Transponding and trucks

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by NCGrimbo, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. NCGrimbo

    NCGrimbo New Member

    I'm looking into using transponding to track where my trains are and the manual for the Digitrax TL1 says to connect the red and black wires to the left and right side track pickups. I understand how this would work in an engine, but I'm looking to put the transponders in rolling stock. Are there any trucks that have power pickups built into them or do I need to do something else to get the transponder connected to the existing trucks?

  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Wow - tracking rolling stock! That's ambitious!

    You might be able to find some tender trucks that have pickups built in, but they might not be correct for rolling stock, and would get expensive quickly.

    i would guess that your best bet would be to make some pick-ups from brass that contact the back of your (metal) wheel sets. Running wires into the box cars, etc would be easy enough, although you might be challenged to hide the decoder in open gons, flat cars, and hoppers.

  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Are you planning to put transponders in all of your rolling stock? I think the process would be just like adding passenger car lighting, but that is a lot of decoders, WOW!
  4. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Imagine the possibilities, especially when connected to a PC. You could track each piece of rolling stock and each engine individually and model operations in great detail on the PC. That would be cool, but prohibitively expensive for most of us, I expect. :)
  5. NCGrimbo

    NCGrimbo New Member

    I'm planning on starting with the cabooses first then adding to some of the other rolling stock as funds become available. Since I've just started in the hobby, I've only got 3 engines, 2 cabooses, 8 reefers, 3 coal hoppers, and 3 oil tankers. 16 decoders would be enough, but I'm sticking with the two cabooses since I figure I can know where the start of the train is and where the end of the train is. So, it's not as large of a task as you may think. :)

    I had thought of something like that, but I didn't know if the axle's on metal wheel trucks are metal or plastic. I assume that if they are metal, then this idea won't work. (All of my trucks are plastic wheeled from what I can see.)
  6. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

  7. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    yeah, that is a few more decoders than most would use. Most people would just put resistor wheelsets in, so that they could be block detected, but no transponded with. If you really want to transpond with your cars, which would actually be really neat with a passenger car, as you could hook some lights to the function outputs, and they would look all lit up and pretty. As for the pickup, on passenger cars, use ones that are made for lighting. On freight, there was an article in MR Mag about caboose DCC lighting, and the pickup would be the same for transponding. You can use brass pickups. I have also heard of surgical steel as picking up power, but the car was run on a display layout, and the steel wore right through the axle!

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