Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

Original Post
douger posted:

Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

Sorry..not in my world..smartphones accomplish so much and also will attract the younger crowd.

douger posted:

Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

Ahh - no, the sooner they get this together the better - not really sure Bluetooth is the answer, maybe wi-fi...one or the other - as long as we're not wed to Apple devices.

Im a audio engineer - and I do all my gigs now with a tablet connected to my digital mixer...you couldn't pay me to go back to an analog console with 200 hundred knobs on it!!!

Trains need to get there too! Not sure we have enough tech geeks in this hobby!

So few 3rd party apps - I think LIONEL released their (Legacy?) protocol to programmers - but so far - only the Apple app...I predict they will regret using that OS as their offical app.

douger posted:

Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

 

The recently cataloged Lionel trains that have Bluetooth listed have the option of using a smart phone app but they do not require it. 

You can use the remote that comes with the locomotive or a smart phone app, or in the case of LionChief Plus conventional power also! I can certainly relate to not wanting to have your phone on you when running trains, but I think most people want more options with their trains. 

The HO gauge Bachmann models that were recently released with Bluetooth can be run either with your phone or from track power only. 

Hopefully MTH will also adopt bluetooth.   Lets get rid of the sending the digital signal via the track.   I also would like ERR to sell Bluetooth conversion boards.    Just a phone talking directly to the engines is a great thing.  No more Cab remotes, a TMCC base and TIU and WiFi units.   Just power for the engines and a smartphone.  Bring it on.

Running trains with your cell phone is simply brilliant.

One - because its one less thing I need to bring to the round robin get together to run some trains.

Two- I will not have to buy additional expensive remotes to have my son or my friends run trains at my house

My only beef is they did not release a android version!

J Daddy posted:

Running trains with your cell phone is simply brilliant.

One - because its one less thing I need to bring to the round robin get together to run some trains.

Two- I will not have to buy additional expensive remotes to have my son or my friends run trains at my house

My only beef is they did not release a android version!

Agree on the Andriod version - not sure why they want to go down the Apple road...

Why would you want to require a 500 dollar device, when a 50 dollar Andriod phone or tablet will work just as well? (especially for kids!)

In my audio engineering world - the best app out there is a 3rd party Android app - the developer is on the ball with updates and new features - by comparison, its been years since Behringer (the mixer manufacturer)  has been able to offer an update to the iOS app - causing problems with a small, but vocal minority.

Once you stop thinking about it as a "phone" - you can start to see the beauty of this setup.

I have dedicated Android tablets and phones - just for my audio biz - they are never used as "phones"

Last edited by Former Member
Roving Sign posted:
J Daddy posted:

Running trains with your cell phone is simply brilliant.

One - because its one less thing I need to bring to the round robin get together to run some trains.

Two- I will not have to buy additional expensive remotes to have my son or my friends run trains at my house

My only beef is they did not release a android version!

Agree on the Andriod version - not sure why they want to go down the Apple road...

Why would you want to require a 500 dollar device, when a 50 dollar Andriod phone or tablet will work just as well? (especially for kids!)

In my audio engineering world - the best app out there is a 3rd party Android app - the developer is on the ball with updates and new features - by comparison, its been years since Behringer (the mixer manufacturer)  has been able to offer an update to the iOS app - causing problems with a small, but vocal minority.

Once you stop thinking about is a "phone" - you can start to see the beauty of this setup.

I have dedicated Android tablets and phones - just for my audio biz - they are never used as "phones"

android or apple has nothing to do with updating an application.  It is the developers choice which platform to make an app for and which platform to provide updates for.  Has nothing to do with the platform itself.

Device cost can play a factor though of course.  but there are some advantages - the apple eco system tends to be less fragmented and therefore easier to say which devices your program runs on.  

 

Either way, it would be nice if they supported both eco-systems.  I wonder if they will allow other developers to program to their bluetooth spec like they do for legacy/tmcc?

jrmertz posted:
Roving Sign posted:
J Daddy posted:

Running trains with your cell phone is simply brilliant.

