"That’s one impressive piece of hardware." – Tony Koester
"I'm having more fun with trains now than I have in years." – Pete Mulvany
"Overall, this is truly a game changer for me... that’s an investment worth making." – James McNab
"...the only description I can think of is WOW!!!! What a cool addition to any layout, it was so easy to use and realistic to operate you guys have hit a real home-run here." – Lionel Strang
The ProtoThrottle is being developed in tandem with Scott Thornton of Designgrid LLC. Scott is responsible for the throttle’s aesthetics, faceplate mechanical production, and marketing.
- Fully wireless throttle
- Eight detent throttle handle
- Reverser handle with centered position
- Brake handle
- Spring-loaded horn handle
- Push-on/push-off bell button
- Front and rear headlight knobs with dim and ditch light settings
- Auxiliary buttons that can be assigned to any DCC function
- Works with any standard DCC decoder
- Interfaces to any* DCC system
- Highly configurable to suit your operating style
- Now shipping with improved firmware (v1.1)
- Also available with a black faceplate (limited quantities available)
*Note: Requires purchase of a separate receiver specific to your DCC system.
Due to regulatory requirements, the ProtoThrottle can only be shipped to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Orders placed with a shipping address to any other country will be cancelled and refunded.
Another excellent review by Shane Mason:
Watch the ProtoThrottle in action on professional locomotive engineer Tim Garland’s Seaboard Central...
Watch the ProtoThrottle in action during an operating session on Thomas Klimoski's Georgia Northeastern Model Railroad...
Two short videos produced by Joe Atkinson explaining how the ProtoThrottle has made his layout operations more realistic...
Approximate Dimensions: 7.6"(L) x 3.2"(W) x 3.0"(H)
Powered by 2x AA batteries (not included).
The complete gEDA design files are available on GitHub.
Previous User Manuals: v1.0
- 12 in stock
News & Application Notes
Setting up Auxiliary Lighting Functions on the ProtoThrottle
In this video, we explore how to set up the ProtoThrottle to control various auxiliary lighting functions on a locomotive. It’s based on a ScaleTrains.com SD40-2 (thank you ScaleTrains!) with lighted number boards, class lights, and a rotary beacon, but the techniques apply equally well to any DCC equipped locomotive. Keep an eye out for a special treat with the class lights…
Fast Clocks and the ProtoThrottle
Have you noticed the –:– display on the main screen of the ProtoThrottle and were wondering what that was? Or, are you one of the lucky ones, and actually see a time displayed on the second line? Those characters on the display are for displaying a fast time from one of several fast clock sources. The ProtoThrottle simply acts as a repeater display for the time, from whatever source.
ProtoThrottle Firmware Update (v1.1)
Firmware v1.1 for the ProtoThrottle has been officially released:
Full release notes can be found at the link above, but here are the highlights:
- Manual power down with a long press of the SELECT button
- AUX button indicator on the main display
- Menu lock to limit menu options for operators
- User interface enhancements (hide options that don’t apply)
- Programmable battery thresholds
- DIAGS screen to see active (and inactive) DCC functions
The next production run of throttles (available soon!) will ship with this new firmware installed.
What Are All Those Blinky Lights?
You may have noticed all those blinky lights on the ProtoThrottle and its receivers. Yes, Nathan and I are fans of LEDs on the stuff we build. There is a small coolness factor, but more importantly, for products going out into the wild, beyond our loving care (and our ability to see and touch them), these lights convey important information that helps the user – and us – debug problems when they arise. Below is a guide to what all those lights do and what they mean. To use and enjoy the ProtoThrottle, you certainly aren’t expected to know and remember all the information below. But things do sometimes go wrong, and we wanted to provide a reference guide to help in figuring out what happened. This should also help you understand why one of our first questions, when someone contacts us with a problem, usually involves us asking about those pesky little blinking LEDs…
How Do I Choose a ProtoThrottle Braking Mode?
There are two main braking modes in the ProtoThrottle. The default mode is a basic on/off (VAR BRK = OFF) brake. When you move the brake handle right, past the brake threshold (approximately mid-way), the assigned brake function is activated in the locomotive decoder. When you cross that threshold moving the brake handle left, the assigned function is deactivated. Simple and straightforward. This is equivalent to what you get with a standard function button on a traditional throttle.
2018 STL RPM Meet
We will be attending the St. Louis RPM Meet this Friday and Saturday (July 20-21, 2018). Please stop by and say hello. New for this year… the ProtoThrottle! No more waiting as it will finally be available for regular sales. Following the RPM, we will make it available on our website, along with our two exclusive dealers: Caboose in Denver, CO, and Spring Creek Model Trains in Deshler, NE.
If you’re in the St. Louis area this weekend, stop by and see all the wonderful models and soak in the knowledge at this year’s meet. Hope to see you there!
Today, we just finished shipping all the ProtoThrottle pre-orders. Thank you to all who ordered and we look forward to seeing where this goes in the future. For those who missed pre-orders, we will be at the St. Louis RPM Meet this coming week, with throttles for sale, and then they will be available on the website shortly thereafter.
How do I Recalibrate the Horn and Brake Handles?
The handles on the ProtoThrottle come pre-calibrated and should not require any additional adjustments. However, there may be times when you want to adjust the point at which the horn or on/off brake activates. The threshold menu is for doing just that. It allows you to calibrate the horn and brake levers to suit your preferences, or to adjust for mechanical tolerances when assembling the throttles, as no two will be exactly alike.
As the manual notes, normally you will not need to do this. But, the option is available if somebody wants to customize the throttle, or in the rare case needs to disassemble the throttle or adjust for drift over time.
Here’s the basic process for calibrating the throttle…
ProtoThrottle Update (June 17, 2018)
The final face plates, with lettering engraved, arrived Friday and all the assembled ProtoThrottle circuit boards came in last week. Nathan and I also spent a fun weekend building all the receiver boards we need (and more). With that, everything is in place to begin final assembly of the throttles, testing, packaging, and yes, eventually, shipping!
ProtoThrottle Update (May 26, 2018)
Just wanted to give a quick update on the ProtoThrottle… The face plates have been machined and anodized. They are currently awaiting one last machining step to engrave the lettering. The assembled circuit boards have also started to arrive and all the other pieces to make the throttles are ordered and (mostly) in hand. We’re still aiming to start shipping around the end of June in the order that pre-orders were received.