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Rick Dow
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Hi Everyone. 

Just an update.

So far, I have converted three locomotives. A Spectrum 2-8-0, a Spectrum 4-4-0 and an old DC Camelback 2-6-0 that I picked up at a garage sale. 
The Camelback wouldn't run well on my electric test track but that problem was obviously related to a electrical pick-up problem.

They all run pretty much the same way on battery power. 
Wonderful (the only applicable term) slow speed movement. 
Low top speed but that's what I was looking for anyway.
Good pulling power.

The 4-4-0 derails the most easily on uncertain track, but has been much better since I added more weight. 
The 4-4-0 also has the lowest pulling power before I get wheel spin, but Bullfrog Snot is on the way. 

The Camelback will run through complicated track the best, has the most pulling power and is the best switcher.

I am getting progressively better at the entire conversion process. 

I'm using 2 cell Lipos in each of the three units plus DelTang 62's receivers purchased from Andy at Micron. 

Which all leads me to running times. 
I would suspect that I can tell you today that they'll stay running and constantly operational for approximately an hour and ten minutes. 

How does that fare with everyone else's experiences ??? 

In my case, I have six more locomotives to convert, 
and I believe the seventy minutes of run time per unit will be probably be enough for my operational purposes. 

Cheers

Rick


Helmut
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It is all a matter of the loco's internal friction and motor efficiency. 

Take the current draw @7.5V when running idle, and multiply that with 1.25 ( for intermittent train loads ) or 1.5 ( for full-time train load ). 
Divide the mAh of the cell by this and multiply the result by 0.8. 
Then you'll have an educated guess of achievable run-time. 

It cannot be stressed enough that a well-running mechanism together with an efficient motor are prerequisites for a satisfying performance.


davecttr
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I checked the loco current draw a different way. 
I ran the loco pulling a full load on my continuous run layout using either a single or pair of 100mAh lipos plus Pololu regulator.
I timed how long it was before the low voltage cut off operated and from this I could calculate how many milliamps the loco was drawing.


How big a battery do you need? 
I can run several locos in a 2 to 3 hour running session and I have developed a 'standard' way of calculating battery size. 
Take a 4-6-2 Express loco pulling 12 coaches, mine draw up to 400mA. 
30 minutes run time and 2.5 hours idle time is the norm. 
The loco needs 200mAh for running and 50mAh for idling giving a minimum battery size of 250mAh. 
Practical experience shows the loco run times are nearer to 15-20 minutes than 30.


Bob R
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My four small 0-4-0Ts have Bachmann "Thomas the Train" Percy mechanisms, two cell 300 mah Lipos with a Pololu 9 volt step up regulator.  
Operating sessions are three hours and they generally use only about 1/2 their charge during a session.  
That is not continuous running of course as the operation is mostly switching.  
My continuous run tests have shown they will run almost three hours.  
The motors are very small and they usually are only pulling three to five light four wheel cars.

The Bachmann HO F7 I converted has the same equipment and after a three hour operating session with a switching assignment it used 260 mah of the 300 available.  

Attachment: 20170723_082927_resized.jpg (Downloaded 124 times)

Bob D
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I'm O scale and normally get 2.0-2.5hrs run time, but that's using 2000Mah, 9.6v-12v NiMh or 2200Mah 11.1 LiPo battery packs. 
I probably could use smaller batteries, but the cost is near the same and as long as they fit inside the tender or engine, the bigger the better.

I would say what you're getting is correct.

I have a 3rd Rail E7 that was draining the battery more quickly. 
I found some parts rubbing on one another. 
It also has a belt drive and I think the belt was too tight or misaligned. 
I loosened the screws holding the motor and mount and when it felt right I tightened them up.  
Engine is not as loud now but I haven't run an endurance test yet too see how long it runs on a full charge.


Rick Dow
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Hi 

I'm have not installed a Pololu in my units and am running simply on the two cell 7.4 volt Lipo power. 
Might be giving me added time.