One - because its one less thing I need to bring to the round robin get together to run some trains.

Two- I will not have to buy additional expensive remotes to have my son or my friends run trains at my house

My only beef is they did not release a android version!

Agree on the Andriod version - not sure why they want to go down the Apple road...

Why would you want to require a 500 dollar device, when a 50 dollar Andriod phone or tablet will work just as well? (especially for kids!)

In my audio engineering world - the best app out there is a 3rd party Android app - the developer is on the ball with updates and new features - by comparison, its been years since Behringer (the mixer manufacturer)  has been able to offer an update to the iOS app - causing problems with a small, but vocal minority.

Once you stop thinking about is a "phone" - you can start to see the beauty of this setup.

I have dedicated Android tablets and phones - just for my audio biz - they are never used as "phones"

android or apple has nothing to do with updating an application.  It is the developers choice which platform to make an app for and which platform to provide updates for.  Has nothing to do with the platform itself.

I think it does - when it comes to accommodating Apple's iOS updates - and fixing whatever breaks each time they update.

Roving Sign posted:
jrmertz posted:
Roving Sign posted:
J Daddy posted:

Running trains with your cell phone is simply brilliant.

One - because its one less thing I need to bring to the round robin get together to run some trains.

Two- I will not have to buy additional expensive remotes to have my son or my friends run trains at my house

My only beef is they did not release a android version!

Agree on the Andriod version - not sure why they want to go down the Apple road...

Why would you want to require a 500 dollar device, when a 50 dollar Andriod phone or tablet will work just as well? (especially for kids!)

In my audio engineering world - the best app out there is a 3rd party Android app - the developer is on the ball with updates and new features - by comparison, its been years since Behringer (the mixer manufacturer)  has been able to offer an update to the iOS app - causing problems with a small, but vocal minority.

Once you stop thinking about is a "phone" - you can start to see the beauty of this setup.

I have dedicated Android tablets and phones - just for my audio biz - they are never used as "phones"

android or apple has nothing to do with updating an application.  It is the developers choice which platform to make an app for and which platform to provide updates for.  Has nothing to do with the platform itself.

I think it does - when it comes to accommodating Apple's iOS updates - and fixing whatever breaks each time they update.

Android does the same thing, release updates - and developers must compensate.  This is where I mentioned fragmentation.  Android devices historically can't all run the same versions of Android (although as hardware has gotten so much better I believe it is much much less of an issue).  That hardware increase is the same reason so many older iOS devices can also run the latest versions of iOS.  

There are options out there for a deverloper to write the app in one language and have it spit out an app for both platforms.  I'm not sure how well these things work or what tweaks are needed in each app but they do exist.   Maybe they work better for some types of apps than others and that is why they aren't used?

There is also still the big push for applications on the Web - think MS Office and such programs.  These take out the platform problem and instead add in browser compatibility (and the need for internet).  I'm not sure if a browser based app could run trains, if it could that would solve the platform issue...

"Agree on the Andriod version - not sure why they want to go down the Apple road..."

Developers sometimes say that it is faster and easier to develop the iOS app.  Probably depends on the developer .

In any case, Lionel planned to have the Android LionChief/Bluetooth app available simultaneously with the iOS, but development has taken

longer, according to Ryan Kunkle (source: Notch 6 catalog podcast).  You'll have your Android app sooner or later I'd guess.

Used my cab-1 and a Legacy loco and my LionChief universal remote and two LC+ locos together today.  Works seamlessly and well.

Apparently the Bluetooth app has a number of features not available using the LC or LC+ remotes (individual control of sound volumes for one thing).  So the Bluetooth locos will have some nice features more easily provided with a phone or tablet device than with a remote, at least for the present.  The newer remotes (including the universal) with Bluetooth are firmware upgradable apparently.

On the original topic, No one is forcing anyone to use the new App.  If you are happy with how your previous LionChief engines have operated, then nothing changes.  The app only adds more features that some people might like.  

