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BlueRailTrains/Bachmann BlueTooth Train Control
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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 08:55 am
   
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railtwister
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I couldn't wait to try it out, so I ordered one of the locos when they first came out in mid December. After running it on my test layout, I liked it so well, I ordered a second loco, which arrived just in time for me to run two locos simultaneously on my modular layout which was on display at a local library along with our club's other modules in different scales. I had set the modules up for DC operation to accommodate the group's non-DCC members who were running the trains when I couldn't be there, so all I did was crank the DC up to about 3/4 throttle, put the two locos on the rails and bind them to my cell phone, and away they went. The system worked great with no problems all day long, and from anywhere in the theater. I think this system will give DCC a serious challenge because it is so much simpler to set up and use, and is much less expensive than wireless DCC.

See BlueRailTrains.com for more info...

Bill in FtL

Last edited on Tue Jan 12th, 2016 08:56 am by railtwister

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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 03:32 pm
   
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Tony Walsham
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I do believe you are absolutely correct for indoor trains.

When the system is available for use outdoors with Large Scale trains we will all find out how wonderful it is in sunshine.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 05:31 pm
   
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railtwister
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Once the boards for G gauge trains are available, I think it should work just fine, especially if you want to run with onboard battery power. As it is now, anyone running their HO trains outdoors should have no problem, since the range is well over 100 feet (usually over150'). At that distance, it becomes difficult to see an HO train, and you can't control it if you can't see it! The real beauty of the BlueTooth is that it is direct communication between the loco and control device, no computer, interface, or command station is needed.

Basically, just your loco and your cell phone or tablet is all you need.

Bill in FtL

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 Posted: Tue Jan 12th, 2016 09:57 pm
   
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Tony Walsham
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Direct control of a loco (or locos) from a 2.4 GHz handpiece is not new. Especially with battery R/C.

I guess the jury is still out on how easy it is to read a cell phone screen in bright sunshine. Mine is impossible to read in sunshine.
The only other problem I can see looming is the question of "feel" or rather the lack of "feel" of a flat screen, forcing operators to be continually watching the screen during running.
How many systems can be used together all at once? 2, 4, 6+?



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2016 03:31 am
   
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George W
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I'd love to have this system in my On30 Porters



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2016 03:45 am
   
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Bob D
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Tony,

It'll have to be done "Under the hood" just like flying on instruments when I was taking flying lessons (not me in the photo!):




I downloaded the Bachmann app onto my iPad, even though I don't have any bluetooth engines (I'm O scale), and I feel it will take some getting used to using that slider throttle vice turning a physical knob.  There's suppose to be fine-speed adjustments, but until someone actually gets this install and working we won't know just how fine it'll be.

Bob

Last edited on Wed Jan 13th, 2016 03:46 am by Bob D



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2016 05:40 am
   
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Helmut
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This IMHO silly approach to convert model train operators into 'smombies' ( smart-phone-zombies ) focussing on the screen instead of their trains on the layout, plus the issues with outdoor operations especially, led me to abandon all projects I had under way in WLAN/Bluetooth control.
The only sensible approach is a multi-mesh solution like e.g. ZigBee, needing much less RF power than Bluetooth/WLAN for a reliable connection. But it has its drawbacks, too - no camera for instance.
Anyway, that has been shelved in favour of my garden rr. - no issues with RF, tablet, and smartphone.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2016 06:22 pm
   
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Bob D
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I'm beginning to agree Helmut.

I have 2 RCS handheld throttles, on one I put a "compass rose" under the knob with 10 degree separation lines. I catch myself looking at the lines instead of simply turning the knob and watching when the engine moves [whack]. The handheld without the degree lines (used on an 0-6-0 switcher) I look more at the engine.

Bob



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2016 05:55 am
   
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davecttr
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I find knobs, buttons and switches suit me just fine. I can use my Delatang Tx in one hand while looking at the loco!

Apparently it is possible to add knobs etc to a bluetooth device? but why reinvent the wheel when the 'old' technology does the job well.

Where the Bachmann idea might work for me is if the app offers superior loco control and more options above the hobby R/C system I use.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 14th, 2016 01:25 pm
   
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George W
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I'm not exactly a traditional model railroader, so this is how this blue tooth system would work for me.

I have three small tracks and three small engines all powered by one power supply. As the engines are all diffrent, they all run at diffrent speeds (dead slow to insanely fast) even though it's one power setting for all tracks.

Sure, I could spend many hundreds of dollars converting two of the engines, perfecting track signal, getting assorted hardware and controls, learning DCC programming and setup DCC and have it work.

But three boards and an app and turn it on seems like a simpler and cheaper solution for my small needs.

Plus I'd bet it won't be to long before someone makes a more traditional style controller for the Blue tooth system for those that like the tactile feel.

Just my two cents 😬



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