Monthly Archives: February 2020

Adding R/C

So, my layout isn’t perfectly flat. I tried to level it when I installed the roadbed and track, but there is definitely a low spot on the front straight and a high spot at one back corner. 

For DCC controlled locomotives, which use electronics to maintain a constant speed, this is no problem. For analog engines, it doesn’t really matter as I can increase or decrease the power to the track if needed. But for live steam, which is controlled by the throttle in the cab, it’s trickier.

The solution, of course, is to add radio control to the live steamers using a car R/C transmitter and receiver and a servo to open or close the throttle. As a first step, I’m working on installing such as system in my Saxonian. I fabbed up a servo bracket from aluminum and installed it in the cab. I ran it on a 6′ radius test circle in my garage and it performed as expected.

Next I need to set up a trailing car to carry the battery and receiver. That would allow me to mount servos in the cabs of all my live steamers and just move the R/C car between them depending on which one I want to run. But it does mean figuring out what to do about couplings. My Frank S. has LGB loops, the Dora has link and pin, and the Saxonian has a chopper.

I’ll need to noodle on that a bit.