As fo iOS and Android, I would expect that an Android version will come along sooner or later.  For those that can't wait, and do not already have an Apple device, you can find used iPad2's and iPad Mini's for about a hundred bucks that will run the current app, or iPhone 4 and 4S's for $20-30.  If you have time on your hands and a good amount of computer savvy, one could also use an iOS emulator running on PC, though from what I've read, getting BlueTooth to work with an emulator is not for the faint of heart.  

JGL

 

Good question. The additional features offered by the Lionchief app as compared to the remote are:

  • momentum settings
  • dedicated coupler buttons (for locos with operating couplers)
  • individual sound volume for whistle, bell, speech and background sounds
  • custom pitch settings for bell and whistle
  • speed limit setting
  • smoke on/off

Phone,  YES.  The only people I know who are against using the phone in the hobby are the flip phone set.   I have no problem if people want to stay with the old ways.    I choose not to take that path.  

Last edited by Marty Fitzhenry
douger posted:

Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

Obviously written by someone who has never run trains with a smart phone.  It is a unique and very enjoyable experience. Running DCS with a phone or tablet is light years ahead of using the rather clunky DCS remote. And it is the only way we're going to get young people interested in our hobby.

This is written by a 70-year old who really enjoys running trains with my iPhone.

Mike McCutcheon posted:

Hopefully MTH will also adopt bluetooth.   Lets get rid of the sending the digital signal via the track.   I also would like ERR to sell Bluetooth conversion boards.    Just a phone talking directly to the engines is a great thing.  No more Cab remotes, a TMCC base and TIU and WiFi units.   Just power for the engines and a smartphone.  Bring it on.

I believe Pairing a Bluetooth engine to multiple smart phones will be a big problem. The Legacy Base and MTH TIU act as interpreters to allow many devices (Handheld remotes & smart devices with apps) talk to one engine (or multiple engines) at the same time. Once your LC+ Bluetooth engine is paired with one phone, all other phones & remotes are locked out from controlling that engine.

Kinda hard to run large layouts with multiple operators when only one phone can control everything.

H1000

Marty Fitzhenry posted:

Phone,  YES.  The only people I know who are against using the phone in the hobby are the flip phone set.   I have no problem if people want to stay with the old ways.    I choose not to take that path.  

Not really.  I have a smart phone and I have absolutely no desire to run my trains with it.

Rusty

"Kinda hard to run large layouts with multiple operators when only one phone can control everything."

One can have multiple phones working multiple locos, but each loco can only be controlled by one assigned phone/tablet, is my understanding.  Probably a good safety feature.

Shouldn't be a problem overall.  Switching a loco from one phone to another phone/tablet also should be simply a matter of a few quick keystrokes and perhaps communication between the individuals holding those phones/tablets. 

On the LionChief app, there is a dedicated button to disconnect from an engine and make it available to another operator or to put it back under the control of that engine's dedicated (or universal) remote.

Shouldn't be a problem overall.  Switching a loco from one phone to another phone/tablet also should be simply a matter of a few quick keystrokes and perhaps communication between the individuals holding those phones/tablets. 

I would beg to differ. I don't think the instructions include a method to re-sync the loco during operation, only during startup. They will remember the last device they synced with. Multiple apps / remotes don't talk with each other and are not aware of each other when working with LionCheif. Transferring engine control from device 1 to device 3 is nearly impossible when the controllers don't know that each other exist. This is because there is zero communication between multiple remotes /apps, only between one remote and the engine(s).

Maybe we can program the engine to let any phone /app take control of the engine whenever they want. That would awesome to see the havoc at train show that would cause when 20 people request control of an engine at the same time.

It could work if the app has an option to release the engine from its control and allow a new device to sync and take control while operating.  It's not impossible but it's also not automated and requires significant human interaction to achieve.

The beauty to the Legacy Base and TIU is that engine follow instructions blindly from these intermediary devices. Because of this the TIU and Legacy Base can have lots of connected devices without having one remote or app tied directly to a single or group of locos.

