Rail pro...Any good ?

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#1
G'day all ...Just a quickie...I watched a couple of Ring engineering Rail Pro systems videos the other day....wireless radio control stuff.
Has anyone had much experience with it yet and if so what's the pros and cons ......and importantly THE VERDICT...Love to know..Cheers Rod..
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#2
I don't think that the technology, to make this type of control viable, is really here quite yet. The weakest part of the system, IMHO, are the batteries.
 
#3
Railpro is a very good system...

I've had it for about 3-4 months now. First, it doesn't use batteries in the locos. It may in the future if batteries get smaller. That said, I am very pleased with it. I model HO scale. I power it with my Digitrax Super Chief system. I power DCC and Railpro together. I have installed modules in 8 locos so far including speakers for sound. So far, all the locos are Kato diesels: 4 AC4400W, 2 SD70MAC and 2 SD40-2's. Just happened to be what I wanted to install first. Very easy to install loco module: LM-1 and the speaker. I have 4 more modules I will install eventually. I'm in the midst of a layout upgrade at the moment. With the warmer weather I'm not getting much done right now.

As far as how it runs it is great! The handheld controller HC-1 is very easy to use. Compared to my Digitrax DT402D Duplex throttles this is easier. Don't get me wrong I like my Digitrax also. I will be using DCC/Railpro together from this point forward. I have too many DCC sound locos now that it doesn't make sense to convert everything to Railpro. I'm pretty much adding the loco module and a speaker to my nonsound locos with Railpro. The way Railpro gets locos to run great together is simplistic. You do a full load motor test and that's it for each loco. No CV's with Railpro. I believe Railpro's is light years ahead of DCC on this. They claim something like 1000 speed steps with the Railpro HC-1 and it's probably very close to that. When you slowly turn the speed knob you can actually get 1/10th's of a SMPH. It's amazing that you can do that. I thought my locos ran good before , but .1 SMPH awesome. Just remember a bad running loco doesn't run better with Railpro or DCC. You've got to fix that youself then you'll have a fine running loco. The handheld HC-1 even gives you warnings on the fly. Such as low track voltage and some loco/module info. You can even reconfigure some of your HC-1 buttons. Very user friendly. I've talked to Tim at Ring Engineering 3-4 times and they are very customer oriented. I would give them a call if you have any questions. I'm very satisfied! If you have any more questions I will try and answer. I bought mine at Yankee Dabbler at 25% off list.
PW
 
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#5
G'day again

G'day , Thanks for the comprehensive follow up on owning the Rail Pro.
I found a review by one owner by accident on YT and just thought it'd be worth asking if it was as good as it looks , especially with multiple consists involved. That'd nearly sell me ..not having to CV and speed step everything.
Mostly curious about power usage issues , faults etc...or as it's fairly new , have any inherent problems occurred yet. With most things there's the odd bug to iron out for a while. Sounds like you have a plan...run them with the DCC locos...On one of the How To Use videos it mentioned that too..What about price wise...How does it stack up there...re system and modules etc..?
Thanks again for your thoughts... Cheers Rod
 
#6
As far as price Yankee Dabbler, Traintek LLC sell the items for 25% off list. HC-1 handheld is $299; LM-1 loco module is $74.95 and the power supply is $202-203; Railpro also has auto reverse and a accessory turnout controller., which I don't have. I have not run into any bugs so far and most likely won't. The sounds are somewhat limited: just one steam sound so far; in diesel sounds: they 645, 645 roots blower, 710, FDL 16 and maybe few others. They are working on the GEVO next and then a 567 which will take care of alot of older power. They will also have out a LM-2 nonsound module for those that don't want sound or not in every engine. I really believe if I didn't have DCC already this is definitely the way I would go. Plus, I expect them to be in business long term and with Railpro also. They have many things coming down the pike for Railpro. It justs takes time/investment to get things done in a small company. No, I don't have any investment or other in the company. I'm just a satisified customer. Customer support is top notch.

PW
 
#9
Not too expensive...Compared to...

Railpro is just as expensive as the wireless duplex systems by Digitrax and NCE. Remember, you have 2 way communication from the handheld HC-1 to the module in the engine. Way better than DCC which is between handheld to command station then to the loco. I've had my Digitrax Super Chief since 1998. I had CVP Railcommand before that. Had hardwired/soldered 25 plus receivers for that system. It was a good system for its time. I should have mentioned the module for $74.95 is a sound module. The factory default is an engine 645 with roots blower. Or you just download other prime mover sounds from the Railpro site. The way Railpro works between HC-1 and the loco module is the way I think DCC may eventually be going. Unless, something else is done. A lot of people bash Railpro is they didn't allow DCC to play along with it as a whole. You can run DCC and Railpro independently of each other at the same time. It has been flawless in that respect. As far as DCC/Railpro there is some things they couldn't do if they included DCC with it. There's going to be a pretty good expense down the road when DCC advances also. But, they'll have figure the NMRA standards along with it. Just my 2 cents.

