Large Scale Central

What is a simple easy remote control solution?

I have some LGB moguls that I would like to convert to battery power / remote controll. Can anyone recommend something that is easy and hopefully straight forward to install?

I purchased an old unused RCS system from John here on LSC and TOC was going to help me install it. However, Dave is not doing very well these days and doesn’t think he is well enough to assist me.

So, I am looking to see what is out there, good and easy to install as I am not an electrician. Any recommendations?

This as simple as it could be. I use a bunch of them. After the first installation, you only need to purchase the on board receiver/sound card as the transmitter can be programmed for your next 49 installations!
You will also need batteries for each loco or use a trail car as I did (after 5 installations).

Timmy, any remote control installation is going to involve some wiring. Even if you are not an electrician, you need to know positive from negative, and how to solder a joint.

The system will need a battery pack with some way to charge it. Then it will need the battery connected to the remote controller board with a switch to turn it on/off. An indicator LED is a good thing too.

All such installs involve:

  • disconnecting the wires from the wheel pickups to isolate the loco from the track;
  • connecting wires from the remote control rig to the motor.

Then you have to consider the sound options, perhaps.

The few times we’ve discussed this, the Piko system has usually been considered easiest or least expensive. The Revolution described by Joe is also good - I have a couple of them, and I also have some RCS installations.

Specific to the Moguls, I am doing one with a battery pack in the boiler - a long pack of 4 LiIon batteries arranged in 2 pairs producing 14.4V. Not going to make it run very fast, but that suits me!

I can tell you how to convert one of the moguls with the RCS gear if you want, via email.

I hear ya’ Timmy and I’m in the same boat myself however I do not have any Moguls but I do have a few of the China made LGB Amtrash stuff as Dave and others called it back in the day.

Also understand sometimes a simple question requires a simple answer!

Still using this myself and I’m cool with that but change sometimes is needed for the overall out look on what currently suits your needs.

Simplicity is KING as I was taught by my elders.

TE Programming

For myself I what a system that works and I don’t have to put it in every engine I own, this does control cost somewhat. I do have Rail Pro and the cost is somewhat high when you first get started with your conversions, but then adding an engine every year doesn’t seen like it cost more then other choices you may have. The controller is expensive at around $300, but you only need one, so I find it around $275 to add the system to other engines and doing one per year is a reasonable amount to pay. That includes the receiver with sound, battery, speaker, and wiring harness. i have two LGB Moguls that I have redone to my liking and both all wired for the Rail Pro install, all goes in the tender and no need to open up the engine again for the install. I guess it all comes down to what kind on control you want in your engine, I personally like the ability to control just about any feature I want, this is the way I like operating my railroad, but if you just want to run trains then I can see where just engine control and sound is probably all you need to have fun with you trains.

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I’ve installed 10 Railboss systems and like their operating simplicity and reasonable cost. Like most other systems, they require some basic electronic skills and every engine is different no matter what system you use.

Even though I have moved away from RailBoss, I was very happy with Del’s systems when I was using them and you can’t beat the support. Probably the simplest, most inexpensive system out there right now.

Just an FYI for y’all: I still have a bunch of Dells “hobby” boards that use a 2-stick radio that are available with receivers for cheap.

I ended up purchasing the Blunami 4408 decoder. I purchased batteries, charger, plug and toggle switch from RLD Hobbies. They should arrive next week. The plan is to put everything in the tender.

One question: Is it possible to leave the track power shoes connected to the motor incase at some point I want to convert it back to track power?

No. You will be feeding battery/decoder output back on to the track, which will either bleed power from the motor, cause a short, or feed something else sitting on the tracks.

The simplest solution is to incorporate a plug-and-socket in the wiring from the track pickups to the motor. Bachmann has such a plug between the boiler and the chassis on their 4-4-0/2-6-0, as the polarity switch is inside the boiler, feeding the motor, and thus you can remove the boiler without cutting wires. [Always a good thing - speakers should have plugs for the same reason.]

And with a socket on the motor feed, you can alternate between the track power and the battery power, just by switching the plugs.

I’m just setting up a tender so I’ll post a few photos of the rig.

In the meantime, here’s some ideas for plugs. Note that I buy the ones with wires attached:
Motor feed plug/socket pair:

Battery feed plug (so you can remove the battery if it fails) compatible with Aristo feed plugs used between their locos. The 4-pin or 6-pin versions are also good for connecting engine and tender, as they latch together:

These are useful for various purposes, including speaker connections:

P.S. Aliexpress can take 6-8 weeks shipping unless you manage to snag 12-day shipping. These wires are also available on eBya and other sites.

Ah well, I closed the tender up after testing it yesterday. If you want, I can take it apart again?

This is my first test. Always good to set up your remote control rig on the bench before you try to cram it in to a tender! Top right is the throttle (Crest Revo in my case) and bottom right is the battery pack, connected by an Aristo-type JST. Bottom center is the speaker plug/socket.

This is a conversion - it had Airwire which the prior owner removed before I got it. Hence the plywood bulkhead - mostly to make a sound-proof box for the speaker - with the switches, etc., mounted on it. On a plastic tender you can mount this stuff on the chassis facing down or a plate under the water fill.

On/off switch on the left, charger socket [5.5mm x 2.1mm standard for LEDs, so you can buy power bricks off-the-peg] on the right. Battery wires go to the charger, and the on/off, and there’s a test ‘battery monitor’ panel you can see on the video. There are a pair of 3amp polyfuses between the battery and the on/off, to protect things, though if the battery has a proper battery protection PCB it should not be needed.

It’s functionally a set of sub-systems. The battery, polyfuse, charging socket and on/off are one subset, and the output of that is a pair of power wires to the throttle/DCC decoder. The latter has a link button, speaker wires, and a set of connections to the locomotive.

I still have to set up the chuff-trigger on the loco, and the feed to the headlight. . .

While the plugs are great, and will do what you ask, it might require opening the tender to swap the source power. I’ve used dual pole dual throw switches in some of my installs to allow selection of track or battery. Wiring isn’t complicated, but requires soldering.

So have I - especially my 2-6-0 tender which has excellent track pickups so I have a track/battery switch as well as the on/off. But in general I don’t find I use it! On a loco with track pickups and sliders (like Timmys Mogul) you’d need to find somewhere to hide it.

I have no problem soldering :slightly_smiling_face: