Lionchief+/Legacy

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I think that BT fits right in for the LC/LC+ line.  I don't even have an issue with it being included on new Legacy stuff.  I start to draw the line when they remove features that I currently have with the Legacy remote, why would I buy Legacy stuff if it was going to be run like LC stuff?   I also don't like the touch screen for all the control, that is harder to manipulate than having real keys and knobs.  I can easily run trains with one hand with the CAB1-L, but it's a whole lot harder with the smartphone.

With one hand, and without needing to look at the remote.  I want to watch the train while controlling if I can.  I can't do that with the phone.  

I think it's a no brainer for them to go this route for various reasons mentioned by others abovr, but I am not looking forward to it replacing the Legacy and dcs handhelds.  

pennsy484 posted:

With one hand, and without needing to look at the remote.  I want to watch the train while controlling if I can.  I can't do that with the phone.  

I think it's a no brainer for them to go this route for various reasons mentioned by others abovr, but I am not looking forward to it replacing the Legacy and dcs handhelds.  

I agree 100% but I know it's coming.

Marty Eibeck

 

Below the Signature...

"Join us on Friday October 19th at 7:45AM in the Orange Hall for the Legacy Users Group Meeting!"

John,

use a tablet, allot better then a smart phone plus I can see it better. I'm not getting any younger so I doubt my eyesight will get better, lol. 

Even a used tablet can be used that you can find on eBay, Amazon and the like. No need to put out allot of money for one. 

Dave

pennsy484 posted:

With one hand, and without needing to look at the remote. 

Last Christmas I ran an experiment on a member who had the same idea. He touted how he could run his trains one handed without looking at the remote.

So with his DCS remote in hand, we tied a paper bag around his upper arm. He did okay running one engine with the basic functions (Direction, bell, whistle). Other than that he was stumped and less than a minute later he wanted to look at his remote. The same test went much worse with the Cab-2.

We all look at the remote more than we'd like to admit. Long ago when Mike Wolf was showing off prototypes of of the WIU & App , I mentioned how cumbersome it was for him to interface with app using an 11" iPad, it was almost ridiculous as the device was just too big. Now when he downgraded to a smaller device, the operation looks more fluid. 

The issue with the remotes is one size fits all, if you don't like it, tough. With the apps you can pick any size of screen you want. Personally I've been using an old Motorola phone with a 4.5" screen and can pretty much run the basic functions of the apps without looking at the screen anymore.  The younger generation surprises me with how well they can text while barely looking at the screen.

It wouldn't be very hard to build an add on device to interface with a phone or tablet that would give the tactile feel of buttons to interact with the app. I have been working on one using an old Nintendo Wii remote but time constraints have limited my progress. Another option would be using a gaming pad specifically made for smart device like this one: Phone Game Controller

H1000

Loose-Caboose posted:
If Lionel had gone down the Bluetooth route to begin with I would have a different take on this issue. 

There are no current technologies I'm aware of that have started in their mature form without the need to evolve from earlier versions and technologies. Model train control systems are no different. Many Bluetooth-connected products exist that are relatively new, because Bluetooth technology is relatively new. There are countless things about which you can say "If they'd had then what they have now, I would have had a different view."

breezinup posted:

Many Bluetooth-connected products exist that are relatively new, because Bluetooth technology is relatively new.

I wouldn't call Bluetooth "relatively new". It's been around longer than the Legacy control system.

Check out the history: Bluetooth History

And its roots stem even further back than what that page has listed. Bluetooth became pretty common in the very early part of the 2000's. I suspect cost and other technology developments (Smart Phones) is why it wasn't implemented earlier.

H1000

I was just perusing the specs for the new MacBook and noticing that version 5.0 of the Bluetooth transport protocol is now available.  I wonder if any of the new  features will have any affect on the Lionchief App?  It would certainly be nice if they increased the specified distance of transmission.  But if I remember when the writers of the original spec wrote it, they were definitely opposed to competing with the established WiFi protocols.  I guess I will need to check the release notes for the new Spec.

Jim

 

Hauling Coal and Tourist to Sodus Point on the PRR-Elmira Branch

Loose-Caboose posted:

I was just perusing the specs for the new MacBook and noticing that version 5.0 of the Bluetooth transport protocol is now available.  I wonder if any of the new  features will have any affect on the Lionchief App?  It would certainly be nice if they increased the specified distance of transmission.  But if I remember when the writers of the original spec wrote it, they were definitely opposed to competing with the established WiFi protocols.  I guess I will need to check the release notes for the new Spec.

In response to my own question.  The version 5.0 spec now claims a distance of 1200 feet.  Yeah that is correct 1200 feet.  So much for lionchief only being good for small layouts.  That is if Lionel steps up to use the new version for it transport mechanism. I also began reading that other factors have been increased.  Can anyone spell W-O-W?

https://www.ibtimes.com/blueto...dard-matters-2383305

Jim

 

Hauling Coal and Tourist to Sodus Point on the PRR-Elmira Branch

H1000 posted:
breezinup posted:

Many Bluetooth-connected products exist that are relatively new, because Bluetooth technology is relatively new.

I wouldn't call Bluetooth "relatively new". It's been around longer than the Legacy control system.

 

Legacy has far more operational capabilities for O gauge than Bluetooth. Bluetooth is not a replacement.  Legacy was designed specifically for O gauge operations, with capability for complex operations. Also, the concept of integrating Bluetooth for simplified model train operation is relatively new. As far as a control system, the first IPhone with Bluetooth capability didn't appear until 2011, which was a very early version with limited capability. The latest version of Bluetooth just appeared in the past year or so. It is likely that early versions of Bluetooth did not have adequate capabilities, including range, to allow integration with model train operation.

I'm not sure the current version will work all that well on really large layouts.  I'll get a chance to test this if the H10 is not a loser and has to go back, I'll take it up to the NJ-HR at Trainstock and see if BT will follow it all around the layout.   The LC+ locomotive I took up last time ran out of range and was beeping in a tunnel until a ran around to get in range and woke it up again.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I'm not sure the current version will work all that well on really large layouts.  I'll get a chance to test this if the H10 is not a loser and has to go back, I'll take it up to the NJ-HR at Trainstock and see if BT will follow it all around the layout.   The LC+ locomotive I took up last time ran out of range and was beeping in a tunnel until a ran around to get in range and woke it up again.

GRJ,

The new spec is 1200 feet for transmission!  I think that would even have allowed Roadside America to use it to run their trains.  Of course that is if Roadside America still existed.

Jim

 

Hauling Coal and Tourist to Sodus Point on the PRR-Elmira Branch

First off, there's specifications and then there's the real world!  All the specifications are rated outdoors in a farmer's field with no obstructions and not electrical interference.  You'll see nothing like that in the real world.

If you have WiFi (who doesn't?), the range can be seriously impacted.  WiFi and BT both use the 2.4ghz frequency spectrum.  WiFi has the benefit of also having the 5.8ghz frequency to use when you use current devices.  Also, just the environment can have a huge effect.  For instance, I has to install a mesh network (Google WiFi) with four repeaters just to properly cover my 3,000 sq/ft condo!  Yes, there is a lot of WiFi around, however if I run with BT, there will still be a lot of WiFi around.  I started out trying to do it with three repeaters, but try as I might, I had dead spots that I had to add another unit to cover.

Now let's discuss the version of WiFi that they chose to install in the locomotives.  My guess is that it's not BT5, but rather one of the earlier versions, most likely BT4.  BT5 has only been around for a couple of years, and knowing how price sensitive Lionel is to what goes into the trains, I'd be very surprised if they're using BT5.

breezinup posted:
H1000 posted:
breezinup posted:

Many Bluetooth-connected products exist that are relatively new, because Bluetooth technology is relatively new.

I wouldn't call Bluetooth "relatively new". It's been around longer than the Legacy control system.

 

Legacy has far more operational capabilities for O gauge than Bluetooth. Bluetooth is not a replacement.  Legacy was designed specifically for O gauge operations, with capability for complex operations. Also, the concept of integrating Bluetooth for simplified model train operation is relatively new. As far as a control system, the first IPhone with Bluetooth capability didn't appear until 2011, which was a very early version with limited capability. The latest version of Bluetooth just appeared in the past year or so. It is likely that early versions of Bluetooth did not have adequate capabilities, including range, to allow integration with model train operation.

First things first, Bluetooth is not a control system, it is a wireless protocol used to transmit data to and from devices. Even the earliest versions of Bluetooth could easily transmit the data packets required to a tmcc base and send it out to the rails. It's just 1 & 0's, that's all.

In fact, I've used a Bluetooth serial port receiver plugged into a TMCC base to wirelessly send TMCC commands to engines and TMCC accessories from a Bluetooth equipped laptop. This concept is not new, in this case it was an experiment to see if it would work. And it did, back in 2009!  Again, Bluetooth is only the conduit used to send the needed data to and from devices.

Bluetooth is a universal communication standard used for Millions of devices. For example, We use Bluetooth equipped GPS receivers on our farm, not for guidance, but just for programming the receivers and entering unlock codes. Guidance is still handled by a good ol' wired serial port connection because Bluetooth is still too unreliable.

