Scattergun Radio control and DCC

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by farnetti, 22 May 2017.

  1. farnetti

    farnetti Western Thunderer

    In the past I have always used DC only but decided a couple of years ago to start using DCC. I am currently building a Class 31 and have a Class 08 for which I have a South West Digital decoder.

    I have been looking into S Cab, and American product which seems to tick all the right boxes. It is a rechargeable battery powered system that is radio controlled and DCC enabled. I also like that recharging is done through the rails and if battery voltage to the decoder falls to below that on the rails there is a smooth transition so that the is fed by voltage on the rails. Transmitter is recharged using USB cable.

    Unfortunately though, as far as I can tell, the receiver is not available as a stand alone purchase, only with a decoder, which I don't need. Both seem to be compliant with NMRA S-9.2 DCC format.

    Has anyone had any experience with S Cab?

    Many thanks

  2. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    I haven't used S cab nor other radio control systems but being US I would check out the radio frequency used as some bands are not permitted in the UK .

    The UK Radio Control Frequencies can be found here UK Radio Control Council - UKRCC - Home Page
    daifly and simond like this.
  3. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer


    Although it looks quite good the fact that you have to use their decoders with the S cab would put me off.

    I have used the Tam Valley Dead Rail system in a JLTRT 37 and it works really well, take a look at that, you can use any decoder with it.

    Tam Valley Depot

  4. PaxtonP4

    PaxtonP4 Active Member

    Neither Tam Valley or the S-Cab systems as presented are legal for use in the UK.
  5. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer

    I'm sorry but you are wrong, the Tam valley system uses my wireless NCE system, this has been legal in the UK for about 2 years now.

  6. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Yep, there's a specific 869MHz transmitter/ receiver that Tam Valley produce for the European market.

  7. SimonME30

    SimonME30 Member

    Steph probably has your answer.

    I am working on a wifi solution, using WeMos D1 Mini (ESP8266). With a modified version of DCC++ you could potentially do it using JMRI as a controller.
  8. TheSnapper

    TheSnapper Western Thunderer

    Hi Richard

    Is there a UK Distributor for Tam Valley?

  9. farnetti

    farnetti Western Thunderer

    Thank you to everyone for their input.

    I was attracted to S Cab as batteries are charged from the track and motors can be powered from the batteries or the track. I have had a reply to an E-mail to S Cab and they can provide a receiver with a DCC booster attached which will work with the Loksound decoder and have done without any complaints. However, they don't supply equipment with EU frequencies and, if using their track recharging system, there is an issue with Loksound decoders affecting consistent sound levels.

    So, Richards suggestion of the Tam Valley system seems to be the better option despite separate battery charging. I also have a NCE controller, Powercab only, but the Tam Valley transmitter connects in the same way.

    I would be interested in any ones choice batteries, it doesn't seem easy to find physically small 11.1v rechargeable Lipos. Any feedback gratefully received.

  10. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

  11. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    My impression is that there are third-party circuits for rail charging. I was looking into this a few months ago and found this resource invaluable: Dead Rail Society

    Hopefully you've already found the site, but if not I suspect you'll find much there of interest.


    Edit - yep it looks as though the S-Cab battery management components can be used with other decoders/receivers.
  12. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer


    I have used NiMh AAA in the 37, 8 of them to give a notional 9.6 volts I then added a 12 volt regulator board to give a constant 12 volts to the transmitter and decoder.
    I would avoid lipos unless they have the necessary protection circuits it's too easy to go bang otherwise. You should be able to fit all that easily inside the 31.

  13. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    What regulator board did you use? It's fairly fundamental that regulators drop voltage, so what you're using must be pretty canny to increase the voltage enough to convert a nominal 9.6v into regulated 12v. Might be useful to know... :)

  14. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer

  15. Oz7mm

    Oz7mm Western Thunderer

    Purely for the sake of accuracy, S-Cab is Australian. They use standard decoders but these need modification which is why you need to buy decoders from them. They do not do modifications on all makes of decoder (the last time I looked) so your choice is limited.

  16. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    Thanks, interesting stuff there!

  17. Stoke5D

    Stoke5D Western Thunderer

    I have tried this a part of an ongoing garden railway 'DCC trial without going full DCC' if you see my meaning. I got my Pololu 'step-up regulators' from this place on eBay Germany Pololu 12V Step-Up Spannungsregler U3V12F12 2117 | eBay

  18. farnetti

    farnetti Western Thunderer

    Glad I started this thread, loads of interesting stuff and thank you all for your input. Carrying on from my last post-

    Jordan, Coastal do carry Tam Valley although the R/C stuff isn't advertised, I'll contact them directly.

    Steph, Yup, had found Dead Rail Society on Tam Valley website, yet to read. Ta.

    Richard, I understand your concern about proper safe treatment of Lipos. The class 31 has the most space, and so will be my test bed. 8 x AAA batteries would fit but not anything else I have.

    So my latest thinking is that I could use the S Cab BPS and re-chargeable Lipo batteries for power and the Tam Valley R/C transmitter and receiver for control.

    I await to go down in flames.

  19. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    Aw gawd, not literally I hope!

  20. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Is this the antipodean method as I always thought one went up in flames. :D