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Bluetooth Control for Trains - a thread for those of us who use it and would like to discuss it

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:35 AM

Maybe we should switch this discustion to why you are using or intending to use. Me, myself need an engine that will move very slowly though the turnouts in a yard for switching to start with. DCC with keepalive just won't cut it and not ever having to clean the track in the yard will be heaven.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, July 28, 2016 5:50 AM

maxman

 

 
rrinker
If he can't take constructive criticism then I guess it is better for him to go back to a heavily moderated forum where no one can disagree instead of posting here.

 

I'm sorry, Randy, but this one time I must disagree with you.  The title of this thread was "for those ... who use it and would like to discuss it".  From what I can see the majority of the posters here are not using the system.  There is already another thread where the non-users or potential users can ask questions and/or debate the various merits or shortcomings of BlueRail. I don't see why we can't show some respect for the OP.

So far as I'm concerned the moderator(s) should go through and delete any of the posts in this thread from a non-user or move them to the other thread.  If that shrinks the posts from five pages down to one, so be it.

 

The moderators by their actions, and our host by his limited input, have made it clear that they will not support the idea of a thread that is exclusionary in its nature.........

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:02 AM

rrebell

Maybe we should switch this discustion to why you are using or intending to use. Me, myself need an engine that will move very slowly though the turnouts in a yard for switching to start with. DCC with keepalive just won't cut it and not ever having to clean the track in the yard will be heaven.

 

That's my interest in blutooth/deadrail as well.  My DCC/onboard sound switchers will stall over dead frogs frequently enough to be discouraging.  (The Atlas S2 has no problems and no switcher stalls with DC).

Ironically, the small locos that need deadrail on my layout are the locos that are challenged to have batteries fit into them at the present time, but I'm certainly intertested in seeing progress in that area. 

A battery powered trackmobile with onboard sound that I could charge through a dedicated blocked spur at the grain elevator would pique my interest tremendously.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:39 AM

Perhaps it's not an option at this point but powered frogs will fix the stalling issue.  I never have a problem with my small S-, HH- and VO- switchers.

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:56 AM

Of course I could power the frogs.

I guess its just a personal pet peeve that eventhough when I buy expensive modern sophisticated technology, I still have to rely upon installing 150 year old technology to actually make it work over turnouts, something that switchers do often.  There is finally keep alive tech after about 20 years of DCC.  Seems like it should have been there from day 1.

In that respect I'm with the dead rail BT guys, I would just just leapfrog the problem and use dead rail for small locos that don't have to travel very far away from the charging track.  Small locos going a few feet only need a small battery, I would think, before they park back onto the charging track. 

By their nature, switchers travel short distances, but over many frogs.  I would think that this is where battery technology would shine.

It also has to do with the manufacturer of the loco too.  Atlas seems to get it right since I've never had a problem with their onboard sound S series switchers traversing the frogs in their turnouts.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:07 AM

tstage

Perhaps it's not an option at this point but powered frogs will fix the stalling issue.  I never have a problem with my small S-, HH- and VO- switchers.

Tom

 

VO, HH and S are large swichers compared to a 44 ton or 70 ton or boxcab. If I had that much room, no problem. My smallest will have a hard time being convered unless MUed link my EMD model 40's.

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Posted by Bucksco on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:11 AM

Sir Madog

Fairly early on in this "discussion", I asked the question how many (participating in this forum, not all over the world) are actually using BlueRail or intend to use it. The question remained unanswered. From the contributions I could make out that only the OP is using it and a few may have an academic interest in it. Dead rail operation drew more attention, but a real discussion was as much not welcomed as with the topic of Bluetooth operation. In fact, the way the thread was started, was already a clear sign that anyone having a different opinion should better stay away.

What an utterly arrogant attitude! No wonder this thread went down south, like the previous one!

Here is my comment on BlueRail and Dead Rail!

BlueRail is fantastic and if you don´t like it and see its potential, you are a fool and are rightfully excluded from this discussion!

Dead Rail is fantastic and if you don´t like it and see its potential, you are a fool and are rightfully excluded from this discussion!

Oh yeah? I don´t think both technologies stand a chance against conventional DC/DCC with power  and signals supplied through the rails. They will remain a niche.

To the OP - better move to a forum where your ideas will always get the applause you are looking for! In this forum, we still discuss in the true meaning of the word, but always come to an agreement, if only to disagree!

 

The OP has abandoned hope and stopped posting.

P.S. The moderators should take note of how nasty your posts can be - this one is a good example!

Jack
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Posted by Steven Otte on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:58 AM

You know, there are few things I enjoy less than wading through 7 pages of posts on a thread that holds zero interest to me so I can weed out on-topic content from nastiness and snark.

If doing so becomes necessary, I'm not likely to bother figuring out who's being nasty to whom or who started it. I'm going to get my mod hammer and start swinging.

If you find yourself restating and re-restating your points because the other guy doesn't seem to get it, stop and consider that maybe you're wasting your time, and move along.

If you insist on continuing to try to make points that are obviously not going to be welcomed, do so civilly or go find another thread to bicker in. I've about had it with this one.

