Large Scale Central

RailpPro in my Shay

I have wanted to convert my old Shay from track power to battery for quite awhile and I have been hearing a lot about the RailPro system lately so I wanted to try one and see what all the noise was about.

After some setbacks I was finally able to gather all the equipment that I needed for the job.

The install is pretty straight forward as far as the wiring goes, although you have to do a little investigating because they fail to mention several key points in the instructions, or maybe I just overlooked them.

The programming and startup is pretty simple, but again they fail to mention several key issues that will leave you scratching your head. Lucky for me, Jon agreed to walk me through the startup over the phone, thanks again Jon.

The procedure only took about 15 minutes, and everything was a go. Later I found that even though the directional lighting was enabled it wouldn’t work. Jon once again stepped in, it seems that the directional lighting won’t work if you use the steam loco headlight pictures it only works using the diesel headlight pictures. Kind of quirky but no big deal, a headlight picture is a headlight picture. Although it sure would have been nice to know that before spending hours trying to figure out what was wrong.

Overall I really like the system. It is easy to use and simple to understand and has just enough bells and whistles for my satisfaction level.

So far only one down side and it is a major one as far as I am concerned. The sound sync when stopping really sucks. Starting isn’t great either but when coming to a full stop the sound runs on for 1-2 seconds after the loco becomes dead still. Kind of like your hot car engine dieseling when you shut it off. If your running Roundy Roundy and only stop occasionally not such a big deal but when your operating setting out or picking up cars and stopping every couple of minutes it gets damned annoying. Anyone have a solution for this issue, I’m all ears as they say.

Anyway a couple pictures of the old girl.

I should add, I got this Shay second hand years ago, most of the weathering was already done. It had been abused some, the tank shell contained an old Phoenix 97 board and battery but it was all covered in silt and dust inside the shell. I cleaned it up and used it that way for years. Later on when they became available I installed new trucks and changed some of the wiring.

Now the current project.

First I yarded out all the existing electronics and wiring and started fresh. I mounted the speaker in the firebox for better sound location and more room in the tank shell. In previous Shay installs the oval speaker has fit perfectly but

with this speaker I had to do some modifications for a good fit. All that wire in the picture is yet to be removed.

The finished speaker install.

Testing out all the wiring before tidying things up and reinstalling the tanks. I added several layers of lead sheet below the electronics to compensate for the removal of the factory weight. Note also that I have mounted the board vertically, forgive me father, but I am pretty sure I will be pulling well under the specified amps. The switch is mounted for below deck access and the charging jack is mounted for easy access under the oil bunker.

A couple pictures of her working her new job as “yard hog” around the sawmill this morning.

Thanks for taking a look.

Rail Pro is a plus for me, I personally enjoyed the installations in my diesel engines. I have two narrow gauge engines waiting for Rail Pro installs, as soon as Rail Pro offers narrow gauge steam sounds they will get the Rail Pro installs. Rail Pro was developed as a diesel system and they are working more to the steam sounds and running as people are asking for it. Your engine looks great and Rail Pro should work well for you.