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Author Topic: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos  (Read 4598 times)

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Offline AGR-Shed-Enderby

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Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« on: October 17, 2016, 07:40:34 am »
I visited the Peterborough Model Train Show this weekend (16/10/2016) and attended two 'lectures' about the Protocab System from Acc+Ess Ltd.  Not sure how many of you are familiar with their system but it is coming of age as you read this.  TWO way radio link to the loco powered and controlled from on board system, 4 hours run time from a charge (on 00 scale), programmable inertia and braking, up to 9 locos, no power on track needed at all, can run on DCC layouts and DC without changing anything, on-board charging, radio range 100 feet indoors, impossible to receive interference from any other unit or controller.  No I do not have any connection with them.  I am however really keen to try this system in N gauge.  Take a look here: https://www.protocab.com/welcome
Apparently they are receiving many requests for N gauge and have already produced a design for a circuit board to fit in N gauge tenders.
They are also introducing wireless charging and/or contact charging (probably using buffers) soon and running 2 locos at once.  I urge you all to have a look even if only to find out about a system which will probably be more reliable than DCC can ever be.  It actually puts you in the cab - they have a notion to allow you to be in the cab of a loco on your PC or tablet and actually drive the model from the screen using the cab images of a real loco with your mouse (or finger).  No loco numbers to enter either as once linked to the controller selection button it stays that way - Click the loco selector and drive with a rotary speed control.  Needs no external power at all to operate.
Now the only downside:  It's going to be fiddly to install in N gauge - but no more so than DCC.  It needs to overcome our hobby's traditional slow take-up of new technology (20 years in the case of DCC).
If you visit a show why not make a point of visiting their stand.  They are a UK family venture and will make you very welcome.  You can also join their open member online group at no charge.  Owners of their system have a Closed User Group.

Malc

Offline longbow

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 08:14:52 am »
This is a good idea for the larger scales but where are they going to put the battery in an N Gauge loco?

Offline Chris Morris

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 08:15:59 am »
I can see that making this work for N gauge will be challenging. I wish them every success.
Despite all the pushing of dcc in the magazines my analysis of pros and cons of dcc for me don't make a case for going dcc. I am very happily dc and have no plans to change. I also run G scale, again mostly DC track power. I do have 6 battery powered G scale locos and I have to say it is a great way to power/control locos. Slow running is always 100% reliable regardless of track state (extra important in the garden) and radio control means you can watch your train from wherever you want to stand. I look forward to seeing this in action in N gauge.
The only downside to battery power is that the loco doesn't stop if it comes off the track. From experience this can lead to damage occurring.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 08:17:19 am by Chris Morris »

Offline AGR-Shed-Enderby

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 08:42:03 am »
I made that same point to them and the new controller is to have am Emergency Stop button.  I assume the same handset could be used for either the garden or the N Scale saving cost. They are also producing a larger unit which I think was capable of 3 amps, so OK for G scale?

Offline AGR-Shed-Enderby

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 08:45:17 am »
The battery fits in the tender and is like those used in tiny model helicopters.   The charging circuit is on their circuit board.   This means that the redundant (unused) wheel pick-ups could be used to provide power for recharging.

Offline longbow

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 09:18:50 am »
Has there been some new development then as the Protocab website currently says this:

"At present Protocab would be difficult to fit into 2mm/ft scale locomotive mainly due to battery size. We recognise there is much demand for battery power + wireless control in smaller scales but we have concluded that 2 and 3mm/ft scales can only be addressed universally when the battery technologies that we know are coming down the line are commercially available."

Online emjaybee

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 09:50:53 am »
That's very interesting. I can see the realism benefits.

You'll be able to have realistic lineside fires when the lithium polymer battery takes a turn for the worst and overheats!

Mmmmm, I love the smell of burning plastic in the morning!

 :goodbye:
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Offline geoffc

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 10:03:12 am »
I feel that model railways are lagging behind in embracing new technology, we have some wonderful radio controlled, battery powered toys in the shops. thses vary from quadracopters to swimming fish, yes the latter does exist. I thought the young lad next door had a Goldfish in a tank for a birthday present, in reality it was  battery powered and radio controlled and looked extremely realistic. If a swimming fish can be made which is 50mm long what is stopping N gauge locos from running by battery and radio control.

Geoff

Online emjaybee

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2016, 10:22:53 am »
Er, because:

A. You want it to run for more than 5 minutes.

B. You want it to look scale. (No pun intended)

C. You want to still have a motor in it to make it move, and that takes space.

 :thumbsup:
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Offline geoffc

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2016, 10:41:23 am »
It did all of those things in a length of 50mm, it was so realistic I thought it was a real fish.

Geoff

Offline Ian Bowden

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2016, 11:00:56 am »
The battery fits in the tender and is like those used in tiny model helicopters.   The charging circuit is on their circuit board.   This means that the redundant (unused) wheel pick-ups could be used to provide power for recharging.

Quite a few locos are tender drive with very little space to fit the DCC chip. I don't think there is space in most locos for a battery, even a watch battery might be difficult.

The best way it can be sucessful in N gauge, which I would like to see, is for manufacturers to include it or at leastr space in the locos for installation. They are still producing new locos without DCC blanks (eg new Farish class 08).

Offline Only Me

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2016, 11:03:57 am »
Bit of cello-tape over ithe battery on the top of the old Kettle, no one will notice, just say it's kit built :D



Offline Ian Bowden

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2016, 11:14:32 am »
Bit of cello-tape over ithe battery on the top of the old Kettle, no one will notice, just say it's kit built :D

Just tried that it crushed the loco. Perhaps a car battery is a little too big

Online emjaybee

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2016, 11:37:55 am »
Now your just being ridiculous!

What you need to do is have a consist of tank wagons, maybe oil, then each one can be a "AA"  rechargeable battery.

Simples!

Of course, the consists you can run will be limited...

 :P
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Online Yet_Another

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Re: Protocab - About to produce control for N Gauge locos
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2016, 12:34:49 pm »
Have I read this right?

You can only address 9 locos with this system, of which only one (soon to be two) can be actually running. And you need a tender-sized space to fit it in?

Not very appealing to anyone with even a modest diesel fleet, like myself
Tony

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