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Piko SmartControl


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As the SmartBox apparently uses much of the ECoS 2 firmware including the standard icons, it should theoretically be possible to add your own loco icons, there are over 8,600 (and counting) colour icons available for installation to ECoS 2 owners. Whether ESU will make the ECoS icons available to SmartControl owners is another matter, especially as the vast majority of them were created by ECoS owners like me..

So how do you add icons to an ECoS? Do you have to submit them to ESU for adding to a central library? If so, and having done so, how do they get onto your ECoS, as part of a regular firmware update or what? Or can you transfer your own icons locally?

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No I was talking more about support for new areas they move into rather than new technology. As a Z21 user I'm hardly going to think there's much new about the system itself, it's just another twist, literally, on smartphone type screen systems ;)

Roco's stubbornness in not adapting their app for the MC2/SmartControl is going to cost them sales, especially with the Piko system available for those who find ESU's ECoS too expensive and with too many bells & whistles. And if they have got a similar controller up their sleeves for the Z21/z21, they'd better announce it and release it doubleplus pronto.

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Roco's stubbornness in not adapting their app for the MC2/SmartControl is going to cost them sales, especially with the Piko system available for those who find ESU's ECoS too expensive and with too many bells & whistles. And if they have got a similar controller up their sleeves for the Z21/z21, they'd better announce it and release it doubleplus pronto.

Probably they wanted to see the hardware first and let them iron out bugs? As the only real difference is the dial I suspect it's not going to cost them much and I've worked out how to add a dial to a smartphone but haven't got round to building a prototype yet. Basically an aluminium knob with a stylus attached seems to work with the resistive screen but the only limit is the travel at the mo.
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I asked Piko about the locomotive icons: they have replied that there will be more icons with each software update. There is no possibility to add own pictures, but Piko will happily accept user's requests, and will add icons by popular demand. This presumably means that if a certain locomotive is requested repeatedly and if it already exists in ESU's database, they'll add it.

 

How many icons does the ECoS system have?

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...How many icons does the ECoS system have?

 

 

......there are over 8,600 (and counting) colour icons available for installation to ECoS 2 owners... the vast majority of them were created by ECoS owners like me..

 

Each ECoS can hold up to  300 different user created icons in addition to the standard set that comes with the firmware. This might not be sufficient for folks with huge fleets, but the icons are quite small so you can't pick out running numbers from the icons. However the icons are in addition to the 16 character name field. so if you have a fleet of A4s, say, you would use the same icon for each one but you can distinguish between them using the names.

 

So how do you add icons to an ECoS? Do you have to submit them to ESU for adding to a central library? If so, and having done so, how do they get onto your ECoS, as part of a regular firmware update or what? Or can you transfer your own icons locally?

 

You create a bitmap (BMP) file of the image on your computer that matches the file spec as published in the ECoS manual - there are different specs for the files for the colour screen ECoS 2 to those for the B&W screen ECoS 1. You can then upload your newly created loco icon to your ECoS yourself direct from your computer without any assistance from ESU. If you want to share it with other ECoS users you can upload it to a part of the ESU web site called the Loco Icon Bazaar, that is the central library. That part of the web site is only available to ECoS owners.

 

Or if you can't manage to create icons yourself, you can download as many icons as you want, one at a time, to your computer from the Loco Icon Bazaar, and once it is on your computer you then upload it to the ECoS just as if you had created it yourself.

 

The majority of the icons that I've created started life as real photos taken with a digital camera. I then crop and resize them so that they match the required file spec.Here's an example of the icons available for the EM1/Class 76, most of which I've created from my Trix and Heljan models.post-6983-0-66218200-1448640400_thumb.jpg

Edited by GoingUnderground
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One small matter when uploading any self made images to the ECoS command station is that the format has to be a max 190 x 40 pixels to be accepted into the Esu library.

Once any images have been downloaded to your command station they won't be recognised until you restart the unit, no big problem though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anybody know yet what functionality the Piko system has, eg: shuttle running, route setting etc? Is there a downloadable manual in English anywhere yet?

