Large Scale Central

Sound/Battery/Wireless Control Primer

Happy New Year everyone! The attached PDF is a distillation of five years experience installing batteries, sound decoders, and control systems into G and O scale locos. It explains some of the issues involved and provides some guidance to those considering on board power and wireless control. It concludes with a section on tips and links to four YouTube videos of typical installations.

Enjoy! Hope you find the info useful. Questions, comments, and suggestions are most welcome.

Steve Seidensticker

DIY Install.pdf (2.2 MB)

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Thanks for the information, Steve. Looks like a very valuable resource.

I’ll second Dan’s comment.
Very nice resource Steve :sunglasses:


This is awesome! We are considering a few battery installs ourselves, and this is really, really helpful!


A well written review but it contains two major flaws.

First Tam Valley are no longer making any of their products which are mentioned.

Secondly it ignores the fact that there is a much simpler and lower cost method of implementing sound-battery-wireless. DCC is good and can produce some nice results but only if you have the patience to learn how it works. CVs (control variables) are a jungle of numbers which make programming difficult for the inexperienced and even more so when you can’t read the current values. In contrast, a conventional analogue radio control plus a MyLocoSound soundcard will give you the same remote control and a range of recorded sounds but in a much simpler way. A TV remote control (which everyone can operate) is used for programming with simple audio feedback. And an analogue system will work out at about half the price of an equivalent DCC system.

Peter Lucas

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I saved it as a good primer on DCC +r/c and battery. I agree that there are other ways, and perhaps Steve could add some caveats to his document!

This is not quite correct. Tam Valley is making both the DRS1 receiver and the BlueRailDCC receiver. Both of these boards are distributed by Dead Rail Installs and that may have led to some confusion.

Having said that, production of the BlueRail board was suspended for awhile because TV could not get one of the key chips due to the supply chain problems. However, those chips are again being delivered and production of the BlueRailDCC board has restarted.

I know this to be true because I have lunch at least once a week with Duncan McRee, head of Tam Valley, and am in frequent contact with Pete Steinmetz, head of Dead Rail Installs.

Steve Seidensticker

Forgive me, I did not mean to slight MyLocoSound in the document. It’s just that I do not have any experience with MyLocoSound. From what I have heard MyLocoSound has an excellent reputation. I note from your web site that it is compatible with BlueRailDCC. There is room for all of us in this business. And there are many ways to skin this cat.


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Can you share your input /experiences with setting up a section of isolated track as charging. In my case I’m thinking of it being in the indirect storage section which is connected to the outdoor track so I can just run them inside where there will be different switches so I can “park” them inside and avoid the loading/unloading. As said it would need to be isolated and there would be up to maybe 10 parked. Not sure if all charging at once vs switching, etc.