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No wires - System specification


Ken Anderson
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Hi again...

Some more insightful opinion on the forthcoming Bachmann Bluetooth system from another US forum...

 

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/19712?page=1

 

Randall

Interesting discussion and for me the most interesting is........You can have different manufacturers products operating on your layout at the same time, especially if you are independant of track power. For someone like me who is interested in basic train control it does not really matter if i have 7 Deltang equipped locos, a few Protocabs and a Bachmann or two. They will still work. This in a way future proofs the product without any agreed standards at all. The only standard you need is that they make the trains go and don't interfere with each other.

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I've often wondered why O Gauge locos don't have sliding pickups on the track (similar to underground trains, but less obvious). There is plenty of room for them and they would automatically clean the track.

 

...R

it would look dreadful!

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I've often wondered why O Gauge locos don't have sliding pickups on the track (similar to underground trains, but less obvious). There is plenty of room for them and they would automatically clean the track.

 

...R

Not for me. Look between the wheels on this LGB G scale model.

 

My wish is not just to eliminate all of the impedimenta on the locomotive associated with collecting current from the track, but also to say goodbye to having to wire track.

post-13142-0-79609600-1416506747.jpg

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Interesting discussion and for me the most interesting is........You can have different manufacturers products operating on your layout at the same time, especially if you are independant of track power. For someone like me who is interested in basic train control it does not really matter if i have 7 Deltang equipped locos, a few Protocabs and a Bachmann or two. They will still work. This in a way future proofs the product without any agreed standards at all. The only standard you need is that they make the trains go and don't interfere with each other.

 

That happens to be the status quo. . . . . . :read:

 

Andy

Edited by Andy Reichert
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Really, can you have 2 or more different manufacturers DCC systems working on the layout at the same time?

 

I suppose you can do it with DC and different controllers, or can you, what about common returns etc?

 

The idea is that you only need one system that can control all the locomotives, etc.  That's what having a system means. It's not a set of constrained individual point to point connections. Having more than one system would be a duplication.  But all the decoders and accessories from all the other manufacturers should work on that system.

 

Andy

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This arrived today for Beta testing

 

designed for OO gauge upwards, 8 -18v  1.5 amp

 

new system from Train Engineer Revolution, 200 ft range up to 99 locos per hand set

 

on boards is sound (currently American but that will change) control for lights, flashing lights & smoke also back EMF

 

I hope to have a battery powered working example at Reading

 

John FSB

post-240-0-14336800-1416840346.jpg

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This arrived today for Beta testing

 

designed for OO gauge upwards, 8 -18v  1.5 amp

 

new system from Train Engineer Revolution, 200 ft range up to 99 locos per hand set

 

on boards is sound (currently American but that will change) control for lights, flashing lights & smoke also back EMF

 

I hope to have a battery powered working example at Reading

 

John FSB

Interesting, back EMF eh!

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This arrived today for Beta testing

 

designed for OO gauge upwards, 8 -18v  1.5 amp

 

new system from Train Engineer Revolution, 200 ft range up to 99 locos per hand set

 

on boards is sound (currently American but that will change) control for lights, flashing lights & smoke also back EMF

 

I hope to have a battery powered working example at Reading

 

John FSB

 

If this is RC is it legal in the UK?   If it is it looks to be getting quite close to my needs - it would certainly do "as is" for my On30 American stuff.....

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chaz

 

yes 2.4ghz  we have sold hundreds of the bigger version in G1, they were originally imported though Bachmann

 

it also comes with  a plug in board for any 8 pin dcc ready locos

 

John

 

Thanks for that. If it fits in a 4mm model those of us working in 7mm should have no problems. I might have to spend some money...

 

Post a link when you have a package ready for sale?

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Hello again,
First of all, my apologies to Chaz for not replying sooner to his thread on 19/11. Life in the last few weeks has been hectic as we are preparing the first products for release, but that isn't an excuse not to reply to you.