Rick


davecttr
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I allow 20mA per hour for a Rx/Pololu combination which is switched on but not moving a train, 15mA for the Rx and 5mA for the Pololu. 
The Pololu is about 80% to 90% efficient and 2 lipos delivering a nominal 7.4V is more efficient than a single lipo delivering 3.7V

I also have 3 heavy freight locos which use 7.4V and no Pololu and they can haul a heavy train at about scale 30mph which is all that is needed.

Maybe your locos have efficient motors that don't need many mA.


Rick Dow
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Hi Dave,

Or maybe I'm being too optimistic. 
I have not done exact science on this "run time" experience, just an approximation. 

Ran trains earlier this evening with grandchildren though and we were able to operate for an acceptable time period.
(they weren't bored yet where they were summoned for dinner)  :)

Trying to complete the trackwork for remainder of the layout 
(this is a new layout and the tracks are only half in)
although there is indeed enough there for a customized switching list.

I installed a photo backdrop of Brockville Harbour on the first section of the layout, 
and am awaiting the arrival of a forested photo backdrop of actual track view between Irish Creek and Bell Crossing, 
to represent the remainder of the area that runs through the countryside. 

There are sections that require this backdrop installation to occur first before I can proceed with the remainder of the benchwork/track etc.   
In the meantime I have been working on other secondary stuff.   

Received four additional transmitters this week from Micron.   
Lots to do.

Thanks


davecttr
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I have so much to do that I hardly have time to run trains! 
I started the layout over 4 years ago and the track laying is complete and a fair amount of the scenery. 
I am constructing platform canopies at the moment. 
I think it will take until xmas

Back to the run time issue. 
I don't worry to much about it now as it meets my boredom limit of up to 3 hours. 
So it has passed the 'bored kid' test.

I must ask Micron a price for providing stuff with ready attached SIL sockets rather than wires. 
This would make installation easier. 
They were very helpful with custom made flexible battery leads.


Rick Dow
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I agree that Micron has been great. 
They ship air mail to me and I receive their products in reasonable time. 
Sometimes I cringe when I email Andy because I usually forget about the time differential. 
But he's always Johnny on the spot to reply.


By the way, I notice that I have an antenna missing on one of my receivers and yet the locomotive still operates very well regardless. 
The layout room is 18' square. 
Perhaps, it's simply a small enough area and therefore transmitter stays connected. 
But, it's also probably enough of a walk-around track plan that I suppose the operator is invariably close to his/her locomotive most of the time. 
I will try backing up through the door to see how far the transmitter's connection actually reaches on the antenna-less unit.


Working on the peninsula benchwork which is complicated enough for my limited IQ. 
A backdrop will split the peninsula and one side will present trackage at a higher elevation. 
Therefore trying to figure out the base height of the benchwork that will fit all needs.
Have drawn diagrams from all directions but am simply going to have to bite the bullet and actually "do it" and then correct my mistakes afterward.


The Walthers turntable mentioned previously in an earlier post turns a little too quickly for my tastes even at the lowest speed of the old transformer I bought to power it. 
That was one reason I was hoping to use a straight two cell Lipo as I thought it would turn more slowly on less voltage. 
Jury still not out on what I will do. 
But at least turntable up and running. 
I'm operating at point to point and will require three turntables. 
I will want them all running slower than this. 
Why couldn't I wire in a DelTang receiver to the turntable motor and then run it with a two cell Lipo and a DelTang transmitter?



davecttr
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The aerial detaching is the weak point of DelTang receivers. 
I have a couple that I should send back to DelTang for repair. 
Maybe an antenna on the PCB might help?

Pololu do reduction regulators as well so how about attaching one to the turntable power supply. 
Or maybe a USB supply giving about 5V?


Helmut
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An antenna on the PCB only eats up space and will be problematic when using metal housings. 

It is all a matter of the price a customer is willing to pay for a product, because the u.fl socket is not cheap




dan3192
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I've also had aerials breaking off. 

DelTang seems to have resolved the problem by simply using heavier wire like Rx102 below, and on others like Rx65.  

