Bluetooth DC Control.

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b9y
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Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby b9y » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:19 am

Probably been mentioned before, but I found this if it's of any interest? At the minute I wouldn't use it as my layout will only be small, but I can imagine it being pretty useful to someone on a bigger layout and not wanting to use DCC considering the cost / hassle of doing each loco!

http://www.bluerailways.co.uk/Index.aspx

Bigmet
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Bigmet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:47 am

What I find odd about this system is that the offering is very incomplete. There is a huge potential competitive advantage over DCC in layout control, but there is not even a hint of any product to support this.

The key enabler is use of a tablet as an integrated part of the system. That gives you a control screen on which a layout diagram could be mapped, with its point motors. Blue tooth point motor controllers, an app to create the diagram, with the route setting by touch screen. That's a killer product, effectively an electronic signal box.

I'd use that on my all DCC track power system. DCC is a clunkfest when it comes to point motor control and route mapping...

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Mountain
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Mountain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:13 am

To be honest, while no doubt it works, and there have been other systems in the past using infra red control both with small scale DC production and with DCC, from what I've heard, the downsides are due to the infra red part in that it relies on line of sight, so like ones TV remote, it may not always do what one wants it to do if the beam does not pick up on the receiver.
Radio control with DC where the radio transmitter controls a receiver which controls the track is a more reliable option in this way.
I personally prefer a wired hand controller one can plug and unplug where needed as the best and simplest compromise.

The starting voltage feature I tend not to use with DCC, as if one has a level board all seems OK, but loco creep is an issue if one uses it, and if one parks a loco on a slight downhill gradient, there is no way of stopping it moving once it decides its found a hill! (Also, does a small voltage going through a motor to tempt it to turn but deny it its rotation damaging to the motor? Is just a thought). Is a novel feature, but to be honest, unless ones controller goes half way round with the speed knob before the train starts to move, I'd not really bother. How does the system differentiate the starting voltage between one train and another? Every loco (Even of the same type) has a different starting voltage. Some move on hardly any voltage and others dont move till a good few volts are fed to them.

[I have to add this amendment on what I wrote. I assumed infra red type control and it is blue tooth control which is different].
Last edited by Mountain on Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bigmet
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Bigmet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:36 am

Mountain wrote:...How does the system differentiate the starting voltage between one train and another? Every loco (even of the same type) has a different starting voltage. Some move on hardly any voltage and others dont move till a good few volts are fed to them.

Don't know, because they don't describe it. The implication of what is described is that using the app on a phone or tablet you can set up for each loco the specific settings it requires, and these can then be called up from memory as required to run that loco. That makes it operator dependent to select the control settings, rather than automatically linked to an address that has to be entered to control a specific loco on DCC. They do make the point that control refinement goes down the toilet if double heading with ill matched mechanisms, just as with any DC system. No way one DC track supply can provide the correct settngs for two mechanisms with very different responses.

Mountain wrote:...The starting voltage feature I tend not to use with DCC, as if one has a level board all seems OK, but loco creep is an issue if one uses it, and if one parks a loco on a slight downhill gradient, there is no way of stopping it moving! ...

This must be a quirk of a particular DCC system or decoder, as I have never yet seen this happen in fifteen years with the Lenz, Zimo and Digitrax DCC systems with the Lenz, Zimo, ESU decoders I have experience of. It doesn't matter how you choose to set CV2 (start volts) on the decoders (I set mine so that each loco just creeps into motion on speed step 1) If the speed step on the controller is zero, the loco doesn't move, level track or gradient, ever.

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Mountain
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Mountain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:56 am

Could just be me and the way my loco went with creep when I started to play around with the settings. One thing I found works well is to limit the top speed, but sadly, only two decoders I have seem to have this feature.
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flying scotsman123
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby flying scotsman123 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:14 pm

Bigmet wrote:I'd use that on my all DCC track power system. DCC is a clunkfest when it comes to point motor control and route mapping...


Quite, despite being a total convert to DCC for controlling locos, I much prefer point switching an analogue way!
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Bigmet » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:15 pm

flying scotsman123 wrote:Quite, despite being a total convert to DCC for controlling locos, I much prefer point switching an analogue way!
Same here, a DIY layout diagram with 'electric pencil' to operate the motors. The mind instantly grasps the route setting, which is why in the real world such track diagrams were standard. A fully integrated app for point control (and potentially signalling if required) that enables creation of the layout diagram on a touch screen from which the points are operated should sell if well executed.

Mountain wrote:Could just be me and the way my loco went with creep when I started to play around with the settings. One thing I found works well is to limit the top speed, but sadly, only two decoders I have seem to have this feature.

These wouldn't be very early decoders would they?

All my own DCC product experience is post 2002, and I think you would be hard pressed to find a decoder on sale now without CV5 (max voltage) to control maximum motor speed. I have only once encountered an early decoder, acquired installed in a s/h kit built model that I bought solely for the driving wheels which were alone worth more than the asking price. This decoder's trouble was getting the loco started smoothly at the same speed every time, and occasionally failing to respond at all to speed changes, so it got itself assigned to on/off control of lighting in Pullman cars.

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Mountain
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Mountain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:40 pm

My DCC decoders aren't that old. They date from around the year 2000 (Or just before as they maybe old stock when i bought them) to about 2007. Is good that new decoders have the Max speed setting. Most decoders I have are around 2001 to 2005 when I purchased them.

