Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been receiving some questions about dead rail installations. The most common will be posted here. Simply click on a question to reveal the answer.

Expand allClose all

I have purchased a Blade MLP4DSM 4Ch 2.4GHz Transmitter to use in place of the DelTang kit. Do you have any instructions with regard to “binding” or how to use the joy stick type controls?

mode2Usually, binding instructions for this transmitter are located on the back panel.

The procedure for binding is:

  1. Turn the DelTang receiver on and wait for the LED on the receiver to blink rapidly (about 20 seconds).
  2. Press in on the throttle stick (should be on the left) on the transmitter until it clicks and hold it. While holding the throttle stick in, turn on the power to the transmitter.
  3. The transmitter will beep several times, and then stop. About the same time, the LED on the receiver should stop flashing and turn on.
  4. Binding is complete.

Operation with this transmitter will depend on the “mode” of your receiver.

  • If you have an Rx60-1 or Rx60-12, moving the left stick up and down will control the throttle. Moving the right stick up and down should control the direction.
  • If you have an Rx60-2 or Rx60-22, moving the left stick should control both speed and direction.

Mark as helpful. 0

After binding with a receiver do I have to do this every time I turn on the transmitter and the unit in the engine?

No, once bound, the receiver will remember which throttle it’s paired with until you bind it to a different throttle.

Mark as helpful. 0

Does the DelTang system increase voltage to 12 volts? I have seen where some systems increase it from 3 to 12 volts.

No, there is no “step-up” function within the DelTang receiver. This is accomplished by inserting a “step-up regulator” between the power switch and the receiver. This, BTW, is exactly how the other systems do it as well, except that they include it elsewhere.

In most smaller scales, it is neither necessary nor desirable to use 12V. For instance, to operate most On30, HO, and smaller scale locomotives, the 7.4V provided by a 2-cell LiPo battery pack is quite sufficient to drive the locomotive a appropriate speeds, and provides plenty of pulling power for typical trains.

There is also no real space savings in using the step-up method. The step-up regulator wastes power when stepping up the voltage, so a higher-current battery is required. To achieve the same net power as a 260mAh 2-cell pack, most of the other systems use at least a 400mAh battery. That single cell is usually about twice the length and the same width as the 260mAh 2-cell pack. If you’re working in tight quarters, this is an important consideration.

It is also important to recognize that with a step-up regulator in place, the receiver cannot determine the battery cell voltage without an additional wire being added. This is crucial, as the cell voltage of a LiPo battery must never be allowed to fall below 3.0V.

Finally, we have noticed that using the step-ups results in shorter run times than using a multi-cell pack, and also reduced overall battery life — in practical use, we’re seeing cells used with step-ups are good for about a 35-minute run time, and about 200-300 charge cycles, where a 2-cell pack of the same basic current rating, in an identical model, will run for about 2-hours and up to about 600 charge cycles.

The only advantage to stepping up a 3.7V LiPo to some higher voltage (if you’re going to do this, I’d recommend going to 9V in most cases), is that charging is easier. It’s still important the the single cell be charged correctly using a LiPo charger, but with only a single cell, balance charging is not necessary.

Mark as helpful. 0

Can I buy a selecta switch and resistors to upgrade my Tx21 throttle to Tx22?

No. There are more differences between the Tx21 and Tx22 than simply adding the 12-position switch and resistors. The Tx22 also uses a different direction switch and wiring, and also requires a larger case. Finally, the Tx2 module needs to be reprogrammed to activate the Selecta function. This programming change must be made prior to assembling the parts to the Tx2 module.

It also really doesn’t make financial sense. By the time you purchase all the additional required parts (which are not available from DelTang — you’ll need to go to an electronics supplier such as Digikey or Mouser), you’ll actually spend more than the price of ordering a new Tx22 kit.

Mark as helpful. 0

I need help with DCC. Can you answer my question?

The short answer is, “no”.

The reality is that I’ve not paid any attention at all to the state of DCC for the past several years, and except for some very basic information, I’m not going to be much help to you.

Mark as helpful. 0

Do You Perform DelTang Installations?

The On30 Guy does not currently offer installation services for dead rail systems. While we’re glad to answer any questions we can, we simply don’t have the resources to handle installations at this time.

