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Well sorta. I 3D printed this because the touchscreen experience wasn't going my way:



That's on a OnePlus Nord 100 with the Lionchief app. I tested it on my girlfriend and @G3750. She has never used a remote or made a model train move. She said she could get used to it once she remembered where the buttons were. @G3750 held similar thoughts. It would be better than a plain touchscreen. I also share this sentiment.

I have logged a few hours on it at this point and I find I'm not looking down unless I'm trying to set the throttle to the lowest possible setting. I haven't seen the button layout on for the CAB3 app but this might be a solution or the inspiration for a solution to the touchscreen debacle.

The big shortcoming is adding/changing locomotives and settings. But that's small potatoes in my opinion. We'll see how many different screens the CAB3 app includes.

I'm looking for input on what phones/tablets everyone uses for the Lionchief app. What does everyone use? I would have to measure each screen to make sure the holes match the correct areas.

Also, is there a way to turn off the locomotives from the app?


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@RSJB18 what kind of phone are you using? I had the same trouble when I tried the app.

@Dave_C Thank you! I also prefer the remote 110% but this has been pretty good for myself and my testers. Once you have your settings and equipment picked out, you can pretty much run without looking because you can feel if you're on target or not, like you said.

I originally wanted to 3D print a case with buttons that you would slide your phone into but this was much simpler and has worked so far.

They have voice command too @Mark Boyce although my knowledge of arthritis says you best keep after that thumb and work it. I never ever in my life thought I would dig the voice command but it is fun haha

@RSJB18 that's what's up. I got a hold of a Nord 100 with a broken screen. My plan is to buy older phones at a discount and print these so people can operate when they come over.

@PRR1950 I think I will. If they say no, I'll bug forum members for measurements haha

@BillYo414 posted:

Unfortunately there are alternate screens in this app @MartyE and I would expect there to be alternate screens in the CAB3 app but we'll see. Either way, with the rubber bands, it's pretty effortless to pop this cover on and off.

Putting buttons on was the original idea. It could still be done I think.

App3 definitely has alternate screens.  You get all the basics screen controls from your design for running.  Maybe a flip up overlay design.

@MartyE posted:

App3 definitely has alternate screens.  You get all the basics screen controls from your design for running.  Maybe a flip up overlay design.

A flip cover case for the phone might work.......

Not this type but something to hinge the overlay so it can be flipped out of the way for alternate screen access. I'm sure the 3D printing guru's could develop something. The biggest problem would be customizing for each different phone shape and size.


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@RSJB18 posted:

biggest problem would be customizing for each different phone shape and size.

Bingo. The button mapping will scale differently for each screen. They sell buttons that attach to the screen (via suction I assume) that might be the simplest solution but that's beyond my manufacturing capabilities at the moment.

The flip case is a good idea though. It would be easier than rubber bands.

That's a pretty cool idea, certainly gives you some tactile feel that you don't get with the screen!  The only issue I see is when Lionel moves the layout around in the next version!

Thanks. That's my concern though haha I hate it when things move around in general..I'm going to hate it even more when I have to adjust/update the layout every time they change it. I do wonder if they will have coded movable buttons in. Fingers crossed.

@DaveGG that's enticing. I can't wait to try it out.

Lionel needs to see this.   An overlay needs to be a design consideration when placing buttons in the software.   Being able to run the train through your fingers without looking is the key for train remotes.      

I even have an old smart phone that would run the app, so I could dedicate an old phone.   I might want to use a tablet with an overlay for the fields they have on the CAB3 screen.   A tablet more closely resembles the area you have on a CAB1 or CAB2.

I like voice recognition also, but the time delay is a big problem for me.  Most voice recognition systems have to call home for processing.  This causes the delay.

Older phones are my gameplan for having operating sessions until I can afford to buy more CAB1L's. I also have got a kick out of the voice commands but it's more of a novelty than a useful thing @VHubbard. I could see many uses for voice command for some people though and I think it should be kept.

@Choo Choo Charlie I'm still driving a 2009 myself haha so I haven't suffered that one yet. But I think it would work the same.

@Mannyrock I agree but I only play to win the game since I can't redefine it

@MPC1974 I think that thing is pretty cool. Imagine combining that with a FPV head set haha that would be a time!

That's a great idea, unfortunately there's multiple screens on the app, where the buttons are placed in different positions. Hopefully you will be able to customize the home screen so that it only has the buttons that you will use, for instance if you only use four buttons they will each be a quarter of the screen, and be much bigger than if there were 12 buttons on the screen. I bought a tablet just for the app, this way I don't have to worry about texts, phone calls & e-mail disrupting my control of the trains. The tablet and cover with a kickstand was $70.00, that is much cheaper than a remote. As far as looking at the screen, I remember taking typing in high school and it took me six months to be able to type without looking at the typewriter, it will take time for everybody, but I think we all will eventually use the app without looking at our phones and tablets.

Interesting work-around for the impossibility of the ubiquitous "touch screen". DOT and any state (or private) safety group will point out that screens, especially touch-screens, demand and indeed require eyeballs AND the [brain] attention that goes with eyeballs. That is, fiddling with the gadget [automatically] becomes the main activity, NOT the train(s) and what it/they is/are doing. As well dispense with the meatspace model railroad and make it all virtual. Ya, No. I operate the Plywood Empire Route using DCS implemented with a Remote Commander.s-l1600

When these are no longer available I will have to trash-can DCS and go back to a conventional "throttle" because I am unimpressed with and uninterested in any touch-screen gizmo for this purpose.


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I love what you have done with the cellphone touchscreen for now.

But for the future, making an interface with a standard Bluetooth game controller makes sense. Replacements are cheap and they will be available now and in the future. We could use a cellphone app to pair the game controller to a particular engine or engines and then we use the controller to run the train. All we need is for Lionel engineers to make the interface work. Here is a picture of a Bluetooth controller for under $20:

wireless gamepad for android phone pc ps3 tv box 2 4g joystick game controller for super console x game accessories christmas halloween thanksgiving gifts 5

Here is my solution that I've posted before.  LOL!  If you could map the controls to the appropriate function you can let the smart device be a screen and the dock is the tactile feel.  No reason why this couldn't work for either app I imagine.  The dock would have to be in a way to accommodate the various size smart device short of a tablet.

If the game controller would work I would think this would too.  It's just a variation of it.

I still like the simplicity of @BillYo414 solution.

Cab2 Iphone dock concept  Cab2 Iphone dock DCS


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