Made the plunge. Bought a Rail Pro controller and a few decoders. The LK&O is now officially a Rail Pro railroad.
For fellow model railroaders you know Ring Engineering is a competing system to the industry standard DCC. There is a bit of risk in choosing Ring, a proprietary system, over one of the many DCC systems. However, in light of Rail Pro’s advanced functionality, unavailable in DCC, I believe it is a risk worth taking.
For my non-model railroader readers, Rail Pro is a microprocessor powered radio control on steroids! The handheld controller (left) sends control signals via radio to the microprocessor inside the locomotives (right). The cool part about Rail Pro, unlike conventional systems, is the locomotive modules report back to the handheld controller. There is 2 way communication, a feedback loop. Not only does the controller know what it instructed the locomotive to do it also knows what the locomotive actually did after receiving the command. This feedback loop allows the controller to adjust additional commands sent to the locomotive to refine its performance.
An excellent example of the feedback loop advantage is demonstrated when multiple locomotives are coupled together pulling a train. Rail Pro is able to monitor the current draw of each locomotive thereby determining how hard each is working relative to the other locomotives. The controller then automatically adjusts the locomotives so that each is pulling equally all the while maintaining the speed you have set with the throttle (big round knob). To do this in Digital Command Control, the overwhelmingly popular control standard in the hobby, you would first have to go through a very laborious process of setting up speed tables for each locomotive. Want to see how ugly this process is? Take a look at the instructions. Rail Pro does this same function automatically with no user setup or intervention. In fact Rail Pro does it better because of much finer granularity – RP with 1024 individual speed steps vs DCC with 128 individual speed steps. All possible because of feedback from the locomotive. Cool, huh?
The above is but one of the many advanced functions Rail Pro offers. To get the whole scoop visit Ring Engineering’s web site: www.ringengineering.com
To get started I need to install a LM-2 module in a locomotive. One of my Atlas Alco S2 locomotives will be my first module install. Wish me luck!