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New Roco Z21 app





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#1 Ron Ron Ron

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 20:52

First of all, apologies to Z21 users if they've already seen this.

Also, I'm not familiar with the existing Z21 app, so I've no idea if what Roco are calling a "new app" is very different or just an improved update.

 

The video is an interview, in German, but there are glimpses of some of new functionality.

 

 

Die neue "Z21 App" von Roco

(The new Z21 app from Roco.)

 

 


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#2 MikeH_83

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 07:52

I made a quick overview myself just to let people know that this is out there, I'm kind of liking it, although I found a few bugs with the android app, the ios one works flawlessly so far.


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#3 Vecchio

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 08:24

I made a quick overview myself just to let people know that this is out there, I'm kind of liking it, although I found a few bugs with the android app, the ios one works flawlessly so far.

 

I think one important point is the easy zoom function when creating your layout, takes a lot of fiddling away. And the way they put together the layout reminds me a bit about SCARM (which I do not use any more as it went from free to costly...) 

 

I also like all the improvements in programing. The integrated bit calculator is great and you do not need a piece of paper (or another app) to work out your sums. Saying that - I have not upgraded yet. As I am at home with man flue it is the right time to do so.... 

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#4 Vecchio

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 13:14

Well - not that easy as shown in the videos.... And I shouldn't have a language problem as the guy explaining the new app in the German video is an Austrian (and so am I). 

Couldn't find a possibility to get the data over into the android app.

 

So leave the phone aside and go for the I-pad. Ok, this works. I can email the old data to myself, and then open with the new z21 app. Now the easy way to move it to the other devices: tried the export function, no device found. Well 2 of them are next to me on the table. May be not then. 

 

A bit later I uploaded the old data also to the android phone. But this is not what I expected - the easy upgrade from one device to another needs to be found. 

 

As a general impression I can say that the display of the new app is darker than it was. As model railway is a subject also (or mainly) used by the rather settled or experienced generation - not to say by older people - this is a disadvantage. 

 

Looking into the database story: It is not clear what is the search key to get info and a loco picture from their database. I put in a new Roco loco (Well - new - I don't know for how long it was waiting for a customer on the shelves of A&H models) and the system doesn't find anything. I checked the article number as I thought this might be the search key - well it is correct as far as I can see. 

 

OK. Give them a chance. I start creating a new loco, and I scroll through their database. Lovely, my loco is not in the database, and the database searches "in circles - means when you at the end it starts with the beginning. Took me some time to say - bother they are repeating the same loco again and again....

 

Well - what do we learn? Buy yourself a popular loco, then everything is available. Buy yourself an OBB 1141 and you can do it yourself. 

For the more popular locos - yes the article number is the key. It still makes sense if you think of a more complicated (popular) loco with sound. You get all your function keys set in a flash.

 

As it looks there is currently no new software version for the I-pod.  

 

Hope you do not consider everything I wrote as moaning - but it is not that user friendly as said in the video.

I still like that there is something moving, and new versions are created. Lets hope it gets a bit better described in the near future.

 

Will look into programming later. 


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#5 Vecchio

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 17:24

Well - if the loco is in the database (means it must be a Roco or Fleischmann loco) programming is absolutely automatic. You get all functions right and also some data filled in. What is annoying is the network connection. I normally do not have the router connected to my home Wi-Fi, so when you want to download something fron the roco database you have to change the Wi-Fi over to one with internet access. 

 

Programming is easier, especially as some CVs contain explanations. After some first steps I tried to build a consist - worked ok, until I tried to get back to normal. Should be easy with the Z21, but this is obviously where the bugs start. The consist stayed on also when I drove a single loco. What was worse was that one of the two locos changed address. I am sure we see some updates of this software in the near future. 

 

By the way - after some time my android phone did see the ipad- so the direct update of a database from one device to another is possible. Don't ask me why id didn't work earlier today. 

 

Another little bug - which could be expensive - is the stop button on the app. I normally set it so that stop disconnects the DCC power - means all rail vehicles stop immediately. Now - using the same setting - pressing stop reduces the power lever to zero and your loco stops according to the programmed deceleration time which could take a while...

 

For the moment I leave both apps on my ipad, until I see how the things develop. 



#6 WIMorrison

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 17:15

I do appreciate many of the new features, especially the scrolling and zoom on the layout screen, plus drawing is so much nicer but - the colour options? Who chose them all three look yuk to me with blue being about the most acceptable from a poor choice :(

#7 Vecchio

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:45

I do appreciate many of the new features, especially the scrolling and zoom on the layout screen, plus drawing is so much nicer but - the colour options? Who chose them all three look yuk to me with blue being about the most acceptable from a poor choice :(

 

blue is what I use as well as it is lighter than the original orange... As I said before - all looks a bit darker than before to me. 