To answer your points in turn:
"I have just had a look at your website and what there is of it (early days, I know) is very encouraging."
Thanks, we originally planned to release the website just in advance of first availability of products but the response we have had in the last few weeks and particularly since the Railway Modeller article has urged us to bring the upload forward. We are still working on the bulk of pages including product details and we will be uploading new information frequently.
 
"I hope you dont mind if I ask a few questions and make a few points here, on open forum."
Please do. As long as forum members don't mind, we are very happy to answer your questions in open forum and to receive any comments.  

    "You say that to control a loco you press its button - does that mean that the number of locos is limited to the number of buttons?"
No, the allocation of locos to buttons is dynamic. We will be providing a Windows PC application (free of charge) to enable you to connect the controller to the PC through their USB sockets. It is then a simple drag and drop from your list of locos to the button of your choice. Some modellers have said that they can then run a diesel themed session one day, and a pre-war steam session the next. Of course, we would LOVE you to buy a second controller for locos 10-18 but you won't have to in order to address your fleet. If you have a larger fleet you may find that the Protocab Concentrator has advantages, particularly if you are operating with more than one operator. The 0201 Direct Controller we showed in an earlier thread was designed in response to feeback from many modellers who said that they only have a small layout with a few locos and wanted a simple control system, preferably one with a physical control knob as they didn't like using touch screens. If we discover that there is a significant demand from modellers with many locos we will certainly look to a different model controller. We also have the Android app that works with the Concentrator that provides a range of functions, and can enable a whole fleet to be indicated and selected from, but it is a touch screen and this may deter some modellers. You tell us what you want and we'll do our best to satisfy it.

  "  I note the control knob is turned from a centre off to get the direction of travel - will there be an "off-notch"?"
I'm not quite sure if this answers your question, but the control knob has a centre detent, which gives you tactile feedback that the knob is in the 'off' position. Is this what you meant?

  "  over what range will the control work?"
We've had a prototype controller working well at 50 feet from the loco. We've not had a chance to test it inside a steel building yet, but we always try our system at Scalefour or EM expos by putting the Concentrator in one corner and taking the loco and controller to the other corner and haven't had a problem yet.. corner to corner, these leisure centres are well over 100 feet so the controller is sending its Wi-Fi signal 100 feet to the Concentrator and the Concentrator is sending its 802.15.4 signal 100 feet back to the loco. We're not guaranteeing this though as much depends on the environment. We'll continue tests and provide details of the results through the website.

 "   will the receiver need to be wired directly to the motor or will it be possible to power a DCC decoder?"
It has to be connected to the motor directly. The advantage is that these are the only two wires that need to be connected, everything else is plug and socket connected. Protocab does not use the DCC standards so would not be able to power a DCC decoder. I think it's important to stress that although Protocab uses radio control it goes way beyond in terms of control and application.

   " batteries are obviously important and their physical size crucial - I await details - will you be supplying and will there be a choice?"
Yes, there will be a wide choice both of flat form (known as prismatic) and cylindrical (ideal for hiding inside steam loco boilers/smokeboxes). We have to order in fairly large quantities of each size in order to get both the price and level of quality we need, so the development of the range will be as rapid as our customers demand.

"That's probably enough questions for now. :whistle:"


"and if your answer is "all in good time" - I can wait!"
...all in good time.. but we hope you won't have to wait much longer!

 

And thanks to everyone for allowing us the opportunity to address this forum.

 

Best regards

Tony Hagon

Director

Acc+Ess Ltd

Glenrhu

Bowermadden

Highland

KW1 4TW

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Tony, let me start by saying that we are entering a very exciting stage of the hobby with several maufacturers bringing products to market and I await your product launch with interest. It is good that you chose the 'hard road' and went for battery power, especially as this part of the radio/battery combination is the most difficult. there is not much room in those little locos.

 

Concerning choice of locos do you have to attach to a computer for multiple loco choice?

 

I can confirm that a centre indent works well and I find I can control the loco with my thumb without even looking at the controller. Great for shunting or precise stops. I am not a fan of touch screens myself!.

 

Not using DCC is another interesting choice. Maybe some of those DCC manufacturers will be getting slightly nervous and IMO they should be. I think these new radio/battery systems will especially appeal to those who have not yet committed to DCC and are happy that they will be able to run their locos on any layout, DC, DCC, plastic rails etc!

