While I am doing scenery work on my layout, I'd thought I post an update on the Stanton Battery Cab.
If you have been following this blog, you know that when I first learned of the Stanton Radio cab, I immediately saw the advantages for my layout and ordered one with a battery pack. The throttle and decoder unit arrived, but the batteries are on back order so I have not yet installed it.
The Stanton Cab was designed by an Australian engineer Neil Stanton, who is associated with Purdue University. He is also a model railroader. Paul Gillette of MRH podcast interviewed him and it is well worth listening too if you are interested. Here is the link to the podcast. He also makes a powered truck, which diesel modelers will be very interested in. But back to the cab.
Northwest Shortline is marketing the system for him. They have a small network of installers and dealers that are handling various aspects of the production. The cottage nature of the company combined with the poorly organized website that NWSL has and you end up with a product that very few people know about.
I have not operated my unit yet but I can describe it.
The cab is the radio transmitter. It acts as the base station. You need one cab to run one train. For each train you want to run you need to get a hand held cab. There is no base station or booster.
Inside the loco you install their decoder package. It consists of the Stanton radio receiver and a standard dcc decoder. NWSL packages them in one hardwired unit. I have one with a Tsunami TSU-1000 sound decoder. They also offer a NCE decoder option.
You can run it off power from the rails, or install a battery. I already have a Easy DCC system, so I am not interested in the using the Stanton system off rail power method. I want it for the battery power option. But as I mentioned, I don't have the battery yet.
The Stanton battery system can take a trickle charge off the rails. I plan to add the radio-battery units one by one to my railroad keeping the easy dcc system for the other locos that have just dcc and rail power.
If the Stanton system works out, I plan to retrofit all my locos. That is not that big a job as my layout has 5 locos right now with one more on order and one being scratch built.
As far as my critical path planning goes, I still have about one third of my track to lay and 9 turnouts to install. If I were to continue to use DCC I need to order frog juicers and a reversing circuit for my wye. But, if I convert my fleet to battery power, then I don't have to bother wiring the new section. That is a highly desirable option, as I dislike wiring. Though I must admit the frog juicers take most of the hassle out of wiring.
The transition then will be tricky for me as my regular dcc units will not work well in the new section if I dont add the frog juicers.
If all goes well and all my locos are converted to battery power, I can pull my DCC system and keep it for my N scale or other projects. The batteries can recharge off any inexpensive power charger hooked to the rails.
I am sure that most of the progressive DCC manufacturers are working on battery power and in 5 years it will be the dominant mode. HO modelers will especially be interested in the power truck as it frees up the interior of the diesels for batteries. Then the weight in your loco will provide power as well as pulling effort.
This is next revolution in indoor model railroading. The outdoor guys have been doing it for a long time now. With small battery packs becoming available we can join in.