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    • July 25, 2016 2:04 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      What I want in a controller

      Now that Crest is going the way of the dinosaur, what's out there?

      Or, from MY point of view, what I really liked about the Revolution:

      • Display - I got REALLY hooked on having a display that told me everything I needed about the locomotive I was controlling:  % voltage, locomotive ID, direction, momentum, starting and max voltage %.
      • The ability to easily switch between many locomotives with one control.
      • Battery usage was OK.   I use rechargeable batteries, and they work just fine.
      • Size was OK.  Could hold in one hand.

      Things NOT so great:

      • Information stored in the TX, not the locomotive.  PITA!
      • Inability to control more than just a few sounds on my Phoenix sound card.  NOT a real big one, as I typically just use whistle and bell.  Like the chuff.
      • Way too easy to accidently switch locomotives while you're trying to change direction.  (Not bad once you KNOW the system, but awkward to start)
      • Which way is the locomotive headed?   I settled on Right=Forward, but this could have been done better - like having a button for forward/reverse.
      • PROPRIETARY.  Oops, it's gone.

      There's probably other things in each category, but this is a start.    I've just purchased another TX from Don Sweet, but where does one go from here?

       

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    • July 25, 2016 2:09 PM EDT
      • Litchfield, NH
         
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      Bruce I am with you I personally like displays and info that I can get and touch screen capability is a real want of mine.  I started out using QSI.  which love the sound and its ability but it is really hard to setup and then they had issues with supply of the GWIRE boards.  I checked out the Ring Engineering system they have for HO and was very impressed with that and hoping they would come out with a G version myself. 

    • July 25, 2016 2:19 PM EDT
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      I like the screen that shows everything.   From the other thread, a nice-to-have would be tactile buttons for speed and direction, so I dont have look at the controller unless I want to.  

      Proprietary system is right out.  I refuse to buy another RC system that I wont be able to use with someone else's hardware.  I'd forgive an proprietary radio system itself, if the back end (throttle/sound/etc) is based on some sort of standard.  In reality, we need most of the manufacturers of locomotives and RC to talk to each other and standardize on something.  BlueRail has the right idea, if he opens up his transport layer, and allows other manufactures to work with his stuff.  Bluetooth is already a standard radio transport.  Combine with an interface board and DCC back end, and its a winner.

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    • July 25, 2016 2:29 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Yeah, tactile buttons are a must have (along with the display).  

      It does NOT have to be a touch screen.   Not at all.

      One other thing that is cool with the Revolution is to set a speed and then have a 1 second delay - you can just set your speed and press forward or reverse as needed for switching.   The loco slows to a halt, then changes direction and is back up to switching speed shortly.

       

       

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      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • July 25, 2016 2:43 PM EDT
      • Nashville, IL
         
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      Personally, I like the Revolution...  I like having a full readout, so I know exactly which locomotive I have control off...  The size is a good hand fit to carry around and work..  Looking at the screen and knowing the direction has changed...   Changing direction with one key, and watching the locomotive slow, stop, change headlight direction, then start to move again..    I started out trying to set one direction arrow to being forward, but it all changes, when you are on the other side of the locomotive...

       

      I hope that there is someone who will pick the line up and carry it forward...

    • July 25, 2016 4:55 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      I'm in complete agreement with you Andy.   

      During my last visit to Canada and the Finger Lakes in NY, I experienced the strangest thing.   I borrowed some locomotives...and they were ALL controlled by the Revolution.  What was strange is the EVERY ONE of them was set up the same way I had set mine up.   Maybe I had followed Paul Norton's recommendation, or something, but everybody used the same thing.   Right was forward.   #1 was the whistle.  #2 was the bell.   #4 was the crossing whistle.   Very strange, but also very cool.   There just might be some room for some standards...

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      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • July 25, 2016 5:20 PM EDT
      • Prescott Valley, AZ
         
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      Just my opinion.....   I've liked the REVOLUTION from the very first day Brandy Bruce brought an ALPHA model to run on the PCSRR.  He brought a Dash 9 with him that was right out of the box.  No receiver, no battery, just the engine.  In 30 minutes, we had the receiver installed, programmed and the engine running on battery.  The reason it took 30 minutes is because, believe it or not, we read the operating manual..

