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Everything posted by rgmichel

  1. You are right. I have the original “STEAM” model, but it was flawed in many ways. I would buy another copy and then work on the original with a renaming if possible. Otherwise, it will sit in its box for the rest of its life. I was always a bit miffed by the original version. It was underpowered on even slight gradients on my trackwork, as well as being a bit flimsy, had the wrong bogie wheels etc.
  2. I have a couple of Stars, including Lode Star, and the lining looks identical on both, and not wonky to me. Unfortunately, my eyesight is not perfect so I might miss a bit of wonkyness! I did return my first Lode Star delivered as it had broken parts, including whistles when it arrived.
  3. Progress has been slow, but its progress nonetheless. Good job by the manufacturer responding to our requests for integration with existing dcc.
  4. My understanding is that this Bluetooth approach to control of trains will be compatible with DCC-installed locomotives with or without sound, so that our existing base of dcc locomotives would be compatible with Bluerail's offerings. How it will be marketed is a big secret right now. Certainly, I would not be interested in this approach if it would obsolete all my dcc stuff.
  5. This thread was expressly started for all issues related to Bluetooth control of locomotives, and it is absolutely the right place to discuss such things, even if there are now relationships with DCC and DCC sound. Of course, its possible to discuss all these things in many different threads, and it does not matter one whit where such discussions take place. This thread has been extant since the very start of Bluetooth control of locomotives by this manufacturer in 2015, and there seems to be no reason to abandon it. Furthermore, the DCC implications were recognized right at the beginning of the thread.
  6. I did this on Lode Star when it first came out. The whistles are too delicate, and made of plastic.
  7. Pandora has listed the textbook features of steppers, but I am not sure that any one, except perhaps the low speed controlability, is of great significance, and some features make implementation unlikely in the face of the present success of dcc. Its an interesting discussion, but as "davetheroad" has mentioned this is off the topic here. A new topic is appropriate I think. Pandora?
  8. Any electrical engineers in the house? I am not sure that there is a specific advantage of a stepper motor that might make it a "killer app" for a model locomotive. A stepper motor gives high accuracy and precision in positioning, but do we need that? I wonder how they cost out for model locomotives? Would the motor draw less power....? That might be an advantage. More low speed torque might be useful for starting long trains. Witness how Hornby's live steam locomotives can pull long trains. Do we need that? Lots of questions...
  9. I remember when I first started buying dcc sound locos I considered exactly what you suggest, which at that time was already available from Soundtraxx. The reason I gave up on it derived from the lack of UK loco sounds in their library. The situation still exists. I have come to appreciate on board dcc sound since then, but it would be nice to have a subwoofer under the layout to back up the loco sounds. The soundtraxx approach never caught on in the UK, and I can only explain that by its additional complexity over on-board sound, as well as the lack of available UK sounds. Bluetooth advances the goals of authentic sound only because it is being made compatible with iOS and Android systems, and so it is likely to be a bit more open platform, which will let in more developers to improve things.
  10. Here is a public domain photo, which gives you some idea of the cab.
  11. Sounds good. Should be a great model.
  12. The new board at http://bluerailtrains.com/blue-horse/ is quite large at 28 mm x 58.6 mm with an extra 5mm required for the wiring harness. It will plug into an 8-pin dcc ready locomotive, or drive a non-dcc loco as long as the chassis/wheels are isolated. Sound is mentioned on the web page; unsurprisingly as an add on rather than using the existing sound of an existing dcc sound board. The board is capable of powering a locomotive with 2 amp draw maximum. Interestingly, it is possible to fire the board with batteries and/or the track. So, with dirty track, the board pulls power from the battery as necessary, but it cannot charge a battery.
