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While the two way communication sounds neat, it seems to be limited in its functionality.  Hopefully that will change in time and it will greatly expand what Lionel can do.  I am still satisfied to keep my Cab2 and wait until the Cab3 comes out to see what it offers.  I am still not thrilled about using my phone to control trains.  I prefer a dedicated remote.  The most important reason is... the phone can interrupt the app if you receive a phone call.  Text messages can also cause issues.  You can try and see this very problem right now.  Connect the Lionel app to a loc using blue tooth.  While controlling the train, have someone call your phone.  See how it interrupts the app.   The phone app needs the user to answer or decline the phone call.  That can cause a problem if you were in the middle of sending  a command.  I do not intend to buy a dedicated smart phone just to run trains, might as well buy a dedicated remote.  This may not be an issue to some, and I hope the Cab 3 works well.  If Lionel comes out with a new dedicated remote, i would probably buy it.  For now, I will enjoy reading the users who get it and talk about its features.

Last edited by Joe Fermani

I don't know if I ever will need 4 digit addressing, given how small my collection ever will be, but it is nice to have that. I like the idea of the two way communication for future engines. The fact that this is delayed until next year and MTH stuff is an unknown as to when it will show up, my decision to wire my layout for conventional block control with an eye towards adding Cab3 and DC later, sounds like a sound one at this point.

@Joe Fermani posted:

Connect the Lionel app to a loc using blue tooth.  While controlling the train, have someone call your phone.  See how it interrupts the app.   The phone app needs the user to answer or decline the phone call.  That can cause a problem if you were in the middle of sending  a command.  I do not intend to buy a dedicated smart phone just to run trains, might as well buy a dedicated remote.

Fone Foamers around here will emphasize that a spare old smartphone without telephone service is very inexpensive compared to a handheld remote of late, and that reusing a phone instead of throwing it in the trash is very trendy.  This doesn't appeal to you?

There are many good things to use a smartphone for, even an old one.  Controlling anything that moves is not one of them however.

Why does a real-world remote controller for 1:1 scale railroading look like this:

  and not this?:

Mike

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Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

Mike, what's that supposed to mean? Are you trying to be rude?

No not at all.  I'm sorry if it's taken that way.

It's a straight-forward technical ergonomics  question.

There is a reason that real-world railroaders don't use phones to control switching moves from the ground, even though it's technically possible.  Getting the desired action from a dedicated controller is much more guaranteed, hence safer.

Granted, millions of dollars in locomotives, equipment, cargo or bulk, and people's lives, deserve more attention than their scale equivalents.  And precise control is definitely safety critical at 1:1 scale when it's probably not at 1:48.

However isn't a layout with $1,200 locomotives also at significant risk, at a smaller scale, to the equipment owner if the operator can't avoid a wreck because a phone is a clumsy controller in emergency situations?

Mike

@Lou1985 posted:

So the Base 3 will finally do what DCS has done for 20 years? Cool.

So the Base 3 will finally do what DCS has done (badly) for 20 years? - there, fixed for you.

To be fair, I will point out that the 2-way communications protocol has been a known source of difficulties for DCS since its introduction.  And I think Legacy also had some issues with this initially.

It will be interesting to see how this feature actually works in practice.  Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

George

@G3750 posted:

So the Base 3 will finally do what DCS has done (badly) for 20 years? - there, fixed for you.

To be fair, I will point out that the 2-way communications protocol has been a known source of difficulties for DCS since its introduction.  And I think Legacy also had some issues with this initially.

It will be interesting to see how this feature actually works in practice.  Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

George

I've had 0 issue with DCS or TMCC/Legacy. There are many advantages to two way communication, such as:

Being able to load sound files to a locomotive without having to send the board back to the manufacturer.

Being able to upload the correct software to the boards in a locomotive if there is an issue without having to send the board back to the manufacturer.

Being able to get run time readouts from the locomotive (mileage, hours of operation, etc).

Being able to read the locomotive on the track and have it's information populate in the remote.

Legacy has never had 2 way communication, the Base 3 and new locomotive electronics from these past two catalogs and on will be the first to have 2 way communication. So far it looks like run time and remote population will be a feature of new Lionel locomotives with the Base 3. As of now the ability to change locomotive sound files and software is still locked. That's a HUGE disadvantage vs DCS or DCC, and something Lionel should consider addressing.

Last edited by Lou1985
@MartyE posted:

On last evenings Demos with Dave, Dave demo'd the new Class A.  This looks to be an exciting new engine from all new tooling.

He also mentioned with the new 4 digit addressing comes 2 way communication.  The engine will provide the parameters back to the Base 3 Cab3 App to present a picture of the engine based on SKU# (internet connection need to pull from Lionel), real time fuel / water levels, name and road number without a sensor track!