Hopefully new versions of popular receivers will see the same fix.







-Dan


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With my HO Scale GP35 loco I get about 8-10 hrs run time. 

This is at medium to slow speeds during operating sessions typically pulling a string of about 12 hopper cars or box cars.

The setup includes a Panasonic 18650, 3400mAh Li-ion battery, 5V step-up voltage regulator, a DelTang Rx61 receiver and a 12V 20x14x32mm can motor.

The power chassis is a standard 8-wheel drive Hobbytown drive.

There is no lighting at the present time.

Dan

   


Rod Hutchinson
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Nicely set up. 

I normally use a 9v step converter.







dan3192
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The China-made regulator was recently found to be faulty and putting out only 3.7V, which caused unacceptably slow operating speeds. 

A 9V Pololu regulator is being installed along with an induction coil for on-board wireless charging.

Dan




Rod Hutchinson
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I have been using Pololu 9v step up on old open frame Mashima motors with nice results.







davecttr
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With a single battery giving a nominal 3.3V a 5V Pololu regulator will give you 85% or better efficiency with a 350 to 400mA loco. 

However a 9V Pololu is marginal at 300mA (80%) and bad with a 12 Pololu with less than 75% efficiency. 

The efficiency is a function of voltage in/out and loco power draw. 

The graphs are on the Pololu site.


Rod Hutchinson
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My setup is a 2S configuration, so jump is 7.4v to 9v.  

However a friend is using 3.7v to 9v.  

For the type of running we do the efficiency is offset by the simplicity of a 1S wiring.



bobquincy
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3 V motors eliminate the need for step-up converters so we get simpler wiring and at least 15% more run time. 

 I get 3 V can and coreless motors on the bay for decent prices.




Rod Hutchinson
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Bob,

For many, me included, changing the motor is challenging.  

Voltage converters, and 2S & 3S battery configurations are being explored as an alternative.



Rick Dow
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Rod,

I will say that I am very pleased with the operation of the three locomotives that I have powered by 2 cell lipo batteries and no voltage converters.  

I have them wired so that I can pop the top off the tender and pull out the battery and easily unhook it for remote charging while I'm watching tv. 
I can easily charge all three in under an hour.

I'm a relative newbie compared the other guys on here.  
They have been a marvellous help to me.

I'm modelling old time stuff and am running relatively short trains. 
But there is adequate power to pull seven cars up a 3% grade.

Rick


Rod Hutchinson
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Hi Rick. 

I presume you are running a 2S configuration to provide 7.4 volts and charge your batteries a single cell at a time.





Rick Dow
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Hi Rod,

Yes, two cell Lipo battery and 7.4 volts. So far these DC motors perform like troopers on that much power. 

At the hobby store, I choose the shape of the 2 cell lipo batteries that I predict will fit most easily into my tenders. 
Obviously the larger the tender the easier the installation.

Regarding Charging:   Well, I bought a charger that charges both cells at the same time by "balancing" them as it goes along. 

If you google  HiTEC X1 MINI  you will find the exact charger than I am using. 
It's easy to use. 

You read the manual first and when that totally confuses you, you join the club. 
But then you will finally figure it out. 

First, you choose the number of cells (from one to six) in the battery that you're charging (in our case TWO CELL) 
and then you also choose the Amp charging rate (I always take my time and charge at 1 amp). 
It still doesn't take very long.

When fully charged it will automatically stop charging. 

You can also push another button at any time, which will indicate to you the level of charge inside the battery (this percentage will get higher as it charges) 
and finally, you can push a button and it will show you the two cells beside each other and how they're balancing themselves as they charge. 

All in all, pretty simple and pretty cool.

Rick

dan3192
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Rick,

I assume your 2S Lipo has two power wires and three balance wires. 

Do you know if your Hitec charger can slow charge batteries using only the balance wires?

Dan 


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My 2 main chargers are a E-flite Celectra that has 4 independent charging circuits with E-flite style UM sockets for the 1S batteries I use. 

