Monday, March 12, 2018

Prodigy WiFi - Smartphone and Tablet Control For Prodigy DCC Systems

For the MRC controller members of the Hostlers, MRC has made their entry into the Model Railroad WiFi controller market.
They list the following capabilities for the interface:
  • Works with MOST MRC Prodigy DCC system.**
  • ANY Brand Loco or DCC Decoder.
  • Plug-N-Play Setup and Operation.
  • Module acts as an interface between the two most popular smartphone apps:
  • WiThrottle for iPhone®, iPod®, iPod Touch® available on the Apple Store
  • Engine Driver® for Android™ devices, available on Google Play™
  • No JMRI® Software to Navigate or Computer Interface Needed.
  • No Bluetooth® Connection, Complex Wiring, or Home Network Needed (Router/Modem)
  • The MRC WiFi Module Will Run Up to 8 Smartphones or Tablets.
  • Create & Store Rosters, Custom Label Functions
  • Advanced Features Include Creating, Storing, and Operating:
    • Lighted Accessories/Accessories
    • Throw Track Switches
    • Universal Consists
JLWII2000 has a YouTube video review online.

The list price of $129.95 is a bit higher than Digitrax's LNWI at $79.00 but different systems, different solutions, right?

The majority of the above content is from the MRC web site.

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Digitrax LNWIs For The Module Layout

This is more a poll type blog than an informational one for the club. I would like the club to purchase the LNWI interface for the module layout so that users can run their trains from their phone, an Android tablet or an iPad.
For those that do not know about Digitrax's LNWI (Loconet WiFi Interface) it allows you to connect compatible WiFi devices (your phone, iPad, etc.) to LocoNet and run trains using compatible throttle apps. There are free and paid apps available for both Android and IOS devices. For Android I recommend Engine Driver (free) for IOS there needs to be some tests done to determine the best app to use.

Module owners (especially) I need to know if you are ok with this idea. Please leave a comment. Everyone else interested in this idea or having concerns also please leave a comment.

If there is enough interest and everyone is OK with this then I will present the idea to the Board of Trustees for discussion. If approved, there will be a mandatory class on operation for anyone wanting to use the LNWI prior to you being allowed to use it.

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Woodland Scenics Just Plug Clinic Changes

So after I gave the clinic on lighting your layout in January I proceeded to finish mine. It quickly became apparent however that either I was doing something wrong or the system didn't work according to Woodland Scenics' instructions. The problem was:
When connecting 2 expansion hubs (blue box), with an on/off switch connected to hub 1 and the switch in the off position, all lighting connected to hub 2 came on and stayed on when the system was plugged in. Lighting connected to hub 1 turned on/off according to the switch position. Not good!!
I called the company and was lucky enough to reach one of the engineers that designed the system. After explaining the problem there was a pause of about 10 seconds and then a barely audible "Oh oh" came across the phone. He said, "Will you be at this number for a while?", saying my phone number. I told him I would be. He said he'd call me back. About 20 minutes later my phone rang, it was the engineer. "John, the system doesn't exactly work the way you have yours hooked up."  He then went on to explain what the change had to be.

Instead of jumpering the hubs from the out port of hub 1 to the in port of hub 2, connect 1 of the hub 1 ports that normally goes to a light hub to the in port on expansion hub 2. This surrenders 4 lights but then all of the lights are controlled by 1 switch.
Look at the green connection line in figure 1.
Figure 1

I have another solution that is simpler:

Don't use switches!!

Run the connecting wire from the out port of expansion hub 1 to the in port of expansion hub 2 (and so on), plug your lighting system in and all the lights come on. Unplug it and they all go off and you won't lose 4 lights on an expansion slot. What do you think? Whatever you do is up to you. Regardless, have fun!

If you have an idea for a blog post here for the club, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.