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#8 WIMorrison

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 14:36

There is an IPhone update out today for the Z21 app to fix some issues and improve performance in the new app :)

Edited by WIMorrison, 12 February 2018 - 14:37 .

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#9 Judge Dread

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 14:59

Has anything been updated on the z21 system ? 

Thanks.


Edited by Judge Dread, 12 February 2018 - 15:24 .


#10 WIMorrison

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 15:18

No, just an updated app

#11 NickC

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 14:54

​I have been playing with the new app on IOS (iPad). Creating an sensible layout plan in the 'Control Station' seems extremely difficult!

For example how do you easily rotate a point? It appears possible using a 2-finger twist but there is no accuracy using a 2-finger twist! (or at least not for someone like me who has large fingers).

It is also very difficult to keep control of the point being moved without the screen suddenly scrolling. 

To me it seems like the 'Control Station' needs a lot more development work.

 

I have been playing with the app to see if I should buy a Z21, the app certainly hasn't sold itself to me so far...


Edited by NickC, 14 February 2018 - 14:56 .


#12 WIMorrison

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 15:21

Ahh, you have described exactly the same issue that I had last night!!

I was also wondering what the icons on the top left of layout screen are, the grid followed by a bit of a grid with a funny symbol and another angle with same symbol.

Any suggestions on what these icons do?

I gave up in the end and just hope that they come up with some way of creating it on a PC/MAC and importing it - would be good if Railroad/iTrain/JmRI/rocrail could export to Z21 :)

Edited by WIMorrison, 14 February 2018 - 15:21 .


#13 Alan Kettlewell

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:46

Ahh, you have described exactly the same issue that I had last night!!

I was also wondering what the icons on the top left of layout screen are, the grid followed by a bit of a grid with a funny symbol and another angle with same symbol.

Any suggestions on what these icons do?

I gave up in the end and just hope that they come up with some way of creating it on a PC/MAC and importing it - would be good if Railroad/iTrain/JmRI/rocrail could export to Z21 :)

 

The leftmost 'grid' turns on or off the grid lines.  The next one along allows you to move a symbol (say a turnout) in either free movement or locking it to the grid.  The third one along is really weird and seems to allow you to extend a turnout with a straight or curved bit of track.  The final one looks like a save icon but it's very dark on my iPad screen.  

 

Has anyone found how to insert a text box yet?

 

To see the symbols I've had to put my iPad screen on to full brightness - which hurts my eyes if I work too long in it.

 

On transferring my layout file to the new app, some of my single slips have been converted to 3-way turnouts.

 

I'm not impressed so far and much prefer the previous app.   

 

Just my twopennerth ...

 

Cheers ...Alan



#14 Haymarket47

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:48

Ahh, you have described exactly the same issue that I had last night!!
I was also wondering what the icons on the top left of layout screen are, the grid followed by a bit of a grid with a funny symbol and another angle with same symbol.
Any suggestions on what these icons do?
I gave up in the end and just hope that they come up with some way of creating it on a PC/MAC and importing it - would be good if Railroad/iTrain/JmRI/rocrail could export to Z21 :)


Hi, the waffle grid toggles the grid on/off. The waffle with magnet looks like it’s a “snap to grid” feature - it’s much easier to move icons around I have found with this turned off. As for the angled icon I’ve no idea yet. However, there’s a video by Roco on you tube from this years Nurumberg and towards the end there is a young woman who does a (very) short demo and makes it look easy - perhaps she should do a longer version because intuitive it is not! I do hope they re-introduce the ability to take a photo of your layout as this was very good.

#15 Haymarket47

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:54

The leftmost 'grid' turns on or off the grid lines.  The next one along allows you to move a symbol (say a turnout) in either free movement or locking it to the grid.  The third one along is really weird and seems to allow you to extend a turnout with a straight or curved bit of track.  The final one looks like a save icon but it's very dark on my iPad screen.  
 
Has anyone found how to insert a text box yet?
 
To see the symbols I've had to put my iPad screen on to full brightness - which hurts my eyes if I work too long in it.
 
On transferring my layout file to the new app, some of my single slips have been converted to 3-way turnouts.
 
I'm not impressed so far and much prefer the previous app.   
 
Just my twopennerth ...
 
Cheers ...Alan


I agree about the new design. There’s a lot of light grey against dark greys/black. Also it might just be me but the text appears to be smaller too although admittedly this could be my eyesight!
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#16 WIMorrison

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 13:39

It may be because my ipad is old (gen3) and the phone isn't quite as old (iphone6) but some screens are easier to read on the iPhone with better contrast - but I agree it all needs a lot of work :(

I note that they are asking fro feedback on the new app - perhaps we should al write in and ask that they rework the interface to meet those of us who have older eyes, less nimble fingers and who cant justify updating hardware to match the latest app design?

