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QUOTE (noblenoel @ 2 Dec 2014, 18:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>i Just read this what the heck is protocab when it out and how does it work???

Could it possibly be this:

http://www.protocab.com

Put a load of batteries in your loco! Of course, you will need to remove the motor, gearboxes, circuitboard, dcc chip, sound system, etc etc to get them in! And don't forget to recharge every 30 minutes or whatever!

Why has no one thought of this before?
 

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It gets better:

"If you will be storing the locomotive out of use for more than a few weeks, remove the battery and place it in a cold place, perhaps inside a polythene bag in the refrigerator."

My sides just split!
 

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I seem to remember having lots of time from modern battery fed aeroplanes, which require lots of battery power to keep them in the air ....... given the severe conflict between power requirements and weight restrictions of airborne objects - sticking sizeable batteries in a Loco tender, or other connected stock, just seems a minimal problem, as sizes can be comparatively enormous [... comparatively ...]. Even batteries placed in Bunkers, and water tanks would have comparatively long running times.

The above, tight parameter, experiences did not involve removing batteries and placing them in a very cold place [ ..
..], quite to the contrary. Simple good practice in charging and normal temperatures kept battery life to good values.

Another solution - mentioned in various threads on this Forum - is to include an on-board battery charger, run from a simple steady current through the rails ..... or ...... if you want to play proper trains which need refueling with coal, just include coal and water charging depots, where the DC charge is connected to the rails ..... after all, if you get it wrong, it is easier to return the offending Loco and crew to the depot, that with the full size versions ...


Regards

Julian
 

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First of all, I hope that members and administrators of the forum, will allow me, as the Director of Acc+Ess Ltd, designers and manufacturers of Protocab, to add comments to this thread?
We are very pleased to have welcomed modellers to our website and we are still developing it. We take modellers' comments very seriously and listen to what is being said and where we can, designing our products around your suggestions.

In the light of what has been said in this thread, particularly about the answer on our FAQ page regarding extending battery life - the comment about storing batteries in the fridge seems to have caught the attention - we have looked at our answer again.
We based this answer on responses from a number of suppliers and other websites, we quoted two in the answer. However, we made an error in judgement and have now amended this answer accordingly.

May I address the other contributions in this thread? Battery life has been the key consideration in our design and miniaturisation is our watchword. I first designed Protocab in 1979 and followed the progress of battery development through the 80s and 90s. It has only been the mass availability of lithium ion batteries (thank you, mobile phones!) that makes Protocab a viable proposition. Coincidentally, this development has been matched by a corresponding improvement in motor efficiency. We have fitted Protocab into a Hornby Dublo 3 rail Duchess and get between 2 and 4 hours' running time. We have fitted a much smaller battery into the tender of a Bachmann BR Class 5 with no alteration to the loco apart from soldering two wires to the motor terminal and we run this loco and five Bachmann coaches all day long at exhibitions. In between, we have the Mainline Warship which you see in the demo video on the How it Works page and this is our star performer!

We attended a science fair in Scotland earlier this year, attended by families with children of all ages. In the four hours we were there, we handed the controller to a procession of kids who, inevitably, took the Warship from 0-60 in zero seconds and tried to see how fast it would run!

At the other extreme, we continuously test a range of locos for slow and smooth running. Our challenge is to fit Protocab into as wide a range of locos as possible. Most modellers have some very small locos, in my case, the benchmark is a Wills SECR P class. We have to start somewhere, but our sights are very firmly fixed on extending the range downwards in scale (and power) and upwards. G scale is much less of a challenge than 2mm/N but we will be doing our best to address both ends and everything in between.

Protocab had better work! My sons and I have committed ourselves to building a P4 4mm scale model of Brighton loco shed (c.1959) without any wiring or track insulation. If we manage to get it finished in time, we hope to demo it at ExpoEM North next year, but we have a way to go, mainly with converting locos to P4.
We don't have far to go with Protocab however, and we are on the final furlong before availability of the first products in early 2015.

