Protocab control system

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Aeromole
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Aeromole » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:40 am

Morning all.
I've been following up on BananaRepublic's interesting and informative post. I'm also losing faith in Protocab. They seem to have gone into a rabbit hole, and only very occasionally pop up. I need their higher power loco control unit, but the wheels of progress grind exceeding slow here and it has not been an issue till now. However, the wheels do nevertheless grind and I now need the control unit, but I see no indication from Protocab that they are any closer.
Both BlueRail and the Tam Valley systems look interesting. There are some odd comments about the BlueRail system. Tam Valley is apparently available through Coastal DCC in Ipswich. BlueRail also shows on the Coastal website, but is listed as not available.
I'm installing the controller is an 0 gauge steam loco (S&D 4F toe be precise), and will use battery power. Motor is Mashima 1833, with a stall current of just over 2A. Any suggestions for suitable DCC decoders would be appreciated!
Thanks. Pete

Bigmet
Posts: 7649
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Bigmet » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:43 pm

A chat with Coastal DCC would be a good start. Kevin Dickerson has been consistently helpful in all my dealings with him.

(I would think in terms of the 'Lenz Gold Maxi' or Zimo MX696N. Plenty of current headroom is always the best plan in my opinion, but there may be something less expensive that will be well matched to the motor. It's been a long time in DCC terms since I needed a 'big' decoder.)

BananaRepublic
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby BananaRepublic » Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:09 pm

Withdrawn from the market a few years ago....

Image

BananaRepublic
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby BananaRepublic » Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:22 pm

Wireless (high speed network).
Wireless transmission of control signals directly to the loco (and trackside accessories)
No handset cables.
No Command Station or any expensive system boxes.
The system is in the handset and the decoders (in the locos and trackside accessory decoders).


Image

Aeromole
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Aeromole » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:05 pm

Thanks for that. The Ring Railpro looks good - 8A stall current, but it is big and expensive!

Been chatting to another S7 RC user who has had success with DelTang kit. This has a stall current limit of 1.5A, but he has ABC gearbox/motors fitted (high efficiency spur gears thus presumably smaller motors....or better at not getting into stall conditions).

I have a Dead Rail module on order, so more experimentation is due!

Aeromole
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Aeromole » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:13 am

Update.
My DeadRail module took an age to arrive. First 2 weeks was for DeadRail to update and test the firmware, then they entrusted the package to USPS. Despite paying for priority handling, USPS took several days to get the package to UK where it then sat in customs for a further few days. I had to pay VAT plus a £20 handling charge but it all finally arrived last week.
Having got that off my chest, I have to say I am impressed so far. The board is slightly bigger than the Protocab one, but it handles 2A!
The battery was the next thing to resolve. Protocab use a 1S lipo battery (3.7V) with a step up regulator on the board to increase voltage. I have some step up regulators on order, but for the prototype I used a 3S battery (11.1V). This is quite a chunky thing, and had to be mounted in the tender together with the high-current gold-plated charging plug and balance plug, but has the advantage of meaning I can dispense with lead ballast in the tender!
I've also made some changes to the model. I was using 0.6mm piano wire in my CSB suspension, but the consequence was that I needed quite a bit of weight to push the model onto the stops. I've changed the wire to 0.4mm, and reduced the weight. After a chat with a fellow S7 modeller, I've also installed a MSC helical gearbox/Canon motor, rather than the normal (cheaper) worm drive.
The result? It works just fine! There's a bit of a high frequency hum until it gets going, but the model still needs final running in and lubrication.
Conclusion? I shall buy 2 more tomorrow.
Pete

Aeromole
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Aeromole » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:16 am

Ah, should have added that the control app was really easy to download onto an Ipad mini, and connected to the board first time. Dead easy!
Might try and take some photos later (when management agrees to me disappearing to the workshop again!) P

Bigmet
Posts: 7649
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Bigmet » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:45 am

When I do a search on 'Dead Rail Module' the lead responses are to a Tam Valley radio transmitter and receiver product that piggybacks on a DCC decoder to enable a battery powered loco to run with DCC control without track power. Is that the product you are using?

Aeromole
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Re: Protocab control system

Postby Aeromole » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:57 pm

I think what you are looking at is the Tam Valley DRS1. You should also see BlueRail DCC by Tam Valley on the DeadRail Installs website. I presume it's called that because it uses blue tooth comms. The module either runs as a DCC controller, or - with the addition of a jumper lead - controls the motor directly. Control is via an iphone or ipad, but they recommend that if you don't already have one, you buy the cheapest second hand iphone 6. No sim card is necessary - you're only using its bluetooth capability.
I've tried to attach some photos to this.
1 is the competed tender with removable coal.
2 shows the coal removed and placed to one side. In the coal hole there is a polystyrene tray holding the BlueRail module. The square box further back covers the charging plug and balancing plug for the battery.
3 is a blown up view of 2. You can just see the green LED on the module, and the blue jumper wire. There is also a switch at the left side.
4 is the underside of the tender, showing the 3S battery and the power wire to the motor.
5 is the engine chassis, showing the MSC motor/gearbox.
Attachments
DeadRail installation-5.jpg
DeadRail installation-4.jpg
DeadRail installation-3.jpg
DeadRail installation-2.jpg
DeadRail installation-1.jpg


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