My latest charger is a Turnigy P403 as mentioned by David Theunissen here. 
It charges lipos of 2s to 4S. 

For my single cell batteries I made up a pair of harnesses with sockets for the batteries.
Plug them in and you have a '2S battery pack' that the charger balance charges.


Rick Dow
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Dan,

Was away for a day. 
Sorry to take this long to reply.

My 2 cell Lipo batteries have a single (three wire) connector set of wires, extending from the battery itself, into a single connector.    
I assume that the middle wire is the balancing wire.    
My charger has a connecting harness wire, that matches and attaches to the connector of this three wire set, coming off the 2 cell Lipo battery.  

Then I simply (by my own choice) set the charger to 1 Amp Charging. 
Then I hit Power.    
I assume 1 Amp Charging (the lowest setting) is "Slow Charging".

In my 2 cell situation, it is also "Balance Charging".

Rick

W C Greene
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I have the "luxury" of operating what amounts to "On30 locos on steroids"-1:35n2. 
I have a couple of Shays, Porters, a 2-4-4-2, and a gas/mechanical 2 trucker-all powered with 2 cell, 7.4volt Li Pos. 
These batteries are around 10 years old and a couple in the Shays are now probably 15. 
I have an older Venom charger which works fine and I charge the batteries at around 1 amp. 
Over the years, I have seen comments about Li Pos exploding and burning up expensive copters, airplanes, cars, etc...
But remember that those modelers want to get back in the air or race QUICKLY and that's when they "pay the piper"...

My experience dictates that I use the largest batteries that I can fit into the locos, I get long run times and have no problems. 
But as they say here in Texas, I guess that I "hold my mouth right!"

Woodie

dan3192
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Rick,

That's interesting. 
So you have a 2S with just 3 wires and no heavy red and black power leads. 
I was curious because I plan to use the 2S shown below, 
and I was thinking I could use the small red and black leads for power and forget the heavier wires. 
They look like they are 24 Ga.

Reason is, the battery fits nicely in the tender of my Broadway Limited 4-6-4, 
and when I measured its maximum power requirement (wheels slipping) it was 155mA at 10.5V. 
This would simplify wiring a lot.

I have a fancy Solo 80 Lipo charger, but I don't see anything in the instructions about slow charging via balance wiring. 
I know it can be done, probably is, and you seem to be doing it. 
So maybe I'll need a Hitec as well, or just try it on my Solo.

Thanks for the information.

Dan






Rick Dow
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Dan, 

Wish I knew how to upload a photo on this site.

If I did, I would send you a photo of my 2 cell Lipo battery with only the small wires and no additional larger wires,
plus I'd snap a photo of it hooked it up to my Hi Tek Charger.

Don't know it there is a private message site on here (I'm no high tech genius) 
because if there is you could send me an email address to upload a series of I-Phone Photos.

All the best.

Rick


Nice Guy Eddie
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" Wish I knew how to upload a photo on this site "


Hi Rick

Have you looked at the information in the Photo Posting Forum on how to post photos ?

Information there tells you how to use the Members Gallery to upload & post photos

You can also simply use the Attachment Button at the bottom of the Main Reply Window

In either case your photos have to be a sensible web friendly size ie. say 800 or 1024 pixels wide

Images uploaded to the Members Gallery or Attached to posts must always be less than 0.5 Megabytes


:f:


Eddie

dan3192
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Rick,

Uploading photos is fairly easy, now that I've corrected some mistakes. After a few attempts, you'll be an expert. Here's what I do:

* I upload photos taken with my iPhone to a computer file I call "iPhone Photos".
* I right click the photo(s) then select edit. Then I click on resize.
* There are too many pixels, so I type in half the pixels shown, then click on OK.
* 800 x 600 is a nice size.
* I click on save as and add an a or a -1 to the old number.