JGL touched on another good idea. Use the Universal LC+ remote as an intermediate device between the locos and the app. Drawbacks to this solution involve the limited control abilities of the Universal remote, and that it can only interface with 3 locos at one time.

It's not impossible but Bluetooth isn't the silver bullet that will replace all control systems. It has its limitations.

H1000

Rusty Traque posted:

I have a smart phone and I have absolutely no desire to run my trains with it.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.

"Multiple apps / remotes don't talk with each other and are not aware of each other when working with LionCheif. Transferring engine control from device 1 to device 3 is nearly impossible when the controllers don't know that each other exist. "

 

Precisely why I mentioned that the human beings holding the phones/tablets need to talk with each other if they wish to transfer control of their loco (s).   If there is only one human being, it becomes a non-issue. This is quite prototypical too.

I think you may be overestimating the complexity and risks of this a bit, no offense intended.   In fact, two operators having access to the same loco using a remote may be more of a problem than restricting access to one remote per loco in most circumstances I can envision.  We'll see how it works in the field.

I will just miss the tactile feedback that the wheel provides when changing speed and other buttons.  Although, force touch and the new vibration motors might solve that problem (ala fake home button on iPhone 7 and 7plus).

 

one thing that would be nice, is if they combined the bluetooth app with the iCab app.  If your running legacy or lioncheif you wouldn't have to change apps.  I know it isn't hard to do, but it would get closer to the dream of a universal remote.  To be clear, I would keep the bluetooth app its own app, and add that functionality into the iCab app (still 2 apps)

One can have multiple phones working multiple locos, but each loco can only be controlled by one assigned phone/tablet, is my understanding.  Probably a good safety feature.

I think a lack of safety exists here. Two trains on a collision course, and two different operators have exclusive control. Hurry up and notify operators, transfer control of the two trains to your own app and stop the offending locos.

Wouldn't it be easier if all users with the app had control over all trains at the same time. So far that is not possible for Bluetooth until an intermediate device similar to the TIU or Legacy base is introduced into the system.

H1000

 

OGR Webmaster posted:
Rusty Traque posted:

I have a smart phone and I have absolutely no desire to run my trains with it.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.

I prefer the remote but the Apps I use are pretty well designed and get better with every revision.  You have to look at the phone a little more but they certainly give you a much more flexible control panel.  I tend to use the remote primarily but as Rich alluded to there is a lot to be said for the apps.

OGR Webmaster posted:
Rusty Traque posted:

I have a smart phone and I have absolutely no desire to run my trains with it.

Don't knock it until you've tried it.

I'm not knocking it.  I have no desire or need to try it.  I have to deal with high-tech stuff all day at work.  I'm quite happy with my low-tech control systems.

When I get home, I turn my smart phone off.

Rusty

Landsteiner posted:

"Multiple apps / remotes don't talk with each other and are not aware of each other when working with LionCheif. Transferring engine control from device 1 to device 3 is nearly impossible when the controllers don't know that each other exist. "

 

Precisely why I mentioned that the human beings holding the phones/tablets need to talk with each other if they wish to transfer control of their loco (s).   If there is only one human being, it becomes a non-issue. This is quite prototypical too.

I think you may be overestimating the complexity and risks of this a bit, no offense intended.   In fact, two operators having access to the same loco using a remote may be more of a problem than restricting access to one remote per loco in most circumstances I can envision.  We'll see how it works in the field.

I also agree with you on this, an excellent point!

I just like the ability for anyone else to stop my engine if they see a problem that I don't see.

We go to our club layouts to not only run our trains, but to converse with each other and have a good time.  Definitely don't want to turn this into a hobby where we bury our heads in our smart device and completely ignore the people around us. (e.g. Teenagers in a restaurant that don't say one word to each other while sitting at the same table)

H1000

"I think a lack of safety exists here."

