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   I'm in my 70s raising young kids so I'm not a total fuddy-duddy. Let's get that out of the way, lol. I'm an 0 gauge addict and never want the cure. I run my trains traditionally from ZW's and KW's w/1033s, etc., for lights or operating features for different voltages.

   It's lost on me that so many railroaders prefer running their trains from distances using remotes, iPhones, etc. I certainly get that train speeds, including crawls, are easier and more definite. I can just walk away from my transformers and follow on my 25x5' layout. I do that consistently, and because my trackwork by now is so well-known and trouble-free I don't sweat it - never more than a second, two, or three away from a derailment, which is something you don't want to be that far away from with some of the newer tech.

   So, really I'm just making an observation here, that having things in one place so that I must interact and push buttons, raise or lower engine speeds, operate turnouts, pick up or place rolling stock here or there is very enjoyable to me. I know that new tech brings more realistic speeds; ie- making locos crawl, and that doesn't happen on my layout, but once the rude startup is over, I can cut speed to make a fairly realistic motion, so to me, not such a big deal. I think what I'm really observing is moves away from hands-on to remote viewing and control that to me takes away some fun of operation from different controls, push buttons, uncouple/unloads, switch-flipping, etc. that I get from trad control. Just a thought - what's your opinion?

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I can walk away from my transformer and follow my train around the layout with my Legacy remote and continue to operate it and observe. It has Plenty of buttons to push to increase the interaction between the loco and operator whether highballing or performing precise switching moves.

A modern transformer equipped the a fast acting breaker protects my trains in the outside chance there's a derailment.

I still use tradition remote controlled turnouts as well as uncoupling and unloading tracks.

Having said that. I have absolutely no interest run my trains with a phone or iPad. This requires too much time looking at a screen rather than the trains. The Lionel Legacy handheld has very tactile controls. The "meat and potatoes" of train operation can be done without ever looking at the remote. ( Even in the dark  )

Last edited by RickO
@Virginian65 posted:


   It's lost on me that so many railroaders prefer running their trains from distances using remotes, iPhones, etc.

I don't mind using a remote, particularly as my now-dismantled S Scale railroad had all manual turnouts and the replacement will likely also have manual turnouts.

But, I have no desire to use a smart-phone or tablet as a controller.  If a smart-phone wasn't a necessity for this life we lead today, I wouldn't even have one.

Rusty

This isn't a criticism of your preferred method of running your railroad but I do feel it's not a well informed position.  Once you walk away from the transformer you are limited with how you can control the various aspects of your railroad.  With a remote I can control EVERY aspect of the railroad from ANYWHERE in the room (generally).  Or I can just leave the remote on the layout top and watch the trains run from any vantage point.

-Greg

Last edited by Greg Houser

My TMCC-equipped locos respond to commands sent from my CAB-1 to locos anywhere on the layout in the Train Room -- a necessity for me. Because my 15x19 feet L-shaped layout has limited-width aisleways around most of its perimeter, I couldn't get to a fixed control panel and transformer quickly enough to avoid an "accident ready to happen" if I was busy  "walking along with the loco."

Pushbuttons for accessories are mounted on the fascia boards near the action accessories installed along the "inner edge of the "L" -- handy when some "five-finger engineering" may be required to nudge the Sawmill, Oil Drum Loader, Culvert Unloader and Loader, Barrel Loading Ramp, etc.

All my RC switch controllers are installed at the inside edge of the "L" because I prefer to use that hands-on method for switch control. I considered installing a SC-2 device(s) and throwing the RC switches with that device, but that method requires attention to the hand-held controller (and candidly, a better memory than mine) to instantly recall the appropriate ID number and then trigger the action.  I admit I'm "stuck in 1950s" with operational practice -- which can be linked to my enjoyment of the hobby when I was a boy.

I do not want/need the high-tech gizmos for train and layout control, although other hobbyists may revel in it. To each, his/her own style of operating!

Thankfully, Lionel and other O-gauge manufacturers still offer locos that accept Conventional Mode and also TMCC/Legacy, LionChief, Bluetooth, cell phone app, and (recently) Voice Command.  Which affirms the maxim: "One can't have too many options for train control." Is this a great hobby, or what?

Mike Mottler   LCCA 12394

I have plenty of conventional engines in my collection and still enjoy running them in that manner. About 10-12 years ago I shifted my “procurement focus” to MTH engines operated with their DCS. A few years ago I made the jump to WiFi and now much prefer to run my MTH engines using an iPhone.

