotive would blast off immediately at full speed etc.
How have you solved those issues? 

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences?

Thks

Rick



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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 12:29 am
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W C Greene
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Howdy guys, there is a real procedure for "firing up" an r/c locomotive (or any other r/c device)
and that is to turn on the transmitter FIRST and then the loco, turn the loco OFF then the transmitter.
I have made that mistake time and again and almost all the time when I turned on the loco first, it would "take off" without any control.
Now, there may be some other reason for Bernd's control situation but this is just MY experience.
I was warned by r/c flyers and car racers long ago to switch on the Xmitter first and off last.
It works every time (for me).

Woodie

BTW Rick, if you don't wire up a layout to begin with then you might "get the drift" faster.
Necessity is the Frank Zappa of invention...or something like that.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 03:38 am
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Michael M
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Rick,

I've got one little gas switcher that I converted using FlySky and it works fine. 
A little on the slow side, but that's because of the new motor I installed.

Working on a Tyco 0-4-0 Shifter. 
It runs fine under DC power, and I tested it using a 7.4 volt Li-Po battery and it chugs along at a decent speed.

I haven't done anything special...it's pretty much just plug-and-play with the FlySky receiver plus ESC and battery.

I do follow the rule of transmitter on first, then the receiver.




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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 05:30 am
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Rick Dow
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Hi Woodie,

You mentioned: BTW Rick, if you don't wire up a layout to begin with then you might "get the drift" faster.
Necessity is the Frank Zappa of invention...or something like that.

No worry about wiring up first here, Woodie.
I'm all in with BPRC. Benchwork is bereft of wires :)

I suppose I'll wire up some 12 volt power to a couple of hard to reach turnout switch machines,
plus for fun I have also purchased a few Railcrew uncoupling devices that I hope will actually work. 

I'm awaiting an order of Rx62 Receivers from Micron plus my Battery Protection circuits,
and then I'm going to begin powering up my locomotives (or perhaps begin blowing up some boards)

Thank you, Woodie for the advice about the order of firing up.
Much appreciated.
P.S. We can get into Frank Zappa if you want to, but this is a family channel.  :)


Hi Michael

You mentioned: It runs fine under DC power, and I tested it using a 7.4 volt Li-Po battery and it chugs along at a decent speed.
I haven't done anything special...it's pretty much just plug-and-play with the FlySky receiver plus ESC and battery.


Michael, I suppose the ESC is a mystery to me.
The Receivers I have purchased have a built-in ESC (Del Tang Rx61 and Rx62).
Obviously, the FlySky equipment appears to come with a Receiver that does not have a built-in ESC.
(or perhaps it has one that we can't utilize for model trains)

So what did you do, Michael?
Go out and purchase an ESC circuit board and then solder it in between the battery and the receiver? 
How is it wired. Are the solder pads visibly identified?

By the way, are you running your switching engines on a 2 cell LiPo or a 1 cell with a booster?


Thank You, Guys

Rick



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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 06:41 am
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Si.
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The 2 pairs of red & black wires emerging from the E.S.C. for the battery & motor are ...

... cable-plug is for the battery ...

... cable-socket is for the motor.





The 3-way white/red/black wires emerging from the E.S.C ...

... should be connected to the 'FlySky' receivers Channel-2, observing correct polarity.





The single pair of red/red wires emerging from the E.S.C. ...

... terminates in a cable mounted general on/off switch.





A single 3.7-Volt battery can be used ...

... with a 9-Volt 'DC-DC Step-Up Regulator'





Or just two 3.7-Volt batteries or a single 7.4-Volt battery ...

... sans 'DC-DC Step-Up Regulator'.









" they consider BPRC and unfortunately many will give up trying almost immediately "



Sadly you may well be right Rick.

Some people have the attention span of a newt ...

... and no perseverance or ability to see the job through.



Michael on the other hand, has stuck with it.

Starting with valiant experimentation using economy R.C. car parts.

Then moving up to the affordable & high-quality 'modular' 2.4 GHz 'FlySky' R.C. gear.



As you can hopefully see from the more or less very simple 'Plug n Play' wiring ...

... and as Michael says himself ...



... It aint rocket-science & you don't need an overdraft !



:brill:



Si.



I recently purchased all the components needed for 1 loco on eBay ...

... for the princely sum of ... £9.10p inc. P&P !

Or current U.S. $  of 1.35 ... $12.28c inc P&P !

That was for 'FlySky' Receiver, E.S.C. Electronic Speed Controller & 2x 3.7-Volt batteries.


- - - - - - -


The reason for the 'modular' approach, is simple.

Not all R.C. applications require an E.S.C. Electronic Speed Controller.


For example, neither a glider nor sailboat have a motor, so don't require an E.S.C.

The receiver can control the glider or sailboats rudder servos directly.


On the other hand.

Some applications need very very high-power E.S.C.s.

Such as speed-boats or large racing-cars.

Things like big G-scale trains, also need quite large E.S.C.s


So you can see.

The 'FlySky' receiver is 'universal' in its application across many different uses.


A receiver with built in E.S.C. can only power things within it's limitations.

If you exceed those limitations, you toast the WHOLE BOARD ! ... not just the E.S.C.

An expensive business !!


Last edited on Mon Feb 19th, 2018 07:45 am by Si.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 07:45 am
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Michael M
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Rick,

The ESC just plugs into the receiver...it also has an on/off switch.

I'm using a 7.4 volt Li-Po that already wired together by the factory:





So far, so good.



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 Posted: Wed Dec 12th, 2018 04:56 pm
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dan3192
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In the January issue of Model Railroader magazine,
"dead rail" operation is listed as one of twenty innovations that have changed the hobby of model railroading.

It states "A relatively new development, whose impact on the hobby has not yet been fully realized,
is radio-control and battery technology."

It concludes by saying
"We can imagine a future where today's standards like power packs and layout wiring are things of the past.

This gives me great pride and joy, having spent 8 years exploring the potential of BPRC,
including 10 clinics for clubs and conventions and 100's of hours operating on home layouts.

Having demonstrated BPRC's ability to provide excellent performance, and work with DCC sound decoders for even better performance,
imv we are close to being on a par with the features that model railroaders truly appreciate.

Work on wireless charging for on-board batteries,
is an additional feature that will enhance prototype operations and is now in the testing stage.

Since manufacturers do not have a market for BPRC,
it seems more likely individuals working with entrepreneurial partners will create the desired market,
to a point where it ultimately has the attention of manufacturers.  

So congratulations to Model Railroader for having BPRC on your list of innovations.

And thanks, Rick, for some forward thinking.

Dan   

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 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2018 07:32 am
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davecttr
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BlueRail had a product in their first board which had excellent features.
For me it was just too large for most of my locos.
In email exchanges with them they said they could make it even better for battery use by implementing battery voltage monitoring.
Their new smaller board was due for release this summer but no news so far.
It appears they are dependent on investment by another company for money and that cash is not forthcoming yet, if at all.
There is so much invested in DCC that a new product that is much better would be unwelcome.




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