Large Scale Central

Upgrading C.V.S.Ry. M-10 to On-Board battery & RailPro

M-10 was my first serious Fn3 conversion to battery/RC using a trail car to house the components. This went from my early experiments in a gondola with a Train Engineer track-side receiver powered with a drill battery to the 2016 re-wire that featured the option to select between track or trail car power. This now famous photo of M-10 (before it was lettered as such) running off the EOT at one of Bob’s TrainOps sessions shows an early configuration with a drill battery…

That evolved nine years ago to the the use of C.V.S.Ry. #152 “Shorty” as a battery/sound/control trail car with Rail Boss board and Phoenix sound…

In 2016 I updated the system once again, this time adding an on-board speaker in the front hood and capability to MU both power and sound with M-11…

“Shorty” was recently upgraded to RailPro control and sound, and M-11 was just completed with on-board battery & RailPro. Last night I opened M-10 once again in order to upgrade to stand-alone operation with all components on-board. The trail car will still be available as an additional speaker for really loud and deep bass sound. This is what I found once the body was removed…

The new plan will eliminate the track-power capability in favor of full R/C. My 2016 conversion retained the truck connection circuit boards even though the trucks had been hard wired on a previous upgrade. With the new plan, these boards and additional wire just get in the way, so they will go in the dust bin…

Here’s a progress shot with most of what will not be used eliminated…

The trucks will have the track pick-up wire removed and lube service before re-installing them…

And this is where it ended up last evening when I decided to call it quits for the evening. All ready to begin the re-build process…

The process will mimic my recent upgrade of M-11 with very little change. There are numerous related threads here in the archives that I’ll be happy to post links to if there is interest. The most significant one would be the build log of Shorty from 2012.

I guess now if I ever decide to add the RailPro to one of my existing engines, I’ll have either you or Don to give me advice.

You sure are going whole hog with this system. My problem would be which engine to put it in.

Ken Brunt said:

My problem would be which engine to put it in.

Easy answer: All of them!

Jon Radder said:

Ken Brunt said:

My problem would be which engine to put it in.

( answer: All of them!

That may happen, as of now I have 4 different systems. The original RCS, RaiLinks, Revolution, and RailPro.

But a winning ticket in the lottery would help, too…(

Ken wins the Superfecta!!!

Don Sweet said:

Ken wins the Superfecta!!!

I’ll look for the check…:wink:

Ha! I haven’t done so well with the big lotteries. I sometimes win $4 but not for a long time now, and the last batch of winning tickets I let expire - didn’t realize they were only good for 6 month and they were all pre-COVID.

I did make a little progress on M-10 today. The speaker mode switch was re-wired for the new application and everything put back into the front hood and sealed up with hot glue. The trucks went back on after hot-gluing the MU cables front & back. The weight got hot glued to the frame and a brand new MTO LiIon pack was attached to the weight with a little double sided tape. Once the RailPro module goes on, and is all wired, the whole mess gets zip tied to the weight.

I completely burned through a lot of my supplies finishing M-11. I ordered re-supply today that should arrive Monday. Gives me Sunday off to play (

Jon, ya got me motivated.

I have 5 of the original RCS systems, so I figured I’d start upgrading those.

Starting with my original Big Hauler with the BBT drive.

My resupply order was a bust. In typical Amazon fashion they put small parts in a big box with a few air pillows. Bag of 20 switches burst open and most of the hardware was left on the trail between Kentucky and Connecticut. That wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the 2.5MM charge jacks I ordered have an oversize center pin and don’t fit my standard 2.5MM charge plugs. And I forgot spade connectors for my fuse.

Next time I’ll order from All Electronics where I originally bought all my switches, jacks and cable terminations before I joined Prime.

I did get some of the soldering done; attached plugs to all the lights in the body, then wired up a harness (less fuse holder) for the on/off/charge switch, charge jack and two leads with plugs for the battery and power lead to the Locomotive Module. One of the charge jacks in my “defective” bin proved to be OK. The defective part was the internal switch that I don’t use for this circuit.

I’ve only had one order arrive like yours did, it was an order from China. When I finally got the order the package had been tore open and taped up, I did end up with 3 of the 10 switches I ordered. After this mess up I now just order from U S sellers, it does cost a little more, but so far so good, plus I get my order a lot faster then 30 days. I’ve never had a problem with an Amazon order to date, but it’s just a matter of time, one thing I try to look for when shipping is the fastest time, this hopefully give less time for the package to get damaged, lost, etc.


