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The Learning Curve & Marketing Curve Required For B.P.R.C. Model Railroading
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 Posted: Thu Dec 13th, 2018 06:45 pm
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W C Greene
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Yep, some may "experiment" and give up on r/c as being "too much thinking"...
That's OK, they can stay with DC/DCC and WIRE a layout with polarity considerations,
install DCC boards and program them which is another bunch of $%^&,
be sure all the track is as clean as can be, be sure the loco's wheels are immaculate,
all the above again and again.
On the idea that r/c car boards don't cut it, remember that if it wasn't for those backward antiques,
there MIGHT NOT be the interest that there is today in wirelessness.
Time marches on...but watch those "third rails"...
Besides all this jabber, remember that it is not "rocket science" but rather ROCKET SURGERY !

There...now I await the townsfolk with torches and pitchforks...again.

WCG




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 Posted: Fri Dec 14th, 2018 01:02 am
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Rick Dow
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Apologies in advance for the length of this post.
Definitely not required reading.

Thanks Dan and Dave, and yes in my opinion you have brought up some interesting thoughts and information updates.
I didn’t realize Bluerail’s smaller board had not arrived.

It would seem to me that BPRC is probably facing some daunting road blocks,
if it is ever going to leapfrog into the general marketplace and thereby develop a serious niche for itself.

We’ve all heard about the difficulties involved in getting a “better mousetrap to the marketplace.”

But it’s also difficult to keep a better product under wraps for ever.
Therefore I do believe that BPRC will be a success because speaking objectively (I hope),
I believe it is a better system than DCC.

Just like modelling with BPRC, modelling with DCC presents it’s own learning curve.

Neither did DCC develop smoothly or quickly even though it presented a better product than simple DC.  

Over the past fifty years there have been a goodly number of DCC model train control systems that have competed for marketshare.
Products from Dynatrol, Legacy and a system from Hornby are just a few,
and probably these days the basic winner for most DCC modellers seems maybe to have become Digitrax. 

It still is and always will be a fairly involved procedure for the average neophyte to become even a DCC model railroader.
“What do you mean, I have to wire a return loop a certain way and my turntable differently.”

So in everyone’s opinion, what qualities will the company boast that finally does ride to the rescue of BPRC products ??? ??
Your thoughts, please.
And can they do it in under ten years ??? ??


I’m thinking that in this growth age of internet sales, an online company can make significant inroads and in a timely manner.
Look what Tesla has done without Tesla dealerships and localized repair facilities.
If a Tesla breaks down where I live, the repairmen travel here from Montreal (140 miles away.) 

­The Battery Powered – Radio Controlled Store of the Future

Would you agree that the successful internet BPRC store would however need to be a stunning site,
comprehensive and one which incorporates all phases of a successful marketing plan.   

I would think that a customer would need to be able to purchase a turnkey product and suffer no backorders,
and also receive the product quickly by courier (Amazon style).

In my view there should be a fairly large and finished model railroad layout available where finished products are demonstrated live.
(The simplest solution is to rent space on one of our more famous model railroad layouts).

So many BPRC youtube videos leave the impression that battery powered locomotives are seemingly experimental in nature.
They often video a locomotive with exposed wiring shoehorned into the frame of a locomotive or tender,
which in turn is running around a loop of bare track laid out on floor.
These demonstrations are technical but not sales worthy.
They seem to scream, “I told ya it was possible.” instead of stating, “This is the future.”

Safe onboard charging probably needs to be solved.

Do you agree that the new manufacturer/sales company would need major Facebook presence.

I’m wondering if it could also equip and advertise a technical department ready and willing (after a customer signs a disclaimer)
to convert a customer’s current fleet to battery power... FAST

We would all probably agree that a new company attempting to win this market,
will need to be fiscally sound from the very beginning and have deep pockets.
It will cost money to make money.
But I believe there is a lot of money spent in the model railroad industry.
Thomas the Train has been a financial success.
So I think a market study might encourage a new player to invest in a new “division” to add to it’s current business lines.

The idea of a start-up having to depend on obtaining semiconductor products from a third-party company,
is daunting but probably necessary.
Perhaps a major partnership with a company like DelTang etc. could be negotiated,
whereby DelTang guarantees and staffs for a certain level of product sales to the new manufacturer,
at a favourable price point (depending on the order sizes).

What I am mainly suggesting here is the need to avoid the steep investment in high tech semiconductor board design and development.
Good products are already out there and so no need to re-invent the wheel,
they just need to be sold efficiently and successfully.

So gentlemen, will there indeed be a Bachmann clone that specializes in BRPC?

Will kids be getting a BPRC train set at Christmas instead of a Thomas the Train?

Will new modellers cut their build time in half by skipping the wiring looms?




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 Posted: Fri Dec 14th, 2018 01:09 am
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Rick Dow
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Great post Woodie    

We also need a monthly online "magazine" that deals only with BPRC,
and provides an advertising forum for today's current manufacturers, at a price they can afford.





