(Click on the image to visit the throttle’s discussion page on the MRH Forum)

I’ve been following the development of the ProtoThrottle – a realistic diesel control stand designed for DCC – since Michael Peterson of Iowa Scaled Engineering and Scott Thornton first floated the idea over a year ago on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum. Today, I had the opportunity to get my mitts on one for the first time – and I think it’s great. I didn’t even power it up – just played with the levers and buttons – and I’m already sold on the concept.

For those unfamiliar with this project, I suggest you read the forum thread – which you can find by clicking on the image, above. But briefly, it’s a wireless throttle designed to interface with any DCC system via a receiver that’s connected to the DCC system.

While this throttle does not emulate every control in a real diesel, it does a much better job of representing the controls than a standard throttle with push buttons and/or a knob. The best part is, a number of DCC sound decoder manufacturers are working with Michael and Scott to figure out how to configure their decoders to work with this control stand. For most, it’s primarily a matter of figuring out the best values to program into CVs governing acceleration/deceleration, braking, speed curves, throttle notching, and so on.

The throttle is not yet on the market – look for it, hopefully, early in 2018. It’ll definitely bring diesel fans closer to an in-the-cab experience than anything on the market to date. I’m looking forward to it – and even though my layout is set firmly in the steam era, I do have a few diesels (including an MLW RS18 and a GE 44 tonner), plus many friends with diesel-era layouts where such a throttle will be a welcome addition.

As the saying goes…

Shut Up And Take My Money

8 thoughts on “ProtoThrottle

  1. Thank you, Trevor, for featuring the ProtoThrottle on your blog.

    One clarification: the throttle does not use WiFi but rather uses XBee receivers to communicate between the throttle and a receiving module that connects with the DCC system. One XBee is in the throttle with the corresponding XBee on the module.

      • I’ll be joining the WiFi model railroading realm as I’m upgrading my DCC system to ESU’s CabControl. Very excited about it!

        • You’ll enjoy it I’m sure! The handheld is identical to the ones I use and the base station has the same guts as the ECoS unit I use – stripped of the features that are of little to no value for the North American and Australian markets. I’m happy I have the ECoS but if I was buying today I’d go with the CabControl system.

    • I think there will be several of us in the Golden Horseshoe adding a ProtoThrottle to our layouts. Gerry, Robin and I are already planning to get one…

  2. Trevor, I remember seeing an article in one of the leading model railroad magazines back in the 1960s where a modeler scratchbuilt a typical set of diesel controls like you’d see in a loco cab of that time period. He wired it all up so that the model engines would respond prototypically to his manipulation of the control handles. Being a teen at the time and having a “bug” for railroad realism, needless to say I was extremely impressed by the realistic features of his throttle control system. This controller is the most realistic looking one I’ve ever seen since then! Next layout I attempt will definitely call for one of these neat throttle controls. Thanks for sharing!

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