 

I find the plug and play aspects of your system attractive as my efforts with a soldering iron leave something to be desired.

 

Do the batteries have low voltage protection built in or is it a function of the loco control unit, or both?

 

I notice you are using single batteries so that means a voltage booster/regulator? As the LCU will be available with different output voltages is the booster built in?

 

Your web site is interesting but does not work at its best with internet explorer, I found Chrome much better

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Hi David,

 

 

Maybe some of those DCC manufacturers will be getting slightly nervous and IMO they should be.

 

I don't think that is the case. The major players in dcc already know how to control motors, etc. I would guess it would only be few days work to graft a bit of rc onto their knowledge base, most likely already done and ready to go. Electronics/software is easy, once you're into it. Currently the problem is the batteries, and the lack of any standard for the rc protocol. Most dcc is based on the nrma standard of some sort, that is why you can mix and match dcc controllers. There is no such standard evolving in the rc side of things, afaik. No need for the dcc manufacturers to be nervous, it's another market for their skills.

 

Currently there is  a market, for enthusiasts, who can see an advantage in their particular circumstances, which the smaller manufacturer can satisfy, but I think it will be a while before we see it having a major market...  but then, 40 years ago I said computer games would not sell :boast:

 

Best wishes,

 

Ray

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Hello again,

First of all, my apologies to Chaz for not replying sooner to his thread on 19/11. Life in the last few weeks has been hectic as we are preparing the first products for release, but that isn't an excuse not to reply to you.

 

To answer your points in turn:

"I have just had a look at your website and what there is of it (early days, I know) is very encouraging."

Thanks, we originally planned to release the website just in advance of first availability of products but the response we have had in the last few weeks and particularly since the Railway Modeller article has urged us to bring the upload forward. We are still working on the bulk of pages including product details and we will be uploading new information frequently.

 

"I hope you dont mind if I ask a few questions and make a few points here, on open forum."

Please do. As long as forum members don't mind, we are very happy to answer your questions in open forum and to receive any comments.  

 

    "You say that to control a loco you press its button - does that mean that the number of locos is limited to the number of buttons?"

No, the allocation of locos to buttons is dynamic. We will be providing a Windows PC application (free of charge) to enable you to connect the controller to the PC through their USB sockets. It is then a simple drag and drop from your list of locos to the button of your choice. Some modellers have said that they can then run a diesel themed session one day, and a pre-war steam session the next. Of course, we would LOVE you to buy a second controller for locos 10-18 but you won't have to in order to address your fleet. If you have a larger fleet you may find that the Protocab Concentrator has advantages, particularly if you are operating with more than one operator. The 0201 Direct Controller we showed in an earlier thread was designed in response to feeback from many modellers who said that they only have a small layout with a few locos and wanted a simple control system, preferably one with a physical control knob as they didn't like using touch screens. If we discover that there is a significant demand from modellers with many locos we will certainly look to a different model controller. We also have the Android app that works with the Concentrator that provides a range of functions, and can enable a whole fleet to be indicated and selected from, but it is a touch screen and this may deter some modellers. You tell us what you want and we'll do our best to satisfy it.

 

  "  I note the control knob is turned from a centre off to get the direction of travel - will there be an "off-notch"?"

I'm not quite sure if this answers your question, but the control knob has a centre detent, which gives you tactile feedback that the knob is in the 'off' position. Is this what you meant?

 

  "  over what range will the control work?"

We've had a prototype controller working well at 50 feet from the loco. We've not had a chance to test it inside a steel building yet, but we always try our system at Scalefour or EM expos by putting the Concentrator in one corner and taking the loco and controller to the other corner and haven't had a problem yet.. corner to corner, these leisure centres are well over 100 feet so the controller is sending its Wi-Fi signal 100 feet to the Concentrator and the Concentrator is sending its 802.15.4 signal 100 feet back to the loco. We're not guaranteeing this though as much depends on the environment. We'll continue tests and provide details of the results through the website.