For installation of DelTang receivers, we recommend you contact Robert South at Rerailer Hobbies, LLC:

Rerailer Hobbies, LLC
Robert South
126 Garfield Road
Latrobe, PA 15650

(724) 610-4576
rerailerhobbiesllc@gmail.com

On Facebook

 

Mark as helpful. 0

How much does The On30 Guy charge to install DelTang dead rail radio control?

The On30 Guy does not offer installation services for dead rail systems. While we’re glad to answer any questions we can, we simply don’t have the resources to handle installations at this time.

For installation of DelTang receivers, we recommend you contact Robert South at Rerailer Hobbies, LLC:

Rerailer Hobbies, LLC
Robert South
126 Garfield Road
Latrobe, PA 15650

(724) 610-4576
rerailerhobbiesllc@gmail.com

On Facebook

Mark as helpful. 0

I don’t want to install the receiver myself. Who do you recommend to do installations of DelTang receivers?

For installation of DelTang receivers, we recommend you contact Robert South at Rerailer Hobbies, LLC:

Rerailer Hobbies, LLC
Robert South
126 Garfield Road
Latrobe, PA 15650

(724) 610-4576
rerailerhobbiesllc@gmail.com

On Facebook

Mark as helpful. 0

How do I measure stall current?

If the motor’s stall current exceeds the receiver’s rating, you can be sure you’ll eventually damage a receiver. To determine the stall current for a locomotive, start by using the following procedure to check the stall current of your motor.

  1. Put the locomotive without the shell on a regular DC track.
  2. Attach a DC current meter (ammeter) in series with one of the track feeds. Some power packs that have ammeters are really ideal for this test.
  3. Apply DC power to the track equal to the fully charged voltage of the battery pack you’re planning to use (ie: 8.4V for a two-cell LiPo pack, or 11.1V for a three-cell LiPo pack).
  4. Hold the flywheel or drive shafts to stop the motor from rotating for a couple of seconds.
  5. While the motor is stalled, measure the current that the unit is drawing from the power pack. Be sure that while you are taking the measurement that the power to the track remains at the fully charged pack voltage to get an accurate measurement.
  6. Use the manufacturers’ recommendations to choose the appropriate receiver for your application.

Mark as helpful. 1

Can I Use Deltang Receivers with Micro Motors?

The electronic speed control (ESC) built into the Deltang receivers is designed for use with brushed motors, and uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to control motor speed.

Most micro motors are brushless, and require a pure DC output. Running them on PWM power will cause them to run very hot or burn out.

Brushed micro motors should operate without problems using a Deltang receiver.

Mark as helpful. 0

I am thinking of using the DelTang system in brass locomotives. Am I going to have to do anything special about an antenna? Can it be inside the brass tender with the receiver?

On the installations I have seen in brass locomotives, having the antenna inside the loco somewhere has not been a problem. However, every situation is different, and your results may vary. My suggestion would be to hide the antenna — and maybe even the receiver itself — in the coal load.

Mark as helpful. 0

Do I have to worry about track polarity since I am not picking up power from the track?

As long as there is no connection from the track to the battery or other electronic components in the locomotive, then you do no have to worry about track polarity. I recommend removing the wires running from the pickups completely to avoid and chance of an accidental connection.

Mark as helpful. 0

Can I use Deltang receivers with AC trains like those from Lionel, MTH or Williams?

The short answer is, “Maybe, but probably not.” Deltang’s receivers are designed for use with conventional or can DC motors. If the AC trains are of newer design, it may be possible to strip out the “E-unit” or “reversing unit” or other electronics, and wire the receiver directly to the motors and lights. But older toy trains that used AC motors probably won’t work — and those older motors probably draw too much current for even Deltang’s new High Current Rx65-series receivers.

Mark as helpful. 0

Do you offer receivers that can be used for O-scale standard gauge models?

DelTang receivers are now available to operate any train with a brushed DC motor, as long as the maximum current draw is 6.0 amps or lower. These high-current receivers can operate on voltages as high as 18V. Using LiPo batteries, this would be a “4S” pack, or 14.8V.

Mark as helpful. 0

What is Binding?

Binding is a process that links, or pairs, a DelTang transmitter throttle and receiver so that the receiver will respond only to the correct transmitter throttle.