       

      I found the "plain language" programming very easy to understand, the range covered all of the 100 foot length of my layout and it was just (for me) so very easy to use..... 

       

      Sorry to see it go at this time.  Hope someone else can keep it "alive". 

       

      However, I will say that new technology is quite eminent.  The MTH DCS WIFI system is a superb product.  Proprietary, yes but we can hand kids of all ages our smart phones or tablets (both IPhone and Android) with the DCS APP and they run trains all afternoon...  Sigh....   Will it ever end?!?!?!?!? 

      This post was edited by Stan Cedarleaf at July 25, 2016 5:23 PM EDT
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    • July 25, 2016 6:07 PM EDT
      • Nashville, IL
         
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      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     

    • July 25, 2016 6:21 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     

      So, I'm guessing that wish didn't last long? 

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    • July 25, 2016 6:29 PM EDT
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      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     


      Two tin cans and some string is smarter than you, Andy.
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    • July 25, 2016 6:35 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Bob McCown said:
      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     


      Two tin cans and some string is smarter than you, Andy.

      Oh, sure.  Now we have to start insulting tin cans?  

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      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • July 25, 2016 6:37 PM EDT
      • Prescott Valley, AZ
         
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      Bob McCown said:
      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     


      Two tin cans and some string is smarter than you, Andy.

      Bob.....  And we must realize that he's older than the rotary dial phone and even older than dirt as well...  He used to use the phone that had a big wooden box on the wall and a crank handle on the side with a live voice asking "Number Please????"  

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    • July 25, 2016 7:57 PM EDT
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      Lots of fun being poked at old technology here and probably rightfully so.  But let's face it those young kids that can use all those modern tools and apps are not the ones buying train control for outdoor railroads nor are they the ones, in 90% of the cases, that use the systems.

      The Thread Title is "what I want in a controller" for me the answer is simplicity and reliability. Without these two things being paramount the frustration factor can become too high and the enjoyment is lost.  If you lose control of your train at 75 feet away or sometimes you don't.  Or you have to stop in the middle of operations and reprogram because a button was accidentally bumped,  too much frustration.

      Lot's of applications and lot's of functions are fine to a point. Frankly I don't need a system that will dump the holding tanks on the passenger couches, nor do I need a system that I can operate with my phone from the office because I am bored with work.

      I don't know much about electronics, nor do I care to learn that much, I want to build railroad and run trains.  Puzzling out schematics and programming computer systems is not what I want to do.

      Perhaps a developer should look at building a system with different levels of control. Beginners; forward, reverse, speed, bell, whistle, chuff.

      Level two add more options, level 3 more control and options yet, level four include the tank dumper.

      Just my opinion.

      Rick 

       

    • July 25, 2016 8:28 PM EDT

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      Bob McCown said:
      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     


      Two tin cans and some string is smarter than you, Andy.

      Rooster has reported this insulting yet truthful post to the moderator!

    • July 25, 2016 9:01 PM EDT

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      Rick Marty said:

      Lots of fun being poked at old technology here and probably rightfully so.  But let's face it those young kids that can use all those modern tools and apps are not the ones buying train control for outdoor railroads nor are they the ones, in 90% of the cases, that use the systems.


      Just my opinion.

      Rick 

       

      Rick you nailed this dead on! I fix upper end import cars for a living which brings me to this story. I will make it short and sweet!

      Business lady customer of mine has a beautiful older (manual transmission) Saab convertible. She wanted a 2nd car (nice 4 door sedan) that she could put a few folks in comfortably and take them to lunch or whatever if needed. I told her to go look at some cars that caught her eye and most "importantly" drive them and be "comfortable" with the car and it's features. She was going to pay cash for the car and price didn't matter(I'm sure she could have easily written a cashiers check for a Ferrari if she wanted). She looked at Volvo,Lexus,Mercedes,BMW but wasn't happy with them. She ended up buying a base Toyota Camry. I asked her why the Camry and  her answer was as such ......"To many features with touch screens,joysticks and crap...the Camry was the only car I knew how to turn on the heat and the radio!"

      We see this too much in society ....yes it's great technology but sometimes simplicity over rules. Very few 20 yr olds who can easily work that technology have the money to pay for it.