I know with the ECoS/MC the functionality is in the ECoS, not the MC, which is basically a "remote control" for the ECoS, but what about the Piko?

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Does anybody know yet what functionality the Piko system has, eg: shuttle running, route setting etc? Is there a downloadable manual in English anywhere yet?

I know with the ECoS/MC the functionality is in the ECoS, not the MC, which is basically a "remote control" for the ECoS, but what about the Piko?

 

Try this :  http://www.piko-shop.de/is.php?id=14114

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Thanks for the link, much appreciated.

The document itself isn't very comprehensive, little better than I could have figured out on my own, if I actually owned a Smart Control (no wish to be ungrateful, it's certainly not your fault, but there's precious little to base a purchase decision on). The manual reference seems to be Piko part # 59112-90-7000 and I can't find that with a google search, so it's a guess as to what the capabilities are until Piko make the manual available as a download. Not something I'm going to buy to find out what it does, at the moment it doesn't appear to be anything but a glorified Daisy system, so prove me wrong Piko/Esu!

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It's early days, so hopefully the user manual should appear online soon.

 

A function such as route setting, if not included at the outset, is something that can be added to the app by future software updates.

That's something that many older first generation systems won't be able to do.

 

 

.

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The German manual is a good quality A5-sized wire-ring-bound colour tome of about 80 pages, including sections on connecting things up, mounting the box (for which you have to take it apart), networking, Android functions, firmware upgrades etc. Oh yes, and how to set up and run trains (including multiple-heading "consists") and points & signals. Nothing on route setting or shuttling.

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Thanks for the link, much appreciated.

The document itself isn't very comprehensive, little better than I could have figured out on my own, if I actually owned a Smart Control (no wish to be ungrateful, it's certainly not your fault, but there's precious little to base a purchase decision on). The manual reference seems to be Piko part # 59112-90-7000 and I can't find that with a google search, so it's a guess as to what the capabilities are until Piko make the manual available as a download. Not something I'm going to buy to find out what it does, at the moment it doesn't appear to be anything but a glorified Daisy system, so prove me wrong Piko/Esu!

 

No worries. I have decided not to buy one anyway, as too many niggles have out me off. I'm going to buy an ACE controller from GFB Designs in January - see separate thread. Half the price and close to all of the functionality, you can have a very cheap hand held with a knob, and it's British.

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No worries. I have decided not to buy one anyway, as too many niggles have out me off. I'm going to buy an ACE controller from GFB Designs in January - see separate thread. Half the price and close to all of the functionality, you can have a very cheap hand held with a knob, and it's British.

Thanks again, yes, I'm inclined to agree with your decision, particularly if GFB has a timely and clearly mapped out development route, which seems to be the case. Just a guess, but I'd think GFB could have something designed and implemented before Esu had even briefed their engineers, there are advantages to having only one product.

On reflection and in light of the two most recent posts, (thanks Ron Ron Ron and Dogmatix), I don't see how Esu would want to develop the SmartControl to equivalency with ECoS + MC, they're queering their own market, I have a feeling that what it is now, is pretty much how it's going to be, Esu had already done all the work to make MC understand the complete ECoS command structure, why not Smart Control? So, I think SmartControl is going to be to ECoS+MC as Dynamis is to ECoS and competing more with the Daisy than anything else, in the entry level sector.

But good luck with your choice, looks good, I'd be interested in your observations when you get it.....

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  • 1 month later...

All three H0 start sets (train sets) that include the SmartControl, have been on sale since before Christmas.

 

The SmartControl system (on its own) is now available, but not all retailers appear to have it in stock, or their websites haven't been updated from "reservation" to "order" yet?

 

Dealers splitting the SmartControl from the start sets and selling them separately (e.g. via eBay), is already happening in a limited way, but prices are far too high at the moment.

 

One UK dealer is currently offering the system for £299.95, but ordering from certain established German model shops should mean paying between £265 and £290.

 

Modellbahn-Lippe have raised their price from €339.99 to €347.99, but are still only showing "reservation" (pre-order) at the moment

 

 

I'm hoping that once the initial interest and demand has died down, if there's a similar pattern to MultiMaus sales, eBay prices for split-from-start-set SmartControl systems will reduce to around the £200 mark.