Normally, a receiver can only be paired with a single transmitter throttle.

Mark as helpful. 0

Which should I turn on first? The transmitter throttle, or the receiver?

Once a receiver has been bound to a transmitter, it is best to turn the transmitter on first. That way, the receive will almost certainly find its mate, and there will be very little chance that the receiver will accidentally enter bind mode.

When binding a receiver to transmitter throttle, you need to turn on the receiver first, and wait for it to enter binding mode, then turn on the transmitter throttle while pressing the bind button.

Mark as helpful. 2

Is there a limit to the number of trains that can be run simultaneously?

There is a limit to the number of transmitters that can be on at a time, but there does not seem to be any consensus on what that number is. The FCC has allocated 79 “channels” in the 2.4GHz ISM band. In theory, this means that 79 transmitters can be on running trains at any given time.

Here’s a quick breakdown on how the DSM2 technology works. When first powered on, the transmitter briefly goes into a “listen” mode to search for available frequencies in the 2.4GHz band. Once it finds a frequency, it begins transmitting its unique ID. When the receiver is turned on, it scans looking for the transmitter throttle it’s bound to. Once it finds its “mate,” it’s ready to go. As each transmitter comes on, the process repeats. The system is free to operate in a large chunk of the 2.4GHz space, and, in theory, you should be able to run dozens of transmitter throttle/receiver pairs with no problems at all.
There are, however, lots of other things that operate in the 2.4GHz space that might very well be in use in the typical model railroad environment: cordless telephones, wireless intercoms, WiFi routers, and wireless security cameras come to mind. Some of these are not so well behaved, and may power up on a frequency that is in use by a train. Usually, this is not a problem, because the transmitter throttle is already sending on two frequencies. When the receiver detects a loss or severe degradation of the signal, it “hops” to the second frequency, and everything keeps going just fine.

Mark as helpful. 0

Can I run more than one loco with a transmitter throttle?

Yes, you can bind any number of receivers to a single throttle. However, each loco bound to that throttle will respond at the same time, if they are turned on.

The exception is when Selecta is enabled, and the transmitter throttle is a Tx22. Then, only the selected loco will respond.

Mark as helpful. 0

Can LiPo batteries be charged while the loco is on the track?

Charging LiPo batteries on the rails is not recommended for several reasons.

  • Most importantly, you must be able to monitor the charging of LiPo batteries, even those with only single cells.
  • Multi-cell packs require more than two wires to enable monitoring each cell individually during charging, which can’t be done through the rails.
  • The receiver must be disconnected from the battery pack using either a plug or switch during the charge, which is inconvenient at best when the loco is on the layout.

Visit the page on using and caring for LiPo batteries for more information.

Mark as helpful. 0

I’ve been told I should only buy LiPo batteries with protection circuits. Is this true?

Some LiPo battery cells include so-called “protection circuits,” which are designed to eliminate the risk of over-charging or over-discharging the battery. Whether or not these circuits are necessary is the subject of some debate, and here’s why:

First, if you’re using a proper LiPo charger, and you’re using it correctly, the charger will not over-charge the battery. In fact, having the protection circuit on the battery may actually cause charging problems, because the protection circuit will “fight” the monitoring circuitry in the charger. The result is that the cell(s) may be incompletely charged or even over charged.

Second, the DelTang receivers monitor the battery supply voltage, and will automatically shut down when the LiPo cell voltage reaches 3V, thus protecting the battery from over-discharge.

So, my answer to the question of whether or not protection circuits in the batteries is necessary is a qualified “maybe.” If you’re properly using a charger such as the iMax B6, and if you observe the shutdown indication of the DelTang receiver, you probably don’t need protection circuits.

Mark as helpful. 0

What is the difference between an R/C LiPo and a “Commercial” LiPo?

One vendor of dead rail equipment has been making a lot of comments about his “commercial” grade LiPo cells being far superior to “R/C” LiPos — and they come with an inflated price tag to match. The reality is that most LiPo cells are pretty much the same — there is no such thing as a “commercial” LiPo cell that is different from a so-called “commercial” LiPo cell.

