DCS handheld remote or DCS WiFi app, which to go with?

Hello All,

I'm sure this question has been asked before but I wanted to get your feedback on my situation. Earlier this year I swapped out my Z4000's for Z1000 bricks with the IR remote. I'm running a total of 5 engines each on their own separate track. I have the IR receivers strategically placed in different areas on my layout so they don't interfere with each other. This works but it's a pain and I wouldn't mind doing an upgrade to the full blown DCS system. Now my layout is very simple, I run all MTH tinplate style conventional trains. So everything looks 80 years old but they are all equipped with PS2 and PS3 guts. I don't have any accessories that I control with the remote. No switch tracks and nothing that would get tied back to an AIU, so I don't need one of those. What I do need is a way to control all 5 trains and all of their features like whistles, bells, yard talk, etc. With that being said, what does the group suggest I look at, the original DCS handheld Remote or is it worth it to go with the newer WiFi system and app? I don't have a TIU as it is so either way I would need to purchase one. I know with the wifi app, I need a newer version of the TIU, but is one overkill for my layout, or does it come down to a matter of opinion?

Thank you,

Sam

TCA# 05-59610

Original Post

Well, this is just an opinion of one, but I always want a native remote for any WiFi system, even if I don't plan on using it a lot.  Not every function is represented on the WiFi application, at least that's been my experience so far.  I have the MTH and Lionel WiFi as well as remotes for each system.

Sam,

First, you don't need a newer TIU, you just have to load DCS 6.1 into whatever TIU you use.

Second, there are actually 3 choices that you can make:

  • The first is a DCS Remote and TIU set. Any remote and TIU will work and can be easily updated to the latest version. The only caveats that I would offer are to purchase any DCS equipment new from an authorized MTH dealer so as to get a factory warranty and also, I highly recommend a Rev. L (current production) TIU. The Rev. L offers significant performance improvements over previous models.
  • The second option is to purchase a TIU and WIU, and download the DCS App. The free app allows 3 engines and most DCS engine features and functions, however, not all. Updating to the $4.95 version of the DCS App allows unlimited engines and full DCS engine control, excluding lashups. Other DCS features and functions are not included (accessories and switch tracks using AIUs; Record/Playback; Import and Export; TMCC and Legacy engine operation). To obtain those additional features and functions requires upgrading from the Standard App to the Premium DCS App, an additional $20.00 from the Standard App.
  • The third option will be available in about a month, when the separate-sale DCS Explorer becomes available. It is a combination of the WIU and TIU for considerably less expense. However, it works with the free version of the DCS App so would provide roughly the same features and functions available in option #2, above, without the ability to update to the more feature-and-function-rich versions of the DCS App..

DCS Book CoverEverything that you need to know about DCS is all in MTH’s “The DCS Companion 3rd Edition!"

This book is available from many fine OGR advertisers and forum sponsors, or as an eBook or a printed book at MTH's web store!

DCS Book Cover

Everything that you need to know about DCS WiFi is all in MTH’s “The DCS WiFi Companion 1st Edition!"

This book is available from many fine OGR advertisers and forum sponsors, or as an eBook or a printed book at MTH's web store!

Get the free TMCC & Legacy Addendum here!

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

Sam,

It sounds like you really like the touch and feel of a remote or transformer handles. I'll ask if you have an iPad or or other tablet that you use regularly because if you do, I think you'll find the app rather nice. Otherwise the DCS Remote may be a better choice.  

The WiFi systems from MTH will work with any generation of the TIU even the first revision G models (with a USB to Serial adapter). You would only need to purchase the $4.99 Standard app upgrade as you are not running any accessories or switches (this will allow you to run more than 3 trains - a limit set within the free version of the app).

Both the WiFi system and DCS remote will give you many more features than the current remote commander you are using now.

H1000

Thanks all, great advice.

So, I don't have any TIU right now, I'd be starting from scratch. With my current set up, each track has it's own Z1000 (the smaller ones have Z750) bricks. Each with their own IR module.

