B7 Gary Lane's Experiences w/RR-Concepts Controls

On Apr 23, 2007, at 1:14 PM, Gary wrote: (referring to using LGB Jumbo for gradual deceleration of trains)
  • I love my Jumbo and have set it up a number of times to accelerate and
decelerate on various layouts. The LGB Jumbo requires use of LGB reed
switches that have two diodes and a capacitor installed bringing the 
cost for each one over $15.

  • RR-concepts.com -- Lower Cost & More Reliable
 -- RR Concepts station master and other products are a better choice in 
my opinion.

  • I have a unit installed in a restaurant for over ten years 
that has reliably operated all that time seven days a week during open 
hours for four owners of the restaurant. Reed switches are very low
 cost. $5 each if you buy RR Concepts wired reed switches. If you buy 
bulk normally-open reeds, cost drops to about $1 each, but you will 
have to solder your own wires onto the leads.

  • The Station Master and
 other products are simple to wire and set up, just follow his 
directions, which are on his site as well. Latching relays and all
 contacts are high quality gold plated. He has protected his circuits 
to help prevent accidentally misstaken wiring and blowing a circuit board.
 Very well thought out units. Slow down and speed up rates are 
adjustable. Delay time or time spent stopped is adjustable. If you
want longer times than he usually installs, ask him and he can make a 
unit with longer times.

  • Don't use a Jumbo for each section of track you wish to control (OK you
 might be able to control more than one block, if you can guarantee 
that each controlled block will never be activated at the same time as
another section!). Instead, for the same money, buy multiple lower 
cost units, that work more reliably than the LGB system (I say this 
despite appreciating LGB's offerings for the most part). Place the
 units near the block to be controlled in a building or under 

~ Gary Lane, 

On Apr 30, 2007, at 6:14 PM, Gary wrote:
  • As Tom discovered, the RR Concepts control boxes are a great solution
 for controlling trains at a station stops -- either with a sudden LGB EPL 
style slam to a halt and speed up system or with a Jumbo style
 acceleration and deceleration system. 

  • It is possible to set up trains to run on a single track and take 
turns running the oval in opposite directions. 

    The Switch Master has a few advantages over LGB's EPL system for 
controlling switches:

  • 1. Stronger pulse of electricity ensures switches more reliably are 
completely thrown to the desired position.

  • 2. RR Concepts reed switches are $5 each vs. LGB 17100 Track Contact

  • 3. The unit works even if an engine parks on top of the Track Contact
 unlike LGB's which will shut down the entire system if a magnet-
equipped engine parks on top of the contact.

  • The Switching Interface Module has a few advantages over LGB's 1203
 connected to a switch motor. 

  • 1. RR Concepts' latching relay is far more reliable than the heavily
 sprung LGB system that has to move the switch motor and the 1203 
spring-loaded switch.
  • LGB's system often fails to completely move the 
switch motor. It requires far less amperage to operate and does not 
have to overcome the high friction problems inherent in LGB's switch
 motors and the 1203 double pole switches.
2. Gold contacts ensure no build up of oxidized metals = reliable.

  • 3. Since there are no exposed moving parts, dirt, grit, grease, etc., 
cannot stop the unit unlike LGB's switch motor which all too often 
gets disabled by dirt.

    While I have used RR Concepts units for a long time and have discussed
 possible improvements to his prototype R&D model, I have no financial 
interest in his home-based enterprise. I do admit I am very grateful 
he has continued to produce and develop his product line of well
 thought out model train automation products.