What is old for DCC? Probably the early '90's?
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b9y
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby b9y » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:49 pm

Bigmet wrote:What I find odd about this system is that the offering is very incomplete. There is a huge potential competitive advantage over DCC in layout control, but there is not even a hint of any product to support this.

The key enabler is use of a tablet as an integrated part of the system. That gives you a control screen on which a layout diagram could be mapped, with its point motors. Blue tooth point motor controllers, an app to create the diagram, with the route setting by touch screen. That's a killer product, effectively an electronic signal box.

I'd use that on my all DCC track power system. DCC is a clunkfest when it comes to point motor control and route mapping...


My thoughts exactly. If it were cleaned up a little it would be crazy! Tempted to see if I can help with social media.

b9y
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby b9y » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:52 pm

Mountain wrote:To be honest, while no doubt it works, and there have been other systems in the past using infra red control both with small scale DC production and with DCC, from what I've heard, the downsides are due to the infra red part in that it relies on line of sight, so like ones TV remote, it may not always do what one wants it to do if the beam does not pick up on the receiver.
Radio control with DC where the radio transmitter controls a receiver which controls the track is a more reliable option in this way.
I personally prefer a wired hand controller one can plug and unplug where needed as the best and simplest compromise.

The starting voltage feature I tend not to use with DCC, as if one has a level board all seems OK, but loco creep is an issue if one uses it, and if one parks a loco on a slight downhill gradient, there is no way of stopping it moving once it decides its found a hill! (Also, does a small voltage going through a motor to tempt it to turn but deny it its rotation damaging to the motor? Is just a thought). Is a novel feature, but to be honest, unless ones controller goes half way round with the speed knob before the train starts to move, I'd not really bother. How does the system differentiate the starting voltage between one train and another? Every loco (Even of the same type) has a different starting voltage. Some move on hardly any voltage and others dont move till a good few volts are fed to them.


I wouldn't be able to say regarding the last part. This being bluetooth would hopefully be a lot more stable. Some of the reviews though are good, apparently it helps with low speed control and you can program it so the trains gradually accel/decellerate which is cool.

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Mountain
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Mountain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:38 pm

I'm a bit lost with understanding what blue tooth actually is. Apparently phones have them, but when I tried all I ever had was "Unable to connect" or "No device found to pair with" etc. Never found out what it does except that I need two Bluetooth devices to make it work? Seems rather like a walkie talkie or CB radio type device to me.
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Roger (RJ)
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Roger (RJ) » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:47 pm

Mountain wrote:I'm a bit lost with understanding what blue tooth actually is. Apparently phones have them, but when I tried all I ever had was "Unable to connect" or "No device found to pair with" etc. Never found out what it does except that I need two Bluetooth devices to make it work? Seems rather like a walkie talkie or CB radio type device to me.


It's a limited range radio based connection method. A bit like plugging a USB cable in between two devices or a scart cable between a video recorder and a television but done by radio waves instead of a cable.
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Mountain
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Mountain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:55 pm

Roger (RJ) wrote:
Mountain wrote:I'm a bit lost with understanding what blue tooth actually is. Apparently phones have them, but when I tried all I ever had was "Unable to connect" or "No device found to pair with" etc. Never found out what it does except that I need two Bluetooth devices to make it work? Seems rather like a walkie talkie or CB radio type device to me.


It's a limited range radio based connection method. A bit like plugging a USB cable in between two devices or a scart cable between a video recorder and a television but done by radio waves instead of a cable.

Thanks. :)
What good is it for a car? Radio controlled cars?
Never forget seeing a notice on taxis which said "Radio controlled taxis". My mum thinks it seems a dangerous idea. Not sure what the DVLA think. Fortunately the ones I saw had drivers.
My car doesn't have bluetooth as it is an early '90's car. I guess visions of new car drivers with blue teeth made me think my old car and my yellowy white teeth just get along fine! :lol: :mrgreen:
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Roger (RJ)
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby Roger (RJ) » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:09 pm

In a car it is often used to link a mobile phone to allow hands free operation via the cars inbuilt radio and speaker system.
You keep the phone in your pocket/handbag/briefcase etc and make or receive calls from the cars display screen.

I've only recently bought a car with Bluetooth in it and it works very well.

I'm sure it can be used for other purposes too but hands free phone operation is possibly the most useful.
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TimberSurf
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Re: Bluetooth DC Control.

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:22 pm

Bluetooth was originally brought out for connecting a headset via short range radio remotely to your mobile phone. It was limited to 10 meters.(later versions do 30m)
The protocol was very open, thus other devices could utilise it. (you can swap files between mobiles with it!)
It does not work out of the box! You have to "pair" the two devices. Search for device, when an unknown device is found, swap a pin code and they are paired (i.e. its a secure connection). If only one has a screen, like a head set, just press a button and respond to the phone signal it sends. Once paired, they remember each other and always talk when in range.
This system is not the first, the americans have one that talks direct to the engine.
The advantage of this system is not having to buy or fit anything to the engine and the controller Phone/Pad is supplied by you.
In reality, its the same as buying a decent quality DC controller, the only difference is that the control knob is remote from the unit (wireless) and you can "dial up" each engine for preset inertia, top speed, etc.
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