Rail Truck

This is an old Rail Truck I picked up second hand a few years ago. It took me a while to figure out the motor and drive on this thing were basically not going to work right so I replaced the
drive unit with a Tamiya unit I got from It also has a TSU 2200 (2A) DCC decoder and a small 11v lipo. It runs quite well with the new transmission and I love the ahooga horn the TSU puts out.

USAT S4 in C&O

This is a repaint of a USAT S4. Protothrottle Receiver with a Soundtraxx TSU 4400 Decoder. Visaton Speaker. Came out pretty good, little bit of overspray on a few spots but overall not too bad. Runs great.

Tank Car Service

Here is the Nw2 doing some switching at my new Johnson Chemical Facility. This is a scratch built tank/chemical holding processing sort of industry. I’m not sure what they make here but I’ll figure it out at some point. In the future there will be a small office building to go with this but I have not built that yet.

USATrains NW2

One of my better installs, took some doing to pack it all in there but it came out really well. Proto sounds, lights and servo controlled couplers. SoundTraxx TSU4400, 1300mah lipo and Visaton Speaker. Custom 3D printed crew. Set the PT to use the buttons to power up the engine and trigger crew sounds. Couplers are on the Aux button and I set the coupler sound to trigger when it’s pressed.

Consisting two Chessies

Some testing of the new consist feature. The lead locomotive is a USATrains GP38-2 with a TCS Wow Sound 501 decoder. The Slave is an Aristocraft U25B with a Soundtraxx TSU 4400. Both have 4 cell lipos (14.8v). Problem was they ran at way different speeds at the same PT notch setting. Drove me nuts so I created the notch table setting in the PT receiver. Much better.

Smoke testing the GP38

TCSWoW 501 in a USAT GP38. Running the smoke off the battery. Works ok, gives a good pulsating plume sync’d to the sound but I don’t think I like smoke that much. It’s greasy (mineral oil), pulls a lot of power and is white. This was just an experiment, I have a hardwired switch to either heat the coils or not. Probably won’t use it much, other people like it though so I wanted to test and make sure it worked ok.

Upgrading the GP9

The GP9 was my first Protothrottle Conversion. I pulled it off the shelf and upgraded the firmware and gave it a quick test run out on the layout. I do like the TCSWow Brake Squeals. It’s set up as a pulsating signal so as you push the brake level further, it clamps on the brakes harder. Very realistic sort of function. I will probably dip this Pennsy GP9 at some point and turn it into a blue B&O to go with the whole Chessie motif I am after.

Live Steam with the Protothrottle

This video shows the live steam mode of the Protothrottle Receiver. I guess it’s a bit weird to use a diesel control sort of box to run a live steam locomotive but what the heck. Works pretty well, however I think I need to tweak the notch settings a bit. I have two slight grades on my layout, one real easy one up and one not so easy one down so I have to ‘drive’ all my steam locos.


Airwire and the Ruby Live Steamer

The AirRx is a bit smaller than the Protothrottle Receiver and uses 3.3v so I can run it on a tiny one cell lipo. I am getting a really great range on the Anaren Radio Modems, way better than any of the other 10 pin radio modules. I do think I prefer the knob for live steam vs the Protothrottle but I am not sure on that yet as I haven’t really tweaked the PT notch outputs on this install. I have one other live steam loco, an Accucraft USRA 060, but it doesn’t have servos installed in it yet.

Airwire drives a motor controller

I have this one small home-made little critter locomotive thing, it has been through a couple of iterations as a test platform. Here I’ve put the AirRx and Pololu 18v7 ESC in it. I also have a small relay board to turn the lights on and off. It is one USA Trains power truck and a 2 cell 7.4v lipo. Scoots along pretty well.