Frequently Asked Questions

See our booth at the 2016 National Large Scale Convention

[Q] How do Railroad Concepts products compare to other train controllers?

[A} Check out a series of articles published a few years ago of our older-generation units compared to our competitors. The current StationMaster-5 and YardMaster-5 units are even better with even more features and capability. Here is some interesting reading however not current. Please use RR Concepts diagrams and manuals for wiring and information. (Yes we ARE the best!) These articals do not show all the features and capabilities of the modules; but is a ball park comparison of what is available. Our hookup manuals and diagrams are drawn in a way that anyone can wire them. We show where the wires go and not schematic diagrams.

Article 1 - Reversing. Note that all sensors shown are RR Concepts sensors.
Article 2 - Station Stop
Article 3 - Reversing Loops
Article 4 - Alternating Trains
Article 5 - Two trains on one loop

[Q] What scale trains can be controlled?

[A] Anything from Z to G that operates on DC. AC trains can only be controlled by the YardMaster.

AC trains (Lionel 3 rail) can only be controlled with a YardMaster.

Bottom line: The YardMaster works on AC or DC, while the StationMaster only works on DC.

[Q] How big is it"?

[A] All modules are the same size, about 3 1/2 inches X 2 1/2 inches X 1/2 inch.

[Q] How is this different from DCC or "Command Control"?

[A] The StationMaster can operate standard out-of-the-box DC trains versus DCC which requires special decoder electronics to be installed in every engine. DCC trains can also be controlled when set to "linear" mode. Many DCC controllers will automatically switch into linear mode when the DCC signal is not present. This will work perfectly.

[Q] Can I stop at more than one station with a StationMaster or YardMaster?

[A] Yes, a realistic smooth station stops will occur at every location where a sensor is placed on the track. In addition, multiple laps can be programmed so that it can run a few times around before stopping, or stop at "every other station" as the train makes its way around the loop when programmed for "lap counting".

[Q] Can I see them running? How do I get one?

[A] There are StationMaster and YardMaster systems currently running in many public sites and many garden railroads througout the world, including the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, many commercial stores, dentist offices, and a few hospitals. Some photos of YardMaster museum installations (with the cases removed) are here and here.

StationMasters are also running in the AMERICAN AIRLINES CR SMITH MUSEUM, the Children's Museum of Sonoma County, Roaring Camp & Big Trees RR gift shop, the High Desert Museum in central Oregon, the Children's Hospital of St. Louis, Mo.,Video from Escape Craft Brewery, Redlands.

We currently sell direct to give you the lowest possible cost. Ordering information is available on the order page.

[Q] What are the power requirements?

[A] The StationMaster series require a DC power input from between 8 and 20 volts. Typically a standard model train transformer is used with the thottle set for the desired speed of the train. An alternate power source is to use a fixed 12 volt power supply (output voltage of these is actually 13.8). Since the StationMaster can set the top speed of the train, using these transformers will produce a more predictable acceleration/deceleration result every time since the voltage will remain the same day after day. The RR Concepts test track uses a 12 AMP Pyramid PS-14KX power supply which is available here and at several other places. Any 12 Volt power source will work. This one works great for one or two trains.

[A] The YardMaster can work with many different voltage sources. Typically the "Accessories" output of a transformer can be used for power or (better) plug directly into a StationMaster. If controlling turnouts (track switches) then an AC or DC power source of between 12 and 20 volts is required. The fixed 12 volt power supply used for a StationMaster will work perfectly too. If not throwing turnouts then a power source as low as 8 volts will work.

[Q] How do I get more information?

[A] Send E-mail and ask anything!

[Q] Can it operate outdoors?

[A] Yes, if protected from the elements. Do not bury it in the ground, as these places usually fill with water. Rubbermaid or similar storage containers work very well to keep things dry when it's wet outside.

[Q] Is it compatible with LGB products?

[A] Yes. Since the StationMaster gets it's input voltage from a power pack, then the voltage put on the track is just as clean (or dirty) as the voltage that is supplied. If you use a LGB transformer, then you are conforming to their recommendation to "only use an LGB power pack with LGB trains".

[Q] If I have questions, what kind of technical help is available?

[A] There are may ways to get questions answered. The fastest is to use email.


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