Services: Radio Control Modifications

The state of the art in radio control changes quickly! As RC gear shrinks in size and gains features the idea of adding RC to the monorail gets easier and better. Deltang is the class act in micro RC for now, and David T (owner) is very helpful with application tips and support.

The latest Deltang radios are small but can provide all the power our motors need (both original and upgraded motors) along with plenty of auxiliary outputs to control lights and sound. The Deltang transmitters we use have inertia control where we can set a speed and watch the monorail slowly accelerate to that speed, automatically!

We add a voltage booster since the Deltang receivers are designed for a minimum of 3 V and shut off the motor when the voltage drops below that. Since the monorail runs on 2 x AA it would not work with NiMH cells and barely (and not for long) with alkalines. ***The voltage booster can run the original motor and some faster motors, up to more than 1 A.

We have seen one power switch that quit working and found that this part is marginal so we now add an electronic power switch to handle the increased current of the faster motor.

We usually install a Rx61 receiver to leave room for updates. We connect the sound and lights to auxiliary channels, program the receiver to turn those on/off, and wire the system together. We also replace the headlights with white LEDs and program the roof beacon to flash like a strobe.

We will do the base conversion for $325 (including a Deltang transmitter with inertia control) as long as your monorail is in good running condition.

So what does this get you over and above the Disney remote control version? First, variable speed, our radios are fully proportional with continuously variable speed in forward and reverse. Our modification also independently controls the lights (white LED headlights and red flashing roof beacon). We install a faster motor if desired, expect about a 50% to 75% increase in speed.

We have options for warning "strobes" and roof beacon in the rear cab. This requires running wires and connectors through each of the cars so we are looking for a better method. We are testing a complete stand-alone system with a battery and lower cost radio receiver in the rear cab, this will probbaly be the final solution.

Sound option* The Rx61 has 8 auxiliary outputs, we use one for headlights and one for roof beacon. The original sound board is limited but with an Adafruit sound board we can have more sound clips (and better sound). With six unused outputs on the Rx61 we can individually select up to six sound clips! This also requires a modification to the transmitter to add a rotary selector. This option is working on my test monorail and should soon be available. The holdup is the original speaker which does not produce good sound, we are looking for a better speaker. Did I mention that this allows for custom sound clips? :)

*** The DisneyLand monorail with remote: Disney's remote is infrared and only offers FWD and REV (and play sound), ours offers full speed control and control of lights and sound. Disney's remote will shut down with a high powered motor, ours will power just about any motor you would care to use. Disney's remote is limited to one monorail at a time, ours is 2.4 GHz radio and works with a large number of transmitters/receivers to allow control of multiple monorails.