I for one am really getting excited to see what else can be done with this.  Dave showed some of the Cab3 app features as well but will do a dedicated Cab3 App show later.  Looks like we'll have to wait until next year to get the Base 3 and App as Dave said he wants it to be delivered without issues.

I latched on to one item that Marty mentioned and that was "without a sensor track".  Well, there's a decade of engines out there with IR and I hope 2-way communication isn't motivation to abandon that group of customer's that made that investment.  I see IRV2 discontinued and I suspect the worst.  I hope I'm wrong and Lionel continues to support/produce sensor track going forward.  I'm not a FasTrac customer and really loved the IRV2.

I think it would be cool if I could use the CAB-3 app to scan my yard and auto-populate a quick roster of available engines to run. It could use the camera to pick out cab numbers or Bluetooth to pick up newer Legacy engines and present me with a set of engines to run.

Might be cool if it could say “I see an engine that hasn’t been added to the Base yet, would you like to add it now?”


I wonder if Lionel could come up with some type of RF tags you could place on or near accessories that the app can interact with. Maybe that’s been discussed already?

@LionelAG posted:

I latched on to one item that Marty mentioned and that was "without a sensor track".  Well, there's a decade of engines out there with IR and I hope 2-way communication isn't motivation to abandon that group of customer's that made that investment.  I see IRV2 discontinued and I suspect the worst.  I hope I'm wrong and Lionel continues to support/produce sensor track going forward.  I'm not a FasTrac customer and really loved the IRV2.

I was pretty disappointed to see them discontinue the IRV2.  One does have to wonder how well the LCS line will survive in the long term.

I watched the video, and I'm pretty excited. Not that I wasn't before, but I'm much more excited now for the Base-3 and Cab-3. I already have an old I-phone that I will use to operate my trains. Plus, the Cab-3/Base-3 combo will work with all my current Legacy locos, Vision Reefers, and Powermaster. Hopefully Lionel will put the 4-digit addressing feature in all the new locos in the next year or so.

@MartyE posted:

On last evenings Demos with Dave, Dave demo'd the new Class A.  This looks to be an exciting new engine from all new tooling.

He also mentioned with the new 4 digit addressing comes 2 way communication.  The engine will provide the parameters back to the Base 3 Cab3 App to present a picture of the engine based on SKU# (internet connection need to pull from Lionel), real time fuel / water levels, name and road number without a sensor track!

I for one am really getting excited to see what else can be done with this.  Dave showed some of the Cab3 app features as well but will do a dedicated Cab3 App show later.  Looks like we'll have to wait until next year to get the Base 3 and App as Dave said he wants it to be delivered without issues.

Well, I finally got around to finishing this video this weekend. I'm impressed with the Class A(how it looks) as well as the 2 way communication though I'm not ready for a Base 3 yet. It's always good when Dave goes through all the in's and out's(as well as people asking him also). I think I'll watch it again just to refresh some things. 4th quarter for the Class A as well as #90 he said he thinks. See what comes. Thanks again for posting Marty.

@G3750 posted:

So the Base 3 will finally do what DCS has done (badly) for 20 years? - there, fixed for you.

To be fair, I will point out that the 2-way communications protocol has been a known source of difficulties for DCS since its introduction.  And I think Legacy also had some issues with this initially.

It will be interesting to see how this feature actually works in practice.  Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

George

My concern as well.  Lionel locomotives have had numerous documented quality issues, as seen on this forum, but the operating system has always been solid.  (And they seem to be cleaning up the QC issues on the locos, a positive sign.). Hopefully that aspect of Legacy doesn’t change.  We will see.  

Last edited by Ray Lombardo

My concern as well.  Lionel locomotives have had numerous documented quality issues, as seen on this forum, but the operating system has always been solid.  (And they seem to be cleaning up the QC issues on the locos, a positive sign.). Hopefully that aspect of Legacy doesn’t change.  We will see.  

It's a fairly logical conclusion that addition of the 2-way communication (most likely via Bluetooth) will not affect the current operation of their newer locomotives with this feature nor the operating system that runs them.  If you buy a new 4 digit addressable engine, it still has to be backward compatible with the oldest TMCC systems out there which do not support 2-way communication. The "talk back" communication from the engine is not required to operate it, it's just a nice add-on feature for those who can use it.

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

It's a fairly logical conclusion that addition of the 2-way communication (most likely via Bluetooth) will not affect the current operation of their newer locomotives with this feature nor the operating system that runs them.  If you buy a new 4 digit addressable engine, it still has to be backward compatible with the oldest TMCC systems out there which do not support 2-way communication. The "talk back" communication from the engine is not required to operate it, it's just a nice add-on feature for those who can use it.

You always strike me as one of the more knowledgeable posters here and I see your point, but sometimes in practice what is logical or what should be the case doesn’t always work out that way.  I certainly hope you are correct.

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