LionChief app vs. iCab app

I have a question regarding the use of the two apps and am curious as to your views as where the iCab app is headed (or not headed).  

Some background.  I have probably around 15-20 Legacy or TMCC (Atlas primarily) engines, and an equal number of MTH DCS 2.0 or 3.0 engines.  I will have one maybe two or three Legacy engines that are bluetooth equipped.  From a comparison perspective the MTH Wi-Fi is great, I love it.  The app is updated on a regular basis, and basically eliminated the use of the remote control.

If I look at Lionel and the TMCC/Odyssey/Legacy engines - you have a lot of engines that do not have bluetooth.

One of the challenges I have with the Cab2 remote is the effective range of the antenna.  I have boosted the antenna but I still find I have several spots on my layout that if I am standing, the Cab2 and base don't communicate (OK easy answer don't stand there - got it) because of walls etc.

I like the iCab app but I don't love it.  It seems to work in the basic functions on the phone, but the iPad version seems at best primitive, unless you are looking to build a layout.  I want to be able to run my trains from the iPad.  Around my layout I have basic iPad stands / holders such that I don't have to hold the iPad as I enjoy the trains.

Since I don't have any bluetooth engines yet, I am curious as to what others are doing, as I can't be in that unique of a position, can I?

Regarding the iCab app, the last update was a year ago, while LionChief much more frequent.

Does Lionel have plans to make the LionChief their app to run all their engines?  It could be a pay app, like the MTH one is.  While the basic MTH is free, the $25 is money well spent.  I would think Lionel could follow suit in this.  Any announcements?

John

Oak, Black Lab, Constant Companion, 12-4-1994 to 12-18-2006 TCA 03-55425
Original Post

I didn't hear back on this and I have a new question - which may be a dumb one, but for you guys that have larger layouts, how do you use the bluetooth app???  I have the good fortune of having a larger layout but I was finding that the app and the engine would lose connection, and stop.  Am I doing something wrong?

John

Oak, Black Lab, Constant Companion, 12-4-1994 to 12-18-2006 TCA 03-55425

John, my layout is 10'9" x 20'4" and I don't have a problem with the LionChief app when I use it. If I go about 10 or 20 feet outside of my train room I lose contact with the locomotive. If I use the Universal Remote the range is better. I don't think the app has very good range so I don't think you are doing anything wrong, but this is just based on my experience. 

Joe B.

 

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

Joe,

Thanks!!  My issue is mine layout runs through various walls and rooms when it does, my distance from room to room increases as the train moves down the track due to where the various doors are.

John 

Oak, Black Lab, Constant Companion, 12-4-1994 to 12-18-2006 TCA 03-55425

Lionel must have chosen to use one of the intermediate range bluetooth signal levels. With BlueRail's bluetooth setup, I consistently get over 100 feet operating distance. My understanding is that the bluetooth operating range is related to the size of the bluetooth transceiver which is part of the loco mounted decoder.

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