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Revolution Controlled Battery Power

By JRinTawa

Aristo-craft released their Crest Revolution Train Engineer in mid 2009.  It’s a new control system using the 2.4GHz radio frequency with the key components being the CRE-57001 hand piece (transmitter) and onboard receiver CRE-57002.  The system was primarily designed as a “plug and play” system using battery power for Aristo-craft own locomotives but full able to be used for other makes in the garden railway sector.


When starting the H&MGR I had toyed with battery power but went with conventional track power as that was the norm in our area, and while there were/are lots of systems on the market, none quite matched what I felt I required.  I also did a little bit of experimenting with the Digitrax DCC system I use on my indoor S scale railway.  The big attraction to me with the Revolution system is that one hand piece can program and control up to 50 locos, more than I’ll ever want to have, and the system is wireless.  It’s a simple matter of scrolling back and forward with the ‘T” buttons to select the loco desired, or multiple unit consist if your so included.  And as locos with receivers on board (“chipped locos” for short) can be either track or battery power, all controlled off the one hand piece it’s quite a flexible system.  However I’ve opted for battery power to have a dabble and see how I liked it.


So far my Bush Jigger (an ex Bachmann Rail Truck) and my LGB Jonny have been chipped. The chips have been fitted by fellow Garden Railway contributor Peninsock, our local expert.  The Bush Jigger has onboard batteries fitted and Jonny’s batteries are in a trailing match wagon, both using 12xAA 2500mAh NiMh batteries.  To simplify installation both had any circuit boards removed, and the chips mounted in the locos using the adaptor plug mounting board that includes fuses for protection, using fuses for being recommended for any battery power system.


For a simple installation there is just 4 wires to connect, +ve power, motor +ve, motor –ve and –ve power.  If your using simple directional headlights like we have then there are 3 more wires to connect, front headlight –ve, headlight +ve common, rear headlight –ve.  All went to plan though a bit of experimenting was required to get the best sized resistors to get the Bush Jigger LED headlights right.  Peninsok has installed over 20 chips in locos from as small as a HLW Waddling Gosling to large USA Trains mainline diesels with no significant problems.  Once chipped there are about 6 steps in programming chip info into the Revolution hand piece, all in plain English (no CV’s to remember), then pushing a little “linking” button on the receiver, and when the hand piece tells you linking successful then a couple more steps to complete the programming.  It takes about as long to program the chip as it will have taken you to read this far.


The battery installation is simply standard battery holders, wired in series and charging sockets wired in  The charging sockets used have clever switches wired in that we used to isolate the chip when a charging plug is plugged in. In the case of Jonny jumper pugs are installed, pictured below to plug in the battery wagon.  I put sockets at both from and rear of Jonny.

Performance so far has exceeded expectations with Jonny, this tiny 4 wheeled industrial shunter that used to stall on turnouts unless running unrealistically fast now crawls along at a respectable industrial pace.  The Bush Jigger also performs as well as could be expected though it has such a tiny motor it isn’t the best of runner under any system.  Possibly it struggles a little bit with the weight of the batteries on board but it is still a benefit not having to worry about track pick up anymore.  Both are now being used much more than under track power, so that must show it was worthwhile.  Both are getting 3 to 4 hours running time off one battery charge, so they are not likely to run flat during my normal running sessions which unfortunately don’t last that long.


The hand piece I’ve found easy to use, back lit keys would be nice since I often run after dark, but that’s just me.  Two trains is now a breeze, some evenings running both the Bush Jigger and Jonny, other evenings running one conventional track powered locos using my original standard Train Engineer and one of the Revolution equipped pair.


I’m now sold on the system so as finance permits my small fleet will all end up joining the Revolution.  The manual for the Revolution system is found at   The CRE 57000 “starter set” contains a hand piece, one chip, mounting plug, smoke board and remove linking switch, enough to get set up with just about any loco.  Without other battery power experience I won’t attempt to make any comparisons, but compared to my experience with DCC it is a lot easier to set up, and as I’m not into lots of electronic features and functions on my loco’s the Revolution easy meets my needs.