How many engines may be operated at the same time with Lionel Bluetooth?  In other words,  can I start one engine and then address another and start the second train. Secondly, how many engines can be stored on the Bluetooth app ?

Original Post

I think you can only have one engine at a time connected to your device. If you drop it, and don't have a cab-1 or cab-2 or DCS controller addressing it (which you can have both simultaneously), it should stop. You can have multiple devices if you want.

I'm not sure if there is a limit as to how many engines Bluetooth can recognize. I have nine at the moment, but I only tried the app on the first three. Actually, it was my wife who ran them with her phone. I stick to the old cab-1's. 

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I'm pretty sure Big Boy is right. You can control only one loco at a time per device but you can control as many locos as devices. If you had 200 smart phones and tablets each could control a locomotive all at the same time.

Joe B.

 

President Emeritus of the Olde Newburgh Model Railroad Club, now retired and living the dream in Florida.

There is no reasonable technical limit to the number of bluetooth engines that can be operated simultaneously from a single smart device. I have done four with my BlueRail engines. Lionel chose by design to limit single device bluetooth operation to one loco at a time. This, of course, could be subject to change.

SandJam posted:

You can control 3 from the Universal remote at same time.

 

I thought that was only for Lion Chief in all its variations, not Bluetooth.

"I thought that was only for Lion Chief in all its variations, not Bluetooth."

I believe the Universal Remote works seamlessly amongst LionChief and Bluetooth, so three engines would be individually programmable, whether they are Bluetooth, LionChief or both.   I have not tested this however.  Bluetooth can be utilized from their app and a smart device as well.

When we refer to bluetooth operation, this also generally means using an app on a smart device to control the engine.  The Lionel bluetooth app will only control one engine. The app could be reconfigured to handle more and provide multiple operation like that of the universal controller. I have found that multiple engine control on a smart device app is very nice.

BOB WALKER posted:

When we refer to bluetooth operation, this also generally means using an app on a smart device to control the engine.  The Lionel bluetooth app will only control one engine. The app could be reconfigured to handle more and provide multiple operation like that of the universal controller. I have found that multiple engine control on a smart device app is very nice.

Bluerail system, or modded software?

And before hopes jump too high, BR likely isn't at all Lionel compatible outside of a total electrical swap, correct?

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Adriatic posted:
BOB WALKER posted:

When we refer to bluetooth operation, this also generally means using an app on a smart device to control the engine.  The Lionel bluetooth app will only control one engine. The app could be reconfigured to handle more and provide multiple operation like that of the universal controller. I have found that multiple engine control on a smart device app is very nice.

Bluerail system, or modded software?

And before hopes jump too high, BR likely isn't at all Lionel compatible outside of a total electrical swap, correct?

Correct, You'll need to swap boards. Bluetooth doesn't make everything universally compatible. The Bluerail & LC control systems are proprietary and not compatible with each other.

H1000

BOB WALKER posted:

There is no reasonable technical limit to the number of bluetooth engines that can be operated simultaneously from a single smart device. I have done four with my BlueRail engines. Lionel chose by design to limit single device bluetooth operation to one loco at a time. This, of course, could be subject to change.

This isn't exactly true.  Because BlueTooth is a point to point standard, your phone actually has to open and close connections with each engine in a cycle.  Typical low cost BLE chips shouldn't have much trouble talking to a dozen engines, but if you want to connect to a bluetooth speaker at the same time,  you might have a problem.  In the end it depends on the processing power of your device and the quality of the bluetooth transceiver it has.  There will also be some practical limit in how many engines can be run based on the time it takes to cycle through connections.  At some point it will take too long to run down the list before needing to check back with the first engine.  

Bluetooth is an amazing protocol, but it's not actually a good one for talking to many things at once.  Wifi, xbee, and zwave are all better suited... they just have the down side that your phone doesn't know how to speak on them.  

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

Several of my BlueRail equipped engines also have an on-board bluetooth speaker which connects with the BlueRail app where the sounds are stored.  I have never experienced any difficulty connecting with the main decoder board and the speaker decoder simultaneously with several engines running at the same time. Can't say for sure what the ultimate breaking point would be, but it's probably higher than any sensible number of engines to run simultaneously, so don't see any fundamental weakness in bluetooth for most train control applications.

BOB WALKER posted:

Several of my BlueRail equipped engines also have an on-board bluetooth speaker which connects with the BlueRail app where the sounds are stored.  I have never experienced any difficulty connecting with the main decoder board and the speaker decoder simultaneously with several engines running at the same time. Can't say for sure what the ultimate breaking point would be, but it's probably higher than any sensible number of engines to run simultaneously, so don't see any fundamental weakness in bluetooth for most train control applications.

The Bluetooth speaker option will only work with one engine. If you run more than one, you can only pick sound for one Bluerail engine at a time. Bluetooth isn't capable of streaming multiple audio streams to multiple specific destinations from one device.

The general rule with Bluetooth is that you can pair as many devices to a master device like a phone or tablet but you can only interface and communicate with seven at the same time.  Using a brand new laptop, I tested this theory and seven was the limit. By the time device number eight was activated, other Bluetooth devices stopped working. 

Train control apps are not your limitation, the way the Bluetooth stack is written and the way the 802.15 protocol operates will be what holds you back.

H1000

Sort of my point with sending to many devices.  The bluetooth standard requires that you stop talking to one device, go through the handshaking procedure with the next device, send the information to that device, then disconnect from it before moving to the next one.  the process of connecting and disconnecting actually takes much more processing power/time than the information needed to run the engines.  When you mix in an audio stream it won't hurt that one stream to break data flow for a couple hundred microseconds to send out data to the engines, but to put it in perspective the amount of data that needs to be send for a mid-grade quality audio stream is 20 times the total capacity of the TMCC/Legacy system if it sent as much data as it possibly could.  You can sneak a few train commands in there with little trouble.  The problem comes in when you account for the overhead of the bluetooth protocol its self.  By the time connections can be opened and closed, you get a practical limit of about 7 devices that can operate without one of them interfering with any of the others.  You could probably force about twice that many to work if they don't need much bandwidth.  

