Töff, Töff...

Reconstruction of other PIKO locos and cars to radio control and battery use

After the unfortunate death of our gifted electronics technician Hannes the concept of radio controlled locos with battery packs and sounds self made stagnated for some years. However, the reconstruction with a sound control based on ARDUINO for instance is one of his sophisticated legacies.

That's why I've listed my machines here, which had been rebuilt between 2011 and 2016 until his death and documented accordingly extensively. However, this concept could not be continued, which speaks for the genius of this man.

However, I was able to learn from him how to approach something like this - based on his experiences I can realize the concept of self-sufficiency in a different way.

But all machines have one thing in common: all grinders have been removed. The rail or wheelset grinders mean a loss of traction of around 20-30% because they drive with the handbrake on, so to speak. Even the fact that an attempt to charge on the tracks does not make up for this, ultimately also means that engines and transmissions can be operated with care. That being said, attempting to charge multi-pack LiPo batteries directly from the rails would not allow balancing. However, since each rechargeable battery is only as strong as its weakest cell, the advantage of a high charging capacity would very quickly be lost, apart from the fact that most digital command stations absolutely do not like it if power is still coming from the tracks from behind. The strict electrical separation of the wheelsets from the rest of the battery-powered machines had previously proven to be an absolute advantage on third-party systems - the machines continued to run even if the digital command station stuttered a little bit.

It can be seen and heard on YouTube. Pictures of the reconstruction I didn't get, unfortunately, because Hannes didn't succed to get some.

Some model colleagues returned to machines controlled digitally. In the period of powerful little battery packs especially with LiFePO4 and good radio controls I don't want to do like that. Perhaps it may be the own convenience to clean all the tracks before driving. But all the productive talks with Hannes and the contacts with other colleagues of the model car, boats and planes made me realize that there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

A little juxtaposition may explain my decision pro radio control and contra digital control. The used radio control mz-32 HoTT 32 Kanal von GRAUPNER allows me to memorize more than 900 models. Surely, never mind, I don't anybody to have 1000 locos in his garden, but it shows the big redundancy inhereting in this system.

32 channels controlled by switches (digital controls have only 28 channels switched by a keyboard with 10 keys) with 3 switching modes for every channel allows a lot of switchable function to be carried out you couldn't remember on or limited by available power supply. However, the clou iss the sum signal whhere 64 digital driven switches can be operated which can even be combined in logical ways. The Soundmodul - which controls the model by a powerful enggine controler (30 A) - of BEIER Electronic with operational and 30 additional sounds hard to remember.

If I compare the cost of the different systems (june 2021) the most advantageous decision was easy to get. Radio control almost 1,000 Euros; on digital way the main digital device plus power supply - without power the system doesn't work - plus a handheld device and a receiver of the german company Massoth ca. 1,300 Euros. Then the costs per vehicle -- on my way the battery pack (ca. 6,000 mAh) plus the sound and engine controler plus some little things like cables, fuses, switch etc. ca. 350 Euros whereas digitally controlled by parts of the german company Massoth (surely the would be somewhat better parts to use) with power storage would cost nearly 300 Euros.

Let's loo into a tender of a german loco BR 50...

assembled tender with sound and engine controler SFR-1 without connections for servos and light

Now a short explanation of the main parts

1 - portable battery pack (LiFePO4, 6,000 mAh); 2 - main switch; 3 - receiver GR-32 HoTT2.4 GHz Dual 16 channel; 4 - main fuse 5 A; 5 - sound controler SFR-1; 6 - power controler; 7 - loud speaker FRS 7 von VISATON

assembled battery pack

coal cover

Here you can see and hear it

auch Diesel works well toogerman loco V 180 open

1 - battery pack stationary (NiMh 4,200 mAh); 2 - main switch; 3 - charging plug; 4 - loud speaker FRS 7 plus switch board; 5 - sound controler SFR-1; 6 - main fuse 5 A; 7 - receiver GR-32 HoTT2.4 GHz Dual 16 channel

Bei all discussions about pro and con - I'm the opinion that this is conclusive and simple realizable solution resulting from all my experiences summed up during the last 10 years.

At this point I would like to emphasize again that it won't work without reading the operating instructions, a basic backup of the technology using appropriate circuit breakers and main fuses, the care of the built-in batteries according to the specifications due to their chemistry and the fact that technology quickly says farewell, if you don't give it the attention it deserves.

In addition to a clean consumption analysis it all starts with not using cheap chargers or knowing what balancing means for charging. One should always remember that a lot of energy is stored here in a small space, which can also be discharged spontaneously. In other words, you can repurpose any engine into a steam engine, at least once. Physics or chemistry can be relentless when dangerous half-knowledge is involved.

If you always keep this in mind, the technology can surprise you in a positive way, even if it is only that the batteries still have their full capacity after a year of non-operation.

In this sense a lot of fun with our common sense!

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