I like the sound of this DCS Explorer. I'm not in a rush to upgrade, so I can wait until this is released. And lastly, I do have a tablet, I'm using a Samsung as I'm not an Apple fan.

TCA# 05-59610

samdjr74 posted:

I like the sound of this DCS Explorer. I'm not in a rush to upgrade, so I can wait until this is released. And lastly, I do have a tablet, I'm using a Samsung as I'm not an Apple fan.

One thing to consider about the DCS Explorer: 

According to MTH thus far you may be limited to only three engines operating at one time. I'm not sure if having two DCS Explores will allow a user to run up to six engines at a time.

H1000

H1000 posted:
samdjr74 posted:

I like the sound of this DCS Explorer. I'm not in a rush to upgrade, so I can wait until this is released. And lastly, I do have a tablet, I'm using a Samsung as I'm not an Apple fan.

One thing to consider about the DCS Explorer: 

According to MTH thus far you may be limited to only three engines operating at one time. I'm not sure if having two DCS Explores will allow a user to run up to six engines at a time.

Thanks, I just got done reading the DCS explorer thread, my head is still spinning from it. I'm thinking the full blown DCS WiFi would work better, but I need to dig a little deeper before purchasing anything.

TCA# 05-59610

Sam,

According to MTH thus far you may be limited to only three engines operating at one time.

I believe that, using the DCS Explorer, you can only have a total of 3 engines in the engine roster, period. I don't believe that you could add a fourth engine without actually deleting one of the first three.

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

Barry Broskowitz posted:

Sam,

According to MTH thus far you may be limited to only three engines operating at one time.

I believe that, using the DCS Explorer, you can only have a total of 3 engines in the engine roster, period. I don't believe that you could add a fourth engine without actually deleting one of the first three.

Ok, so unless I buy a couple Explorer's, this isn't going to work for me

TCA# 05-59610

Sam,

so unless I buy a couple Explorer's, this isn't going to work for me

The app can only talk to one DCS Explorer. You can't utilize 2 DCS Explorers together. The DCS Explorer is intended to be an entry-level device, not a layout-building device.

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

samdjr74 posted:
Barry Broskowitz posted:

Sam,

According to MTH thus far you may be limited to only three engines operating at one time.

I believe that, using the DCS Explorer, you can only have a total of 3 engines in the engine roster, period. I don't believe that you could add a fourth engine without actually deleting one of the first three.

Ok, so unless I buy a couple Explorer's, this isn't going to work for me

Sam, I don't think that this will even be the case. The three engine limitation is built into the app, not the DCS explorer. If you have 5 DCS Explorers you would still be limited to three engines.

I know where you are going with this and I would wish that MTH would take notice. Each DCS Explorer a person owns could be treated like a license to operate three Engines with the app. IF one owns three DCS Explorers why not give him the right to run 9 engines.

While this scheme seems logical, it does add other complexities to the actual layout operation which is why I suspect MTH wont embrace this approach.

Barry's comment is spot on about the Explorer being an entry level device.

H1000

Barry Broskowitz posted:

Sam,

so unless I buy a couple Explorer's, this isn't going to work for me

The app can only talk to one DCS Explorer. You can't utilize 2 DCS Explorers together. The DCS Explorer is intended to be an entry-level device, not a layout-building device.

Barry, MTH RD had a different response about connecting to multiple Explorers:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...35#75762911775961035

MTH RD posted:
H1000 posted:

I think something else that would be interesting to know is will the DCS App be able to communicate to more than one Explorer? If you have two separate loops each with there own DCS Explorer, can I run three trains per loop using these two DCS Explorers from one tablet?

I suspect not as Barry eluded to early that the limitation is set within the free app to limit adding only three locomotives. The free app seems to have the same functionality as the Remote Commander does, and I don't think even the standard upgrade will allow you to connect to more than one Explorer at a time to work with more than three trains.

