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Author Topic: Question for Tony or anyone else on RCS.  (Read 7278 times)
Tony Walsham

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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2007, 06:44:38 PM »

I'm putting together a simple track layout and working on purchasing one of the Annie 4-6 locos. At most i will be adding 2 passenger cars and a caboose. I will only be running one loco and would like to be able to control speed, lights, and sound. Can you suggest a RCS RX TX combo that suits my simple needs? I like the ~14V ~3.5A battery setup altterrain has since it seems it will provide plenty of power for me. I'm planning on installing the RX on the tender. I just don't think I need the TX24.

Thank you for considering RCS.

This is a Bachmann forum and whilst I certainly appreciate Bachmann permitting discussion of non Bachmann products here, it would be courteous of us to take specifics off the forum.
Please contact me offline and I will steer you in the right direction.

Tony Walsham
Founding member of the battery Mafia.

(Remote Control Systems).

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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2007, 06:57:49 PM »

new G:

Since you probably have a degree in RF and remote control engineering and design, I would suggest you review the use of resistors in power dropping circuits. They are not very desirable solutions for modern circuitry, as they consume large amounts of power, produce heat and (most important) do not provide a 'fixed' voltage for varying input voltages. Perhaps modern voltage regulators were not available when you got your training, but they are much more desirable for providing the fixed voltage from a variable or higher voltage source that an R/C receiver would require.

Your profile doesn't say, but I assume you are in the U.S.A. What frequency band do you intend to use? I think that will not only be of legal concern, but will also relate to power and range. Will you be seeking FCC approval? Will you also design a new electronic speed controller for this application? Just few minor points to consider.

Seeing your "new G", make certain you aren't working on solving a non-existent problem. Many frustrations folks experience with track power come from the inability to get consistent power through the rails (due to rail joint connections and distance), through the moving power pickups (rail sliders are non-prototypical visual items and catch on stuff like crossing and switches, while sliding wheel contacts are relatively fragile and unreliable). Add the fact that the rails frequently need cleaning. In order to supply consistent power to the on-board Rx and the locomotive motors, you will still need to overcome these problems.

A solution that many LS outdoor RRers have found is to completely replace track power with batteries. The batteries in my engines power the motor(s), R/C receiver, electronic speed control, sound system and lighting. They easily last through a long operating session.

As to transmitter batteries, my RCS hand pieces use a single 9V battery that typically lasts more than a year in actual service. Hard to beat just changing it for new in ~30 seconds. Why use an expensive and difficult battery technology to replace something as mundane as a 9V transmitter battery?

I'm not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, but IMHO, the system you are working on has several serious negatives that are already solved by the R/C controls many of us have installed. Do keep us informed as something new is always interesting.

BTW, your blast at RCS is totally unwarranted. Tony Walsham is the owner of RCS. He is in Australia and does the R&D as well as a goodly amount of the manufacturing himself. He does employ outside consultants and manufacturers for some of the specialized stuff, but he is both the designer and manufacturer of his RCS products.


The RCS charging jack can be used to alternately accept input power from the locomotive internal batteries and a battery equipped trail car. In operation, the batteries internal to the locomotive are the source of power when there is nothing in the plug, but if you discharge them, a trail car with batteries can be plugged in and operations can continue. TOC has batteries inside the logs on a log car and uses it if the guys are still on their feet after several hours of running his logging branch. Ask him, or look on the RCS site for the schematic of this setup.

Happy RRing,

« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 07:58:04 PM by JerryB » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2007, 07:33:56 PM »

With all due respect to you and Polk, Aristo and RCS they are only in the business of selling and marketing not engineering and design, they leave this aspect up to the Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
I don't claim to be an electronics expert or engineer, but I do have some experience in fabricating R/C components for model R/C aircraft as that was my first love, however if my idea turns out to be a complete failure everyone on this forum will have my appology.

I have a real problem with this statement.
And I mean a real problem.

One of the reasons I chose this for my railroad almost 16 years ago was because it was hand-made and tested by a native English speaker.
I also like through-hole components, rather than the mass-produced PRC and Taiwan stuff that's surface-mount.
I had a customer who did his own install, and two years later decided to drill a hole in his tender.
Right into the board.
Master Walsham said I'd never fix it.
Gawd, I love it when people tell me that.
He got it back two weeks later (had to get two parts from Walsham) and it works fine to this day, been 3 years.

I was talked into running a small biz selling and installing the line a little over a year after I started using the brand.
Walsham continually innovates, develops, has the product field tested by many (not only me) BEFORE it goes into production.

ALL units are usable with our first transmitter, latest, or any in between.


When I can make a choice like that, I do, every time.

I am not sure what your hang-up is with people into this for the money.
I saw your post on the GR forum.

We concentrate on one product, various versions thereof, instead of multiple lines.

And, I do not ever have to treat my radio gear like a Brit motorcycle.


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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2007, 08:54:42 PM »

It seems much of this has gone to far, but I guess that's what forums are for. I started this thread trying to get a simple answer, but there aren't many simple answers to opinion based questions particularly when they are technical question. I am an engineer, but not electrical. Using my limited knowledge of electronics and many of the answers here I believe I can make a well informed decision that is best for me. Thanks again to everyone and I'm ending my part of this thread here. I normally talk Bachmann on this forum, but I have so many other questions since I am fairly new to this so thought I would draw from the knowledge that so many seem to have here. Thanks again.

