RPK-2 RailPro Starter
Kit with Wireless Color Touchscreen Handheld Controller and Power Supply
RailPro products by Ring Engineering are professional grade,
powerful, and very easy to use model railroad control products that can
be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. The HC-3 is a wireless controller
with a color touch screen that can be used to operate your model railroad
layout. The HC-3 can control the speed, direction, lights, and sounds of
locomotives and other accessories by simply touching the screen! All you need in
addition to this starter kit is at least one locomotive module. The included
power supply has enough power to run 15 typical modern HO Scale locomotives. You can add
additional power supplies, handheld controllers, locomotive modules, and
accessory modules, to expand this starter set to control practically any size
Please see HC-3 and PWR-56 for more details on each
Note: This kit is designed for indoor HO layout. Please see HC-3-SUN for outdoor
Ships 1 to 3 Business Days
Price $399.99 MSRP
HC-3 Handheld Controller
Battery Charger (100-240VAC 50/60Hz)
PA-2 Power Adapter (110-220VAC 50/60Hz)
User Manual with Quick Start Guide
US Patent 8,807,487 and 10,780,362
Made In USA
Not recommended for persons under the age of 14
RPK-2 Frequently Asked Questions
What operating system does the HC-3 use?
Our products use RE-OS.
Ring Engineering Operating System.
Why did Ring Engineering develop its own
operating system for their products instead of using Android, Windows mobile
So we had control over the
products and so our products could not be changed by other companies which can
cause then to be incompatible. We have seen in the past multiple companies
that used off the shelf touch screen products like tablets and phones to control
trains that stopped selling their products and even go out of business. Keep in mind that Android,
Windows mobile, etc, were not designed to run model trains. Also large
companies control new versions of common operating systems and are not likely at
all to let any model train companies know about changes until they are released.
This can take a company that uses off the shelf OS by surprise and make them
scramble to make hardware and software changes to be compatible. In some
cases it may be unreasonable or impossible to do so. Then what? ....they
may tell you 'I am sorry but you need to buy all new hardware!!!'
Large companies have inside information on changes and huge development teams
that can handle changes like that where model train suppliers are very unlikely
to have such resources because the model train market is much smaller than say
the cell phone market. Since Ring Engineering developed every line of code for
our products, we will never be taken by surprise when operating systems changes
happen. Our operating system only changes when we decide to change it!
We control our destiny in this aspect which is why we believe we have been able
to make RailPro products that are compatible for nearly two decades! We have certainly seen in the past when large
companies purposely change hardware, or software, or protocols to obsolete older versions
just to get you to buy
new. At Ring Engineering, we know it can take years to finish a model train
layout and our goal is to provide compatible products for very long times.
RE OS was designed to operate
model trains! It is small and fast and not loaded with bloatware like
common OS's and that means lower costs and longer battery life!
We tried using off the shelf
products but we had so many problems including apps that would pop up over our
train app and cause us to crash trains etc. Since RE-OS was designed to
run trains these things do not exist with RailPro! RailPro is easy, dependable,
link different types of locomotives will they run well together?
(This is often referred to as Consisting or MU'ed)
In fact you will only need to set one
adjustment to get locomotives with even different motors and gear
ratios to work very well together. The one adjustment that needs to
be set has an auto set feature. You can actually setup
different locomotives to run well together in under a minute.
All you need to do is run the auto set feature for the Motor Full
Load Current adjustment on each locomotive.
The way RailPro links locomotives
together is patented technology and unlike any DCC system. Direct
Radio allows RailPro locomotives to communicate together almost
instantly to be sure that each locomotive pulls its portion of the
load and runs smoothly together. Any DCC system that we are
aware of, only allows communication to locomotives and the locomotives
cannot talk to each other. Ring Engineering's Direct Radio allows all
RailPro products to communicate in both directions at full speed!
Two way, full speed communication is key to many of RailPro's easy
to use and unique features including the way linked locomotives run
Typical DCC system tell you to speed match locomotives to use them
in a consist. Speed based systems do not actually work
properly. Our load based system does! Lets just say by some
miracle you could get two
run at exactly the same speed and they are pulling 15 freight cars
at 30 SMPH and the couplers are tight. Then you push the front
back a 1/4 inch so the couplers are loose. If the locos continue at
the exactly the same speed, then the couplers stay loose and the
goes for a free ride while the follower
pulling the entire train by itself! This is not proper operation. In
RailPro, if the couplers are loose the lead
will sense that the load is light and radio to the follower
back off. When the couplers come up tight, the load is sensed by the
and it radios all followers to balance out in pulling power such
that all locos properly pull their fair share of the load!
Will I have to wait forever for the Handheld Controller to
startup from a power on?
