Remote Control for the Rest of Us! When you get to be my age, you'd rather watch your train from a comfortable chair than be bent over futzing with a power supply that is chained to the track. The AristoCraft company has made a remote control that's as easy to hook up as it is to use, and that will work whether your train is on a table, around a Christmas tree, or around a pond in your back yard. In fact, this power supply will work with any Large Scale or On30 train in the Big Christmas Trains or Garden Train Store catalog. (It won't work with Lionel O Gauge trains, though, because they require AC power.)
The Basic Train Engineer consists of two pieces.
More Realistic Operation - In addition, this set, like all Train Engineer sets has an "inertia" feature. That means that when you start the train, it starts slowly and builds up to speed, just like a real train. And when you stop the train, it "coasts" to a stop, rather than slamming to a halt like a toy train. This makes it easy even for small children to operate the train in a realistic (and less dangerous) manner.
Smoother Power at Low Speeds - AristoCraft/Crest Train Engineer systems use something called "pulse width power" that delivers full voltage to the locomotive, even at slow speeds, so the trains run smoother. This also means you don't have to have your train "flying" around the track to keep it running like you do with some toy trains.
Converts Any DC Train to Remote Control - If you think about it, this system controls the power going to the track, not the train itself. That means that it will control any DC-powered train you put on a track loop that is hooked up to one of these. (True, if you decide later to get really big trains, you'll have to get a bigger Train Engineer set to run them, but this will work for any Large Scale or On30 train in this catalog.) If you decide you want to use two Basic Train Engineer sets to run two trains at the same time on different loops of track, you can. The frequency of each Basic Train Engineer set is printed on the box, and you just have to make certain that the second set you buy has a different frequency from the first set.
Child Safety - Once an adult has hooked up the Train Engineer to the track, children can use the transmitter to run a train without having to go near any electrical sources, significantly reducing the risk of electrical shock.
Convenience - The Basic Train Engineer is ideal for railroads in display windows or around Christmas trees where the power pack may not be in easy reach. The receiver and transmitter come factory set to the same frequency so there is no need to worry about matching frequencies. Simply put the battery in the transmitter, hook the receiver between the power pack and the tracks, and you are ready to run your train.
Every so often, Crest changes the frequencies. They indicate this by a colored dot on the packaging. If you have a TE that had a blue dot, and you want another, try to get one with a different colored dot, and you can use them both at the same time.
Update for 2007 - Since AristoCraft has begun "bundling" these in with their starter sets, they have been very hard to get ahold of, so my suppliers keep running out, getting a few back in, selling out quickly, and so on. If you want to try this product, please get it while you can, because they are only going to get harder to get as you get towarde the end of the year. Or if you haven't got a garden train yet and are thinking about getting one, you might consider getting an AristoCraft starter set. The TE that comes with that will control ANY train you put on your track, including LGB, Bachmann, etc.
On the other hand, if you're planning on you railroad getting pretty big anyway, consider the Basic TE's "Big Brother," the professional-grade 5-5470 below - it will handle just about ANYTHING you throw at it.
Finally, all of the products on this page become hard to find from time to time. If you have clicked on a "check stock" button and the site you click through to says they are out of stock, or if no "check stock" buttons appear at all, contact me and I'll try to help you find the product you need.
What If I Need Something Bigger? Now, if you have a really big railroad, like a large garden or professional display railroad, or if you want to run really big trains (say, with 3-foot-long locomotives and forty cars), you should consider a bigger Train Engineer. Crest supplies a wide variety of transmitters, receivers, and other accesories to suit any power or remote control needs.
The AristoCraft Crest 5-5470 set includes one remote control (transmitter) and one receive that receives signals from the remote control and controls the voltage going to the track. That way you can control the train from anywhere in the back yard. If you need to walk around the railroad to rerail a car or "nudge" a locomotive over a dirty spot of track, you don't have to keep running back and forth between the train and the rectifier.
If you're not 100% sure which of these products you need, please contact me and I'll try to help you out.
What if you need more power? If you keep buying cars, or if you buy a bigger locomotive or both, you'll eventually come to need more power than the starter set power supply can deliver. The AristoCraft 10 Amp power supply is a regulated that is designed to produce high levels of power consistently without overheating or dropping voltage as amperage increases. This is the ideal unit for long trains with big locomotives or maybe two or three locomotives running together. Put this and the 5-5470 unit above on your railroad and forget about power problems for a very long time. At the moment, one vendor is selling this product on Amazon. I'll add vendor buttons as I find reliable vendors to link to.
Note: Family Garden Trains™, Big Christmas Trains™, Big Indoor Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains, and Trains And Towns™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications™ (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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