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Pros & Cons - 'DelTang' & 'S-Cab' Radio Control ?
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 Posted: Wed Dec 19th, 2018 02:28 am
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Tom Harbin
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Hi,

I've read several hundred pages of this forum and I've decided to attempt to RC a Bachmann Porter On30 0-4-2.
I have it apart already since I was preparing to install DCC but I think I would rather try BPRC with it.

I know there are lots of inexpensive ways to get into BPRC but I also want to support the manufacturers that are trying to create a market.
I've read lots of the pros and cons here and on other forums.
The nay-sayers sound amazing the same as they did when DCC came out.

I have decided that I want to use either Deltang or S-Cab for my test loco.
Hopefully the system will prove good enough to convert my "fleet" so I would rather try to fix on a particular system.

I really like some of the S-Cab features like the ability to charge from the track
(I was thinking of having a track-powered charging station in an engine house).
What I don't like is its reliance on a DCC board.
I think a lot of what DCC offers is not really needed if we go with RC.
I also think the DCC protocol is slow and inefficient if we start thinking beyond pulsed rail power as the communication medium.

I like the size and features of Deltang and that it has a built in ESC. To me that makes sense.
What slows me down on Deltang is that the S-Cab  "seems--I could be very wrong on this"  to have better battery management.

I'm looking for any input that will help me make a more informed choice.

Thanks,

Tom


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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 03:14 am
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Rick Dow
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Hi Tom,

The guys usually posting on here will give you excellent advice and are much more experienced than I am.

I am using DelTang equipment. 
The Receiver is a  Rx62-2     
The Transmitter is a  Tx21

With the Rx62-2 Receiver, I can power on and off with my DelTang supplied Pencil Shaped Magnet,
because the Receiver has a built-in reed switch.

I power it with a 2 cell LiPo battery because it is smaller than a three cell LiPo battery.

With the two cell battery I am supplying 7.4 Volts, and that is sufficient for my HO steam power.   

With O gauge you will probably have more space available for installation.

I am able to fit the Receiver and Battery into my HO tenders.

The performance has been exceptional in my view.

DelTang service, communication and delivery to me has also been exceptional.

Good Luck

Rick




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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 06:44 am
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Tom Harbin
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Rick,

Thank you.
I really like everything I read about DelTang and DavidT's input in the forums has been very enlightening.

Since I plan to cab mount the gear in the Porter there isn't much room,
but I figure that with the All-Season Banta cab I should be able to fit it all in.
It seems the DelTang equipment is smaller which is also a big plus for it.

I didn't realize it when I wrote my first post but I guess I have a pretty basic question on ESC versus DCC-connected.
With S-Cab, the receiver connects to a small set of standard DCC receivers and operates in 28 speed step mode.
You can also adjust the min/max voltage percentage as a poor-man's speed curve.

One thing I do like about the DCC connected approach, if I understand it correctly,
is that the transmitter talks to all receivers but the command includes a 2-digit DCC address so only the specified engine responds.
That implies that the S-Cab is actually encoding a sub-set of regular DCC commands in its signal.
Not sure if that is a good thing or not as DCC was really developed to solve a different problem
(encoding digital commands on a power signal). 

With a standard proportional ESC I know it is still using PWM,
but is it using something equivalent to speed steps or is it approximating linear control?
I'm pretty sure I've read that, at least with DelTang, you can also adjust starting voltage.

Tom

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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 02:35 pm
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Rick Dow
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Tom,

I don't have the required technical ability to respond to some of your thoughts.

For instance, I don't know what you mean by PWM.

I also have not been involved in re-programming a DelTang Receiver. (Starting voltage)

I do know however, that the slow speed operation on my HO equipment is right where I like it to be,
and that this occurs on the standard settings from DelTang.
Plus, the top speed I want for my purposes is accomplished with a 2 cell LiPo battery.

I really like the fact that the DelTang Receiver comes to me with the four pig tails already soldered to the four pads on the Receiver,
and I simply connect two of them to the DC motor and the other two to the LiPo battery.  

Rick



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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 03:10 pm
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Tom Harbin
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Thanks again Rick,

That actually sounds like a very good way for me to get started.
I like what you said about the speeds also.

So you are using a 2S pack?
How do you recharge?

Tom


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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 03:22 pm
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dan3192
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Hi Tom,

In your first post you mentioned you were concerned about battery management.
Could you elaborate a little more about those concerns?

A typical setup for me includes a DelTang Rx61x receiver and one or two cylindrical Li-Ion cells in series plus a Voltage regulator.

I don't have a need for battery management using a single cell since my "smart" charger has over-Voltage protection,
and the receiver cuts off power at about 3V for under-Voltage protection.

Is your concern about multiple battery use?

Dan  


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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 04:20 pm
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Tom Harbin
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Dan,

Not so sure it is really a concern but rather a lack of understanding on my part.
I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of charging a 1S
(or 1P although I don't know that there is actually any difference in that case)
but when I read about 2S packs it seems you need a balancing charger more that just the two wire hook up to charge.

What I would like to avoid is fiddling with the loco any more than necessary once I get it built as I am a notorious fumble-fingers.

I kind of planned from the start to put charger leads on rails inside an engine house,
that I could turn on and charge the battery through the rails but leave the rest of the layout un-powered.
The S-Cab supports that out of the box, but I really like the overall approach of DelTang, or converting RC car components.

I think the DCC protocol is very inefficient for a bound transmission.
I also would prefer to be on 2.4GHZ instead of 900MHZ. 

I am also thinking that sticking with 1S would probably be sufficient for my needs,
but I need to figure out whether I need a step-up like a Pololu or not.
That functionality is part of the BPS solution from S-Cab and the reason it uses 1P, 2P or 3P instead of 1S, 2S or 3S packs.

In many ways S-Cab seems to be a perfect fit but something holds me back,
the DCC, the size of the equipment, the price. I don't know.

I think maybe it reminds me of the big fix that finally cemented DCC as "the solution".
"You can still run your DC locos on a DCC system".
Yah, right, as long as you don't mind having it sound like a drunken chipmunk as it sputters down the track.

Tom

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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 07:15 pm
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Bob R
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On page 3 of this forum there is a thread for the On30 Porter conversion I did with DelTang.  



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 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2018 10:22 pm
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Tom Harbin
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Thanks Bob,

I thought I remembered a recent thread that was almost exactly what I was going to do but for some reason I couldn't find it.

I will probably do almost the same conversion but probably not as neatly. 

Tom

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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2018 12:53 am
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Tom Harbin
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Just a quick update.

I was at the DelTang site again and found the answer about speed steps, at least for DelTang.

They do use speed steps (which makes sense since it is PWM),
but it is 256 steps in each direction.

So twice as fine a control as the best you can get with DCC,
and about nine times finer than the 28 steps offered with S-Cab.

This is all theoretical as I have never had a problem controlling the speed with DCC.
But it is nice to know that using BPRC with an ESC can give equal or better speed control.

Tom


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