 

 "   will the receiver need to be wired directly to the motor or will it be possible to power a DCC decoder?"

It has to be connected to the motor directly. The advantage is that these are the only two wires that need to be connected, everything else is plug and socket connected. Protocab does not use the DCC standards so would not be able to power a DCC decoder. I think it's important to stress that although Protocab uses radio control it goes way beyond in terms of control and application.

 

   " batteries are obviously important and their physical size crucial - I await details - will you be supplying and will there be a choice?"

Yes, there will be a wide choice both of flat form (known as prismatic) and cylindrical (ideal for hiding inside steam loco boilers/smokeboxes). We have to order in fairly large quantities of each size in order to get both the price and level of quality we need, so the development of the range will be as rapid as our customers demand.

 

"That's probably enough questions for now. :whistle:"

 

 

"and if your answer is "all in good time" - I can wait!"

...all in good time.. but we hope you won't have to wait much longer!

 

And thanks to everyone for allowing us the opportunity to address this forum.

 

Best regards

Tony Hagon

Director

Acc+Ess Ltd

Glenrhu

Bowermadden

Highland

KW1 4TW

 

No problem with having to wait a short while for these answers, which are all positives for me!

 

My 7mm exhibition layout is DCC (Lenz system) and will probably remain so. However my new layout which has been on hold for a while is On30 and I may well investigate the use of your battey powered RC system - it will save me a lot of work with layout wiring etc and will deal with features like turntables and wye junctions very simply.

 

One more question if I may....

 

My DCC sound chips allow the sound to be adjusted (through CVs) for stuff like volume and synchronising the speed and chuff rate. Will your RC system offer a similar facility?

 

Chaz

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  • 4 months later...

Hello again...

This video was posted on Youtube on October 22nd 2014.

For anyone who thinks Bachmann aren't serious about Wireless and Bluetooth should watch and maybe think again.

For Constant Power Supply read Battery???

Edit: Oh yes...and O Gauge too!

Edit: Added another video

Randall

Hi again....

It seems Bluerail is finally nearing launch....there has been an active discussion in the DCC Topics (sic) thread here...Straight from the horses' mouth!

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/95379-Bachmann-bluetooth-locomotive-control/?p=1853817

 

Plenty of food for thought for those keen on No Wire systems?

Randall

Edited by RandyWales
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  • 6 months later...

Hi All,

 

Many years ago when I first got back into model railways and thus DCC (I had been a Zero 1 user) I was disppointed to find that Radio Control was not more widespread in our hobby, when it was used to control most other RTR/RTF models (and still on the increase with better prices and improved tech).

 

Then even with basic standards it dawned on me that there was basically US and EU protocols for DCC and so they were thus not fully, truely compatible - I understand of course the need for USP's and Competitive Advantage etc. yet as much as I like DCC it is still complex and convoluted all beacuse of having to use the rails for power and control (with all of the inherent problems associated with such).

 

Capicitors and battery tech is sufficient now to answer most of our power vs size needs (although some type of batteries carry a level of risk).

 

ATVB

 

CME

Edited by CME and Bottlewasher
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I'm still of the 'convert to R/C' proper camp.

(DeadRail as some know it.)

 

Why still use wired track as in the new Bachmann system?

Hi Switcher1...

According to the diagrams, all boards will have their own battery connectors....

That would mean there'd be no need for powered track.

 

Powered track would be for conventional trains.

 

I'm by no means an expert, but from where I'm standing, this could wipe the floor of all-comers in the R/C deadrail stakes? It all seems so easy.

 

My personal interest stemmed from Bluetooth sound capabilities...the first batch seems much too toylike, but I remain open to the possibility of further developments down the line.

Randall

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Hi All,

 

Many years ago when I first got back into model railways and thus DCC (I had been a Zero 1 user) I was disppointed to find that Radio Control was not more widespread in our hobby, when it was used to control most other RTR/RTF models (and still on the increase with better prices and improved tech).

