O Scale Dead-Rail

Welcome to the O Scale Dead-Rail Site, dedicated to the interests of those modeling in O scale who wish to use battery power and radio control (BPRC) of locomotives.

Folks who have interests in either O scale model railroading, especially modifying or updating locomotives, or “dead-rail” (battery power and radio control of locomotives) might find some posts interesting.

In addition to my blog pages, please see the following pages:

Building the ProMini Air Wireless DCC Transmitter/Receiver.

Dealing with Loss of RF Signal in Dead-Rail for Onboard DCC Decoders

Retro-Fitting Smoke Units with Thermistors and Set-up for LokSound Decoders

Common Aspects of 3-Rail to Dead-Rail Conversion of O Scale Steam Locomotives

General Battery Issues

Dead-Rail Range Improvement with a Wireless Repeater

Thanks for dropping by!

2 thoughts on “O Scale Dead-Rail”

  1. Found your site through your facebook page. I’m blown away by your capabilities and communication talent.
    I’m in north Idaho (remote) and your site opens up a world to me. I am starting a new layout and am using Atlas 3-rail track. Am into the bench work stage, have thought about going 2 rail, but not sure how to go about selling/converting my 3-rail stuff. Have used DCS/TMCC and found them problematic to maintain signal integrity.
    I think dead rail is the future and your are there already. Have been watching Blue Rail etc technologies but not confidant enough to jump in. You have inspired me to go forward. Your spirit gives me confidence should I need some guidance.
    I have thought about charging from the third rail in “parking” places on the layout. Ever do this?
    Again, thanks for your donation to the hobby!

    1. Thanks for dropping by and for your comments! I’m happy that you are taking the next steps in dead-rail. Powered trackage just makes my heart quail, and I want to overcome the 2-rail/3-rail “divide” in O scale with dead-rail.

      I have not tried charging at a “parking place.” You would need to be very careful not to short out onboard electronics after working so hard to eliminate locomotive/tender electrical connections to the track.

      Here’s a possible approach. I usually use a single-pole, 3-position switch whose center pole connects to Battery +. Battery – is always ground for me. “Position 1” of the switch connects Battery + to all of the onboard electronics to supply power. Position 2 disconnects Battery + from everything to help keep it from draining away charge while off. Positon 3 connects Battery + to the center pole of a charging plug. The outer side of the charging plug is grounded. Perhaps you could electrically connect this position on the switch to whichever rail is positive power, making sure that the “battery ground” is electrically-connected to whichever track is ground.

      Here’s the catch. The power you supply to the rails for charging should be the same as comes from a specialized LiPo battery charger. The chargers are not expensive, but voltage and amperage levels during charging is specialized. To my way of thinking, you should electrically isolate the parking place track with a LiPo charger connected to it.

      I cannot emphasize enough; please ensure that applying power to the tracks will not inadvertently damage your onboard electronics or cause a short!

      Battery charging is a downside to dead-rail. Folks at the Facebook dead-rail group discuss this topic, among many others. Who knows, maybe you will come up with an elegant solution!

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