The only thing Bluetooth needs to do in the case of train control is send data packets back and forth, this could have been easily accomplish using the version 1.1. The problem is practical application for the technology, maybe a universal remote could have been made but as you pointed out smart phones didn't have Bluetooth until much later in life where the technology could really been taken advantage of.

Early versions of Bluetooth had good range. Bluetooth 2.1 would easily make 100 feet in an open area and about 30 feet indoors.

 

H1000

gunrunnerjohn posted:

First off, there's specifications and then there's the real world!  All the specifications are rated outdoors in a farmer's field with no obstructions and not electrical interference.  You'll see nothing like that in the real world.

If you have WiFi (who doesn't?), the range can be seriously impacted.  WiFi and BT both use the 2.4ghz frequency spectrum.  WiFi has the benefit of also having the 5.8ghz frequency to use when you use current devices.  Also, just the environment can have a huge effect.  For instance, I has to install a mesh network (Google WiFi) with four repeaters just to properly cover my 3,000 sq/ft condo!  Yes, there is a lot of WiFi around, however if I run with BT, there will still be a lot of WiFi around.  I started out trying to do it with three repeaters, but try as I might, I had dead spots that I had to add another unit to cover.

Now let's discuss the version of WiFi that they chose to install in the locomotives.  My guess is that it's not BT5, but rather one of the earlier versions, most likely BT4.  BT5 has only been around for a couple of years, and knowing how price sensitive Lionel is to what goes into the trains, I'd be very surprised if they're using BT5.

To add to your comments John,

There is also the issue of Backwards compatibility, currently Lionel is using all BT4 (mentioned on the forum in another thread) radios which will work with newer BT5 equipment but will be restricted to limits of BT4. This translates into much less than 1200 feet of range that BT5 claims.

Anything and everything made with Bluetooth radios are not known to have high quality antennas. After all, the idea is short range communication between nearby devices. Good antennas will make a huge difference in the quality and range of a connection.

H1000

Well, I didn't say I never have to look at the remote and implying that or even bringing it up is ridiculous.  But with the phone apps you have to look at the screen for everything because there is no tactile feedback, whereas you don't need to look at the remote for speed, direction, whistle, bell, i. e.  basic running   Put a bag over your phone and try to do the simplest function if you want to do that type of nonsense.

pennsy484 posted:

Well, I didn't say I never have to look at the remote and implying that or even bringing it up is ridiculous.  But with the phone apps you have to look at the screen for everything because there is no tactile feedback, whereas you don't need to look at the remote for speed, direction, whistle, bell, i. e.  basic running   Put a bag over your phone and try to do the simplest function if you want to do that type of nonsense.

Oh, you're right. I can only do the basic functions with my app without looking too, and that took some practice.One thing I like about apps vs. the remotes is the the ability to clearly state the purpose of functions and soft keys. No more trying to remember what this icon means or what that three letter abbreviation stands for.

Also, apps have the serious advantage of being software developed to work with very powerful hardware to back them. With that in mind, it wouldn't be very hard to implement voice commands. Apps are easily upgraded with new features because the hardware is no longer an issue.

H1000

H1000 posted:

Oh, you're right. I can only do the basic functions with my app without looking too, and that took some practice.One thing I like about apps vs. the remotes is the the ability to clearly state the purpose of functions and soft keys. No more trying to remember what this icon means or what that three letter abbreviation stands for.

 

If you have trouble remembering a few keys, you need to start taking brain supplements.

Here you go.   https://bebrainfit.com/choosing-memory-supplements/

H1000 posted:
pennsy484 posted:

Well, I didn't say I never have to look at the remote and implying that or even bringing it up is ridiculous.  But with the phone apps you have to look at the screen for everything because there is no tactile feedback, whereas you don't need to look at the remote for speed, direction, whistle, bell, i. e.  basic running   Put a bag over your phone and try to do the simplest function if you want to do that type of nonsense.

Oh, you're right. I can only do the basic functions with my app without looking too, and that took some practice.One thing I like about apps vs. the remotes is the the ability to clearly state the purpose of functions and soft keys. No more trying to remember what this icon means or what that three letter abbreviation stands for.

Also, apps have the serious advantage of being software developed to work with very powerful hardware to back them. With that in mind, it wouldn't be very hard to implement voice commands. Apps are easily upgraded with new features because the hardware is no longer an issue.

I'm calling bs on that one  you can't perform even basic functions with the app without looking at the screen.  😂

pennsy484 posted:
H1000 posted:
pennsy484 posted:

Well, I didn't say I never have to look at the remote and implying that or even bringing it up is ridiculous.  But with the phone apps you have to look at the screen for everything because there is no tactile feedback, whereas you don't need to look at the remote for speed, direction, whistle, bell, i. e.  basic running   Put a bag over your phone and try to do the simplest function if you want to do that type of nonsense.

