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My LCS WiFi module was delivered a couple days ago and after setting it up and using the iCab app for about 15 minutes, I was pretty disappointed. I have a mix of TMCC, ERR, LC+2.0, and Legacy locomotives and lash-ups and I’d like to be able to hand an iPhone to guests so they could control any of the locos/trains. This was one of my main motivating factors for purchasing the LCS WiFi module.

I think this is well known, but the iCab app doesn’t seem to have all of the features available on CAB-2 and the interface could use some love.

I also noticed at least one pretty serious (IMO) bug that made me want to stop using the app completely - when switching between engines/trains, the speed graph would show zero even though the engine/train was still moving. This is confusing and makes it difficult to run multiple trains at the same time and adjust speeds, temporarily slow down/speed up, etc.

I’ve been searching around for alternative apps and the Highrail app looks nice but it doesn’t appear to support trains or switches.

Is this a pipe dream or is there actually a well designed app out there without major bugs that can do everything (or close to it) that the CAB-2 can do?

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My layout is 100% controlled from an iPad using the LCS, there are no physical controls. I have three iPads, three iPhones and three CAB2's. Only three people can reasonably fit in the layout room to run trains, that is why three of each. I exclusively use a CAB2 to operate engines as do visitors. Only my Grandson prefers an iPhone. He thinks the CAB2 is too big and clunky and does not seem to care about the iCab app shortcomings. I suppose it is possible that Lionel will issue a future update to the iCab app, but I am not counting on it.

I plan on having all the switches and turntable controlled using the iPad, but I'm not converting to the iPhone to be able to run Lionel's buggy app.  The fact that they never released an Android version of the app should tell you the level of commitment they have to the LCS system.  If you can't support the #1 smart device platform for your app, you're not really serious about the game!

Thanks for all the feedback and comments!

I'm posting this update to walk back a couple of my original comments. I've used the iCab app at least a half dozen more times since my original post. The speed graph issue I mentioned hasn't happened again and that was the one that really irked me. I don't miss the missing features as much as I thought I would, although I'd love to have a train brake slider. Swiping on the speed graph is actually pretty nice, although getting all the way to 0 (right at the edge of the screen) takes a little finesse.

Overall, I think the iCab experience is acceptable, even pretty good, and I think handing a visitor who's completely new to model trains an iPhone instead of a Cab-2 should help them feel like running trains is something they can actually do.

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OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
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