What about the safety issue of having locos controllable, either intentionally or unintentionally,  by individuals who aren't involved in a train show  layout?  This is possible with DCS, Legacy and the LC/LC+ remote (if you have the correct loco specific remote, not if you are using the universal remote).  Not possible for someone else to intentionally or accidentally interfere with the universal remote or the LC/LC+ app.  Your loco control is more secure with the app or universal remote than with anything else on the market,  and less susceptible to evil minded people or an accident at a train show with multiple layouts. 

How many times have people reported problems at a train show with someone else's remote, either due to interference or accidental acquisition of a loco on another layout?  Not all that frequently, but it happens.  Won't happen ever, we are told, with the Universal LC/LC+ remote or the Bluetooth app.

I'm having trouble following your line of reasoning, H1000.  It seems on one hand you are arguing for multiple control devices to be able to operate an engine and on the other hand arguing that this very same thing would lead to 'havoc'.  

I don't see how allowing Bluetooth control of engines changes the safety/attention needs in any way over using a LionChief remote.  either way only one operator has control of that locomotive.  

Perhaps the simplest solution for public displays where inexperienced and/or inattentive operators may have control of a LionChief engine would be to place a cut off switch in an easily accessible location, or even use a remote control one.  This could be operated by whomever is monitoring the layout.  

Just briefly on another topic:

H1000 posted:

 

JGL touched on another good idea. Use the Universal LC+ remote as an intermediate device between the locos and the app. Drawbacks to this solution involve the limited control abilities of the Universal remote, and that it can only interface with 3 locos at one time.

 

The control of only 3 engines was most likely a choice made to keep the remote as simple as possible.  if used as an intermediate device the current remote design is more than capable of controlling many more devices.  As with other LC/+ remotes, it is the physical design and number of buttons that is the limiting factor here, not the tech underneath.  

JGL

 

Operating trains with a tablet or smart phone sounds great, but I cannot get my iPhone to respond every time. Swiping to close an app doesn't always work the first time. Sometimes the pad doesn't recognize that I touched it. I guess I'm just a clumsy oaf. Then there's the whole pairing thing. I remember a friend of mine trying to pair a bluetooth Bose radio. It took multiple attempts and many minutes. A different technology; but I use Apple Air Play and occasionally, in order to get a connection, I have to reboot everything starting with the router. It also drops out frequently. I'm not condemning the bluetooth idea; just from my experience probably wouldn't work for me.

Landsteiner posted:

"I think a lack of safety exists here."

What about the safety issue of having locos controllable, either intentionally or unintentionally,  by individuals who aren't involved in a train show  layout?  This is possible with DCS, Legacy and the LC/LC+ remote (if you have the correct loco specific remote, not if you are using the universal remote).  Not possible for someone else to intentionally or accidentally interfere with the universal remote or the LC/LC+ app.  Your loco control is more secure with the app or universal remote than with anything else on the market,  and less susceptible to evil minded people or an accident at a train show with multiple layouts. 

How many times have people reported problems at a train show with someone else's remote, either due to interference or accidental acquisition of a loco on another layout?  Not all that frequently, but it happens.  Won't happen ever, we are told, with the Universal LC/LC+ remote or the Bluetooth app.

And this is where Wi-Fi Rules, wireless passwords control who can connect. Running with default wireless security at a public train show is just plain dumb and you deserve to get hacked.

I am only referring to the realm of a closed club layout outside of the public in most cases, but let's take this a step further. You have introduce a whole new topic here called wireless security.

First, almost all of this technology runs in the open 2.4 GHz ISM band. It is extremely easy to disrupt the limited bandwidth in this space and completely ruin everyone's day and send them home crying, regardless of what brand of trains you have. You don't need similar remotes or apps to pull this off, its easy to do without brand specific hardware.

(Hardcore) Securing the MTH TIU & WIU:
The MTH TIU can be locked out by connecting a DCS remote via a tether wire and not allowing any other DCS remote to interact with that TIU wirelessly.

The WIU can be configured with a new wireless password using WPA2 (make sure that you disable WPS too, There are hacks that exist to reveal the WPA2 password with a known vulnerability in WPS). The WIU's access point uses the 2.4 GHz ISM band and can still be disrupted. However, the WIU has an Ethernet port which opens additional security options. 