The foregoing having been said; this hobby is intended to provide relaxation and enjoyment so, enjoy it by operating your trains in any manner you wish. There is no right or wrong here, simply personal preference.

Curt

@RickO posted:

I can walk away from my transformer and follow my train around the layout with my Legacy remote and continue to operate it and observe. It has Plenty of buttons to push to increase the interaction between the loco and operator whether highballing or performing precise switching moves.

A modern transformer equipped the a fast acting breaker protects my trains in the outside chance there's a derailment.

I still use tradition remote controlled turnouts as well as uncoupling and unloading tracks.

Having said that. I have absolutely no interest run my trains with a phone or iPad. This requires too much time looking at a screen rather than the trains. The Lionel Legacy handheld has very tactile controls. The "meat and potatoes" of train operation can be done without ever looking at the remote. ( Even in the dark  )



Wonderful video Rick.  I gave it a like and subscribed to your YouTube channel.  I didn't realize that the track was Fastrack until I watched one of your other videos.  I'm sure the speed of the train had something to do with it, but the sound of the wheels running over the rails was very smooth and soft.

I can run any of my locomotives, including the few conventional models I have, from my remote controls.  All the switches and turntable controls are also available on the remote as well.  Finally, I have a wireless power control that allows me to individually control each of the four transformers that power the layout or kill power to the entire layout.  Did I mention I can run two or three trains on my mainline at the same time with individual speed control?

I have no quibble with folks that like to be tethered to the transformer handles, I'm just not one of those guys.  As far as "hands off" vs "hands on", I simply don't understand that reference.  Whether I'm holding on to a transformer handle or the knob on my remote, I'm thinking I'm in the "hands on" camp.  I would define "hands off" as the guys that have computer control and just watch the trains run without any human interaction.

As for following the train on the layout, it's easy with the remote, and I have total control of it at any point in my little walk alongside the train.

Wonderful video Rick.  I gave it a like and subscribed to your YouTube channel.  I didn't realize that the track was Fastrack until I watched one of your other videos.  I'm sure the speed of the train had something to do with it, but the sound of the wheels running over the rails was very smooth and soft.

Thanks Kevin! I appreciate the compliment. I recently made a lonnng overdue phone upgrade. So hopefully the quality of future videos will improve.

(Alert: My HO experiences follows!)

Got my first "walk around" throttle (a "Troller") waaaay back in the mid-1970s. Hooked it up... and I've never had a layout with stationary power since. For a larger layout, especially with peninsulas, the ability to walk along with your train is the compelling point to me for "walk around" control.

Plus, the type of railroads I model don't have dispatcher controlled powered switches. All manual.

Therefore, the ability to stop the train, manually line the switch, and then start the train slowly and creep into the siding is part of the operating fun to me.

HOWEVER...

YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. (So don't get yer panties in a wad!)

Andre

I’m a hybrid of all this.

I run engines from my iphone. My 35 years-in-IT eyes love the easy to see interface. Plus I want to view the layout in different ways.

I place controls on the perimeter of the layout by each accessory so anyone can see them work. Plus less wires under the layout.

I manually control switch tracks so that I’m 100% sure everything is set right. Plus less wires under the layout.

We all have different reasons for how we do things.

When I started in electric model railroading back when I was a young kid (about 4 years old or so), all I had was a simple DC transformer, four HO locos, a small collection of freight cars, and a bunch of HO track. I had hours of fun watching my trains run. When I switched to O Gauge, I started with an RTR set and expanded it to run around my room. I had just a CW80 to run my steam loco. Then, a couple of years ago, I decided to add Legacy, and now I'm never going back to conventional operation. Eventually, I'd like to add Wi-Fi and command-controlled accessories and switches.

@Will posted:

@RickO that is a wonderful video. There is remarkably little noise for such a dark video. What did you shoot it with? Do you happen to know the ISO, frame rate, etc?

Thanks much for the compliment!

I'm cracking up over here Will. Are you sure you want to know?? LOL!

It was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S4  smartphone ( one of the first, if not the first Samsung smartphone).  Which as I mentioned to Kevin above, was finally replaced a couple of weeks ago after it was no longer compatible with my provider. (It was a free upgrade 8 years ago, 1 replacement screen and 2 batteries later. I think I got my moneys worth)

That video was one of those fluke, "that turned out pretty decent" videos.  Crossbucks with lights have since been added to the crossing right after the platform,it would have been nice to have had them for the video.

I could never get a handle on the "pulsing" of the autofocus which is horribly obvious in my lighted videos.

With the new phone. I'm hoping future videos, especially those with the lights on will look much better.