  13. My Lode Star has cylinders that don't look parallel to the locomotive. How did you straighten yours?
  14. Bluerailtrains sent me an email that might be on interest: http://bluerailtrains.com/ Hello from BlueRail Trains. Sorry it's been so long since our last correspondence. This week our first plugin board is in FCC testing. When we emerge from FCC, we will be able obtain a board ETA date and confirm pricing from the manufacturer. I will share that information as soon as I have it. In the past, manufacturing has been a 4-5 week experience. In the meantime we've been test operating the board in as wide a variety of locos as we can and it is performing admirably. The control app has been getting heavily tested by Bachmann E-Z App users, is performing well, and has been receiving weekly updates and improvements. As board release date approaches, it becomes important for us to understand where our potential board users live (US, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, NZ etc) and what the volumes are in each area, so we can make decisions and arrangements for certification and sales outside the US. Those of you who have indicated you are outside of the US/Canada may be receiving a follow-up email sometime soon regarding sales in your area. If you did not indicate your location when you submitted your form, you may be receiving an email asking you to update your general location (for our planning purposes). When I forward you information on our final release date, you will also be given an opportunity to confirm your interest in our first board. We will be manufacturing 800 of our first board with priority given to the people on this mailing list. Thank you for your interest in model train technology.
  15. Interesting. I bought an early Lego train set for my kids in the 1980s. It had a battery box wagon to power the locomotive, and an on off switch. The battery box had contacts that gave out after a few years. Big improvement with Bluetooth control. We have come a long way. Not sure this alters the discussion here except to indicate that there is a universality to Bluetooth control that is hard to deny.
  16. Yes, good point, dcc does not have a good user interface, so many don't go past driving a couple of locos. Bluetooth is only a communications protocol, but if it provides an entry into a user interface that lets the full potential of dcc flower, then it might be an excellent avenue to explore. Bluetooth does not provide many other advantages, as explained in great detail above, so it will come down to how good an interface the manufacturers design. How easy will it be to build an interesting layout? There are no answers yet, as its just starting.
  17. I have not requoted all Dave's points, but I cannot but agree with everything he says above. Bluetooth IS just a communications protocol, nothing more, so everything else is still needed including the sound decoder. This is one reason I think Bluetooth could be added to existing dcc sound locos; not that I think it should be added. Putting a loudspeaker into something trailing behind a loco, as illustrated in the above vid showing the use of a USB speaker, is neither significant nor novel. Just because it is a USB speaker does not add any wizz-bang at all.
  18. Well, a third party might find that the installed base of DCC sound locomotives is sufficient justification.
  19. I am not sure we need a single product. Once the Bluetooth communication protocol is in each device, locomotive, point motor, etc., the concept of many "apps" from many vendors comes into play. You should be able to control equipment using any "app". I will be disappointed if Bachmann or anyone else is able to tie it all up so that it is not "open source".
  20. There is also a thread on Bluetooth control at RMWeb at: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/95379-Bachmann-bluetooth-locomotive-control/
  21. I am not sure that it is absolutely necessary to think that it is either DCC or Bluetooth. As things stand now, the two can co-exist on the same track. So, the benefits of Bluetooth might be available for some aspects of operations; for a subset of locomotives, for example; or a subset of other operations like lighting, signalling, etc.; or the other side of the same coin you could transition to a Bluetooth layout with a subset of locomotives that might run DCC. This was not really the case with the dc to dcc situation. For Bluetooth/DCC - joint operations you would use two controllers of course, in this assumption of an existing DCC investment. There are lots of opportunities in such a scenario, but I am not long-winded enough to go into them.
  22. The real question is whether or not those who are invested in DCC, and DCC sound particularly, can realize the potential of Bluetooth without losing some or all of their investment.
  23. Its always a good idea to listen to naysayers, in order to highlight and understand the issues under discussion, but otherwise I am inclined to agree with Mr. Griffith, in the immediately prior post. I too can't wait to have my mitts on some Bluetooth technology that will not only dance to Nile's oft repeated tune, but also control my existing dcc sound locomotives. While many Luddites don't like dcc sound, I love it, and I am not keen on having to throw out my dcc sound decoders just to use Bluetooth technology.
  24. Yes, but "hard cheese" makes for hard reading for those with whom you might disagree, but you are right. Yes, analogue is still going strong, so you are right on that point, and indeed there are some dcc systems with nice iphone interfaces, or so I understand... Life is a box of chocolates, even if it is laced with hidden cheese...
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