Modern R/C LiPo battery packs have been manufactured to withstand far more abuse than we as model railroaders will ever give them under normal usage. As an example, the Turnigy LiPo packs that I’m carrying can deliver as much as 35 times their rated power for short periods of time. That’s more than 10.5 amps for the 300mAh pack.

Mark as helpful. 0

Does DelTang offer a way to recharge the battery with on the track while the loco is operating or standing still like some other systems?

Because the DelTang receivers can operate on many different kinds of batteries, each of which have different charging requirements, they do not include circuitry to charge batteries from the rails. Other systems, which do offer this feature, are designed to be used with only one type of battery, and generally that battery is included as part of the package, and cannot be changed. While this may make charging more convenient, it limits the locomotives the receiver system can be installed in.

The DelTang receivers are generally used with one to three LiPo cells, depending on the application. LiPos, like all Lithium batteries, have very particular charging requirements, and unless an appropriate charging system is also installed, it is not recommended to charge from the rails.

Charging LiPo batteries on the rails is not recommended for several reasons.

  • Most importantly, you must be able to monitor the charging of LiPo batteries, even those with only single cells.
  • Multi-cell packs require more than two wires to enable monitoring each cell individually during charging, which can’t be done through the rails.
  • The receiver must be disconnected from the battery pack using either a plug or switch during the charge, which is inconvenient at best when the loco is on the layout.

Visit the page on using and caring for LiPo batteries for more information.

Mark as helpful. 0

Why can’t I just use the + and – battery pack terminals for charging LiPo batteries?

Unlike more traditional battery packs (NiCad, NiMH), each cell in a LiPo battery pack must be monitored independently to ensure that it is charged to the optimal voltage — but not exceed that voltage. Overcharging a LiPo cell will likely result in an exciting and catastrophic failure of the battery.

The process is called “balance charging,” and is a function of a LiPo charger. We use the iMAX B6AC to balance charge our 2-cell (2S) packs.

For more about charging, visit the page on using and caring for LiPo batteries.

Mark as helpful. 0

Is it safe to “Fast Charge” or “Quick Charge” a LiPo battery?

Unless specified by the manufacturer, you should never charge a LiPo battery at a rate faster than it’s rated current (1C). For a 240mAh battery, that means you should not charge at a rate higher than 0.24A. Fast or quick charging can cause extreme heat build-up within the cells, and that can lead to the battery being damaged or catching on fire.

There are some LiPo batteries that may be charged at 2 or even 3 times the normal charge rate. The Turnigy 180mAh and 260mAh packs sold by The On30 Guy are examples of such packs, which can be charged at 2C or 3C respectively.

In short, unless the battery you’re using is specifically rated for fast charging, don’t do it!

Mark as helpful. 0

On the off chance that I do have a LiPo battery catch on fire, what kind of fire extinguisher do I need to put it out?

Conventional wisdom is to use a Class CD electrical/chemical fire extinguisher. Stopping the battery itself from burning is difficult or impossible, so the general idea is to limit damage and make the area around the battery as non-flammable as possible. According to Eveready’s MSDS for their Energizer LiPo cells:

If fire or explosion occurs when batteries are on charge, shut off power to charger.

In case of fire where lithium polymer batteries are present, flood the area with water. If any batteries are burning, water may not extinguish them, but will cool the adjacent batteries and control the spread of fire. CO2, dry chemical, and foam extinguishers are preferred for small fires, but also may not extinguish burning lithium polymer batteries. Burning batteries will burn themselves out.

Virtually all fires involving lithium polymer batteries can be controlled with water. When water is used, however, hydrogen gas may be evolved which can form an explosive mixture with air.

LITH-X (powdered graphite) or copper powder fire extinguishers, sand, dry ground dolomite or soda ash may also be used. These materials act as smothering agents.

Fire fighters should wear self-contained breathing apparatus. Burning lithium polymer batteries can produce toxic fumes including HF, oxides of carbon, aluminum, lithium, copper, and cobalt. Volatile phosphorus pentafluoride may form at a temperature above 230° F.

You can read the complete MSDS here: http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/lithiumpolymer_psds.pdf

Modern LiPo batteries, when used according to the directions, should generally be trouble-free. LiPo batteries should be inspected regularly for damage, including “dings and dents,” or cuts or breaks in the packaging. Also be aware of “puffing” or swelling of the cells. If you notice any of these conditions discontinue using the battery.

