JohnGaltLine posted:
graz posted:

LC, LC+, now BT and non-BT. The continued splintering and factions of product levels is frustrating for the current user and confusing for the newbie.

I'm surprised that Lionel couldn't have had the foresight to build BT into the LC+ line from the beginning. That wasn't all that long ago. 

They currently seem to operate in a bit of a "just for today" sort of mode with a lack of regard for the eco system that already exists and where it's going in the future.

 

I think I covered this one pretty well earlier in the thread, but the bottom line is that reasonably low cost BLE modules only just started to come to market in 2014 (the year LC+ was introduced), and it wasn't until about a year ago that the super-low cost type with built-in microprocessors capable of replacing most of the electronics in a LionChief engine came around.  If I had to guess I would say that some time about a year or so ago, some engineer at Big L realized that it costs less now to use a single BLE module in LionChief than to use a radio module and separate microprocessor, and they could add more functionality while they were at it.  

As for the 'just for today' mode, nothing has changed by adding bluetooth, if you liked LC/LC+ just the way they were.  The bluetooth models still work exactly the same with the remote.  I find it quite refreshing to see a product line that keeps up with current developments in technology, rather than clinging to technology that was obsolete (but inexpensive and reasonably reliable for the time) before the first Cab1 or TIU ever came to market.  

One plus side of switching to BlueTooth, is actually backwards compatibility for the foreseeable future.  By using the world-wide industry standard for wireless communication, Lionel has insured that radios capable of using this system will be on the market for countless decades.  Thus whatever system they may switch to in the future, adding a bluetooth radio module for a couple extra pennies will always be an option, keeping these engines working under any new control technology that comes along.  

JGL

Thanks John,

I did indeed miss your earlier post. Good points well taken.

Mike

 

Martye, yes that's the one I saw at York circa 2000!

Seriously wish Lionel would consider building this.

Thanks, Phil

I wonder if there is any chance that something from the last catalog but still not delivered will have theBT tech even if not advertised.  I just pre ordered the Halloween mikado that is LC+.  It would be a nice treat if it came with the blue tooth tech already installed!

PHILA posted:

Martye, yes that's the one I saw at York circa 2000!

Seriously wish Lionel would consider building this.

Thanks, Phil

Yep.  I believe this was even "previewed" in a catalog but never produced.  I would have bought one.  Oh well.

Now that Lionel is coming out with BT enabled LC+ locomotives with features such as RailSounds, dual motors, electro-couplers, constant speed control, etc.,  is there any significant advantage to buying the higher price point Legacy/LCS systems and Legacy locomotives that justifies the price differential ? 

   

Richie C. posted:

Now that Lionel is coming out with BT enabled LC+ locomotives with features such as RailSounds, dual motors, electro-couplers, constant speed control, etc.,  is there any significant advantage to buying the higher price point Legacy/LCS systems and Legacy locomotives that justifies the price differential ? 

   

Yes. 

jhz563 posted:

I wonder if there is any chance that something from the last catalog but still not delivered will have theBT tech even if not advertised.  I just pre ordered the Halloween mikado that is LC+.  It would be a nice treat if it came with the blue tooth tech already installed!

 

The recent catalog shows the Halloween mikado with the Bluetooth symbol, which leads me to think that all of the locomotives with that product number will have it including from the previous catalog if that is the same. 

Richie C. posted:

Now that Lionel is coming out with BT enabled LC+ locomotives with features such as RailSounds, dual motors, electro-couplers, constant speed control, etc.,  is there any significant advantage to buying the higher price point Legacy/LCS systems and Legacy locomotives that justifies the price differential ? 

   

Honestly, it all depends on what legacy features you use.  Over all, MartyE's "Yes." is rather accurate in my opinion, however if you are not taking advantage of the features of Legacy, or even of original TMCC enough to contrast the differences, I'm unsure I can help.  

If you want a pretty good quality engine that maintains a constant speed and has pretty good low speed control, maybe some remote couplers and satisfactory quality sounds, then LionChief+ is a great choice.  While I firmly stand behind the statement that the underlying technology used in LionChief/LionChief+ is vastly superior to that found in Legacy/TMCC/DCS, it is the implementation of the technology that makes the difference.  LionChief was handcuffed by the simplistic remote, only time will tell if the bluetooth connection will be used to propel LC to it's full potential.  

Legacy, and other such systems give you control of your entire layout and dozens or hundreds of options for each locomotive you have. Legacy especially is designed in such a way that with a simple software update there is no piece of equipment that it should not be able to control.  Now, LionChief, even with the advanced features offered by the Bluetooth App (Which are nice features to have been added),  is still not even giving you the functionality offered in first generation TMCC engines sold more that 20 years ago.  

There are pluses and minuses to each product line.  For me, the original TMCC/cab1 is more than enough to control layout operations, with some assistance from a computer connected to it, and I can actually afford a brand new LionChief/+ engine once in a while.  For the folks that can afford the premium on Legacy products, I recommend them over LC+ at this time.  If you're somewhere in the middle financially, my best suggestion is just to buy what you like, and understand what the pros and cons of each are.  

