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  • Topic: RailBoss Plus from G-Scale Graphics (Del Tapparo)

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    • December 26, 2011 7:52 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      I picked up a pair of Del's new RailBoss Plus radio control boards as a Christmas gift to myself. The "Plus" is and upgrade of Del's previous top-of-the-line R/C board - The Enhanced Rail Boss.

      The Plus version offers several new features over the Enhanced board. Del now has 4 sound triggers (increased from 2) on the right hand stick of a Mode 2 transmitter. Also added is a Low Battery warning system for LiIon battery packs. When programmed properly, the board will give you some warning that your LiIon pack is about to shut down. The Plus version also supports two trains operating simultaneously from one 5 channel transmitter. When 2 train mode is enabled, Momentum is no longer an available option.

      Today I spent the day upgrading my Cheesy Sound trail car from the Enhanced to the Plus board. My trail car also includes a Phoenix 2K2 sound board and a speaker. This was basically a disconnect the old and connect the new procedure. The board looks the same but some connection points have moved and others have changed. I opted to keep the Rx connected to the Enhanced board and install a new Rx on the plus board. I didn't need to pay attention to the differences in Rx wiring by doing it this way. I simply followed the diagram for the Plus board to hook up my Rx.

      Because I opted for the Two Train function, my Rudder control was not being used. I picked up one of Del's Trigger Boards and used it on the Rudder stick to gain two more sound triggers. Before I installed it, I checked out some of the optional modes for the trigger board. The alternating and ditch light modes were quite interesting effects. I had a hard time going back to the sound trigger mode after seing the lighting effects :)

      Once the board was in and operational I noticed a few other differences compared to the Enhanced board. Gone is the "bump" when the board is first powered. When the R/C system power switch is thrown, the only indication of power being applied is the head light. The headlight still functions as a feedback device flashing a heart beat until the RX and Tx are linked. The sound system stays pleasantly silent until receiving some input from the RailBoss (either throttle up or any one of the triggers). Once the sound system receives some input from the RailBoss it begins it's engine start-up sequence.

      Another difference I noticed is that while the heartbeat is active, the rear light no longer flashes. On the Enhanced board I was using, during the heartbeat phase of start-up, both front and rear LED outputs would flash. I had built a circuit with a relay to light bi-color LEDs at both ends of the trail car to indicate direction. To minimize battery drain, I powered the relay using the reverse light connection. When powering up and waiting for the TX and RX to connect, the Railboss flashes it's heartbeat. The Enhanced board would trigger the relay and my LED's would alternate color during the heartbeat. The Plus board simply lights the LEDs in their forward colors and the relay remains silent. I rather like this, but now I need to figure out an external feedback indicator. I can either change to using the Forward light connection for my relay or add a feedback LED powered by the Forward LED current source. I'm leaning toward the latter for the same reason I originally powered my relay from the Reverse light connection.

      I haven't had the train out on the layout yet. That will need to wait until Wednesday, if we have good weather. But so far, in testing on my short indoor track I've been very happy with the added features of the Plus version.
      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • December 26, 2011 8:26 PM EST
      • N. Kingstown, Rhode Island
         
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      Jon,
      I have 3 of Del's throttles and I love 'em.
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    • December 28, 2011 12:42 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Despite the wind I did manage a test run out on the layout today. The new RailBoss performed flawlessly and it was neat to be able to add sound effects like rev-up before moving, working while going up-grade and dynamic brakes going down-grade. All of these sound effects thanks to the 2 additional triggers plus the two I added with the trigger board.

      I also got to try out the two-train feature and am happy to report that with limitations it will also work with an Enhanced board driving the second train. The limitation is that you need to shut off the Enhanced board before switching back to Train 1 on the Plus board. In my situation this was no problem, I just needed to move an engine with an Enhanced on-board.

      I haven't had a chance to see the low-battery warning yet.
      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • December 28, 2011 3:17 PM EST

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      What, no pictures =(
      Rooster will have to find someone to translate :D
      Ralph
    • December 28, 2011 3:34 PM EST
      • Windsor, Colorado
         
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      Jon - It's great to hear you are happy with your new toys! And you did an excellent job of identifying the differences between the Enhanced and the Plus. But I do need to make one clarification.
      Jon Radder said:
      ... When 2 train mode is enabled, Momentum is no longer an available option. ...
      When connecting the 4th channel to the Ch5 switch instead of the rudder stick, you do lose the ability to switch between NO momentum and the Programmed Momentum rate using the rudder stick. But you can still program any desired momentum rate you want. You just can't turn it off. And since you also lose the quick stop feature, I usually choose to program either no momentum or a moderate value to assist in quick stops when needed. I'm not sure why your sound system doesn't start up as soon as you apply power. I use Phoenix boards, and all of mine start right up. Are they powered up straight from the battery?
    • December 28, 2011 4:36 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Thanks for the clarification Del. I thought momentum defaulted to off at start-up, but I guess that's not the case with the Plus. I did program the momentum off. My Phoenix 2K2 is powered from the system battery directly to the battery plug on the 2K2. I did add a couple of diodes to prevent any back-feed voltage to the Li-Ion pack if I am using the car for sound only powered from the track. The motor outputs of the Rail Boss are connected to the motor inputs on the 2K2 using resistors as suggested by Phoenix. The sound card starts up about half of the time when I flip the R/C system power switch. See the wiring diagram below. Ralph - There were pictures in my sound car thread, but just so no-one has to go looking...

      ____________________________________

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    • December 28, 2011 4:44 PM EST
      • Windsor, Colorado
         
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      It must be the resistors. Are they 100 ohm? I must admit, I don't use them, even though my wiring diagram shows them.
    • December 28, 2011 4:53 PM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      They are supposed to be 100 ohm. To be honest, I don't recall exactly what I used. I may have picked something close from what I had on-hand. They are now covered with heat shrink so I can't tell :)

      Like I said, I rather like the sound to stay off until I give it some input, so it's not a problem when it does. I just loose the bell ringing on Tx/Rx link-up.
      ____________________________________

      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

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