A reader writes:
Are there any decent quality "out of the box" battery power G scale trains on the market (other than the cheap toys on ebay)? Or any battery/remote control kits to convert a track-powered locomotive? I don't have a train yet but would like to set one up outdoors. I am very good with soldering and wiring, but have no idea where to begin. Thanks. Happy Holidays.
Thanks for getting in touch. The short answer is "no." Piko makes a track cleaning locomotive that is battery powered so you can clean dirty track before you put track-powered locomotives on it. It actually takes regular AAA cells and is controlled by a simple key fob, so it's not what you're really looking for. https://www.piko-america.com/products/3 ... rc-g-scale
There are so many different kinds of remote control, that hardly anybody nobody builds it into their locomotives. They'd be "wasting money" on features that would actually drive users of other technologies away. Plus you can use some of the same RC technologies for both track and battery power. So everyone pretty much mixes and matches according to their overall preference.
LGB has a track-powered remote control system called MTS. It's really a subset of DCC technology, a track-powered remote control system that is popular in smaller scales. It's not that useful for battery power.
The most basic battery/RC solutions would involve buying an RC transmitter/controller and a little circuit board that you plug or solder into your locomotive (depending on which technology you use). In the latter case, you reroute the wires going to the motor and route them through the circuit board instead. If you want to use battery power, you leave the wires from the pickup wheels disconnected, then you add a battery pack (usually in the tender) and run wires from THAT to your circuit board.
You probably guessed all of that already. I used to know guys who would install such systems for you but they would charge more than your locomotive was worth and give bad service besides. So, no recommendations, sorry.
Some solutions like radio DCC are closer to plug and play, depending on if you are starting out with a "DCC-ready" locomotive. That has a slot you can plug a DCC controller card into, but wiring for batter power is still up to you.
I hope this makes sense. Our September newsletter had some remote control tips with links to more detailed resources. https://familygardentrains.com/fgt_news ... htm#remote
Best of luck!