(Extreme Harcore) WIU Security:
Connect your WIU to a  5.8GHz wireless router with an Ethernet cable. Log into the LUCI interface on the WIU and disable the wireless radio (just more 2.4 GHz interference anyway). Use your 5.8 GHz capable smart device to connect to your 5.8 GHz wireless router and communicate to the WIU via the Ethernet wire.

The 5.8 GHz band has more available bandwidth to operate in, much less interference, and is a lot harder to create interference in.

Unfortunately the LCS Wi-Fi system lacks an Ethernet interface so this really isn't possible with Lionel equipment.

Keep in mind, everything is hackable especially stuff that is wireless, Bluetooth is not excluded.

H1000

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence

I suspect accidental sabotage is much more common than intentional sabotage in the toy train world. 

Having a loco tied to a single remote with no possibility of another remote device controlling it unintentionally seems to me to be a safety feature, but we'll see how it plays out in the field. 

Obviously the greatest opportunity for misadventure is with DCS or Legacy/TMCC. However having identical LC or LC+ locos being controlled by two identical remotes could yield the same problems even faster. 

We are told by Lionel that the Universal Remote for LC/LC+ makes this a non-problem for those using this new handheld device (or the new Bluetooth phone app).

Ironically, the superior, newer,  but cheaper digital radio communications of  LC/LC+,  and the superior firmware in the Universal Remote create a more secure communications link, less subject to unintentional or intentional interference. 

I'm having trouble following your line of reasoning, H1000.  It seems on one hand you are arguing for multiple control devices to be able to operate an engine and on the other hand arguing that this very same thing would lead to 'havoc'. 

I am arguing for an intermediate device that multiple remotes / apps connect to which in turns controls all of the trains on the track. It would be nice if all experienced operators in a club layout with a handheld or app could control any engine on the layout during a public or private event. If Bob sees a problem with Joe's engine, He can deal with it immediately with the interface in his hands without finding Joe and making him deal with it. 

I don't see how allowing Bluetooth control of engines changes the safety/attention needs in any way over using a LionChief remote.  either way only one operator has control of that locomotive.  

3 different Legacy remotes can control any and all TMCC & Legacy engines on a layout without having to switch between remotes.  The Bluetooth method locks a particular remote or app to particular engine(s) and all other remotes have no control over those engines

Perhaps the simplest solution for public displays where inexperienced and/or inattentive operators may have control of a LionChief engine would be to place a cut off switch in an easily accessible location, or even use a remote control one.  This could be operated by whomever is monitoring the layout. 

But your idea with the cut off switch is also good. If the layout goes dark, everyone will pay attention quickly. I'd choose this over broken trains and a big mess.

H1000

OGR Webmaster posted:
douger posted:

Why has everything gone to having to use your cell phone for everything some people can't do anything without a phone .This is a hobby lets leave it that.LEAVE CELL PHONES OUT OF IT!

Obviously written by someone who has never run trains with a smart phone.  It is a unique and very enjoyable experience. Running DCS with a phone or tablet is light years ahead of using the rather clunky DCS remote. And it is the only way we're going to get young people interested in our hobby.

This is written by a 70-year old who really enjoys running trains with my iPhone.

Same as my 78 year old dad who likes to run my trains from his iPhone when he comes over.    

It's no big deal that there are those who don't want to do this.  Fine. There are many ways to enjoy the hobby.   If you don't want to do this you don't have to, but why rail against those of us who enjoy these technical things.

There's times I run my layout from the ZW handles.  Then the Legacy or DCS remote, and finally my iPhone.   All are equally fun, to me, which is all that matters.

 

Anyone who has ever used the BlueRail bluetooth system to run their trains becomes an instant addict.  December OGR magazine shows how to easily do it. Enough said.

EscapeRocks posted:
 If you don't want to do this you don't have to, but why rail against those of us who enjoy these technical things.

Exactly.  I'll refrain from writing anything else.

Brendan

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