Unlike Android and Windows devices we
have seen which seem like they take forever to boot up, a RailPro handheld controller
with RE-OS is ready to control locomotives in less than one second from
pressing the power on button! Yet another advantage of making our own
How many locomotives and handheld controllers can
be used at the same time?
There is no limitation on the
number of locomotives you can have on your layout. The handheld can have hundreds
locomotive pictures loaded into it. For each handheld controller you have you
can set 24 locomotives in motion. You can be driving 24 trains with a single
handheld. You can run any 24 of the over 100 locomotives loaded into a
handheld controller. If you have 24 locomotives in motion with a single
handheld controller, than you would need to stop one locomotive to put another
in motion. If you have a second handheld, you can run 24 more trains for a total
of 48 different locomotives running at the same time. Three controllers can operate 72
locomotives in motion and so on. It would be normal for
all handheld controllers to have all locomotives on the layout loaded into them
so any user can run any locomotive. The limit of 24 locomotives per
handheld in motion was selected because we do not expect any one user to be able
to keep track of that many trains at the same time and therefore is not a
limitation at all. There is no limit on the number of handheld controllers
that can be used. With 40 handheld controllers the response time should be just about the
same as with one controller (very quick). As you get over 40 the response time may or may
not slow down. Our Direct Radio is much faster than DCC so RailPro's
response time will be much better than any DCC system.
How many turnouts can be controlled?
There is no realistic
limitation on the number of turnouts that can be controlled by a RailPro
How far does
the Direct Radio signal reach?
Typical outside radio range is commonly reported as 60 to 70 feet without any
repeaters. This can be greatly expanded by using Radio Repeaters.
You can control locomotives on huge HO scale layouts
with outstanding control using Direct Radio. The Direct Radio signal can reach
over 100ft in an open environment. When properly setup, you can achieve fast
and dependable control that has the feel of being directly wired to your
If you want to control your trains from the far side
of your layout, we recommend a repeater every 15 ft for areas divided into small
rooms. Our power supply has Direct Radio built in and can be used as a
repeater. With one PWR-56 in the middle of the layout, you can expect
outstanding coverage for a 30 ft x 30 ft layout while transmitting through
multiple walls. If the room is open, it may work well for 50 ft x 50 ft or even
larger areas with only one repeater. The current program in the handheld
controller lets you use up to 4 repeaters for outstanding coverage on huge
You can run RailPro without a repeater. For example
using only a handheld and locomotive equipped with a RailPro module. If you
follow your trains (staying within 15-20 feet) you will not need a repeater and
you can expect fast and dependable control. However, if transmitting through multiple walls,
you might find that at some angles you will loose communication at 40 feet
away. By adding repeaters as necessary, you can get fast and dependable control
from over 40 feet away through multiple walls.
Since RailPro is all wireless and can transmit over 100 feet, can
anyone control my train set?
RailPro has a simple solution for stopping unintentional or unauthorized users from
controlling your equipment. You can set a password in each piece of
RailPro equipment. For example, when you set a password in a
locomotive module, then only the people that you share the password with will
be able to control your locomotive. This is a great feature in a club
or model train show environment because you can have complete control over
who can control or adjust your RailPro products.
Is the response time good?
The response time is so good that you feel like you are connected to the
locomotive. As soon as you change speed, the locomotive instantly
responds. The touchscreen is so fast that you feel that there is no
detectable delay from pressing the screen to seeing the action on a
locomotive such as the lights turning on or off. The exceptionally
smooth speed control knob gives you the feel of using an analog controller!
If I install a RailPro locomotive module in a locomotive that I
already own, what do I need to do so the handheld controller will display a
picture of my locomotive?
Since Ring Engineering
does not know what locomotive you are going to install a locomotive module
into, our locomotive modules are preloaded with a generic locomotive
picture. You can change the picture on your locomotive module to match your
locomotive. You can load pictures from Ring Engineering’s Internet
site or use our RailPro Assistant software to convert your own pictures to
RailPro format and load them to your handheld controller and locomotive
modules. If you find a picture of your locomotive on our Internet site, you can load it
to your locomotive module for no charge. If you cannot find a picture of your
locomotive, then you can take a picture of your locomotive with a digital
camera and email your locomotive picture to Ring Engineering or use our
RailPro assistant software to convert it to RailPro format.
Is it difficult to get files like pictures, sounds, and light
effects from Ring Engineering's Internet site?
Basically you use our RailPro Assistant
software to select from lists of pictures, sounds, light effects, and programs available
from Ring Engineering's Internet site to download. Connect your handheld
controller with a USB cable and press the download button on the handheld
will copy whatever files you selected from Ring Engineering's Internet site
onto your handheld controller. To send a file to a locomotive, you select Copy File,
choose the picture of the locomotive you want the file to go to, and then choose
the file to copy. Then you go to the adjustments and setup the locomotive to
use the new file. See RailPro
Assistant Program for complete details.
software to get pictures, sounds, etc, from the internet compatible with
Our software can run on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows
8, Windows 7.
software to get pictures, sounds, etc, from the internet compatible with
Macintosh?We currently do not have Macintosh
compatible software. We have some Mac users that use bootcamp or parallels to
run our PC software. We know there are some Mac users and at some point we may
provide Mac compatible software. Our newest software was written from the
ground up to be multiple platform friendly. So the software we plan to release
soon will be easier to make Mac compatible than our older program.
