Radio Control

My Accucraft locos have all had 2 channel radio control r/c fitted.  It may not be the way the professionals do it, but it seems to work for me, and I haven't had to drill into the locos, so it could all be easily removed / upgraded.  Here's what I did for anyone wishing to fit r/c to their own Accucraft loco.

Caradoc and Edrig are the same as the blue Ragleth photos (right), having 4 mounting holes ready for a standard sized servo to operate the forward / reverse lever. Mortimer is slightly different as it has two mounting holes for a smaller micro servo. The body shell is easily refitted onto Ragleth, Caradoc and Edrig, but on Mortimer it was not quite so easy as I didn't want to cut or drill any parts of the loco.

All my radio controlled live steam locos use Planet T5 2.4GHz transmitters and receivers. I've found these to be totally reliable, glitch free, good value and easy to fit on steam and battery diesel locos. I've upgraded my Roundhouse Lady Anne from 40MHz and have retro fitted r/c to Accucraft Caradoc, Mortimer and Edrig. I've found it costs approximately £80 per loco to do a 2 channel conversion, including all the r/c gear and fittings.

Above: The underside of an Accucraft loco showing the on/off switch, r/c receiver and battery pack. The aerial on the receiver is only about 40mm long and does not need to be earthed onto the loco, so no worries about where to put it. The receiver is just tucked in under the on/off switch before the switch screws are fully tightened. I didn't use a sticky pad on the receiver as it was tight enough.

Above: Mortimer with the micro servo mounts test fitted (these are M3 x 25mm Female to Female PCB spacer stand offs used in electronics).

Right: I didn't want to cut or drill Mortimer's body so to overcome the problem I unscrewed the displacement lubricator and other pipes in the cab, and the bottom screws of the servo mounts, fitted the body shell, then threaded in the servo assembly complete with mounts. It's a bit fiddly but eventually I managed to screw the servo mounts from underneath, then screw down and connect the forward / reverse lever, and finally refit the cab pipework.

I then fitted the second metal geared micro servo on the regulator in the cab using a home made brass mounting bracket fixed into the cab using the left hand cab step mounting screws.

I bought all the parts I needed from shops on eBay. Here's a list of what I used:

  • Planet T5 2.4 GHz transmitter and receiver 5 ch mode 2
  • M3 x 25mm female to female PCB spacer stand offs
  • Spektrum 4 x AA battery box and on/off slide switch
  • 20 pack of stainless hex head bolts M3 x 10mm (enough for several locos)
  • 4 pack of servo arm connectors rc model 1.5 - 2mm pushrod link (enough for 4 locos)
  • 2 x micro servos
  • A radio control linkage arm for the regulator from Chuffed2Bits

 

Above: The micro servo works fine on Mortimer but I eventually plan to replace it with a better quality metal geared type, although it's been fine for over 3 years now. I soldered 2 x M6 roofing bolt nuts onto the PCB spacers used on Mortimer before clamping the servo down with washers and the M3 hex bolts. I used a short length of metal rod to connect the servo to the lever. I had to drill a small hole in the forward / reverse lever to mount the servo arm connector. For this job I unscrewed the lever and drilled it in the garage . The lever is made of very hard stainless steel. I centre punched the position of the hole then used a 2mm titanium drill.

Mortimer after test fitting the r/c. Unlike  Caradoc, Ragleth and Edrig, the body shell on Mortimer won't fit straight over the forward / reverse servo, so I first refitted the body shell, then without cutting or drilling, fitted the servo.

Above: Mortimer all back together and ready for a test run.  I also turned the pressure gauge around at the same time - if you do this remember to use 2 spanners.  The pressure gauge on my Caradoc had never worked properly.  Rather than pay for a new one I suspected that it must be blocked up, so I removed it and carefully pumped vinegar in and out of the gauge syphon pipe and gauge separately using the syringe that comes with kids Nurofen medicine.  After leaving them for 5-10 minutes I rinsed out with water using a clean syringe, then refitted.  This cured the problem and saved me about £30.

 Caradoc (left) and Ragleth (right)  The chassis are the same length, it's just a trick of the camera.

 When working on a loco I am always very careful not to scratch the paintwork by sitting the loco on an old towel and keep all screws and tools out of the way. Once the loco is back together all that is required is touching up the screw heads with some model paint and it looks like new again. I suspect fitting r/c to a Accucraft Leader would be similar to Mortimer.

I have also fitted Planet T5 radio control on my Accucraft Baguley along with an Mtronics speed controller from Chuffed2Bits.

I'm no expert but hopefully this information may help if you want to save money and do a DIY radio control conversion on your Accucraft loco.