* In Freerails I click on menu, then gallery, then upload photos.
* Click on browse, then select the photo(s) you just saved in your computer.
* Click on open and then click on upload. The photo is now in your gallery.
* In the topic area click on reply, then hit return on your keyboard several times to make room for comments above the photo.
* Click on the photo in your gallery that you want to post. This enlarges the photo.
* Right click the photo, select copy, then close (X) the image.
* In your reply box put the cursor on the last comment line, right click, then select paste. The photo should appear.
* Go to the first comment line and type in your comments. That's it.

If this doesn't work, follow Eddie's guidelines and/or read the forum Photo Posting.


Dan      

Last edited on Sun Nov 25th, 2018 01:49 am by dan3192

Rick Dow
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Thanks to both of you.  Appreciated.

I'm on it.

Rick

davecttr
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Thanks for reminding me how to do this Dan

Only one image pasted at a time?





Rod Hutchinson
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This is my 2S battery pack.  

The +ve & -ve wire feeds the input of the Pololu step converter, small board, and the charging plug, black thingy to the right. 

The red switch isolates the +ve wire from the Pololu and therefore the Deltang RX,  larger board, whilst charging.  

The yellow "balance" wire goes directly to the charging plug.  

The yellow thingy is a thermal cutout switch.

2S battery and RX pack with Pololu 9v step converter.





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" Only one image pasted at a time ? "


Hi Dave 


You can COPY and PASTE as many photos from your Members Gallery window to the Main Reply window as you wish


Just click on the thumbnail of the previously uploaded photo in your Members Gallery window to enlarge it

Then right click on the photo and select COPY

Then back in your browsers Main Reply window tab place the cursor where you want the photo to appear

Then right click again and select PASTE


You can place as many photos as you wish anywhere in your Posts text using this method

Placing the cursor before or after a photo and hitting RETURN can add blank lines before or after photos

You can then hit the PREVIEW button at the bottom of the Main Reply window to see how it all looks


When you are happy with the presentation click POST REPLY as usual to Post it to the board


You can of course also EDIT the resulting Post at any time after Posting it

More photos and text can then be added or removed and presentation changes can be made as well


To remove a photo you do not wish to appear Right Click to highlight it then hit backspace to remove it

This does not remove the photo from your Members Gallery it just removes it from your Post


Hope that helps


:f:


Eddie

Rick Dow
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Hi Rod,

I assume it's Spring in Australia. 

So, the last photo shows a 2 cell Lipo battery powering through a Pololu step-up regulator (small board), 
into the DelTang receiver (larger board), and from there onward to the locomotive's DC motor.

The yellow middle (balancing) wire from the Lipo has been connected directly into your "charging plug", 
and I assume you simply plug your charger into that "charging plug".    

My question is twofold:

1. Do you remove this assembled "package" from the locomotive for the purpose of charging, 
or is this whole arrangement built for the purpose of charging onboard??

2. How is the wiring arranged "to and from" the RED component, 
for the purpose of isolating the charging current away from the two boards while charging??

Thanks, Rod

Rick


Rick Dow
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Dave,

Are you coupling two individual.... 1 cell Lipo batteries together to get 320 mAh worth of power here?   

Is that what's going on?

Thks

Rick

davecttr
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Thanks Eddie I can now post multiple images. 

The problem was having copied the image from my gallery I could not find a way of returning to the main reply window. 

My solution was to open the gallery with a right click, this opens it in a new tab in the browser so I can copy and paste as much as I want.


davecttr
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Yes Rick, all my lipo batteries are UM style single cells. 

I make up 2S or 3S wiring harnesses for those locos that require it. 
The batteries are removed from the loco to charge. 

The E-flite charger in the first image can simultaneously charge 4 single cells to 4.2V.

The second image shows two E-flite USB chargers and a Turnigy P403 that can charge batteries up to 4S. 
I have made up two 2S charging harnesses for the Turnigy. 

Total charging capacity is 10 batteries at the same time.












Rod Hutchinson
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Rick Dow wrote: Hi Rod,

I assume it's Spring in Australia. 

1. Do you remove this assembled "package" from the locomotive for the purpose of charging, 
or is this whole arrangement built for the purpose of charging onboard??

2. How is the wiring arranged "to and from" the RED component, 
for the purpose of isolating the charging current away from the two boards while charging??

