BlueRail’s first plugin board
Category : Uncategorized
The Blue Horse
BlueRail’s first plugin board is now in manufacturing and we will begin taking orders in April. This first board has been nicknamed the Blue Horse. It measures 28mm x 58.6mm, features a 9-pin JST connection port, and can be used to drive any train with a DC can motor (not exceeding 2 amps*). Boards will be available on the BlueRail site for $75 plus tax and shipping within the US/Canada (see non-US and retailer sales info below). The boards can be easily plugged into any DCC-ready train, or wired directly to many non-DCC-ready locomotives. These boards are of particular interest to battery operated users (as they can run from either track or battery power). You will have control over speed, direction and up to 4 lights or accessories. The boards also contain an expansion port for future add-ons (sound). BlueRail boards may alternately be used to control up to 4 lights or accessories on your layout. Control your board using the configurable BlueRail app (see below regarding iOS/Android app) or the Bachmann E-Z App™. Please use the information below to decide if this first board is suitable for your needs. We will release subsequent boards in alternate dimensions and suitable for other gauges in the future.
For priority on obtaining a board, please use our contact form to have your name added to our database.
Space: Use the dimensions of the board (28 mm x 58.6 mm x 5 mm) to make sure it will fit. Allow an extra 5 mm to the length of the board (58.6 mm + 5 mm) to allow for the wiring harness. If possible, allow for 5 mm vertical clearance above the expansion port for future connectivity.
This board can either plug into a DCC-ready locomotive using a wiring harness, or may be used as a complete drop-in board (using a 9-pin connector to NMRA colored wires). Please refer to the colored wiring in the diagram above for proper connections.
Power: It is very important to test the stall current of your locomotive and that it does not exceed 2 amps*. Attempting to draw 2 amps or more from the board for more than 15 seconds will cause the board to shut down. Please refer to the chart below for details. Also see instructions on “testing motor stall current”. Do not use AC voltage to power the board. The board will operate on DC voltage between 9-24 volts. Do not use the board with O gauge Universal motors. Do not use old “Pulse Power” transformers to power this board.
* Overload Protection: The BlueRail board contains circuitry to protect itself in the event of a current draw overload. Please refer to the graph to the left. The red line indicates the point at which the BlueRail board shuts itself off. The board will tolerate an 8 amp draw for .4 sec (before shutting itself off). It will tolerate a 4 amp draw for 1 second, a 2 amp draw for 15 sec (continuous), a 1.25 amp draw for 1 min (continuous) and a 1.2 amp draw continuously. A locomotive with a 2 amp stall current (green line) will typically draw 2 amps of current for the first few seconds it starts to roll, before stabilizing at a much lower current draw. Pulling heavy loads up steep long hills and lots of lighting will increase current draw. Please consider these values when deciding if this board is appropriate for your locomotive and layout.
Electrical: If your locomotive is not DCC-ready (and you are modifying a standard locomotive) it is important to isolate the motor and lights from the frame. Failure to do so can damage the board. See instructions on “isolating motor and lights from the frame”. Always handle the board carefully in a static-free environment. Make sure the board is electrically isolated from all metal surfaces or circuitry in your locomotive.
Mounting Position: To achieve maximum range, orient the board with the circuitry facing upward and the antenna as far from metal chassis areas as is reasonably possible. Mounting the board vertically is ok, but may result in slightly less range on the bottom (no circuitry) side of the board.
8-pin Connections: If you are using an 8-pin connector to your locomotive, make sure to plug it in with the proper orientation on your loco. (Failure to do so will result in your loco running backwards). See instructions on “using 8-pin connectors”. 8 pin connectors do not take advantage of ACC3 and ACC4 from the board. If you choose to utilize the green (ACC3) and violet (ACC4) wires, refer to the wiring diagram.
Battery Use: The board contains two connection points to which wires may be attached as battery leads. If you are not experienced with soldering small connections, please consider purchasing a board with the wires already soldered in place. Improper soldering can result in damage to the board.
The board will operate on track power or battery power. You may use both at the same time (for improved performance on dirty track). When using battery, make sure the battery polarity is correct. For smoothest transitions (from powered to non-powered sections of track) your battery voltage and track voltage should approximately match. The board is not capable of charging batteries. See instructions and options for charging batteries in the article “Battery Powered Trains”.
iOS and Android control apps:
iOS app: The free BlueRail iOS app will be available in appstore. These boards may also be operated using the Bachmann E-Z App™ (now available in the iOS appstore). The BlueRail app will include additional configuration and customization options.
Android app: We hope to release a beta version of the BlueRail Android app in time for board release, but are allowing ourselves till April 30 (should we run into any challenges). During the beta period early adopters will be encouraged to download and use the app which we will continually update based on feedback.
Non US and retail sales info: BlueRail would like to make these boards available outside the US and Canada. There are additional costs and certification associated with selling electronics overseas. We will complete certification for worldwide sales when the volume of overseas sign-ups for boards reaches the threshold to cover those costs. Once certified for overseas sales, our best course of action is to make boards available to non-US retailers for sales in those areas.
If you live outside the US/Canada and are interested in a BlueRail board, make sure you are on our mailing list (Contact Form) and that you have indicated your region. We will remain in contact with you regarding regional sales as they become available.