 

Anyone who's prepared to buy a start set and split it for sale, should be able to obtain the SmartControl for well less than £200, if they can successfully sell the other contents (LokSound fitted loco's, rolling stock etc,).

Conversely, anyone interested in keeping the LokSound fitted locos, will get them extremely cheaply if they manage to sell the SmartControl and rolling stock for a modest price.

 

 

.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ESU look, finally, to have dropped the Navigator from their range, it's not in their 2016 catalogue and is now listed as a former, i.e. discontinued, product on their web site. This leaves them without an entry level system. If the Dynamis example still holds good, then once the Smartcontrol has been on sale for 6-12 months as a standalone item, we may see ESU announce their own version. If they did that, their version might have more functionality that the Piko version, including access to ECoS loco icons. It might even be the long-term replacement for the current ECoS. So as an ECoS and Mobile Control 2 owner, I'm following the Smartcontrol story with much interest.

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Unfortunately I don't speak or understand German, but in a video interview from last week's Nuremberg Toy Fair, PIKO CEO, Dr. René F. Wilfer (him with the glasses), appears to say that the separately sold SmartControl system will be available from February.

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Unfortunately I don't speak or understand German, but in a video interview from last week's Nuremberg Toy Fair, PIKO CEO, Dr. René F. Wilfer (him with the glasses), appears to say that the separately sold SmartControl system will be available from February.

Like you, I don't speak German either, but I agree that's what was said in the interview for Modellbahnshop Lippe http://www.modellbahnshop-lippe.com/inplanung/PIKO/15-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-gb-t-0/index.html The interviewer, Frank Buttig, wasn't to be outdone on the glasses front though, donning his own pair of "modified" specs after being upstaged last year.

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Like you, I don't speak German either, but I agree that's what was said in the interview for Modellbahnshop Lippe http://www.modellbahnshop-lippe.com/inplanung/PIKO/15-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-gb-t-0/index.html The interviewer, Frank Buttig, wasn't to be outdone on the glasses front though, donning his own pair of "modified" specs after being upstaged last year.

Despite my small understanding of German that interview was the best 21mins I've seen and heard for a long time !

Two people involved with model railways for a long time having fun, and that to me says it all. Even seeing the good Dr.Wilfer driving the locos as well ! Brilliant :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking back through this thread, I noticed that early on in it "Ron" pointed out that the Loconet port on the SmartBox is "Loconet-T", as confirmed by page 10 of the english language version of the SmartControl Manual, http://www.piko-shop.de/index.php?vw_type=1&vw_name=download&vw_id=14259

 

The significance of that passed me by at the time as I don't use Loconet, but I read recently that Loconet-T only works with slave throttles, (or loconet master throttles that can be configured to act as slaves), and occupancy detection modules. As I understand it, Loconet boosters will not work with Loconet-T.

 

The manual makes interesting reading, like a cross between the ESU ECoS manual, and their Mobile Control II manual. It even has the same "mis-translations as the MC2 manual, e.g. calling assigning functions to the four side buttons "Key Bindings".

 

With the end of the ESU Navigator, I'm now more convinced than ever that ESU will release their own version....................................... eventually.

Edited by GoingUnderground
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  • 4 weeks later...

I notice that this DCC systen is now available form Gaugemaster, has anyone on RM Web purchased a system yet and can provide feedback on its performance/usability?

 

 

Although available included in certain Piko train sets, since before Xmas, the system has only been available separately for a week or two, so it's early days.

 

The user manual is available here....

 

Piko SmartControl User Manual

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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I notice that this DCC systen is now available form Gaugemaster, has anyone on RM Web purchased a system yet and can provide feedback on its performance/usability?

We've had them in at our local model shop and I must say I'm impressed by their operating potential but they would need a few hours tuition to understand fully.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have inquired again of Piko when we can expect an update to activate the LocoNet port; they replied that ESU are still working on it and an update should be available "between the third and fourth quarter."

Edited by Dogmatix
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