Oh, you're right. I can only do the basic functions with my app without looking too, and that took some practice.One thing I like about apps vs. the remotes is the the ability to clearly state the purpose of functions and soft keys. No more trying to remember what this icon means or what that three letter abbreviation stands for.

Also, apps have the serious advantage of being software developed to work with very powerful hardware to back them. With that in mind, it wouldn't be very hard to implement voice commands. Apps are easily upgraded with new features because the hardware is no longer an issue.

I'm calling bs on that one  you can't perform even basic functions with the app without looking at the screen.  😂

My 15 year old niece can text one-handed with her phone behind her back in complete sentences and with perfect grammar (not that abbreviate teenage garbage).

It's not that hard to do, practice with your favorite device and you get use to it.

H1000

gunrunnerjohn posted:

If you have trouble remembering a few keys, you need to start taking brain supplements.

Here you go.   https://bebrainfit.com/choosing-memory-supplements/

 Now we're talking...I could use a ton of those!!    Now, where's the button to post this...

Speaking of BlueRail Trains.  Their previous product looks like a control board replacement with their own interface.  This is why I would want a BT module from Lionel that maintains the Legacy/TMCC/LC control systems. BlueRail hasn't had a product for a year or so.  Does anyone know more?  

Chris

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

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pennsy484 posted:

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

Bluetooth is not the app that actually runs the trains! Bluetooth is a transport protocol ONLY!  Blue Train 4, etc. are the apps that actually send the commands to the trains.  They can use any number of transport protocols i.e. Bluetooth, Wifi in all of it aberrations, wired or wireless and even the old venerable RS-232, 242, etc.

Jim

 

Hauling Coal and Tourist to Sodus Point on the PRR-Elmira Branch

pennsy484 posted:

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

I use this App for Fire TV as well.  Very easy to use, voice control works great.  Now there's an idea!  You would not need to look at the controller (iPhone or Cab) with Voice control!   "Engineer, Go to Limited Speed";  Magneta and Clyde would love it!  It's the system!

jon

-Trying to retire, haven't figured out how!

 

Loose-Caboose posted:
pennsy484 posted:

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

Bluetooth is not the app that actually runs the trains! Bluetooth is a transport protocol ONLY!  Blue Train 4, etc. are the apps that actually send the commands to the trains.  They can use any number of transport protocols i.e. Bluetooth, Wifi in all of it aberrations, wired or wireless and even the old venerable RS-232, 242, etc.

Yeah, no kidding. What's your point? 

pennsy484 posted:
Loose-Caboose posted:
pennsy484 posted:

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

Bluetooth is not the app that actually runs the trains! Bluetooth is a transport protocol ONLY!  Blue Train 4, etc. are the apps that actually send the commands to the trains.  They can use any number of transport protocols i.e. Bluetooth, Wifi in all of it aberrations, wired or wireless and even the old venerable RS-232, 242, etc.

Yeah, no kidding. What's your point? 

My point is that it is the various apps one runs on the phone, tablet, etc. that controls the trains.  What transport protocol you use to get the information to the Locomotive or whatever, boxcar, trackside animation device is superfluous to this conversation.  Use of the term Bluetooth to describe the Apps that run on the phones, tablets, etc. is misleading.

Jim

 

Hauling Coal and Tourist to Sodus Point on the PRR-Elmira Branch

Loose-Caboose posted:
pennsy484 posted:
Loose-Caboose posted:
pennsy484 posted:

One of the benefits of the Bluetooth control is that the interface on the phone apps should be much easier to make improvements on as time goes by.

Addressing the issue of needing to look at the screen for basic control, a possibility is something like the Amazon fire TV (or fire stick) app, which has a large pad in the middle. I could foresee something like this where you swipe up for a 1 smph increase, and down for a 1 smph decrease, double tap to change direction, or whatever.

Screenshot_20180919-184559_Fire TV

Bluetooth is not the app that actually runs the trains! Bluetooth is a transport protocol ONLY!  Blue Train 4, etc. are the apps that actually send the commands to the trains.  They can use any number of transport protocols i.e. Bluetooth, Wifi in all of it aberrations, wired or wireless and even the old venerable RS-232, 242, etc.

Yeah, no kidding. What's your point? 

My point is that it is the various apps one runs on the phone, tablet, etc. that controls the trains.  What transport protocol you use to get the information to the Locomotive or whatever, boxcar, trackside animation device is superfluous to this conversation.  Use of the term Bluetooth to describe the Apps that run on the phones, tablets, etc. is misleading.

Sorry if you got confused. Didn't think I needed to distinguish from all the trains with rs232 interfaces.

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