I'll mix a few responses in here.  First, yes, the starter set app (due out shortly) will be able to talk to multiple DCS Explorers.  As you point out, this is of little use given the limited number of engines in the starter set app (also known as the free app).  And, to clarify, when the new version of the app is released, user's will be prompted to choose either the DCS Explorer or the WIU.  You can jump back in forth in app settings but, choosing the DCS Explorer limits the number of engines and features.  You cannot connect to the DCS Explorer using the standard or premium version of the app.

 

H1000

Like GRJ above, I also like having the remote. My pick would be the TIU and Remote, purchasing it new from an authorized dealer as Barry suggests. Then you can run all your trains now and later add the WIU and whichever app you wish to use (I like the full blown app).

I don't know much about the DCS Explorer, but it sounds like the 3 train limitation would be a hindrance to you and your setup for the way you are operating things. Also with the TIU & Remote, should you decide to expand you won't be nearly as limited.

H1000,

MTH RD had a different response about connecting to multiple Explorers:  "yes, the starter set app (due out shortly) will be able to talk to multiple DCS Explorers"

Yes, however, my understanding was that it could do so, but only one explorer at a time.

Regardless, it makes no difference, since the limit is 3 engines when then app is in "DCS Explorer mode". In a few weeks I should have one to play with and an app release that will be able to access it. Then, we'll have more solid information.

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

The App is working great for me. I would highly recommend it. Great folks, such as Barry, have made themselves available to continually improve the app. Once you obtain the app (and learn it as you would any other new system) I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 

When you also consider MTH is putting $$ into more R&D for the App, it will only get better. On a side note, I hope folks in the Hobby will take into consideration there are only so many $$ for MTH to use - I refer specifically to those who expressed a lot of disappointment in the last catalog release.  

BRice

The app certainly is great and convenient but as mentioned in another thread, if you ever want to use DCS's ProtCasto or ProtoDispatch then you have no choice but to use the dedicated handheld since the DCS app does not support those two features.

Kenn,

ogaugeguy


 




Kevin,

if you ever want to use DCS's ProtCasto or ProtoDispatch then you have no choice but to use the dedicated handheld since the DCS app does not support those two features.

The DCS App does not support ProtoDispatch at present, however, it does support ProtoCast.


DCS Book Cover

This and a whole lot more about DCS WiFi is all in MTH’s “The DCS WiFi Companion 1st Edition!"

This book is available from many fine OGR advertisers and forum sponsors, or as an eBook or a printed book at MTH's web store!

Get the free TMCC & Legacy Addendum here!

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

Gentlemen,

    I recommend getting theDCS  TIU and the Hand Held Remote, connect the TIU to the Legacy and run both, if you want the  APP & WIFI  add it also.  However if you are going to only have one, loose the APP/WIFI because it does not control all the different functions.  

PCRR/Dave

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

Dave,

However if you are going to only have one, loose the APP/WIFI because it does not control all the different functions.

To which functions are you referring?

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

If you plan to run several trains at the same time, with intersecting routes, the remote is easier, since you're not slipping and sliding through a bunch of screens.  When someone recommends one or the other, ask them how they run their layout--one or many trains, separate loops or intersecting routs, etc.

If there's a way in the app to select locos or switches by simply punching in their ID, I haven't found it.  I hate sliding through screens to come upon a list of locos in haphazard order.

samdjr74 posted:

Hello All,

I'm sure this question has been asked before but I wanted to get your feedback on my situation. Earlier this year I swapped out my Z4000's for Z1000 bricks with the IR remote. I'm running a total of 5 engines each on their own separate track. I have the IR receivers strategically placed in different areas on my layout so they don't interfere with each other. This works but it's a pain and I wouldn't mind doing an upgrade to the full blown DCS system. Now my layout is very simple, I run all MTH tinplate style conventional trains. So everything looks 80 years old but they are all equipped with PS2 and PS3 guts. I don't have any accessories that I control with the remote. No switch tracks and nothing that would get tied back to an AIU, so I don't need one of those. What I do need is a way to control all 5 trains and all of their features like whistles, bells, yard talk, etc. With that being said, what does the group suggest I look at, the original DCS handheld Remote or is it worth it to go with the newer WiFi system and app? I don't have a TIU as it is so either way I would need to purchase one. I know with the wifi app, I need a newer version of the TIU, but is one overkill for my layout, or does it come down to a matter of opinion?