    • July 25, 2016 9:02 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Bruce Chandler said:
      Andy Clarke said:

      Stan, my problem is, I don't want a phone smarter than me, so my cell phone still has a rotary dial....     

      So, I'm guessing that wish didn't last long? 

      Cell phone?  What's that?

       

      Ohhh, it's those things I always see people staring at when they should be physically interacting or at least paying attention to their surroundings.

       

      No, not interested in having one of those (and all my clients know it).  My land line still works fine.  If I'm not home, I'm not in the office and they can wait.

       

      My time is mine and I don't need people interupting it. 

       

      Same goes for a controller.  I just want a wireless controller that is reliable and can run the trains.  I'll let the other features take care of themselves.  There are switches on the engnes to turn on/off the lights/smoke/motors/sound.   I just don't want to deal with them on a controller, (not that I can't), nor have to pay for them the ability to deal with them).

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 25, 2016 9:11 PM EDT
    • July 25, 2016 9:53 PM EDT
      • Annapolis, MD
         
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      Sometimes it pays to keep an eye on what the younger generation simply wants. Many of today's manufacturers who intend to survive have had to recognize this. And in technology all standards are temporary by design, not choice - remember the Sony Betamax/VHS vs NetFlix, the Phillips casette vs Mp3 players,....the RS232 cables vs Lightning cables, CD multi-disc vs Spotify, internal combustion antiques versus Tesla/Volt/Fusion ??

      It was the alleged 'standards' that resulted in the drowning of many manufacturers who adhered to the illusion of safety in the middle highway lane, while the dissenters ....found more ways to survive because they were challenging, not following.

      Vic

      This post was edited by Victor P Spear at July 25, 2016 10:11 PM EDT
    • July 25, 2016 10:20 PM EDT
      • Curmudgeon at Large, Insurance Warrior
         
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      Some time back there was a member of this site that developed a system. And if memory is right, it was pretty much just what we are talking about. I spoke to him on the phone about it after the thread died and he told me that he dropped the idea because a new job made the endevour a conflict of interest. Gotta respect that. But to me, it indicates that it 'ain't rocket science' to develop one. Maybe BD could make a discrete enquirey??

       

      Between this thread and the Revolution is Dead thread, there are enough folks grousing about this we could damn near start a Kickstarter account and hire an electronics engineer to moonlight to get it done. On this thread there are 10 folks that have posted. And if I count right, there are 16 different folks on the other thread, totaling 26 different folks with something to say. If everyone kicked in $1K (and I know everyone may not have that in their back pocket), I have an engineer in mind that I believe would gladly take on this project (electronic engineering only, I will work the mechanical side) for that money. I believe there are enough 'stock modules' available he won't miss his target.

       

      A nice dream, but  then again.......Food for thought.....

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    • July 25, 2016 10:25 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      The more gizmos, the more that can break or go wrong. I have the old TE, and it does almost everything I could want it to do for me. Once it finally rolls over and dies, I do not know what I will use next. I don't need to land a spacecraft, I just need to adjust the speed of a model train.

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      and King Butt Modeler

    • July 25, 2016 10:34 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Bob "IA3R#7" Cope said:

      Some time back there was a member of this site that developed a system. And if memory is right, it was pretty much just what we are talking about. I spoke to him on the phone about it after the thread died and he told me that he dropped the idea because a new job made the endevour a conflict of interest. Gotta respect that. But to me, it indicates that it 'ain't rocket science' to develop one. Maybe BD could make a discrete enquirey??

       

      Between this thread and the Revolution is Dead thread, there are enough folks grousing about this we could damn near start a Kickstarter account and hire an electronics engineer to moonlight to get it done. On this thread there are 10 folks that have posted. And if I count right, there are 16 different folks on the other thread, totaling 26 different folks with something to say. If everyone kicked in $1K (and I know everyone may not have that in their back pocket), I have an engineer in mind that I believe would gladly take on this project (electronic engineering only, I will work the mechanical side) for that money. I believe there are enough 'stock modules' available he won't miss his target.

       

      A nice dream, but  then again.......Food for thought.....

      I thought Dave Bodner cobbled together a decent system from "off the shelf" parts. With a bit more R&D, he could add a few "gizmos" to make some of Yunz happy.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

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