Mark as helpful. 0

How long does a loco run under average operating conditions using the 3.7 and 7.4 volt batteries?

The short answer is, “It depends.”

There are several factors that determine how long a loco will run on batteries. How much current does the loco draw when pulling a train? What is the current rating of the battery pack? There are other factors as well, such as temperature and quality, condition, and age of the battery.

Batteries are rated in volts at milliamp-hours (mAh), and in a perfect world, that means that the battery will deliver the rated voltage range and current for an hour, so in theory, a 240mAh LiPo cell will deliver 240mA for one hour. The voltage will range from about 4.2V at full charge to about 3.0V when the receiver shuts down. A loco drawing 120mA could, therefore, run for two hours, but not necessarily at full speed for the entire run.

The reality is somewhat different. We aren’t usually using the full capacity of the battery at any given time. We typically vary speed and load throughout an operating session, for instance. And, just like jack-rabbit starts in a car will decrease fuel efficiency, quick starts of your loco will decrease your run time.

In the real world, we have been observing operating times of at least 3 hours during operating sessions — or, rather, that we’ve not had fully charged locos stop during operating sessions that lasted around 3 hours. But, with so many variables, your mileage may vary.

Mark as helpful. 1

What is meant by a LiPo battery’s “C” rating?

The C in C Rating stands for capacity. To break it down to its simplest terms, the C rating is the maximum safe continuous discharge rate of a pack. If you see 10C on your battery, it means it can be discharged at 10 times that pack’s capacity. Capacity refers to the milliamp-hour rating of the battery, which will be listed as a number followed by mAh (240mAh, for example).

Here’s the easy way to find your battery’s discharge rate just multiply the number from the C rating by the pack’s capacity. Keep in mind that 1000 milliamps equals one amp. Here’s an example, using a 7.4V 240mAh 30C battery pack made up from two cells.

7.4 volt 240mAh -30C
240 milliamps = 0.24 amps
0.24 Amps x 30 = 7.2 amps continuous discharge

This means that you can safely draw up to 7.2 amps continuously from that 7.4V 240mAh 30C without doing damage to your battery. It’s important to realize that drawing this much current from the battery will drastically reduce running time. But, unless something goes drastically wrong, most small-scale model trains will never require this kind of current.

Mark as helpful. 0

Most of the radio receivers I’ve seen are really big, and won’t fit in my smaller On30 locos. How did you fit radio into the Forney?

It is true that some of the radio receivers from CVP, Tam Valley and others are fairly large, and placement can be a challenge. In most cases, removal of electronics boards supplied by the locomotive manufacturer will need to be removed to make room for a dead rail installation.

rx61b-1
Deltang Rx61 receiver

The Deltang receivers are really small. The Rx61 receiver I use for most of my installations is about .5″ x .9″, and only about 1/8″ thick. Deltang has receivers suitable for On30 that are even smaller, but soldering to the pads is a little more difficult. When using these small receivers, the challenge becomes less about placing the electronics, and more about finding space for the battery pack.

If you’re installing in a locomotive with a tender, there’s plenty of space to work with. However, to limit the number of wires between the tender and loco, you may want to consider putting just the battery, charge plug and power switch in the tender, and put the receiver in the loco itself.

The smallest Deltang receiver that’s set up for trains is less that 1/2″ square. That’s small enough for even Porters. However, it’s maximum operating voltage is 6v, so you’ll need to see if you’re happy with the speed of a Porter running at about 5vdc. Remember to do the test with the DCC decoder replaced with a dummy plug.

Mark as helpful. 0

Most single-cell LiPo packs have a 2-pin connector. Why do the wiring diagrams show 3-pin connectors?

The short answer is that I thought that it would be a “good thing” to have only one charging adapter cable, no matter what kind of pack I wanted to charge.

I had determined that 7.4v was plenty of voltage for my larger locos, so I’d be running 2-cell (2S) packs in those locos. Some smaller locos would run single-cell (1S) packs with step-up regulators to save space. Hence, I’d have a mixture of 1S and 2S packs. By using the three-pin connectors in all of the locos, and choosing the required program from the iMAX B6 charger, only one charge adapter cable is necessary.