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

Unless you are running a series of MUs. On my small layout 5 to 7 engines operating at one time is a regular occurrence. On my larger portable and stationary layouts I've easily run anywhere from 6 to 8 consists running at one time with up to 16 powered units all needing command control.

Juggling that many trains with Legacy & DCS is pretty easy... almost mind numbing.

H1000

Landsteiner posted:

Try juggling 7 balls.  You cannot do it.  So I'd venture the guess that 7 objects under active control is more than any mortal is capable of dealing with successfully .

House rule at my place is, one train per person at a time. Anything else can get risky, because my track plan doesn't have multiple loops, but rather a very long single mainline, with sidings. I can't just set the trains on autopilot and let them run.

Big_Boy_4005 posted:

House rule at my place is, one train per person at a time. Anything else can get risky, because my track plan doesn't have multiple loops, but rather a very long single mainline, with sidings. I can't just set the trains on autopilot and let them run.

Chicken!   We run two trains on each of the two mainlines for modular shows, typically that's only 120-180 feet of track, depending on how much space we have.

I'm with GRJ, Running multiple trains on the same main line is breeze especially with all of the technology at our disposal. On my "Fair" layout, there are 3 main lines, the center main has just over 100 feet of track and I run three consists without any worries. This is especially easy with the DCS "All Engines" command. Tell everything to start at 30 SMPH, sit back and hope the repetitive steam chuff doesn't put you to sleep.

The outside main line will run at least three and no more than six consists at one time (depending on the length of the consist), many times with multiple engines. Again, technology makes this an easy one man show.

H1000

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Big_Boy_4005 posted:

House rule at my place is, one train per person at a time. Anything else can get risky, because my track plan doesn't have multiple loops, but rather a very long single mainline, with sidings. I can't just set the trains on autopilot and let them run.

Chicken!   We run two trains on each of the two mainlines for modular shows, typically that's only 120-180 feet of track, depending on how much space we have.

Yeah John, I'm a bit of a chicken, with engines costing what they do. My guess is the modular layout is flat, no grades. You also have the advantage of many eyes and full visibility from any point.

My layout winds around three peninsulas, then climbs or descends between three levels through hidden trackage. There are also turnouts that must be thrown to complete a loop. It takes my full attention to do that. If I'm alone, it's one train at a time, period.

Even with that rule, I've had disasters. I'm doing my best to correct the causes of those problems, but I always manage to find new ones. I had to do some track repair last Saturday when I tried running a new SD-45 counterclockwise around the upper deck. It exposed a rail misalignment at an electrical gap, which was causing engine derailments.

Last year, I managed to fry one of my favorite Atlas engines, in a nasty derailment, when I wasn't keeping the locomotive in sight as it rounded the end of peninsula two. I had forgotten some items on the track, as I was trying to do a test lap, then THUD and a lot of smoke (not the good kind). I'm still afraid to open that thing up to inspect the damage. I suspect I burned the insulation off a bunch of wires inside, before the breaker tripped.

Now back in the day, at enterTRAINment, and with my modular portable layout, I ran multiple trains on a wide variety of loop style track plans no problem. MPC engines were fairly cheap back then. Now new scale cars can cost what some of those engines did. 

For the layout tour this Saturday, I'll have Patrick and my son running trains, leaving me free to chat with guests. Just two trains. If it isn't too busy maybe I could run a third. That would be a new milestone for the layout. The easiest way to add that third train would be to run two on the upper deck in the same direction following.

H1000 posted:

I'm with GRJ, Running multiple trains on the same main line is breeze especially with all of the technology at our disposal. On my "Fair" layout, there are 3 main lines, the center main has just over 100 feet of track and I run three consists without any worries. This is especially easy with the DCS "All Engines" command. Tell everything to start at 30 SMPH, sit back and hope the repetitive steam chuff doesn't put you to sleep.

The outside main line will run at least three and no more than six consists at one time (depending on the length of the consist), many times with multiple engines. Again, technology makes this an easy one man show.

I don't have DCS and never will, for multiple reasons. My personal boycott goes back to its initial release. I run 100% TMCC, not even Legacy and conventional isn't possible on my layout either. I only have one mainline, though much of it is double track, there are deliberate bottlenecks. The layout is designed for operation, not running, however I can do a display mode with two trains and two people. 

Another house rule, one powered unit per train, and no train over 15 cars. A true "ruling grade" and siding length situation. Just like a real railroad.

I hear you Elliot, I run high action layouts for kids to see lots of things running which mostly consist of cheaper non-scale engines running up and down steeper than normal grades. The kids love it, I'm sure the prototypical guys grin and say "that's cute."

At the end of the day your tag line says it all: In this hobby there is no right answer, except what makes you happy.

H1000

H1000 posted:

I hear you Elliot, I run high action layouts for kids to see lots of things running which mostly consist of cheaper non-scale engines running up and down steeper than normal grades. The kids love it, I'm sure the prototypical guys grin and say "that's cute."

At the end of the day your tag line says it all: In this hobby there is no right answer, except what makes you happy.

That was what enterTRAINment was, a public display layout at Mall of America. It had 9 independent loops, with all kinds of multiple trains running on each. It also had just about every postwar accessory ever made, and a number of home made animations. There was one loop that had 5 trains, running 2 at a time, in opposite directions, and passing each other on the far side of the loop.

My current layout is totally different, and is akin to what serious two railers design. Yeah, that's why I have that tag line.

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