Charles Hutchings
I came across Protocab at the Model Rail Scotland exhibition in February. I model in O-16.5 narrow gauge and I am building a layout loosely based on the Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway. Track and electrics are complete and I have scratch-built several buildings, but yet to start on the scenery. One of the advantages of O-16.5 is that it uses OO gauge chassis with 7mm scale bodies. Although there is no ready to run stock available, and not much in the way of kits, OO chassis are readily available and the large scale means that scratch building or kit-bashing is much easier and far less fiddly - an advantage that becomes more important with one's advancing years!
I have one complete scratch-built loco, one loco kit under construction and a couple more locos on the drawing board. I had long thought about battery power for the locos as I became increasingly frustrated with having to scrub the track with a track rubber before operating, only to find random dead spots appearing which required a full-scale finger to get the train moving again, usually as far away as possible from the owner of the finger. I had looked at the Deltang system of radio control, but as I used to fly radio controlled aeroplanes in my youth, I still had visions of long whip aerials, changing crystals and at times catastrophic interference.
So I was extremely interested when I found the Protocab stand at Model Rail Scotland. After a long discussion with Tony Hagon, I decided that it was just what I was looking for and I placed an order for a starter pack, which duly arrived and I installed in my 0-8-0T loco after some minor surgery under the cab to fit the extra-large battery. Everything worked perfectly out of the box and the manual and instruction leaflets were informative.
The system is a joy to use: I can sit down at the layout, turn on the controller and loco and watch as it comes creeping out of the engine shed. No sudden starts or stops and no more swearing as it stalls on points. I am getting the hang of the simulation mode as well, after adjusting the acceleration and deceleration rates to my liking.
I have ordered another loco control kit, this one to install in a 0-4-2ST kit which is under construction. With constructing locos (from kits or scratch-built), the control system can be built in at the start when any modification is easier, even designed in if you are making a freelance model. With this in view, I made mock-ups of the Protocab modules and batteries from card so that the fit can be tested and the appropriate size of battery ordered.
That's it. Just another satisfied user. I hope to give more news as the 0-4-2ST kit progresses.
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Rich Archer

Welcome aboard Charles. I model in O scale aswell and am aiming to use all the smaller gauges within O gauge, including 16.5mm to represent 2ft gauge. Everytime I see one of those kits I am in conflict. Part of me is saying 'Go on, buy it, you know you want it!' but the other part of me is saying 'No, come on now Mr Sensible. You know you've got too many other kits sitting in their boxes untouched'. At the moment Mr Bloomin' Sensible is winning. Yes, battery power is so much better. Constant power, no wiring, no cleaning. I wish you some fun times with it and I believe the Protocab system has good potential for future development if it is supported enough. I look forward to some photos sometime perhaps.

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Charles Hutchings
Thanks Rich. Yes, temptation is a dangerous thing!

I have some photos of the installation in the 0-8-0T:

This is the start - the loco is freelance 0-16.5mm, scratch-built by someone far more talented that I!

IMG_2424.jpg 

After removing the existing wiring and the diodes for the directional lighting, some minor surgery was required under the cab to fit the extra-large battery. It is a push fit and a thick strip of plastic card holds it up, away from the motor and gears.
IMG_2403.jpg

The LCU is fitted to the front of the cab with the heat conducting pad as the inside front is plain, there being no backhead detail, and the locoswitch plate attached to the brass roof with a piece of 10 thou plastic card sandwiched between. Fitting the 9601 charging unit needed some head-scratching. The rear coal bunker was the obvious place, but I didn't want to start cutting away the back panel of the bunker for fear of damaging the loco. So after a few attempts, I made a mounting frame of square channel plastic card with 2 captive M2 nuts inside. The 9601 was trimmed down and attached to the frame with M2 bolts, threaded into the captive nuts. The bottoms of the 2 uprights of the frame are glued to a piece of plastic card which is then trapped between the battery and the bottom of the back wall of the cab. This makes sure that the 9601 is held firmly while plugging or unplugging the charging plug.

IMG_2406.jpg 
  In the foreground of the picture is the cover for the charging unit made of black plastic card covered with coal and the plastic tube plugs into the charging socket, holding everything in place and providing a handle for removing the cover.
It works well, although the LCU does tend to come unstuck from the heat conduction pad after a while. Any suggestions to keep it more permanently in place?
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Rich Archer
Thanks for that Charles, although realise there is a separate board to post your installations on, so anymore info on it I suggest posting there, or perhaps repost this there. No worries, whatever, you'll get used to it. Lovely little engine. Gosh, eight driving wheels. That must be able to pull some load.  
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CADhris
Gentlemen, very nice looking little Loco, I have launched my new web site for items related to 3D CAD design  which includes items for 0-16.5 & Protocab. Always willing to add extra small products that maybe if interest to us all. see http://www.CADhris.com

I to will be experimenting with a 'Long Reach' switch actuator to see what works well.
ATB Chris2018-09-06 16.35.11.jpg 
ATB CADhris
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Charles Hutchings
Rich Archer wrote:
Thanks for that Charles, although realise there is a separate board to post your installations on, so anymore info on it I suggest posting there, or perhaps repost this there. No worries, whatever, you'll get used to it. Lovely little engine. Gosh, eight driving wheels. That must be able to pull some load.  


Yep, I was wondering if I should have posted in the Installations forum. No problem, I'll put an edited version of the post there as well.
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