Meanwhile, do please keep the comments coming and thanks for giving me the opportunity to add to this thread.

Best regards

Tony Hagon
Director
Acc+Ess Ltd
 

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QUOTE (Tony Hagon @ 2 Dec 2014, 22:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>First of all, I hope that members and administrators of the forum, will allow me, as the Director of Acc+Ess Ltd, designers and manufacturers of Protocab, to add comments to this thread?
Welcome to the forum.

Although I have no idea whether or not Protocab will be a success, I wish you luck, and look forward to hearing more in due course. It would be another option for railway modellers. Not all layouts have the same features or requirements.

Speaking personally, I have no idea whether I would ever consider changing from DC (analogue) control myself. I haven't gone DCC because I don't think that the advantages for my layout would be worth the cost. For me, Protocab would not only have to justify the expenditure, but also pass the 'Hornby Terrier test', that is, whether or not it could be fitted in a very small OO tank locomotive.

QUOTE (apw6270 @ 2 Dec 2014, 20:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>"If you will be storing the locomotive out of use for more than a few weeks, remove the battery and place it in a cold place, perhaps inside a polythene bag in the refrigerator."
I have heard of batteries being kept in fridges before. One of my friends is heavily into photography. He stores unused non-rechargeable batteries for his cameras in the fridge because he believes that they last longer kept cool. I understand that he has a degree in physics, and knows what he is talking about, although I must stress that I claim no expertise in this issue.
 

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I am all in favour of a control system which potentially eliminates the need to wire track for power. (For one thing, with that out of the way we can section and wire track circuits for location detection per prototype, that much more easily.)

What I don't want though is to handle locos and stock to recharge them. Handling is how models get damaged, and is quickly a PITA if the layout is of any size. My ideal for recharge is via the wheels, on defined locations of the layout; and I would set this up on most plain sections of track so that the battery can be small because recharge is very frequent. Others might choose larger battery, recharging only at the coaling or oiling point; and the option is still there for those who want electrically dead track to handle and damage their models with off track charging. Choose your method from among these possibilities.

Regular non-rechargeable cells, there's a chemical reaction to produce the current, and this goes on at a low level even when the cell is open circuit. Reduce the temperature and the reactions in the cell run more slowly, so less degradation of output potential before they go into service. I keep mine chilled too.
 

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Hi Tony,
Welcome and I wish you well with your products.

I certainly had loads of fun with model Planes and see no particular reason why solutions can't be found to any of the comments above, whether charging from the rails or trap-doors covering charging sockets, as these items are readily available.

Regards

Julian
 

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QUOTE (3raildriver @ 3 Dec 2014, 11:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>you will still need the normal wiring to points,lights and signals so you wont save much on wiring...
Also, and this is really significant, the track has to be mechanically well laid and the vehicles likewise mechanically sorted, if the running is to be reliable; and the railhead and wheel treads still have to be kept reasonably clean as well, or trackholding and traction suffer.

I reckon there is a hopeful belief about, that if a wireless control/power on board system were readily available, then all the track and wheel related problems go away. This is simply not so, there is still the irreducible mechanical aspect of the rail system function for guidance and running surface. That remains no less challenging, and of course a derailed loco independent of track power will keep right on running, bringing its own new set of problems. Wirefree isn't a panacea, just a somewhat different problem set.
 

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You are certainly right about the quality of the trackwork, 34C.. (help, I'm in a local library while my car is being MOT'd so I'm not near my ABCs to remind me which shed was 34C... I know Top Shed was 34A.. I'm guessing Hitchin??). When I first started in P4 in 1968, all the naysayers were saying that you'd have to lay it on plate glass. Then along came Heckmondwike and proved them wrong. But P4 depends on accurate track work using jigs and accurate back to back settings, crossing flangeways etc. It's the engineering behind it that attracts me to the scale.
I'll be answering your points about picking up from the track when I get back to the office.

best regards

Tony Hagon
(in a sunny but cold Thurso library)
 

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It would be nice to be able to just power the plain track. If wireless control makes it unnecessary to have powered frogs and thus avoid frog polarity switching, servo-motors might become a more attractive option for changing points. For example, I know the Peco Smartswitch system is a bit dear, but if you buy their Smartfrog units for electro-frog points, it seems to me to compare very unfavourably with Tortoises or Cobalts. Others will know better than me, though; I don't have experience of any point motors, I use hand-operated point levers.
 