Thanks, Rod

Rick


Hi Rick

Yes it is spring down under.

Questions

1 - Battery pack sits in a trailing truck made to look like a water tank.  Charger is plugged into it in situ.

2 - Hopefully this drawing tells the story.






Rod Hutchinson
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My HOn30 locos running.

https://youtu.be/YXx_9CKmO9c




Rick Dow
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Rod,

That YouTube video was a real treat to watch. 
I suppose most of those present here had already seen it, but not me.

I thought I'd keyed in every possible "Battery Powered/Radio Controlled" YouTube video possible in the past, 
but obviously what I typed into the "Search Bar" never led YouTube to consider playing me your video.  

Thanks

Rick

Rod Hutchinson
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Hi Rick,


Glad you enjoyed the video of my HOn30 locos. 

I am working on a scratch built On30 Rail Tractor that runs on wooden rails. 
I am very happy how that turned out. 
The background and tractor sounds are dubbed.


https://youtu.be/8pJqBeeND1o

Rick Dow
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Well, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out as well. 

In my view, that is an example of master modelling.

I would imagine we would all have to cry "uncle" as to the location of the Battery/Receivers etc ...... 
Wait a sec..... it's On3  ....... so probably there's room somewhere in that tractor after all.

My wife thinks you probably put the battery and receivers in the first lumber car, 
and then hollowed out the log push-bar in order to run the two power wires through it.


Congratulations for such an ultimately cool video and a terrific job on the whole affair.

Is this video filmed on a diorama that you have built for this purpose, or a layout or on a module of some kind?

Cheers

Rick

Rod Hutchinson
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Sorry Rick,

Battery is in roof and receiver is just forward of the radiator. 
Tractor can run independently of rolling stock.

The diorama represent a location called "The Points". It existed and it was where timber and steel rail met.  
The timber bogies can be coupled to a larger locomotive and be taken to a siding where it was loaded onto the mainline.


Rick Dow
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I'm going to assume (guess) that the wooden rails were an Australian and possibly early British railway feature. 
Great modelling of that location where they hook up.

By the way, what time is it now down under in Mooroolbark? 
11:00 PM on Nov. 26th here in Ontario, Canada.

What's next in your modelling plans??


Rick


Rod Hutchinson
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Rick,

As I write this it is 4:30pm.   

I have just got a radio control uncoupler working.

https://youtu.be/cdtHa4C_wO0




davecttr
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Rod, you have just proved that remote uncoupling anywhere on the layout is possible, or your mate did.. 
I have been thinking for some time about how to raise the hook on a tension lock coupler, wonderful...….any chance of more details?

I like the wooden rails as well. 
I think they were used in the USA as well and read somewhere that during the civil war the confederacy had to use them as there was no steel available?


Rod Hutchinson
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Hi Dave,
My mate had the couplers cast.  I got them to work remotely.  
I have used a Deltang receiver and DC voltage but the same set up can be operated with DCC.
The actuator coil is from the indoor flying community, and the tension spring was amongst my assortment of Kadees.
The actuator isn't strong enough to lift a coupler that is a tight fit so you have to ensure the two couplers are a loose fit relative to each other.
I don't know the current draw but a P pad on a Deltang requires a mosfet, but an F pad does not.  DCC may deliver sufficient current.  
I plan to explore with solenoids and servos, but space was limited on my test loco so hence the actuator coil.

Rick Dow
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Great work, Rod. As usual, just terrific.


Just wondering if you'd filmed and then uploaded any further YouTube videos besides these ones? 

I have been mainly watching the Battery Powered Topic section and so not really up to speed on the other subject data. 

I got a massive kick out of your wooden rail/lumber train.


Rick

Rod Hutchinson
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Hi Rick,

My YouTube channel is

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjcprf2X58Nb7F6p1-gfSSQ

Rick Dow
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Thanks Rod

Great videos

.....and I'm not even a member of Facebook, let alone having a You Tube channel.

Thanks

Rick


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