So, I have been looking for a good N-Scale speedometer for quite a while. I finally resolved myself to building one from an Arduino that I have here and made that work. It was not great and the time involved with using it was so much so that it made me not want to do it. Well, least weekend the wife and I trundled off to Denver for a quick vacation (On the way home we did the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad ride!). While in Denver, any serious model railroader has to go to mecca, AKA Caboose Hobbies. This is the hobby stores that I use to measure all others.
Anyhow, they had this thing on the shelf called the Accutrack Speedometer for HO and N scale trains. at $73.00 it’s not cheap, but the box made me want to have it, and when I asked about it, the guys at the store were all very convincing. So, I grabbed it.
All I can say is – BRILLIANT! It works perfectly. I verified it’s readings against my manual system (Stopwatch and distance) and it was dead on. I am very impressed with this box! The unit is self contained and is set over the top of you track anywhere you like. Locos run through the “tunnel” (if you will) and break 2 sets of IR detectors. The first starts the timer and the second finishes it all. The display reads out in xx.x format up to 10 mph then it reads xxx up through 999Mph… (really?)
The portability is a huge plus, you can use it on any layout or test track you want. The applications for a good speedometer are huge. Speed matching DCC locomotives, setting scale MPH markers on your handheld throttles or just showing people that they’re going un-prototypically fast!
In short order I was able to speed match 3 locomotives and more accurately than ever before. I put all three on the track, set them for mid throttle (scale 40mph) and they ran flawlessly. After a tiny tweak on one of them, they all ran great without gaining or losing on each other. Now, I can speed match all my locos! happy happy joy joy.
So, the combination of the Accutrack and the JMRI software is a bang-on home run!