 

Then even with basic standards it dawned on me that there was basically US and EU protocols for DCC and so they were thus not fully, truely compatible - I understand of course the need for USP's and Competitive Advantage etc. yet as much as I like DCC it is still complex and convoluted all beacuse of having to use the rails for power and control (with all of the inherent problems associated with such).

 

Capicitors and battery tech is sufficient now to answer most of our power vs size needs (although some type of batteries carry a level of risk).

 

ATVB

 

CME

What US , EU differences are you referring too

 

As for RC , that's way more complex then DCC.

 

DCC works because , it's a standard , simple to implement and it works on the standard infrastructure

 

The world is full of technology that never takes off.

 

Unless RC technology can deliver significant advantage it will remain a technological oddity.

 

Most of our problems are due to pathetic pickup issues. Bent bits of springy wire are hardly the latest technology.

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What US , EU differences are you referring too

As for RC , that's way more complex then DCC.

DCC works because , it's a standard , simple to implement and it works on the standard infrastructure

The world is full of technology that never takes off.

Unless RC technology can deliver significant advantage it will remain a technological oddity.

Most of our problems are due to pathetic pickup issues. Bent bits of springy wire are hardly the latest technology.

I wonder why a company like Bachmann would introduce a 'technical oddity'...unless they can see possibilities beyond stagnant DCC topology.

 

When I first saw Bluerail and heard of Bachmann's interest in it, I suggested that it might be the liability of DCC licence constraints which was a drain on profitability. They have pole position here.

 

It looked quite quaint at first, but the number and diversity of boards they are intending to produce surely indicates they mean business?

 

Time will tell...

 

Randall

Edited by RandyWales
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Interesting to read all the wish lists and suppositions.

I built my first battery /radio control unit many years back and have used various methods of command control since.

At one time I was waiting for the RailLynx system to be updated to radio instead of IR. It never happened so being lazy and not wanting to build my own at the time I chose to go DCC.

I run an outdoor 0 gauge layout and did some testing of current technology battery /radio vs my DCC to see what suited my situation the best.

 

To cut a long story short, all battery/ radio did was to swap rare wheel/track cleaning with constant battery charging . I of course opted for the system that required the least amount of work. Removing greenery and bird poo from the track is required for both methods of power.

 

My trains usually get let out to run for hours at a time while I read, sleep, eat, drink, etc. However sometimes I get a visitor who likes to shuffle stock around the yard with one of my little shunting locos. Gerfingerpoken is not normally required. I have made a 'stay alive' for the little rail tractor I built but so far I haven't seen a need to install it.

 

If I only had two or three locos and the layout was used just for shunting outdoors I would probably opt for the battery/radio. However as I have several and have more under construction I can do without keeping them all charged.

 

 

I do have a use for my existing battery/ radio equipment. I will have a very small collection of 3-rail items I would like to test run on my layout. Fortunately the wheel dimensions allow the stock to run on the Peco bullhead I am using. Keeping the skate out of the way and having the loco wired to run off a battery/radio van means I can run it when the DCC is turned of. Mine runs on the common 2.4G DSM2 protocol using Deltang, Mtronics and Orange equipment and I use LiFePO4 batteries.

 

Given the limitations of battery capacity my ideal system  would be one that takes my DCC signal direct to the loco by radio and charges a battery of my choice from the track. Only plain track need be wired. One day someone might offer such a radio/battery management interface that I can use with my existing decoders.

 

regards

 Bob Comerford

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I wonder why a company like Bachmann would introduce a 'technical oddity'...unless they can see possibilities beyond stagnant DCC topology.

 

When I first saw Bluerail and heard of Bachmann's interest in it, I suggested that it might be the liability of DCC licence constraints which was a drain on profitability. They have pole position here.

 

It looked quite quaint at first, but the number and diversity of boards they are intending to produce surely indicates they mean business?

 

Time will tell...

 

Randall

There are no licensing constraints. Dcc is public domain.

 

Often large companies like Bachmann often go after proprietorial systems , because they believe their market reach enables them to build a large niche. Hornby did this too Bachmann had a small DCc presence and May fell they can gain more market share by promoting and adopting alternative technology.

 

We shall see ...,

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