PW
 
#10
G'day again

G'day all , I'm a relative newcomer to the forum but still learning all aspects of DCC as well ..My first foray into MR was a dear old Bachmann starter set complete with a GP40 loco and four cars and a standard DC controller in about 2007.
I wet mad , bitten by the bug , and almost every week for the best part of a year I was buying , more locos ,more track , rolling stock and finished up with a ton of EZY track , about 20 locos and 60-70 rolling stock..Then in 2011 I saw DCC and kept telling myself Na.. I 'm happy with what I'm doing until I saw my first Sound loco...That sold me...Since then I've added nearly 20 either DCC ready or full DCC locos (7 with sound so far) and late last year got sick of the constraints of sectional track , switching to Atlas flextrack and rebuilding the layout..The best part of DCC is that it seems to pretty much run on any sort of track and I use a ROCO Multimaus system that's pretty bulletproof , only issue is messy sub menus when trying to do CV stuff.
When I saw the RailPro YT videos I was impressed with it's ease of use because I'd rather spend time using my stuff rather than mucking around programming and fiddling..I will wait a while to see one in action in real life but if it can run in conjunction with DCC...who knows , one day I might like to give it serious consideration...Thanks again for your info.. Cheers Rod.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#11
Railpro is just as expensive as the wireless duplex systems by Digitrax and NCE. Remember, you have 2 way communication from the handheld HC-1 to the module in the engine. Way better than DCC which is between handheld to command station then to the loco. ..PW
Ok that's fine, but what powers the handset, and does it have the option to plug in, and use as a thethered set, if for some reason the HC power stopped. Plus I don't do wireless for the simple reason, I can't afford it. I have been fortunate in that a fellow modeler, who had to give up the hobby, gave me what basically turned out to be an 8amp SC, with simplex radio, several PM-42's, and several UP-5 panels. I gave the radio reciever to another friend, who would be using it.

Having used the Digitrax duplex wireless, overall its neat, but even on that layout, I prefer being plugged in.
 
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#12
Carey, the HC-2/ not HC-1 that I've said previously my mistake uses a battery in it. It comes installed from Ring Engineering in the HC-2. They say it will give years of use. If you would need a new battery they said it will have to be sent in to them. They say you may never need a new battery. We'll see in the long term.

The HC-2 is completely wireless there is no option for being tethered. I'm so glad Railpro and my Digitrax SC duplex are this way. Railpro is completely wireless and so far has been a blast to operate with. I would like to think in time you will like the advantage of wireless with Railpro or DCC. I admit it's up to each individual what they like best. I love not having to plug in around the layout.

One of you asked about the power supply being 24VAC? I don't have the Railpro power supply so I really know nothing about it. Just using 5 amp in my Digitrax SC command station to run Railpro/DCC with.

PW
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#13
PW, that was Toot, down in Oz, I believe that he was asking if they made a power supply that ran on 240vac. They have different power requirements than we do.
 
#14
That's what I get for not going back and reading that post!:eek:24vac.

Wanted to say that the HC-2 handheld has the guts of the Railpro system in it. You give commands between the HC-2 and the loco/locos. I really think this helps in the long run.

PW
 
#15
power stuff

G'day all , Yep , Re Tootnkumin's thread, our transformers etc , and plugs are different to Stateside.
I think USA use 220V and ours is 240V....mains.....not sure about the U.K.
I recall getting my Dynamis and then Roco..DCC stuff and both having adapters to work on our plug pin arrangements here too,
The ROCO is stepped down from 240 to 16 volts and I noticed that the
RailPro is not advised above 22 volts maximum I believe so I'd be right to use it...Love the CV (or lack thereof) aspect to run consists..That nearly gets me on it's own.. Cheers Rod..
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#17
...
I think USA use 220V and ours is 240V....mains.....not sure about the U.K.
... Cheers Rod..
Normal voltage here is 110vac. Many of our heavier home appliances, A/C, furnace, stove, dryer etc, does run on 220vac. This is accomplished by having basically 2 110vac lines run to them.
 
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#18
Maybe I'm misunderstanding how it works, but if you OZies are already running trains with power supplies that deliver 12-14 volts then the Rail Pro should ride right on top of it.
 
#19
G'day again

G'day again , Yep... I'm no electrician but know that straight out of the box any componentry will work here courtesy of the standard step down systems built in protection etc..I believe on my ROCO system that it is rated to 16 and Rail Pro can rate to 22 maximum. We could indeed run Rail Pro via standard power supplies I'd expect. I'm not sure on the booster packs that run with upgraded layouts but I reckon in most cases it's if you have enough to support your system , not too much...but my layout old and with a new bench around the room one this winter will only ever need pretty much a standard set up but paying attention to drop out spots etc.. With any overseas , USA or European plug in equipment we need to use an adapter plug to conform with our angled three pin stuff..Always works fine..
Less so are TV, DVD etc stuff from the US.. Any DVD I get has to be region 4 friendly otherwise no go.. Not sure how it goes the other way...model rail, DVDs etc......Cheers again Rod..
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#20
I've just been looking at the Railpro site and it would seem that the power pack, PWR-75 is also the base station for the R/C, which means of course that the whole system relies on this unit to power everything, both track and R/C, and as there is no mention of the input voltage (as far as I can see) it will most likely be built to suit US standards.

This is a problem down here and I did a lot of searching when looking into DCC systems in this regard. Some brands support dual 110-240vac inputs, several don't.

All the advise I "gleaned" is that using one stepdown transformer to power another stepdown P/S is not a good idea.
 



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