The LOCOLINC® Story
Keithco, Inc. was founded to design and manufacture model railroad control
systems which offer the hobbyist the freedom, mobility and prototypical
control capabilities not previously available on the market. The resulting
LOCOLINC® product line has become the most comprehensive control system
available in the model railroad industry. LOCOLINC may be used to control
the entire layout: locomotives and accessories. Significant is the unprecedented
level of control realism. In a hobby characterized by precise scale-rendering
of the realism of railroads, past and present, many products are available
to accurately depict locomotives, rolling stock, track systems, scenery
and layout features. Little has been done to allow the hobbyist to control
his locomotives and layout accessories with anywhere near the same kind
of prototypical realism.
THE MODELERS CONTROL CHOICES BEFORE LOCOLINC
Prior to availability of LOCOLINC wireless addressable control systems,
hobbyists took one of two approaches to controlling locomotives. In one
approach, varying voltage is applied to the track or sections of track called
"blocks". Locomotives on an active (powered) section of track
move in the same direction at the same speed which is controlled by the
amount of voltage applied to the track.
A second alternative was to use an encoder/decoder system available from
several manufacturers and commonly referred to as "command control".
In an encoder/decoder system, control signals are generated at a fixed-location
control unit connected to the rails via a tethered cord. The signals are
pumped through the rails to locomotives equipped with decoding devices.
Control is still limited to speed and direction of the locomotive. But now,
with a command control system, each locomotive can be given individual commands
for direction and speed. These systems first appeared on the market about
twenty years ago. Virtually all of them use the same twenty-year-old technology.
In every case the model railroader has a fixed-location control unit limiting
his mobility relative to the layout. And this technology allows no convenient
expansion path for controlling locomotive lights, bells and whistles, or
for controlling other accessories on the layout such as turnouts.
THE LOCOLINC CONCEPT
LOCOLINC has been designed from the ground up as a comprehensive control
system for prototypical control of the entire model railroad layout. The
design concept is original, not relying on or building from previous model
railroad control concepts, or on control technologies developed for other
hobbies such as model airplanes or model cars. As a comprehensive system,
LOCOLINC can be used to control the entire layout - locomotives and accessories.
Individual locomotive receivers are used to control speed and direction,
directional lighting, and bell and whistle sound systems on the locomotive.
Accessory receivers may be used to control turnouts, scenery lighting, or
other motorized layout features. There's a LOCOLINC receiver for any motorized
device the model railroader wants to control. There's even a servo receiver
for controlling live steam locomotives.
Key to the enjoyment of a LOCOLINC-controlled layout is it's prototypical
realism. LOCOLINC allows the model railroader to run his layout in a fashion
that looks just like a real life railroad. In addition to locomotive speed
and direction, LOCOLINC capabilities include excellent slow speed control
desirable for yard work. Real time sound control allows the hobbyist to
ring a locomotive's bell or blow it's whistle whenever he wants, wherever
he wants, and for as long as he wants. Locomotives can be run individually
or double-headed for multiple-unit operation. Trains can be assembled using
up to four powered locomotives to simulate prototypical operation over grades
and mountain passes. Turnout switches can be thrown individually and they
can also be linked to operate in "dispatcher switching" mode,
throwing a series of switches to direct approaches and departures from yards
and train stations.
LOCOLINC wireless addressable control systems employ radio signals transmitted
from a hand-held transmitter through the air to receivers located within
individual locomotives or mounted at the layout for accessory devices. Because
the transmitter is hand-held, the model railroader has complete freedom
to control his layout from any physical location within 150 feet. Not restricted
to a fixed control panel or by tethers to the rails, the model railroader
is completely free to move about the layout following the path of his trains,
watching as switches are thrown, observing the interaction of all of the
"live" elements of his layout.
Radio frequency transmission also gives model railroaders a choice of running
his locomotive engines from track voltage or battery power. Battery power
has become popular with outdoor railroaders and on layouts where keeping
the rails clean is a difficult or tedious task. Battery power or a combination
of track power with battery back-up can mean the difference between powering
and controlling one's locomotives and no operation at all.
Maximum LOCOLINC control system capacity is 64 locomotives and 256 accessory
devices. Operating range of the transmitter is up to 150 feet. LOCOLINC
can be used on N-scale through G-scale layouts.
Keithco, Inc. was founded by Behren Reeves. A thirty year veteran in the
electronics industry, Mr. Reeves brings his extensive domestic and international
marketing background to the model railroad industry. LOCOLINC is the embodyment
of his vision for a comprehensive control system that brings the same attention
to life-like operation as is available for recreating real life-like details
and features on locomotives, rolling stock and scenics. Mr. Reeves also
holds an MSEE in RF Electronics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Keithco has its headquarters in Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA, and manufactures
its products in the northwest and at offshore manufacturing facilities.
A worldwide sales and support staff serves retail hobby shops where LOCOLINC
systems may be purchased. LOCOLINC authorized installation depots offer
custom installation services for hobbyists who prefer not to do their own
Keithco's LOCOLINC systems have now been sold around the world. Available
since October, 1992, LOCOLINC has become preferred as the most complete
and capable systems on the market. LOCOLINC is patented in the U.S. and
Germany and has been the recipient of a number of industrial design awards.
For further information call, fax, or write us at:
Keithco, Inc., P.O. Box 1806, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035 USA.
Phone: (503) 635-7604 Fax: (503) 699-0434
Copyright 1997-2010, Keithco, Inc. All rights reserved. LOCOLINC is a registered
trademark of Keithco, Inc.
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