Who would like to see Bluetooth in all O gauge locomotives?

I just started at the beginning of this thread and there’s plenty of Yeas and many Nays, it reminds me when Lionel introduced TMCC, so many folks had issues with the newer technology, then, it caught on, and when Legacy came out, especially free with the purchase of a JLC Big Boy Steamer, we were hooked...Yes, the hand held Cab 1, Cab 2 controllers are nice, but so is Blue Tooth via our smart phones....Our cars have BT, we connect with our phones, we Navigate with our smartphones, we text with our phones, it’s all good. We read these post on our phones, so, I think it’s a good thing...I run several of my engines with my phone, and I ‘m learning....It just takes time... Great post David, very interesting...The Future looks promising with all the neat electronics making their way to our great hobby. Happy Railroading.

So last night as nifty little experiment I wanted to see if it was possible to run the MTH app and WIU on Bluetooth instead of WiFi.  To do this I had to borrow some hardware that we use at the farm to allow a two machines in close proximity to match speed while they operate in the field using the GPS speed from only one source.
Here is a link to the box we use: https://www.portsmitheurope.com/bluetooth/

It Converts Bluetooth to a wired Ethernet (cat5) connection using Bluetooth PAN (Personal Area Network) protocol which in short lets you use BLuetooth as network connection similar to WiFi.

I wired the Bluetooth adapter to the WIU Ethernet port and configured a static IP address. On the tablet, I turned off the WiFi, turned on Bluetooth and paired it to the Bluetooth adapter using the PAN protocol.  IT WORKED! As the DCS app discover the PAN network it was able to connect to the WIU via Bluetooth. everything worked as it should, a few times there was a slight bit of lag but nothing to serious. The range was solid to just under 30 feet. I ran like this for about 20 minutes, no problems, it didn't work any better than WiFi excluding the limited range.

Naturally and much to the lack of my surprise, the LC app nor the bluerail app was able to control the MTH WIU, nor was the DCS app able to run an LC+ Bluetooth engine even though I was using the "Universal Standard".  Looks like the control systems used by all these manufactures are not compatible even when you connect with Bluetooth clear across the board and more than just Bluetooth connectivity alone is required to get a universal system that will run all engines.

Bluetooth may have some potential but it will need to rely on a more powerful control system than what is currently being used. Also, there are just too many deficiencies and limitations with the implementation of Bluetooth itself and it's associated control systems to even consider that it can fully replace the higher end Legacy, TMCC, DCS and DCC systems that are available now.

 

H1000

For the record, there are two classes of engine control systems. Class I is the track signal systems including TMCC/Legacy, DCS and DCC. Class II is the direct to loco wireless systems which include 915MHZ, 2.4GHZ and bluetooth. Both system classes are technically capable of virtually identical operating features, so the future will be determined by the long range intent of the manufacturers. 

BOB WALKER posted:

For the record, there are two classes of engine control systems. Class I is the track signal systems including TMCC/Legacy, DCS and DCC. Class II is the direct to loco wireless systems which include 915MHZ, 2.4GHZ and bluetooth. Both system classes are technically capable of virtually identical operating features, so the future will be determined by the long range intent of the manufacturers. 

Bob, Where is this information published? So many people jumped on this thread touting inaccurate information and couldn't or wouldn't site a source.

It's conflicting because technically DCS is Class I & II as its remote uses frequencies in the 900MHz spectrum. Also Legacy would be both Class I & II because its remote runs in the 2.4 GHZ spectrum.

What class is the 27MHz stuff where the earliest LC engines & CAB1 runs?

What class is WiFi in as it operates in the 2.4 GHz spectrum (the same license free spectrum that ALL 2.4 GHz stuff operates in, including Bluetooth)?

Who defined these classes?

H1000

I am not aware of any place that this info is specifically published.  I defined the classes in order to illustrate the fundamental technical differences between the two classes. The major confusion seems to be understanding that the TMCC style controller talks to the track interface unit wirelessly and then the track interface unit talks to the loco at a low RF frequency via the track. The direct to loco wireless systems (including the bluetooth variations) have the controller talking directly to the engines. Again,  when properly implemented, both classes have the same basic operational capabilities.

 

BOB WALKER posted:

Again,  when properly implemented, both classes have the same basic operational capabilities.

And therein lies the rub.   Anything's possible, but what is actually happening.

Yardmaster96 posted:

Here's a scary thought that may get some responses.  "Alexa, start engine 1"

We're closer to this type of operation vs. a universal control system that operates via Bluetooth. 

All the app makers would need to do is integrate the necessary API into their app to allow alternate control via Google home, Alexi, Siri, a game pad or other HID type devices. Here's a fun one, You can already use a Bluetooth mouse connected to an android device and fully run the DCS app with a mouse cursor similar to how you interact with a program on a PC or MAC computer.

H1000

I run a small operation with 18 switch track.  That coupled with 5 locomotives means A LOT of scrambling when it comes to "John forgot to close a certain switch and now the 'train wreck' feature of DCS is looming big."  You also have two or three going at the same time and if you've used the ALL feature of DCS you know that all 3 or 4 locomotives currently running respond to whatever few commands you have available in that mode.  I may be lacking in my ALL features, but speed setting, horn, and bell are about it.  I don't see the soft keys when I'm using ALL engines so I guess using them is not possible.

Anyway, I digress as usual. Being able to say "close switch 12!" in an emergency is faster than scrambling with a remote trying to go from engine to switch mode and find switch 12 then press the straight arrow soft key.  "Stop engine 2" is faster than trying to switch engines with the remote and hit the DIR button.  I know, E stop, not the point.

So let's see, thanks to me we have gone from Bluetooth to voice activated.  I brought this up once before in a past thread. 

Yardmaster96 posted:

Here's a scary thought that may get some responses.  "Alexa, start engine 1"

I don't view it as scary. 

I view it as lazy.

If one doesn't want to be physically involved with running their trains, why bother?

"Alexa, please run and enjoy my trains while I go off and do something interesting..."

Rusty

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