Mark as helpful. 0

What is a Boost Regulator or Step-up Regulator?

In some instances, one or two cell battery packs may not be sufficient to run the train well, or there may not be space for the number of cells required to make a battery pack of the desired voltage. In these cases, a boost regulator may be used. Boost regulators take a low voltage, and bring it up to the required voltage.

Boost regulators are also known as Step-up regulators.

For more about step-up regulators, visit the Using Step-up Regulators page.

Mark as helpful. 0

The product I ordered or want to order is out of stock. If I order it now, how long will it be before I receive my order?

We strive to fill all orders quickly, and to have as much stock of our most popular items on hand as possible. However, it’s not always possible to have all products in stock at all times.

Orders to our vendors are placed roughly every fourteen days, as needed. We’ve found this works well with their production and order processing schedules. Depending on the vendor’s location, and the shipping method used (particularly our overseas vendors), we typically receive our orders within 14 days of ordering, although certain items from DelTang can take as long as a month to ship.

As soon as product arrives, we check the shipment against any outstanding orders. Orders are filled on a first received, first shipped basis.

Mark as helpful. 0

How often does The On30 Guy order new products

Orders to our vendors are placed roughly every fourteen days, as needed. We’ve found this works well with their production and order processing schedules. Depending on the vendor’s location, and the shipping method used (particularly our overseas vendors), we typically receive our orders within 14 days of ordering, although certain items from DelTang can take as long as a month to ship.

As soon as product arrives, we check the shipment against any outstanding orders. Orders are filled on a first received, first shipped basis.

Mark as helpful. 0

Updated Loco/Receiver Wiring Diagram

DELTANG RECEIVER WIRING V.15.12.08
DELTANG RECEIVER WIRING V.15.12.08

Mark as helpful. 0

I live outside the United States. Can you ship to me?

The short answer is, no, we cannot currently ship to addresses outside of the United States.

Mark as helpful. 0

I know you can’t ship batteries to Canada but can you ship products like the DelTang receivers and transmitters to us?

Unfortunately, we can not ship any DelTang products to customers outside the United States. In Canada, we recommend that you contact Diigiit Robotics. They are an authorized reseller of DelTang products in Canada.

2076 Rue Saint André
Montréal, Québec, H2L 3V1
Canada

514 262-4865
sales@diigiit.com

Mark as helpful. 0

Are the DelTang Tx-series Transmitter Throttles FCC Certified?

No, they are not FCC Certified. The CYRF6936 RF transmitter module chip, made by Cypress Semiconductor and used in DelTang transmitters, was developed with FCC and other regulatory agency criteria in mind, and adheres to the rules for the Worldwide Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band.

DelTang transmitters are designed to comply with FCC Rules for Class B devices when assembled as directed and used with the included antenna. Neither DelTang, nor The On30 Guy make any warranties as to the suitability or legality of this unit in the USA or other countries. Tx-series transmitter throttles only emit enough power to be detectable over a short range, and so should not interfere with other FCC-compliant devices operating within general proximity to the transmitter.

Mark as helpful. 0

I damaged or lost a part of my throttle kit. Do you have spares?

No, The On30 Guy does not stock spares for the throttle kits. I order the Tx21 and Tx22 throttles as a complete kit of parts from DelTang. With a couple of exceptions, however, all of the parts are “standard” parts that can be purchased from most electronics suppliers, such as Mouser or Digikey. The specialized power switch can be ordered through Rapid Electronics in the UK (Digikey does carry it, but requires a minimum order of 1,000 pieces).

Mark as helpful. 0

What is the Warranty on DelTang Products?

DelTang products have a 1 year return to manufacturer warranty and a 5 year repair period with best endeavours after that.

Mark as helpful. 1

What forms of payment do you accept?

For payments on the web shop, the On30 Guy accepts any major credit cards, e-checks, and EFTs accepted by PayPal. Payments for online or other mail-orders can only be accepted through PayPal.

For in-person sales (train shows, etc.) I can accept credit cards and most debit cards displaying the Visa or Mastercard logos, and also credit cards from Discover and American Express. These payments are processed through either PayPal or through Square. For in person sales, I can also accept cash.

I can not accept personal or business checks, travelers’ cheques, or money orders of any kind.

Mark as helpful. 0

Submit a question