Model Train Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The upper and lower boards in my engine are called proto sound boards but one of these or both control forward and reverse. Can the engine run without the "sound" board?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I would like to replace that unit with one of these for blue tooth control. I dont have dcc but I believe it will work with conventional power. Anyone here do one of these conversions?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
I've been looking at those as well. But you need an isolated motor (as you likely have w/MTH). They won't work with pre/post war trains as the motor frame is connected to power via the wheel set.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thats why I was asking about the function about the 2 MTH boards: I would loose the proto sound if I ditch it for the bluetooth board.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
Wonder how many amps 2 mth motors pull. This company offers a 2 and 5 amp board.
Get the 5 amp board. A close review of the BlueRail spec.'s shows the amp rating in the name is not the same as the sustained amp rating of the board. The ratings for the 2 amp board is 2 amps peak and 1.5 amps continuous. The ratings for the 5 amp board is 5 amps peak and 3 amps continuous. And I would opt for the 150' range. Not becuase you need the distance, but to insure you don't lose signal for whatever reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
Mike, any thoughts on adding the blue tooth and keeping sounds?
It would seem that "5-Amp" module operates in two modes.

In "Basic" mode the module controls the motor and a couple of functions (lights) via the wireless App.

In "DCC mode" the modules receives commands from the wireless app and conveys them to a connected DCC compliant decoder module. The decoder module can have sound (speaker output) and many functions controlled by the app. But in DCC mode, it's the decoder module that supplies power to the motors. Most DCC decoders are made for HO and a few for G-scale. The trick is to find a DCC decoder that can handle the power requirements of an O-scale MTH engine.

Here's "DCC mode"

545740
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
You don't need any DCC equipment or control system. Just to be clear ...

The Bluerail 5-Amp board by itself in "Basic Mode", will run off the wireless app, control the motor and I believe it has one or two more outputs for lights, etc. You won't get sound in that configuration.

You can put the board in "DCC Mode". In that mode, as pictured above, the main output of the "5-Amp" board will send the App signals to a generic, off-the shelf, DCC decoder. The decoder will respond to app commands, drive the motor, control lights etc, and if equipped, will have sound with a built in amplifier for a speaker. As before, you would need to find a DCC decoder (there are many) that can handle the amp ratings for the O-scale MTH loco (fewer, more expensive).

Generic DCC decoders pickup power and DCC signals via the track. That is, the DCC signals are overlaid on top of track power in much the same way MTH provides DCS signalling to its locos.. The BlueRail module picks up track power but gets it control from the wireless app. Hence, the track doesn't have any DCC signalling on it. The BlueRail module provides power to the DCC decoder and overlays the DCC signalling (from the wireless app) on top of the power feed to the decoder. The decoder sees what it's designed for; power and overlaid DCC signals. So any generic decoder can be used with the BlueRail module. In essence, the 5-Amp module becomes the radio receiver, power pickup & control pass-through to generic DCC decoder.

Note: BlueRail says it will work with MTH loco boards 2014 and newer. But I gather yours is older given it's PS2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
What do those dcc boards cost on average. Bad enough for the bluetooth board at $150. You can get lionel blue tooth engines for less then that. I think I paid $115 for my rs3 and my BT polar express was around that cost too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
What do those dcc boards cost on average. Bad enough for the bluetooth board at $150. You can get lionel blue tooth engines for less then that. I think I paid $115 for my rs3 and my BT polar express was around that cost too.
The Traxx DCC decoders offered for sale on the BlueRail site were $120 to $180 and not much cheaper on other sites. There are cheaper decoder boards going down to $50. But with sound and a high amp rating, they seem to be $100+. At present, the high amp decoders are in a niche market (G-scale). The majority of decoder sales are in the higher volume HO market. But with MTH gone, it may be the only option to keep advanced features after an electronics failure. That may increase the need for these modules - sales volume - at some point in the future ... perhaps causing a price drop as the O-Scale market creates additional economies of scale for the manufactures. But I wouldn't "Hold My Breath" :)

Adding secondary capabilities to a unit usual costs more than buying an all inclusive product to begin with. At present, I would think that a BlueRail/decoder solution would appropriate for an MTH Premier loco in need of new electronics.

I'm thinking of dropping a 5-Amp board into a pre-war loco for the wireless motor control. And if that BlueRail module does support a couple of control outputs, maybe direction and proprietary sound (my own design). But that's a future project. I've just begun restoring some Lionel prewar passenger cars from the "teens". And that will be my focus for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
Perhaps you should start a thread asking same to alert others into that question with more experience with diesel locos.

I'm focusing on Prewar Lionel - only steam. And my investigation into the BlueRail Approach is for that purpose.

One note: In basic mode, you have two additional 3 V outputs on the 5-Amp module that can be controlled via the App. They are designated for front and rear lights. As per the picture, the 5-Amp module supplies a constant 3 V and the two controllable outputs would complete a circuit to ground to activate the LED(s).That may be appropriate for a diesel loco but not essential for steam (or at all - lights always on). I might use one to trigger a small relay that would control a generic sound module (a module that's not necessarily a dedicated model railroad product). I may use the other to control the Lionel E-unit for reverse control of my prewar locos.

I would imagine that there are sound modules that can be controlled via the Lionel "DC power overlay approach". Others would have better info on that.

545817
 

·
Admin
Joined
·
44,009 Posts
The BlueRail board requires you to have a DCC board as well in order to add sound. By the time you get it all together, you have a considerable sum of money in electronics.

For diesels, you can buy the complete TMCC command package with sound for a little more than $200. That includes cruise control. Steamers cost a bit more if you want chuffing smoke as you need extra stuff to control the smoke.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,977 Posts
What is the price of that board you are showing?
That's the small 2-amp board. The 5-amp board has the same lighting outputs. The BlueRail picture of the 2-amp just showed it better so I posted that pic.

The 5-Amp board is $140; $150 w/ extended range antenna. That board is good for 3 amps continuous draw, 5 amps peak. The 2 amp board supports 1.5 amps continuous, 2 amp peak and costs $95, $105 w/ extended antenna.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
When you say a complete TMCC package for $200, are you talking about 6-12911? If so you still need loco internals right?
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top