What about RF interference?
Our RailPro system uses
advanced technology like cell phones where many can be in use at the same time in
the same area. Our products are not like the easily disturbed RF products found
in many toys. This makes it unlikely that you will experience any
interference. Our products have worked successfully around wireless computer
networks cell phones etc. Any RF product may have, or cause, some type of
interference but because of the technology that we use it is very unlikely.
At the time of this writing we basically have had no users complain about not
being able to dependable control their trains with RailPro.
Is using a tablet or touchscreen phone with a train control App like
Not at all. We started our development with an off the shelf generic
touchscreen handheld computer. Shortly afterward we realized that was
completely the wrong direction and would never make a good product for the
user. What we realized was that we needed to develop a handheld controller
from scratch with the goal of controlling your model train layout. Some
problems with the off the shelf touchscreen computer that we encountered
1) We found
that using a touchscreen for a throttle was unacceptable. The problem is that
you needed to be looking at the screen to adjust the speed accurately and the
feel was poor at best. You need to be looking at the train engine to properly
connect couplers etc. This is why we included a real knob and Real Buttons on the RailPro
controller. So you can have your hand on the speed control knob and still be
looking at your train. What is the point in having a controlling device that is
not actually a good throttle?
2) The developers of the phones and tablets change their products quickly and it
is unreasonable to think that they will ask the opinion of model railroaders
when they develop new equipment because this is not the market that they target.
Therefore if you want a throttle just a couple years from now, you have no idea
what you will be able to get or if it will even be compatible. With RailPro we
control the hardware and a top concern of ours is long term availability and
compatibility with a RailPro system. Further, it is also unreasonable to think
that the software developers will get any advanced notice of hardware changes or
even complete operating system charges! Therefore, after a couple of years, the
software developers will likely always be trying to catch up with whatever new
device is being sold. We believe this alone can stop any company developing for
modeling because of the inability to keep up with constantly changing hardware.
With RailPro, our hardware will never change without our knowledge and our
software development will not be hampered by constantly changing hardware
3) We had problems where other apps would pop up or interrupt the train app and
the train app would be inaccessible or would cause communication problems. If
the app becomes inaccessible you cannot stop your trains! This does not happen
with RailPro because there are no other apps to interfere.
4) Typical consumer computer networks are not guaranteed real time. The response
time can be anywhere from good to no control at all. With RailPro, at least 40
simultaneous users will have guaranteed fast response and hundreds of handheld
are likely to work very well.
5) Product instability is a problem with off the shelf computers. The odds of
you buying the same product only a year later is unlikely. So it may be
necessary to support different software programs, different OS's, different
6) Network setup with RailPro is as simple as pressing the Find Product button
and selecting a repeater if necessary.
Any PC network we have ever dealt with is far more complicated and problematic.
7) Nobody wants to wait until their PC's booted and make a wireless connection
just to drive a train. With RailPro the handheld is ready to control trains in
less than one second. Who would want typical PCs problems involved in operating
their train set like software crashes, reboots, hard drive failures etc.?
8) With RailPro you do not need a PC down by your layout. You do not need to buy
a PC just for your layout.
9) Don't you think that buying products from many manufacturers, instead of just
one, is much more likely to have problems? Also, if you have a problem don't you
think that it will be more difficult to fix? For example, if you get a touch
control product from manufacturer A, software program for the touch control
product from programmer B, PC from manufacturer C, wireless network product from
manufacturer D, PC to train control system interface product form manufacturer
E, software for the PC to train control system from programmer F, and the train
control equipment from manufacturer G....then who is going to be responsible for
fixing a problem with a system like this???
Ring Engineering's RailPro system has color touchscreen controllers, outstanding
software, and a complete easy to use system available from one source.
10) Battery life was too short. Our Handheld controller can run up to 12 hours*
on a single charge for all day model railroad fun.
Therefore, what we learned is that you need proper hardware and software to make
a better train control system. It takes years of software development to obtain
a well written, dependable, and easy to use interface like RailPro has. Because
of the high level of technology in our controller it took years to develop the
handheld controller. Further we tested it for years to be sure it worked very
well before it was sold. RailPro has been in development for nearly two decades
and we are confident that it shows in our RailPro product.
11) Our handheld is designed to be held all day so you can follow the action
around. In our opinion holding a tablet all day to run a train is unacceptable.
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