Author Topic: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro  (Read 2830 times)

Antoine L.

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My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« on: January 07, 2016, 10:12:27 AM »
Hi everyone

I've spoiled myself with Railpro in november and I'd like to give you all my review so far. I have HC-2 and six LM-2S.
But before, here is a small listing of what I have installed and a few comments on the installation:

- Kato SD45 and SD40: both DCC ready with and 8 pin plug. I just had to remove the jumpers, get a 8 to 9 pin connector, fit in the LM-2S and voilą. They run flawlessly even if I had to remove weights.
- Atlas silver series Gp40-2: I had to remove the factory board for decoder and speaker to fit in. All in all it runs fine but I still have fine tuning to make so the wires don't touch the flywheels. This one wa sa bit more painful to install railpro in.
- Proto 1k F3 unit. I could easily install decoder and 2 speakers, all hardwired: everything runs flawlessly.
- Athearn RTR DC GP-38: Oh boy. It's the not DCC ready type, mostly a new kind of old bluebox thing. I had headaches trying to fit the module inside and even after reading and watching Kevin's how-to install thread many times, I still got trouble to fit all in, and even now, it doesn't run flawlessly because some wires are touching the flywheels and ugh. Anyway.

I have one LM-2S left, yet to install.

I tried to fit it in a Athearn bluebox sw1500 switcher with no success. And I have a proto2k s3 switcher: same result. The thing just won't fit. I am thinking of keeping the shell of the athearn sw1500 (nice weather wisconsin central 1551) and put in on top of a new athearn frame dcc ready thing but I have doubts it will work.

As for the system itself I think it is very nice and fun to use. So far my layout is all Code100, all wired correctly, and when tracks and wheels are clean I have little problems. Just the same hobby related problems such as "oh there is a shorting frog here, or a bad power-pick up there"

I also downloaded stuff from RE website, sounds and all. no problems.

At some point I got a most frustrating problem: I lashed up 2 locos using the MU link. All locos had been tested for max volatge prior to this. Uusally it all works well, but that specific time, when I applied voltage they started to move and then I settled the voltage at 30%. locos were acting starngle, one pulling more than the other, then stops, then again, sometimes moving in unison but slowing down, then regaining speed then slowing down again, all erratically. I gave up and went to bed. The next morning all was fine. I had no fault reported.

Also, I have a loco with a fault saying: sound is not compatible with current version of software. However, all locos were updated, with same version, and the same sound plays on other locos. odd thing.

All in all I am really happy (I never tried DCC, I jumped from straight DC to RP). In comparison with straight DC I think RP is very sensitive and locos will stop and sound reset for the slightest current fail. It is very sensitive to rail dirt and I hate when it stops and reset, which was something that never happened on DC.

Also, I am canadian and bought the thing from YakeeDabbler since Ring doesn't sell in Canada. With the conversion, it cost me a lot more than in US dollars, and that was a bit a downer, but I am still happy.

Thanks for having me along in the forum.

Have a good day!

Antoine

« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 10:15:13 AM by Antoine L. »
Modeling a mix of CN / Wisconsin central on a 12x15 freelance area.

nodcc4me

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 11:43:38 AM »
Glad you are enjoying RailPro Antoine. Since you skipped over the DCC thing and went straight to RP, you missed all the fun (not) of DCC. Installing DCC decoders in locomotives is not much different than RP except that the RP modules are slightly larger, and can sometimes require a little more space. Both DCC and RP are more sensitive to dirty track, wheels, etc. compared to DC.

I don't know what happened with your MU, but sometimes small glitches are corrected by a simple power reset or by lifting one side of the engine off the rails briefly.

Not sure what caused the sound error message either. I haven't seen that one yet, but an email to Ring Engineering should get you a fast response from Tim.

For purchasing RP products check out the site Administrator's (Bill Brillinger) website. He is located in Canada.
 http://www.pdc.ca/rr/
Al

Run your train, not your brain. Get RailPro. It's a no-brainer.

Antoine L.

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 12:44:02 PM »
Interesting website and store indeed.
Didn't know it existed.

Thanks for the link!

Antoine
Modeling a mix of CN / Wisconsin central on a 12x15 freelance area.

William Brillinger

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 02:03:36 PM »
Thanks for the mention!

For Canadian buyers, although you are still subject to the nasty exchange rates, our pricing on Ring Engineering items is very competitive with the US based sites and shipping in Canada or the US is free. An added bonus is no hassle or delay with customs, since we bring the items across the border by hand, for you.

On the downside, since we don't carry much in stock right now, you may have to wait a little longer for the items to come.
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


KPack

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 10:21:40 AM »
Antoine - some installs will require removal of the factory electronics and hardwiring in a 9 pin harness.  Any time you don't have room to just drop a module in, you will need to hardwire.  Most Athearn RTR and "glorified blue box" locos will need hardwiring.  Athearns cheap motors are very tall, and the DCC ready board they put in there makes it nearly impossible to fit a module.  Lots of wasted space in those locos. 

At the minimum remove the factory DCC ready board and hardwire.  You can tape the module right on top of the motor if you want.

I didn't know how to solder before I started doing installs.... Now I'm fairly comfortable with it.  It's a pain to have to hardwire, but it makes everything else so much better.  More reliable power, smoother running, no wires in the flywheels, etc.

Railpro and DCC are both sensitive to power interruptions, especially if you are using sound.  If sound is not used you usually will not notice any power drops, as the locomotive will normally just float through questionable areas, particularly if you running a consist... The follower locomotives have enough momentum to push them through. 

Keep playing with it and enjoy running trains!

-Kevin

Antoine L.

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2016, 10:36:28 AM »
Thanks for your reply Kevin.

Yes I have hardwired most locos except the kato ones. I am comfortable with solder that's not a problem. It's just that I am even more comfortable with plug and play. haha!

I overlooked a thread on thsi forum about using graphite on the rail heads....I may try that perhaps.

Antoine
Modeling a mix of CN / Wisconsin central on a 12x15 freelance area.

nodcc4me

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2016, 11:41:08 AM »
There are mixed reviews on graphite. I set up my RP powered layout in the basement almost four years ago, and hardly ever have to clean the track. The DCC track at the club had to be cleaned all the time. As long as your wheels are kept clean you shouldn't have to worry much about the track. Before you go through the trouble of applying graphite, make sure you really need it.
Al

Run your train, not your brain. Get RailPro. It's a no-brainer.

William Brillinger

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Re: My quick review and first experiences with RailPro
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2016, 11:49:25 AM »
...and as a side note, everyone who is interested should send Tim Ring an email asking for a supported keep-alive unit, he said it's on his to do list and would be easy to add if there is enough interest.
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.