I may be talking to you soon Tony in another fashion.
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2007, 09:02:41 PM »

Now that we're back to a reasonable discussion, be advised, many have thought items can be built cheaper.
If you pace a dollar value on your time of $0, yes.
To design, produce, sell and support is a different kettle of fish.

I have seen folks use the old two-step mechanical R/C car speed controllers and a servo.
Their trains are stop, hang on, and ohmygawd.

Have fun!

I personally, when starting and now, want something I know has functioned well, been tested, and I can go to a meet with a locomotive and KNOW it will function flalessly, and not have to worry if there are already 8 others using said control system.
I've had 20 trains at once on my railroad, never a conflict.
If freq and address are, you change an address code, and it's done.

The late Herb Chaudiere (CRANIS Garden Railway.....wrote dozens of articles in GR and others), designed and built his own radio control and sound.
Before he died, I did a Bachmann 4-4-0 with RCS, Sierra and batteries for him.
He was amazed.
It worked every time.
I ran his stuff, you never knew what was or wasn't going to work.
And he was a electronics engineer!

I spent many moons as an Electronics Technician, and I know what it takes to make a design work.
Matthew (OV)

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« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2007, 10:50:28 PM »

Some other food for thought:

There's a big difference between the kind of R/C that will run a toy car or tank from Radio Shack at Christmas, and the kind of R/C you need to run a large scale train.  Sure, if all you want is some kind of speed control it can  be done .... but for most everything you do with a model train outside of the "Christmas Tree" environment, you need a bit more positive control than you'll get with the ususal R/C setup on a toy.  RCS addresses a lot of the issues that pop up with even the simplest of control situations.

Let's start with the most basic.  You control the direction and speed of the train by varying the voltage on the track.  Certainly, with a perfectly clean track, and all other environmental factors being equal, this works.... except that in the real world, there's always some kind of issue that seems to introduce obstacles into the power path... trains hesitate, stall on dirty spots on track or wheels, and the voltage isn't entirely free of noise and variation.... and trains don't always run smoothly.  To be sure, there are a number of systems that take advantage of the fact that having full power on the track and the variations made on board the locomotive do overcome some of this ... but clean track and wheels, and steady, noise free power are still very important.

When you try to make those speed adjustments with Radio control, you find that the obstacles to using "straight" track power cause havoc with many lower end radio control methods.... the arcing between wheels and track, and the electrical noise generated by power supplies and sent down the rail with the current can make it very difficult for an onboard radio to hear what a (usually)very weak transmitter is trying to say, particularly when it's a system that requires a continuous signal.  And... if the locomotive stalls on a dirty track or dirty wheels, all the signalling in the world won't get it started again.

So... we move to radio control with onboard batteries.  Now you have the throttle on board the locomotive, and batteries providing noise free uninterrupted power regardless of whether the track is mirror clean, or covered in mashed caterpillars ..... but we're not out of the woods yet.  You need a way for the controller to give instructions to the locomotive that it will interpret correctly regardless of changing position (relative to the transmitter) metal valve gear, extraneous signals in the area, and various electrical devices in and around the train .... and your kid's radio controlled monster truck's system simply isn't set up to do that.

So... the radios become digital... and send non-continuous instructions to the receivers....  signals become encoded so that you can have more than one train in use at a time,  and the interpretation becomes reliable enough that you don't need a transmitter that makes your neighbors' TV's go fuzzy.

We've had a number of folks come through who meant to build a better mousetrap ... and there's nothing wrong with that.  Provided the better mousetrap actually catches mice... and doesn't catch cats, start fires, or violate federal ordinances.  The manufacturers who have been in the business the longest have had the most opportunity to work all those things out ... and have done quite a lot of it ... which is why they've been around as long as they have.  Others have been very loud at the beginning, promised much, and delivered little .... ususally because they ran into one of those obstacles (that is, making something that works well, conforms to the various laws and regulations, and can be made in such a way that it's worth it to the makers to do so) and found that it wasn't as easy as it appeared when they first set out.  Others have found that selling such products before they've been properly built, tested, and proven (or, for that matter, even built at all) can be disasterous.

So ... if you want to build your own, more power to you, particularly if you enjoy that sort of thing.  Enjoy the experience... and tell us how you overcome the various things that pop up along the way.  But be careful to maintain a modicum of respect for those who have travelled the path before you ... some of whom even defined the path ... and be careful not to confuse well earned success with greed, or well researched and proven knowledge with arrogance.... it simply isn't like that.   Certainly, anyone can attach a gas engine to a wagon, and make a horseless carriage .... but that doesn't mean you're going to outdo the Ford Mustang as a people mover when you build one even if they do charge a lot more for a Cobra GT than you need to buy a wagon and a Briggs and Stratton.

Respectfully ...

Matthew (OV)

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« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2007, 01:47:50 PM »

Hi Tony     My name is Jay. My question is I am to find info on 2 G scale sets I had stolen . The sets were called  "Big Hauler" and the other was " Blue Royal'  What would have been the price of one of these new. Also what year did bachmann start making G scale sets. I would apreciate the info

 Thank you
 Jay Cullen  Sierra28
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