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QUOTE (Tony Hagon @ 3 Dec 2014, 12:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You are certainly right about the quality of the trackwork, 34C.. (help, I'm in a local library while my car is being MOT'd so I'm not near my ABCs to remind me which shed was 34C... I know Top Shed was 34A.. I'm guessing Hitchin??).
...I'll be answering your points about picking up from the track when I get back to the office.
Tony,

Close, Hatfield!

I'll look forward to reading what you have to say.
 

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From what I can tell, this type of technology has been in use in the large (garden) scales for many years. It is just that it is now smaller and can be used in smaller scales, with the same benefits.

An observation I make of many new products these days (including this one) is that they have a tendency to solve one or two particular problems, rather than address the wider issues.
The result of this is that the product is lacking when compared to what is already on the market.

In my opinion, any alternative control system which is produced today must provide at a minimum, ALL of the functionality which is available with DCC, otherwise it will never gain acceptance, especially by DCC users. You can't expect people to change to something that doesn't at least give them what they have already got. Conversely, DC users would accept most new approaches because most solutions are better than what they already have.

It is my believe that any new control system at a bare minimum should provide:

- The ability to run multiple trains on the same track independently
- The ability to tune loco performance individually
- Lighting
- Sound
- Feedback (ie positions of accessories and locations of locos ie 'positional detection')
- Wireless throttles (radio, not infra-red)
- Computer integration
 

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Definitely needs to match the 'basket' of facilities that DCC offers to be a general market contender. I suspect it goes further than that too, to avoid forever being a niche product it will need to seamlessly integrate with DCC, bringing enhanced capability. In my ideal world the base transmitter would be connected to the DCC command unit. If I call up a loco that is radio equipped on my DCC handset, the radio system seamlessly picks that up and operates that loco. If I happen to buy a wireless system handset, and call up a DCC controlled loco, it operates that loco on DCC.

My want is to be able to occasionally operate a couple of locos on shunt trips onto half a dozen yards of 'unused' track, all rusted over and overgrown. Radio control and battery power will be ideal for this. The main operation on clean and shiny mainline tracks stays with DCC.
 

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QUOTE Anyone thinking of trying the protocab system when its released next year

Yes :0)

I'm glad that R/C has come to the smaller gauges. Its another control option for those who don't want/need DCC and are looking for something other than conventional 2 rail DC. I'm about to commence purchasing and laying track for my little layout so the announcement that it's going to be available next year is good timing for me.

I've always liked the idea that the locomotives 'engine' is self contained and independent of external power.

Cheers,

Clive
 

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QUOTE (Pat Pattle @ 4 Dec 2014, 23:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Its another control option for those who don't want/need DCC and are looking for something other than conventional 2 rail DC.

This sums it up pretty well.

Not to poor cold water on the idea, but realistically, all it is doing is providing a way to have wireless throttles on a DC layout.

It needs to do much more than that to stand a chance of being anything other than a niche product.
 

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QUOTE (Graham Plowman @ 4 Dec 2014, 23:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not to poor cold water on the idea, but realistically, all it is doing is providing a way to have wireless throttles on a DC layout.

It needs to do much more than that to stand a chance of being anything other than a niche product.
Do we know exactly what it will do, in detail? I couldn't see a huge amount of information on their website about what it would let users do, but presumably it will let trains do different things on the same piece of track, and presumably full power is available at all times (unless the battery needs recharging). I hope that there will be information about operating lights and other functions, in due course. Some people would be interested in how easy it is to double-head trains. Although I am not particularly interested in sound myself, I strongly suspect that quite a few people would want the option of reasonable sound.
 
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