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 Posted: Fri Dec 14th, 2018 01:54 am
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W C Greene
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As for the future of this hobby...MY OPINIONS...easy to use r/c is the way.
Today's youth, the ones who have I Phones and know how to use them,
WON'T, I repeat WON'T be interested in something that needs wiring to be performed, problems with wheel/track contact, needing to read a book on how to wire a layout and program some throttle just so they can run a stinkin' model train!
There are many kids who would like the artistic side of model railroading...building structures, rolling stock, scenery, and everything that makes this hobby what it is...something for everybody.
I know modelers who love to build dioramas and could give a flip less about whether a train would operate on one of them,
because the damn track would need to be wired and cleaned before anything could happen!
The kids coming up and into this, and other modeling hobbies, will want to enjoy operating a local or passenger haul.
Other hobbies? I look at model aircraft mags and youngsters are flying r/c aircraft and U-Control (control line) since it is fun and do-able,
without having to learn how to track down shorts and clean microscopic bits of dirt from tiny rails.
How many of those kids would like to build trains?
Maybe more than we think BUT manufacturers MUST embrace the wireless technology NOW!
Oh yes, there will be old dinosaurs like those I know who will still believe that wires are good...
and many of those believe that kids are not wanted around "serious" train nuts.
I know of 2 "local" clubs that don't want kids under 18 and "secretly" don't want kids under about 30!
But then, I know at least one local group which will be unnamed (TexasOutlawsOn30)
who actively promote young members and they have some guys using r/c also.
I would love it if there was a magazine devoted to r/c model railroading...I would buy something like that.
It would be great to drop by the local train shop and see RTR r/c locos for sale.
And it would be wonderful to see a young father buying his kid a cool r/c locomotive or even an entire set...Imagine that.
Hopeful future...Christmas morning, the kid comes down stairs and sees an r/c train set and a big box full of snap track and switches,
and he/she opens the boxes, sticks the track together around the living room into the kitchen and maybe a branch on the front porch...
takes the loco and cars out of the box, puts them on the track, and RUNS THE TRAIN!
Dad can sit back and drink his coffee watching his offspring having a blast (operating) the train and witness the beginning of a lifetime hobby.

Maybe then when somebody mentions wiring track, the angry townsfolk with torches and pitchforks will be on their a$$ !
Well, I can hope, can't I?

Woodie




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 Posted: Wed Jan 2nd, 2019 04:15 pm
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Bob R
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You know what is fun to me? 

Throwing down some dirt and scenery material - spraying with wet water - dousing with diluted white glue -
and then running my BPRC through the scene without concern for cleaning the area up. 

Of course I find that occasionally I need to clean off the wheels,
because they have picked up some scenery material and "bump roll" down my imperfect trackwork.




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 Posted: Sat Jan 5th, 2019 04:47 pm
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Bob D
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I worked in electronics (hard to believe from some of the  ??? I ask) from 1976 to when I retired in 2007.
I was always working on broke Navy gear,
when we got it working, the "Big Boys" would come in and push us out of the way so they could have their fun with it.

I found that working on layout wiring was NOT for me,
and reading several hundreds pages of a tech manual in order to run trains was NOT for me either.

BPRC can't hardly get any easier, you basically have less than 10 wires to connect.
Unless you're a klutz the worse thing you'll do is wire the motor or LEDs backwards and I have yet to have one die because of it.
Linking the receiver to the transmitter is probably the hardest thing to get a engine running, and that ain't hard.

The one area I have to remind myself to be careful in is when connecting the battery.
I use to use a plug on the end of the battery and on the connections of Tony's BIK,
but now I'm plugging the wiring straight into the BIK terminals.
Got to be careful as not to touch things that aren't suppose to touch.




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 Posted: Sat Jan 5th, 2019 09:16 pm
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Rick Dow
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I agree Bob.

Wiring up those LiPo batteries backward leads to interesting results.
Because I seem to have to learn everything the hard way,
I have inflated one battery while simultaneously frying a DelTang receiver.

I was down at the hobbystore earlier today buying three Peco right hand switches
(why are they called turn-outs in model railroading - anybody know??
I worked on the railroad all through high school and on the CPR they are called "switches")
and the store owner was insisting on making sure I bought the correct ones for electrical continuity when he knows I'm a deadrail guy.
I told him, "Jeff, give me whatever you got, you know it doesn't matter to me."
He says, "Oh yeah, I forgot."

The other funny anecdote here is the clerk who works in the store has taken to calling me a Deadhead,
like the groupies who followed the Grateful Dead band around during the seventies.

:old dude:  Pretty funny.

I have to rebind one of my locomotives.
I couldn't figure out why until my grandson slept over last night,
and calmly mentioned he'd been up in the train room with his nine yr old buddy earlier in the week,
and they'd been practicing turning the reed switch on with the pencil magnet.
Obviously the transmitter wasn't turned on at the time and so the locomotive lost it's connection with that transmitter.  

As usual, there's a reason for everything.




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 Posted: Sat Jan 5th, 2019 09:25 pm
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Rod Hutchinson
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I accidently put a screwdriver through a LiPo. 

It got really hot. 

I am much more cautious these days.




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 Posted: Mon Jan 7th, 2019 11:06 am
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fallen
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Another good thing not to do -

If you need to cut the connector off a LiPo to fit a different one DO NOT just get a pair of wire cutters and cut through both wires at once. The LiPo will be no good afterwards, if you are very lucky the wire cutters may be still OK.

And don't forget that LiPo cells are shipped part charged so have a kick in them straight out of the package.

Frank

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 Posted: Mon Jan 7th, 2019 03:19 pm
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Helmut
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@Rick

A car turns out of the straight way when you set the switch.
So the British, as it turned out, stuck with that term.
It is not uncommon in US railroadese, anyway.
 
Funny that a British guard stumbled over the sleepers when trying to set a turnout -
and found a conductor carrying ( not wearing ) a tie

;)




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