I only shoot the occasional video for fun to demonstrate or post on the forum, so investment in a "real" video camera never really seemed practical. Eric Siegel, and many others have a handle on "quality" video production.

BTW, In case you were interested. I still have that old phone, it works fine camera and all. You just can't make any calls.

Last edited by RickO

RickO',  that is a beautiful video'... Looks like a scene from a movie'. Excellent videography'... As others have asked, what equipment di you use.  And when you refer to a modern transformer, exactly what transformer do you mean?   

You guys are killin' me Ted. see my response to Will above, and be ready for the disappointment, LOL!

Of course, if you and Will would like to start a bidding war. I'll set my Samsung Galaxy S4 at a low starting bid of $.99

My transformer is a Lionel 180w powerhouse. It has one of the fastest acting breakers in the hobby.

Last edited by RickO

😁  I actually assumed it was cell phone camera'... It's amazing how these phone cameras have developed into their ability to shoot just about professional stills and videos.   

That is indeed a very nice transformer'..

I'm hoping my new Galaxy A71 will win me an Academy award

On a side note.

You can get a really nice cellphone holder from amazon that threads onto an old school tripod for $8.99 My tripod is 27 years old from back in the VHS camcorder days. ( it was free too, with the camcorder)

Last edited by RickO
@RickO posted:

You guys are killin' me Ted. see my response to Will above, and be ready for the disappointment, LOL!

Of course, if you and Will would like to start a bidding war. I'll set my Samsung Galaxy S4 at a low starting bid of $.99

My transformer is a Lionel 180w powerhouse. It has one of the fastest acting breakers in the hobby.

I'll open the bidding at $.99. I hope nobody snipes me.

Seriously, I had a **** of a time trying to shoot night video of my Christmas layout. I ended up getting a video app to be able to manually set the iso. It still wasn't great. Could it be your phone is so old, it doesn't have a high iso capability? I'm flummoxed.

@Rich Melvin He means he watches video on his mobile device which he prefers to keep vertical as I do mine. I completely agree, for a computer or TV, vertical video sucks. But there are a lot of young people who basically shoot and watch video on their phone exclusively. Let's face it, we are dinosaurs.

@Rich Melvin posted:

What does being a mobile user have to do with shooting vertical video?

I don’t care how you slice it, vertical video sucks.

I recently shot a vertical video but only because I needed more top to bottom vs. left to right. Had I shot it in horizontal mode, I would have had to zoom out further making the detail of what I was shooting smaller on the screen.  It's rare to need to this but sometimes necessary.

Otherwise I completely agree, widescreen all the way.

I think we have gotten a little off topic.

My layout is set up to be run by the handhelds.  The  switches can also be controlled from their buttons located near the switch on the side of the layout.  It is setup this way so I’m close to the action when switching the yards or an industry.  I really see no need for a centralized control panel on my layout.

By the way, my wife shoots vertical videos.  I’ve mentioned horizontal looks better, but she says it is easier to hold it vertical.

When I started getting into O gauge I was going to be conventional only, using the ZW-C's handles.  Then I got the VisionLine Big Boy (The BB always has been my favorite locomotive and I knew if I didn't get one I would regret it.) and figured I should get the Legacy command set to be able to use all the features.  First time I set up an O72 circle on my carpet and ran that BB with the Cab-2 I was blown away.  It had completely changed my expectations on what I can do running trains.  I love using the Cab remotes.  On that other hand, I hate LC remotes, just something about them I really don't like.  I got some for the kids to run but they don't even like them, they rather use the Cab remotes.  Since some of my newer Legacy locomotives also have Bluetooth I tried the app and controlling them that way.  I hated it.  if the locomotive got too far from my phone, it stops.  If I get the train going and turn off my phone it stops.  I can turn my Cab-2 off and the train just keep going.  A remote with buttons is easy to get the button you want.  A screen not so much, too easy to fat finger and get the wrong button.  And the slider for speed is so clunky.  To me I can still be very hands on with the remote.  All my turnouts are manual and there are no uncoulers in the yards, so having the remote makes hands on operation so much nicer.  I can be right there with the locomotive, spot it where I want and then uncouple or make sure the couplers locked.  I couldn't do that with a transformer handle.  My layout is wired to be able to run conventionally with the transformer handle, but I've actually haven't done it in a couple years, would rather control the track voltage with the Cab remote.

As for the side topic, I absolutely loathe vertical video.  But I also still buy and own physical media.  My phone is not my media consumption device of choice.  It's for phone calls, and the odd time I need to look something up when not near a bigger screen.  But sadly the modern world isn't like that anymore.

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