Edit

I took my own advice and have complained about the colours, lack of separation between grey and grey and the difficulty in using the new layout screen. I received an acknowledgment within a couple of seconds giving me a ticket reference therefore I suggest that using the Error Reporting feature does work - it is also a way they say to provide them with feedback

I recommend we all use it, if we don’t say something they will assume we are happy (and I don’t think we are?)

Iain

Edited by WIMorrison, 15 February 2018 - 15:36 .

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#17 Removed a/c_Anders63

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:19

Still you can only use Windows operative system by upgrade Z21.  :angry:

I did asked Roco why only PC Windows...

They said: Just because!

People hate Windows 10.

It´s good Roco did upgrade Z21 app but still i´m not satisfy...



#18 melmerby

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:24


People hate Windows 10.

 

Bit of a generalisation.

Just because you don't like it!

 

Keith


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#19 WIMorrison

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:29

Personally I would rather see a Windows version developed as I could then use it on a PC for creating layouts and a Surface to control the layout.

#20 Alan Kettlewell

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:35

I too have sent a complaint about the interface colour scheme via the error reporting.

Let's hope for an improvement soon.

Cheers ... Alan
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#21 Alan Kettlewell

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 07:00

I too have sent a complaint about the interface colour scheme via the error reporting.

Let's hope for an improvement soon.

Cheers ... Alan

 

I've had the following reply:

 

'Dear Mr. XxXxXxXxX,

Thank you for your e-mail and your feedback to our new Z21-App.

We have forwarded your suggestions to our developers. The new Z21-App is constantly evolving and also the database of our models is continuously extended.

We hope to have helped you with our answer and wish you much pleasure with your hobby, the model railway.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen'

 

Have to wait and see now ..

 

Cheers ... Alan



#22 EarsAreAlight

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 09:24

I've not really used it in anger yet but the new app looks to be more flexible in the long run.

 

I do miss the photo as a background feature, not least since I'd just spent some time doing layout backgrounds for the old app. But that and the current lack of text labels aside, it is possible to do control boards quite neatly with a bit of perseverance. See below for an example which i knocked up yesterday for my newly acquired layout...

 

Switchboard.png

 

The tip for rotating points etc is to tap the point you want to rotate then hold and tap with a second finger elsewhere and rotate. But crucially, move the finger above the point to the side while still twisting - that way you can see where it ends up. Also, you can move your fingers further away, and just like a lever effect, your adjustments become more precise.



#23 Alan Kettlewell

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:26

That's quite neat considering you have to line it all up by sliding fingers around the screen.  I've been doing similar this morning getting the hang of it and have managed to sort out all my control screens, although I've been turning items on screen by putting two fingers over and twisting round - sort of works but I much preferred the nudge feature in the previous version.   

 

Yes it's a pity there's no label facility but I did find you can give the screens a name instead of Page 1, Page 2 etc.  I've referred to the lack of notes/labels in my email to the Z21 team - hope they put it back in.   I also find the control address numbers to be very small and a lot get hidden from view where there's a group of turnouts.  

 

Cheers ... Alan



#24 EarsAreAlight

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:44

Thanks, Alan. I used snap to grid initially and then nudged the ones that looked a bit wrong later. It's also easier doing adjustments with an Apple pencil on an iPad Pro than fat fingers on an iPhone!

 

One other tip - use the straight sections defined as objects as anchors for the track curves if you want a curve to lead somewhere but then straighten out. See the very slightly darker line in the bottom-most siding above - that is a short straight being used to anchor the curve from the point.



#25 Alan Kettlewell

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:57

Thanks, Alan. I used snap to grid initially and then nudged the ones that looked a bit wrong later. It's also easier doing adjustments with an Apple pencil on an iPad Pro than fat fingers on an iPhone!

 

One other tip - use the straight sections defined as objects as anchors for the track curves if you want a curve to lead somewhere but then straighten out. See the very slightly darker line in the bottom-most siding above - that is a short straight being used to anchor the curve from the point.

 

Yes I found that method earlier, thanks.  Also I tried the method of turning a point you mentioned, hold it down with one finger then place another finger on the screen and move in a circle until it's at the correct angle.  Much better, thanks for that.  I've finished all 10 of my control screens now and it's looking a bit better than previous simply because you can add the straight bits and join things together with curves.  Once you get the knack it works ok - although fiddly - I still prefer the nudge feature from the previous version.

 

Cheers ... Alan