I rarely have problems with orders from Amazon. What I meant by “typical Amazon fashion” was the practice of putting small items in an oversize box, then throw in a few air pillows that do nothing at all except register at the packing station that they were used. Being an Amazon packer is not a fun job, kind of like being a meat robot. I’m not surprised that a lot of the packers do a less than perfect job.

On a positive note, Amazon refunded the price of the switches and didn’t want them back. The charge jacks went back today, dropped off today at a Kohl’s store which was quite convenient on my way home from work. I picked up the parts I need to finish the job at the big box today.

Did I mention that it’s not a good idea to high-temp hot glue your speaker in before testing it? Apparently I broke a wire off the mode switch when stuffing it back in. Single speaker mode was working, but multi was not. Spent most of last evening trying to peel the glue off and ended up slipping with a screwdriver and tearing two fingers on a corner of the hood ( much persistence and a fair amount of blood, I got it open, repaired, tested then put back together, test again before glue, then glued in!

With a little lukck I might get this wrapped up, at least electrically, tonight.

Late day at work today, but I did manage to finish up the charge/power feed circuit and get it installed in the tank. Strange how setting it up on the schematic for the picture made me notice a major wiring error. Can you spot it? Hint: The white and black wire is the power feed to the LM and the plug with red and blck wires is the battery connection…

Fortunately an easy fix and I was able to get it all mounted in the tank…

I can’t make paint stick to the switch handle, so a bit of heat shrink tubing helps to conceal it. M-10 is an improvement over how M-11 was wired. This tank can be left set aside while the body is attached with the two mating plugs leading out from the body through the wire access hole in the frame. It is wired to make any future disassembly as easy as possible - everything has plugs.

This tank has had a hard life, seeing lots of service and several disassembles. A number of detail parts are broken off and two of the mounting ears were broken. This is my attempt to fix the broken ears with little bits of styrene…

They will get drilled out and hidden with a bit of flat black vinyl. The bits I have saved will be re-attached where possible.

I still have some wiring to do on the top side of the chassis, then start attaching all the mating plug leads to the Rail Pro module.


Does anyone 3d print the tank?

Possibly, but so many people have used the trucks for other projects, body parts aren’t hard to find. I considered texting Kevin, who sent me a frame recently, to see if he had the tank, but then decided that I didn’t want to wait for shipping. This repaired part is only visible if you flip the loco over. The only detail bits that have gone completely missing are the fuel fills. I doubt anyone would ever notice them gone. They are more likely to notice that ugly charge jack in the center of the tank!

I finally got motivated to finish this up over the weekend. The last steps were connecting the Rail Pro module. Lighting & sound outputs require soldering and shrink wrap, while the power connections are all screw terminals. My truck leads needed extending and I decided to use some solid wire I had in-stock. Wire management is important as there is very little extra room inside the shell. Using solid wire allowed it to be bent neatly and stay put. It doesn’t look like it in the first few pictures, but I did spend a lot of time on wire management…

The last step was to plug in the tank and attach it. My fix worked well…

After wiring was complete, I spent several hours getting sounds loaded and buttons programmed to match M-11. This would have been a perfect case to use a Locomotive Clone feature, if only that was offered by RailPro. Lastly, the missing pipe detail bits that I could locate were glued back on the tank. I’m missing a rather long pipe along one side frame. I need to check my junk boxes to see if I have one. If not, unless you know it should be there, it isn’t noticeable.

Plans are to put M-10 back into revenue service today. The snow that’s falling now will be way more than my plows can handle, so rushing to get a plow configuration set-up has moved to the back burner.

Did you mean this type of burner … (


With both M-10 and M-11 functional as stand-alone units, I experimented a bit with push-pull operations. A local short-line (P&W) uses a push-pull configuration on their stone train that runs from New Haven to Danbury. The pusher is helpful on a long grade and also does the switching at the destination which is facing point. It becomes the lead for the return trip.

SO - I had JMRI print me up a switch list for the West Willow Turn, which serves all indoor points from West to East and then back. There are some facing point and some trailing point switches that required a number of run-arounds when run with a single loco. I set up M-11 and M-10 as an MU pair and ran them out to West Willow Hill. Broke them apart to switch the trailing points at McGuilicuddy’s and Brunt, then ran that section down the main clear of South Willow Hill. The trailing loco then switched the facing points at Chandler then tied on to the rest of the train for the trip to the next town. Worked great and making and braking consists was just one more easy step for the job.

I have tried this before, with my old control system which wasn’t easy as it offered an either/or loco selection, but not both. I ended up having to switch off one loco at times. Also, since the locos weren’t speed matched, they didn’t work as a unit when run together. RailPro makes all of that easy and fast.