Experience with Ring Engineering Railpro system

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#1
I'm trying to find some real world user experience with the Ring Engineering Railpro system. The decoders are pricey but it seems like the system is easy to use, very easy to reprogram locomotive parameters and as mobile as you can get.

Anybody out there with some experience they might want to share?
 
#2
There are a few threads on here and elsewhere that have a lot of information regarding Railpro. Look around for them and you'll get a bit more data to work with. I'll give you a few things here though to get you started.

I've been using Railpro since about 2011. It's changed quite a bit since then, though the basic premise remains the same. The system is not DCC (but is backwards-compatible to DCC...more on that later) and does not use CV's. Command signals are all radio-based and are transmitted from the controller directly to whatever Railpro product you are controlling. The transmission of signals is near instantaneous. There can be some interference issues as with any wireless system, but I have not encountered that much. The few times I've seen an interference problem was usually due to me being too far away from the locomotives and with several walls in between.

All Railpro products communicate with each other, and Railpro power supplies act as radio repeaters. This amplifies the signal and provides multiple paths for the command to reach its target. Railpro also communicates in both directions...meaning that data flows to the Railpro products and from the Railpro products. This is what makes Railpro's automatic load sharing possible. The controller sends the command for speed out to the consist of locomotives, and each locomotive adjusts its speed in real time in order to share the load across the entire consist. This takes no input from the user. Two-way communication also makes it possible to monitor stats from the locomotives such as module temperature, track voltage, and power applied to the motor.

Power for Railpro can be from nearly any source. It will work on any DCC-powered layout and will use the power on the rails. Railpro power supplies are filtered DC. It can be used on other DC sources as long as they are filtered (no sharp spikes in power that can damage the modules). Battery power is also easily used.

All Railpro products can be updated with new software as that software is released. There are free programs that you can download from Ring Engineering that allow you to download and transfer updates for all Railpro products. These programs also allow you load custom picture files and custom sounds to the locomotive modules. This system is not as robust as Loksound's, but it's a step in the right direction.

Speaking of sounds, Railpro has come a long ways since its inception with sound. The sound library is still limited, but the sounds that have been released recently (their "ULT", or Ultimate, sound series) are very nice, and rival the top DCC offerings. All these new sounds were recorded from prototypes under load, and are mixed in a way that eliminates looping and provides a natural-sounding engine. There are more sound files that are being worked on at the moment, but there are still many specific prime movers that need to be recorded.

The modules have gotten smaller and have more storage capacity. Installation is straightforward because the modules use a standard 9-pin plug. No word on a 21-pin plug yet. I've never needed one personally. I remove all factory electronics from any locomotive I purchase because I prefer to hardwire in my modules and gain more space for speakers and keep-alive.

I've noticed that Railpro benefits a lot of from adding keep-alives. There is a small internal capacitor to get over some poor electrical conductivity, but it's usually not enough to make for smooth operation over poor track or dirty wheels. Keep-alive's have completely solved this for me.

Overall thoughts are that I love the system and am pleased with recent changes that have been made. There is still more that I would like to see, both in terms of features and additional sounds. But Railpro is steadily improving and that is good to see. Customer service is very good. I don't see myself ever going with something else.

Some good information can be found at the unofficial Railpro User's Group: https://rpug.pdc.ca/

Hope that helps.

-Kevin
 

Rico

BN Modeller
#3
Wow, I can't add much to what Kevin said other than they have great customer service.
I've run Railpro on a friends layout with no issues at all, but here at home not so much.
Right out of the box my controller didn't work, sent it in for warranty and got it back in record time.
Now I'm having issues with the two modules I purchased, I suspect they'll go in for warranty as well.
Otherwise I think it's a neat system and I'm hoping to get it working soon as DCC has been P'ng me off to no end lately!
 





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