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  • Topic: Thomas is going to get the RCS treatment.

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    • January 16, 2010 4:33 PM EST

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      Early today Thomas arrived for the treatment. I must admit I was quite excited to see whether or not Bachmann has got it right. I gave it a quick backwards and forwards on the test track and was most impressed with how smooth it ran. But Hey!!! The gear ratio is all wrong again. On 12 volts it is a Rocket Ship. Actually, that is not going to matter much as 9.2 volts of batteries will fit a lot more easily than 14.4 does. The higher voltage takes up a lot of space. 8 Cells is going to work out just fine. Resistance was useless. After I had finished my Sat am chores and rather pleasant lunch of Portuguese sardines, I simply had to pull him apart and see what was possible. The first step is to remove all the 8 screws that hold the body to the chassis.

      Once apart it was possible to study the situation at length. I have figured out how to fit everything inside the loco shell. 8 x "AA" ENELOOP 2000 mah Hybrid cells, RCS-BELTROL R/C, a 2.4 GHz 5 channel RX and a MyLocosound with speakers. Plus an installation kit to make wiring simpler. The MyLocosound system has a very nice chuff and a very British whistle. Just right for Thomas. The bonus will be the charge jack which will be situated on the rear buffer beam. This will allow a trail car set of batteries to plug in and replace the loco batteries for an extended running time. Once apart I played around placing components. The first thing I decided to do was locate the speaker for the MyLocosound. I had the option of a few examples but decided on a small oval speaker that Phoenix and Dallee both sell. I could not mount it facing up as I needed the space below the bottom of the coal load area for one of the battery packs. So I decided to mount it under the actual coal load facing down. The first thing to do was cut the ends off the fake coal to let the sound out the sides.

      Once they were removed I glued the speaker to the underneath of the coal load.

      Then I built up a baffle box out of thinnish styrene. I hope it works but as yet I cannot try it out.

      Anyway, it will not be hard to play around to get the best sound I can. Once I had the speaker set up finished I drilled a small hole for the speaker wires and remounted the coal load into the body shell.

      The other two wires coming from the rear of the body shell are connected to a 3mm green LED I placed in the dummy lantern. I simply drilled out the lantern to accept the LED and then carefully filed down the base of the LED so it would poke through the lantern from the back. There is a 470 ohm resistor in series to enable the LED to work on 5 volts. I did the same to the front dummy lantern. Although not essential, having working front and rear lights makes operation much simpler. This loco is for children so the colour of the LED's does not matter. I would use Warm White LED's for regular scale model locos. Next up was selecting the location for the sound system and which of the RX's I wanted to use. Here is the MyLocosound which fits neatly between support pillars on the LH side.

      Being slight behind the front pillar means that inserting the wires in the screw terminals before finally locating the sound card would be a good idea. The regular RCS metal cased RX will fit easily on the RH side.

      Here is the Planet Twister RX.

      Then the E-Sky.

      The Hobby King.

      No pic of the SPEKTRUM AR-500 but it fits as well in the same place. What really makes this a simple installation is the BASIC-3 (aka EVO-B3 & BTL AL-3R). This is long, thin and low profile, so it mounts easily above the motor block under the top of the boiler.

      I mounted the ON-OFF switch and charge jack in the rear buffer beam. I made the assembly from parts that are easily available in most local electronic stores or from RCS.

      I drilled a hole through the floor so the wires could go up to the top of the chassis. There is a convenient space behind the motor into which the excess wiring can be tucked out of the way once the connections have been made.

      Next up will be installing the two 4.8 volt rechargeable battery packs and completing the wiring. The final phase is complete, and THOMAS is up and running. As Thomas is such a race horse on 12 volts I determined to use 9.6 volts. The RCS-BELTROL ESC I used can work down to 7.2 volts. So 8 cells s ideal. I opted for two 4.8 volt packs AA size packs of rechargeable cells which are available over the counter from most hobby shops in the two different shapes needed. My battery supplier has them with ENELOOP AA size NiMh-Alkaline hybrid batteries in the two shapes I need for them to fit in Thomas.

      The two packs fit like this in the body.

      The brick shape fits in the bottom of the coal bunker at the back. The flat pack fits under the cab floor. The packs came with regular JR servo type connectors so I fabricated a cable set to put them in series from a couple of servo extension leads. Normally I would just wire up the two wires that are fitted to the regular batter packs I get made. Be careful not to mount the flat pack too far forwards. If you do it will foul the rear of the motor. The wiring was finished off thus.

      I put plugs and sockets on all the wiring that goes between the body shell and the chassis. It is not really necessary to do that and in fact does increase the odds of a failure at some stage. I do it mainly because it allows me to more easily take photos as I progress. I charged up the batteries and then bound the PLANET RX to the TX and calibrated the system as per the regular BELTROL instructions. Everything fits in easily but be vary careful assembling the body to the chassis not get any wires under the screw holes and make sure they are clear of any fittings that would prevent the body sitting down snugly on the chassis. I do advise removing the face from the front of the body shell. Doing so makes relocating the little plastic "sticks" behind the eyes much easier. Once the body is back on the chassis and Thomas has been tested, hold the face in two hands with the eyes held in place by your thumbs. Locate the two little pegs on each side of the slider on the motor block front and gently push the face back into the boiler until it clicks home. Thomas performs well except for a small bind in the mechanism that I expect will disappear with usage. I will do a follow up soon with a list of the parts that can be used for the installation. Thank you for your attention.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 19, 2010 1:22 AM EST

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      Some more added.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 22, 2010 5:01 AM EST

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      Phase # 3 now included.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

    • January 24, 2010 12:53 AM EST

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      Thomas is up and running.
      ____________________________________

      Best wishes,
      Tony Walsham

      Remote Control Systems. www.rcs-rc.com/
        Modern technology. Old Fashioned reliability

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