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Infrared Direct Digital Control with State-of-the-Art Features
Infra-Red data transfer to locomotive
A microcomputer in every locomotive and hand held controller
255 different locomotive addresses
Multiple locomotive compatibility is standard
Locomotive addresses changeable from hand held controller
No command signals sent via track
True walk around control - no tether wire
Rotary knob and push button speed control
East - west push button direction control
Smooth speed ramp up - down
Emergency button stops EVERY train in area
Runs on any layout using existing power packs
Compatible with most command control systems
No "black boxes" to buy or install


RAIL-LYNX Infrared Digital Command Control is a revolutionary onboard microprocessor-based train control system. Unlike systems which require a tether wire from the control box to the layout, the Rail-Lynx product is fully portable using direct communication from hand held control to locomotive, providing complete control over all locomotive functions. The hand held controller is compact and easy to hold in one hand. Infrared technology allows complete data transfer directly to the locomotives without any reliance on track-fed signal.
Using 8 bit microcomputers in the hand held controller and in each locomotive allows for full and virtually step less control in both forward and reverse direction for up to 255 locomotives. Each locomotive is programmed by the hand held unit to accept its discrete control "code", and from then on may be directly addressed by any operator. Actually, each locomotive is capable of storing two addresses to which it will respond, one primary and one secondary. The primary address is normally loaded at the time of the receiver installation, although it may be changed at any time from the hand held controller by accessing a recessed switch. The secondary address is easily changeable by means of two external thumb wheel switches on the control unit, allowing for the same address to be assigned to multiple locomotives for double heading (any number of locomotives may be assigned to the same secondary address), even if one must be commanded to run in reverse direction for back-to-back operation! A speed offset can be programmed into the locomotives to allow for the double headed locomotives to ramp up in speed at the same time. It is possible to use more than one controller for the locomotive by merely dialing in the same locomotive address code, allowing hand-offs of control from one section of a layout to another if this is desirable. Momentum can also be programmed into the locomotive to simulate a loaded train. The receiver also has 4 output functions, including off, dim, bright for front and rear headlights.
The address code, speed offset and momentum setting stored on-board each locomotive is "non-volatile", meaning that it will be a part of the memory of the locomotive until changed, even if power is removed and left off for five years! Note that ALL changes are made through data sent from the hand held unit, there is never a need to bring a locomotive to the workbench for any change desired and no jumpers or other wiring changes are ever required. Power for the hand held controller is supplied by enclosed rechargeable lead acid battery or 4 AAA batteries.
The RAIL-LYNX throttle features rotary knob speed control and four pushbuttons to handle all normal train functions. The "east" or "west" direction is controlled by two push buttons. If the opposite direction button is operated while the train is moving, the command will be ignored, as a full stop is required before the direction can be changed. A stop button is provided which, if operated with the train in motion, will smoothly bring it to a stop. If either of the direction buttons is then operated, the train will accelerate smoothly back up to the previous set speed. Therefore switching operations may be performed by simply using the E, W, and stop pushbuttons. Never will a train abruptly change direction while at speed. In case of an imminent "corn field meet" an emergency STOP button halts ALL trains in the area, regardless of their address codes. A slide switch is provided on the hand held unit to select the direction the "E" and "W" pushbuttons will provide. The hand held unit also has a built in flashlight, actually a super bright LED, to help see train numbers and waybills in darkened layouts and a wrist lanyard to keep the controller off the floor.
A simple starter system requires only a hand held controller and one locomotive receiver, and upgrading the system at any time only requires additional receivers and/or hand held units. No expensive "black boxes" or external computers are required, as all the system requires to operate is constant 12 to 16 volts D.C. from your existing power pack. If you already have an older command control system, RAIL-LYNX operates transparently and simultaneously with it.
The installation of the RAIL-LYNX receiver in a locomotive is slightly more involved than some older command receivers, but experienced modelers should have no problems accomplishing this. The principal difference is in the required installation of an infrared sensor somewhere on the upper surface of a locomotive, coal tender or diesel "B" unit. The black sensor has a small "bubble" on top to detect the incoming data and only this part must protrude through the top of the body structure. The receiver itself has the capacity to drive over an Ampere of motor current, and the entire receiver and locomotive motor system operates regardless of track polarity.
The RAIL-LYNX system stores all current data in the microcomputer, onboard the locomotive, so commands need only be sent when a change in status is called for. Therefore, the train will continue running in a steady state without a constant signal from the hand held controller. For track plans that have tunnels or inaccessible staging yards, an inexpensive repeater is available so the train will always have access to current changes in commands. The possibility of interference does exist when several of the controllers are being used simultaneously in a confined area, but since the update transmission takes only 0.1 seconds, if one data transfer is missed the next one will almost certainly be received.
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 Site last updated:
 March 12, 2014