--
Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor
sotte@kalmbach.com

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Posted by Dressendorfer on Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:45 AM

I know when new train control technologies come out the natural reaction is "how does this affect me?" . And it should. In the time this thread has existed, another established train control company has folded. I don't think anyone would argue that the hobby has been growing (in terms of numbers). I think the fact that the average age of a hobbyist goes up by one year every year is telling. DCC came out in the early 90's - right before many key technical advances occurred that might have impacted the protocol (had they been foreseen). The NMRA is left with the challenge of what to do. Everyone acknowledges the bus is overloaded with signals and the need for bi-directional control. Of course DCC equipment will always exist and always work, but there needs to be a pathway forward. They've started with LCC to address layout elements. That was a good move, but getting manufacturers and users onboard makes the process slow. The problem of where to go with train control is a sticky mess, which is why progress is slow. Rail Com is being developed, but you'll need to replace all your decoders and it doesn't seem to be problem free. So when a small startup introduces an "equipment free" technology, I think it should be regarded as a good thing. Bluetooth low energy might be one viable solution to add to the hobby's arsenal that might contribute to the path forward. There are undoubtedly startup costs associated with introducing a new technology. BlueRail seems to be doing all of their development and manufacturing of plugin boards in the US (which must raise the cost a little). For people who have hundreds of locomotives, even a $10 solution would be too much cost and effort to implement. I think someone with the ability to design these circuit boards probably has the technical capability to trigger sound decoders (there is a port on the board for that purpose). I understand consisting is about to release. I think anyone who is developing products to advance the hobby should be applauded, whether or not it is suitable for every existing layout out there. I wish all the best to Navin of Crest as they close their doors - they will be missed. I am glad a few souls are opting to open up shop in this difficult business, and I'd hope we would all wish them luck as well.

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Posted by OTRR on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 12:32 PM

Thanks, Jack, for starting this thread.  I recently procured a Bachmann Mogul with E-Z App board installed & I'm delighted with it.  Operation is simple, smooth & easily adjusted.  That said, would never try to tell someone with a DCC setup to change their control system.  Since the hobby is to be enjoyed, anyone should use whichever system works beat for them, including standard DC.  I chose bluetooth control because I have no DCC equipment & therefore saved a lot of startup cost.  I recognize the current lesser amountof control I have compared to DCC, but this is alreding improving.  One writer mentioned the opportunity to bring in more young folks using smart phones & bluetooth.  This benefits all model railroaders since it will help support the manufacturers.

Question: do any of you have experience installing onboard speakers so my sound can come from my train?  Blue Rail has a Youtube video, the small speaker seems to be unavailable now.  The BigR Audio Quark would probably work, but I would like to find something for fewer $$$.  Has anyone removed the case on one & fitted the components in a boxcar behind the loco?

Thanks for any advice.

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Posted by Phils03 on Friday, January 10, 2020 10:11 AM

As a new user I am very excited about getting started on a small bluetooth layout. I don't see much current activity  in this forum as of late. Is this still active? I have not been able to find a place to purchase bluetooth boards to automate trains and switches and lights. Can someone point me in the right direction? Bluerail site doesn't seem to offer products for sale.

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Posted by RR Baron on Sunday, January 12, 2020 12:29 PM

Phils03

As a new user I am very excited about getting started on a small bluetooth layout. I don't see much current activity  in this forum as of late. Is this still active? I have not been able to find a place to purchase bluetooth boards to automate trains and switches and lights. Can someone point me in the right direction? Bluerail site doesn't seem to offer products for sale.

 

 

 

Next two products using Bluetooth Smart in which BlueRail Trains is involved are,

 

1) BlueRailDCC by Tam Valley is in final testing. Detail information on BlueRail Trains website [business link removed by moderator]

 

This product allows users to control any decoder using a smart device, with the option of not using a decoder at all, and to use any power source, including battery.

 

2) Second product under development integrates BlueRail with a sound decoder. Product will be available when the manufacturer (not Tam Valley) makes a product announcement.

 


 

Want current and more information - Suggest visiting: [groups.io link removed by moderator]

 

RR Baron

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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:56 AM

OTRR

Thanks, Jack, for starting this thread.  I recently procured a Bachmann Mogul with E-Z App board installed & I'm delighted with it.  Operation is simple, smooth & easily adjusted.  That said, would never try to tell someone with a DCC setup to change their control system.  Since the hobby is to be enjoyed, anyone should use whichever system works beat for them, including standard DC.  I chose bluetooth control because I have no DCC equipment & therefore saved a lot of startup cost.  I recognize the current lesser amountof control I have compared to DCC, but this is alreding improving.  One writer mentioned the opportunity to bring in more young folks using smart phones & bluetooth.  This benefits all model railroaders since it will help support the manufacturers.

Question: do any of you have experience installing onboard speakers so my sound can come from my train?  Blue Rail has a Youtube video, the small speaker seems to be unavailable now.  The BigR Audio Quark would probably work, but I would like to find something for fewer $$$.  Has anyone removed the case on one & fitted the components in a boxcar behind the loco?

Thanks for any advice.

 

I remember the video the small speaker was called a groove cube as I recall and I picked up one at Walmart for about 10$.  Not for ez app but I wired it up behind a drive in movie screen for music.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by NittanyRay on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 9:08 PM

Phils03

As a new user I am very excited about getting started on a small bluetooth layout. I don't see much current activity  in this forum as of late. Is this still active? I have not been able to find a place to purchase bluetooth boards to automate trains and switches and lights. Can someone point me in the right direction? Bluerail site doesn't seem to offer products for sale.

 

Phils03

As a new user I am very excited about getting started on a small bluetooth layout. I don't see much current activity  in this forum as of late. Is this still active? I have not been able to find a place to purchase bluetooth boards to automate trains and switches and lights. Can someone point me in the right direction? Bluerail site doesn't seem to offer products for sale.

 

If you scroll down to the bottom of the Bluerail web page (in the blue colored area) they have a tag on the left hand side that says "buy now"

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