Bachmann E-Z App

 
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
I was wondering whether anyone else has noticed the announcement of a Bluetooth based DCC controlling system that consists of a Bluetooth enabled DCC chip and an app on your Iphone and Android phone. This is the Bachmann E-Z app.

Having only seen the advertising it certainly looks as if it is uncomplicated and simple unlike the current crop of DCC controllers.

If you google it you will find some interesting information.

Iain

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  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Hmm, Bluetooth range is not good, not even as good as WiFi.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Hmm, I think this might be perfect for their 'My First' range as all it appears to be capable of doing is controlling one locomotive and the developer Bluerail Trains seems to be in a similar mindset.
I'm actually more interested in the Railpro system, which might be officially available down here some time next year. It just needs to pass our EM regulations and related whatnot.
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
Mr Blacksmith - its Bluetooth4 the extended range version apparently.

Iain
  Dieselfan Locomotive Fireman

I dunno. Looks like a DCC killer to me. This system sends operating instructions direct from your handheld smart device to the loco. Track only provides the power. The YouTube video, that I can't post the link to, says it all. Unlimited locos, full function control using sliders on your screen, sound, no inline interfaces just a power pack.

Bluetooth has plenty enough range unless you are operating some kind of mega layout.

And perhaps that long sought after holy grail...standardisation?

Roachie will love it!!

Regards
John
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
To be a new standard , it would have to be taken up  by a lot of people very fast, and more than 3  manufacturers, As with Railpro it will be how the product works with the existing DCC standard.

At the moment it is a one off single manufacturer system hoping perhaps to get a monopoly of sorts.

Still, DCC started this way ( not confusing command control with DCC, as DCC is but one command control system )

Regards,
David Head
  Dieselfan Locomotive Fireman

Sure I guess there is always a way to take something that is as ubiquitous as Bluetooth and trick it to make it proprietary.

But Bluetooth is everywhere. Its not like it's purposefully built for model train hobbyists. It's going to be all about the app on your phone. Not the chip in the model.

Anyway, I'll guess time will tell. This is a positive development as far as I can see.

Regards
John
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Not certain why you want wireless control of your loco if it's getting power through the rails. Now wireless control of battery powered locomotives is a definite positive. Dead rails. No wiring at all.
  ARodH Chief Train Controller

Location: East Oakleigh, Vic
Going by the FAQ on Bluerail, the use of batteries to enable true wireless control is apparently an option. Although you could go one step further:hydrogen fuel cell.
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
My thoughts were that when I think of DCC I think of the NCE controllers (which look like some 1970s throwback) and the endless setting of CV's and the complicated look of everything. Sure there are people who make things sing and I respect them for that but ATM I just want to run trains in a simple and uncomplicated way. I had been looking at JMRI and using various WiFi throttles for android and I was wondering why i needed a NCE type controller at all. Well the Bachmann product suggests I may not.

Of course these are early days - Dawn of a New Era stuff remember how simple DCC was going to be... was it connect only two wires to the layout and away you go? that sort of stuff. I think Bachmman seem to put the complicated stuff in the software and want to focus on usability. You will of course need a Bluetooth capable chip.

Hopefully this ideas will be spread via a common standard like DCC rather than each manufacturer protecting everything by patents.

Cheers

Iain
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Not certain why you want wireless control of your loco if it's getting power through the rails. Now wireless control of battery powered locomotives is a definite positive. Dead rails. No wiring at all.
duttonbay

Although having a simple power feed to the rails, not necessarily throughout the complete layout, would aid in keeping the batteries charged.

BTW, I had a look at Bluetooth4 and it is not necessarily a longer range protocol, but it refers more to a higher transmission bit rate. There are other provisions in the Bluetooth standard to specify transmission power. And of course the penalty will be decreased battery life in the portable device being used.
  M636C Minister for Railways

My reading of the Bachmann press release indicated that the system could work on either DC or DCC layouts independent of existing systems.

On a DC layout the power would have to be provided at near full voltage giving (I guess) the ability to run alone on a block but independently controlled.

It does seem to be an option for someone to bring a locomotive to a club layout and be certain that it could run independent of the systems they use.

The system is in its early days and is dependent on mobile phone technology remaining constant in at least one regard for the expected life of the system.

Bachmann have only released one locomotive so far, their basic range FT, which is a very early diesel locomotive from 1939. This means that it could run with the great majority of steam models available, predating the Pennsylvania T-1 4-4-4-4, for example.

The FT isn't up to current standards of detail, although the livery of the latest versions seems to be better than some early production models.

Bachmann have made a point of including DCC and sound in relatively reasonably priced models.

It will be interesting to see if this idea succeeds.

M636C
  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
Certainly will be interesting to see it in operation.

They could have used a wifi method the same as the GoPro cameras do which gives you an increased range than Bluetooth, through having said that wifi eats the batteries on the GoPro at least twice as fast as when it is turned off.

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