Thank you,

Sam

Since you were asking for suggestions, I'll offer mine.  Certainly not to the discredit of all these incredibly experienced and knowledgeable forum participants.  Just from my perspective and looking forward.

If I were you, I would purchase the TIU and WIU and start with the $5 app.  Your total investment at street price would be around $350 and you would be able to do much more than the DCS Remote Commander and, much more conveniently.  Then, you are poised to expand into full DCS with small incremental steps. 

In comparison, you will spend around $325 for the DCS system which includes the TIU and remote.  So, while there are a couple of features in the remote we haven't covered in the app, there are also a couple of features in the app not available in the remote.  Also, the remote is essentially stagnant.  We cannot practically move forward with it due to its age and code structure, etc.  Stated simply, future expansion in DCS is in Wi-Fi and the app.  And yes, we'll add most of the few missing remote features into the app going forward.

And to clear up questions about the 3 engine limitation in the explorer, yes, this is app based.  So, using multiple Explorers in your situation is not a practical option.  To sum that up, the Explorer is an entry level product.  Running 5 DCS engines simultaneously on 5 different tracks is definitely  beyond the intent for the Explorer.  Get yourself a DCS system and run multiple engines on the same track, keep it the way it is, control accessories and switches, whatever.  I think you're enjoyment and new found access to many, many, more DCS features in those engines will be well worth the investment.

And, I'm not even a salesmen.....

 

MTH RD posted
 
If I were you, I would purchase the TIU and WIU and start with the $5 app.  Your total investment at street price would be around $350 and you would be able to do much more than the DCS Remote Commander and, much more conveniently.  Then, you are poised to expand into full DCS with small incremental steps. 

 

What would be the additional incremental steps to expand into "full DCS"  -  upgrade the app to Premium ?

Thanks

Richie,

The first step would be a $20 upgrade to the Premium app. Next, would be adding AIUs to control accessories and switch tracks using the app. Third might be additional transformers to power the additional accessories and switch tracks, and more engines.

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

Before going gaga about the explorer, I would carefully consider the cost vs the cost of a TIU & remote.  No one has yet had hands on experience with the explorer using a large layout.  While fine to come with a starter set to enable the recipient to access all of a DCS loco's features, if you are planning expansion, you'd be financially ahead of the game to go for the TIU & remote at about $300 which can handle a huge layout and many locos vice an untested explorer at $129. 

Richie C. posted:
MTH RD posted
 
If I were you, I would purchase the TIU and WIU and start with the $5 app.  Your total investment at street price would be around $350 and you would be able to do much more than the DCS Remote Commander and, much more conveniently.  Then, you are poised to expand into full DCS with small incremental steps. 

 

What would be the additional incremental steps to expand into "full DCS"  -  upgrade the app to Premium ?

Thanks

Yes, upgrading to the premium app for $20 and maybe purchasing an AIU to run switches and accessories.  Very short and reasonably inexpensive steps to full blown DCS operation of a layout.

RJR posted:

Before going gaga about the explorer, I would carefully consider the cost vs the cost of a TIU & remote.  No one has yet had hands on experience with the explorer using a large layout.  While fine to come with a starter set to enable the recipient to access all of a DCS loco's features, if you are planning expansion, you'd be financially ahead of the game to go for the TIU & remote at about $300 which can handle a huge layout and many locos vice an untested explorer at $129. 

Agreed.  The DCS Explorer was not designed to operate large layouts.  It specifically was 'not' designed to run large layouts in that it has limitations in the number of engines, power, switch and accessory control, and engine features.  It was expressly designed for starter sets and intermediate users so they can "explore" DCS and hopefully, enjoy the benefits and move forward from there. 

 

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H1000
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