JGL

According to Ryan Kunkle, one of the substantive differences between Legacy and LC+ is the quality and locomotive specificity of the sounds.  With Legacy you are paying  $100-200 more for the sounds and the additional functionality for the loco features, the ability to interact with the LCS/wi-fi, location hardware and software, layout/track/accessory controls, and such.  No doubt LC+ technically could be made to accomodate some of these features, but I wouldn't hold my breath just now.

JI can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to control a toy train with their smartphone. The idea seems nuts to me. I'm attached to the darn (I didn't really want to say "darn") phone enough throughout the day as it is. Why on earth would I want to continue the agony during the quiet of the evening or relaxing times on the weekend?  It seems too much like work to me. The LC+ hand controller is just fine for me, thank you just the same.

xrayvizhen posted:

JI can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to control a toy train with their smartphone. The idea seems nuts to me. I'm attached to the darn (I didn't really want to say "darn") phone enough throughout the day as it is. Why on earth would I want to continue the agony during the quiet of the evening or relaxing times on the weekend?  It seems too much like work to me. The LC+ hand controller is just fine for me, thank you just the same.

I hear you and I was of that mindset.  I started using the phone with app with DCC and got used to it pretty fast.  It became one less thing to remember when going to a to a session.  Many of the "members of my generation" were hesitant but most have now started using them.  Its funny now because that is one of the things I hear most at the club "Is the the wifi up yet?"

Brendan

Let me be clear - I got back into the hobby after decades off and quickly upgraded to the Legacy system and use and enjoy it immensely and certainly it has many features such as layout control which LC+ does not. However, I do not use Legacy for that purpose and I suspect the majority of Legacy users do not. I am perfectly content throwing my own remote switches and accessories, not to mention that those features require additional modules and equipment at an additional cost. And let me also be clear that this is not a situation where I cannot afford those additional features.

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of Legacy/DCS users bought their system for three reasons - outstanding detailing; exceptional prototypical sound; and amazing low speed operation - features that were never available before in one package.

Now, it seems the new LC+ engines provide nearly the same three features at a much lower price point, plus adding BT - which is an additional cost add-on with Legacy.

There are a lot of well established and longstanding train enthusiasts on this forum for whom nothing but the best will do and that may be Legacy and that's fine. There's always room for high-end users for whom cost is no object. My issue is that the average enthusiast, who simply wanted a better train system and upgraded to Legacy, is now stuck with a system where loco's cost $200-$300 more than LC+ while LC+ now delivers 95% of what they wanted in the first place, plus adds BT.

Before, there was really no middle ground - you had to go to Legacy to get the kind of performance you wanted.  By introducing an upgraded LC+ with those three features, Lionel has established a new, higher middle ground, but at the expense of the average Legacy user who is now stuck with continuing to pay $200-$300 more per Legacy engine or buy into the new LC+ format and juggle more remotes.

Personally, if I had known 6 or 7 months ago that Lionel was coming out with these new LC+ engines w/railsounds, constant low speed performance, new detailing and BT, I would have foregone the Legacy system and just waited. 

   

 

 

 

I'm confused by the hostility of some folks toward the Bluetooth app.  It would be understandable if Lionel had said "Starting this year we are no longer including remotes and you MUST use a smart device to run your trains."  No such thing was ever said however.  If you like the way LionChief has worked since it came out, nothing has changed and you still get exactly the same functionality out of your engines as you ever have with the system.  On the other hand, if you would like some additional features you have the option now of using your smart device to operate your LC engine and access additional features that up until now were not available in the product line.   

To me this app provides the best options for all camps of users, as it allows the LionChief remote to remain exactly the same and as simple to use as ever while allowing users who want more features a way to access them and take more advantage of the electronics package used in these engines.  I don't see the down side.  


As to the overlapping of product lines,  I understand that LC+ could be seen as a real competitor now for low end Legacy engines.  However I think the additional functions offered in Legacy still make it a better over all product.  It has been my opinion for a while now that LionChief/+ engines were intentionally handcuffed in functionality to keep them from competing with higher priced products.  That said, the LionChief Plus products do now offer many of the essential functions that were appealing in Legacy and helped propel that system.  I don't really see this as a problem, however, but instead see it as a good thing.  We now have relatively inexpensive engines that provide really outstanding control compared to the conventional engines they are replacing, and at the same time we have Legacy engines that are offering more details and product features than ever before.  

It is worth pointing out that RailSounds-RC and RailSounds as used in Legacy are two entirely different things.  While there are some quirks with Legacy's version, for the most part each engine has unique and proper sounds for that model and astonishingly clear sound reproduction.  RailSounds RC on the other hand is pretty much a cheap mp3 player with two or three voices.  I'm not knocking it for what it is compared to previous low end products, but compared to new Legacy products it is nothing to write home about.

Over all, again I'd say, if you are not taking advantage of half the functions offered by the original TMCC system, Legacy may not be what you need, and LC+ is probably going to do the job for you.  Where some see a problem, I see low end products becoming better while at the same time high end products are also becoming better. When the low end product meets all your needs, it is probably the right choice.  

JGL

Edit:  For what it's worth the core features of the LC+ line are identical to what they were when the product line was introduced in 2014.  The BlueTooth app adds some functions, but nothing that most users can't live without.  Certainly 6 or 7 months ago one could have seen a product line very similar to the one we see today that offered a number of fairly well detailed models, and one could also expect to see some new model in each new catalog.  I'm personally hoping for a GG1 in 2018, and am very happy to see the berkshires this year.  

Last edited by JohnGaltLine

My 1st train set I got in the late 80's from my parents for Christmas. It was a dc 2-4-0 027 steam freight set. I just got back into the hobby at 32 years old and I'm sold on Lionchief plus. My 2nd, 3rd and 4th locomotives have all been LC+. They are at a perfect price/performance point for a younger guy with a wife and kids.

My next loco was going to be a LC+ 0-4-0 A5 because it reminds me of my first little dc 027 2-4-0, but the new Bluetooth options have me wondering if I should wait.

Last edited by SuperChiefer84

I think another advantage of the BT app, is that the app can be updated/upgraded by Lionel and therefore is relatively flexible in its design and function.

I could see BT controlled accessories such as a gantry crane with a corresponding app (or page within the current app). 

Or even a Bluetooth controlled relay module to control switches and accessories similar to an ASC. 

I think there is a lot of potential in  a controller that can be modified with a software update without having to manufacture and buy a new remote. 

JD

SGP posted:
jhz563 posted:

I wonder if there is any chance that something from the last catalog but still not delivered will have theBT tech even if not advertised.  I just pre ordered the Halloween mikado that is LC+.  It would be a nice treat if it came with the blue tooth tech already installed!

 

The recent catalog shows the Halloween mikado with the Bluetooth symbol, which leads me to think that all of the locomotives with that product number will have it including from the previous catalog if that is the same. 

Thank you for that, I actually didn't notice the BT symbol on this one!  In the previous catalog it wasn't mentioned obviously. It is the same product number, so maybe everything being delivered this year will be upgraded.

Dtrainmaster posted:

Just to clarify, 2.4 GHz is from the Legacy remote to the base; it's 455 KHz from the base to the engines.

Dave

If the legacy remote communicates at 2.4 ghz to the base, and the LC/+ locos receive a 2.4ghz signal (via the remote or Bluetooth), isn't it fairly simple for Lionel to have the legacy remote control a LC/+ loco?

JD

JD2035RR posted:
Dtrainmaster posted:

Just to clarify, 2.4 GHz is from the Legacy remote to the base; it's 455 KHz from the base to the engines.

Dave

If the legacy remote communicates at 2.4 ghz to the base, and the LC/+ locos receive a 2.4ghz signal (via the remote or Bluetooth), isn't it fairly simple for Lionel to have the legacy remote control a LC/+ loco?

JD

In theory, yes, had the legacy remote been designed to do such a thing in the first place.  To the best of my understanding, however, the physical hardware in the cab2 remote uses an entirely different protocol to communicate than LionChief does. Think of it as if the two remotes speak two entirely different languages.  In addition, it is my understanding that the heavy lifting in the Legacy system is done by the base with the remote simply sending and receiving input and output data, ex. the remote acts like the keyboard and monitor on a desktop computer, and all the brains are in the tower.  

I would find it much more likely that any future product that allows control of both Legacy and LionChief engines would be an extension of the iCab app, which could control Legacy over the Wifi connection and LionChief over Bluetooth.  On the other hand,  a simple hardware bridge could also be made as an add on to Legacy/LCS that would control LC/+ engines by making Legacy think they are TMCC/Legacy engines.  Either option is much simpler than fundamentally changing the communication protocol used between the cab2 and base.  

JGL

John, thanks for the explanation. I was trying to find your thread where you bridged a tmcc remote to control a LC engine.  I'm trying to understand the basics of how that worked. Can you provide a link?

Thanks,

JD

I think you're right, John. Lionel is responding to consumer demand for people wanting to buy Lionel trains with non-conventional operation and they developed an upscale brand that fills the gap between LC starter sets and Legacy plus the additional demand for people who have grown up with iPads and Wi-Fi technology and wanted BT capability and they came up with this new LC+ BT line of trains.

I may be mistaken, but I believe this new line of LC+ engines is superior to the previous line-up of LC+ engines in that the BT app allows for momentum settings, dedicated coupler buttons, individual sound volume for whistle, bell, speech and background sounds, custom pitch settings for bell and whistle, speed limit setting and remote smoke on/off, which I don't think were all available with the original LC+ line ?

I just think there are an awful lot of people out there who wish this line-up had come out before they invested in a Legacy system because now they're caught between having to continue to invest in that system at higher price points or buying into the new LC+ BT system. 

I'm sure I'll probably pick up one of the new LC+ BT engines to compare the two systems, but I would be satisfied if Lionel comes out with a protocol that allows at least partial/limited control of Legacy through the LC+ BT app and if the LC+ BT app allows operation of multiple engines.

   

 

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