Author Topic: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles  (Read 3047 times)

Lee Nicholas

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    • Utah Colorado Western
Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« on: August 08, 2021, 10:38:35 PM »
I have been a RailPro user for roughly 5 years and for the most part am very satisfied with its performance and product line. My UCW is very heavy into operations and the HC-2bs, which I use exclusively, are on a love/hate relationship (mostly hate) for most of my operators. They have complaints almost every op session. I have communicated these with Tim and asked him to consider making changes/improvements to the handhelds (several just months after I starting to use RailPro). He tells me Im the only one complaining and thats the reason for my post. Below are my and several others list of changes wed like to see.
A.)   Dedicated engine operating screen. Number one complaint from my crew
B.)   Consisting/linking. Way to difficult to add or subtract engines to a consist i.e. to add helpers in route all engines are unlinked then all have to be linked. Pain in the butt.
C.)   Ability to control headlights on linked locos
D.)   Override button to bypass warning messages. Needed if you use Keep Alives or PBMs
E.)   Load function. Use knob to set speed and the brake to ramp up or down.
Feel free to add to the list but keep it focused on the HCs. All suggestions will be passed on to Tim. 
Thanks for your support.
Lee Nicholas
Corinne, Utah

ron045

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2021, 11:28:57 PM »
I would like to see a Red tactile button on the remote (not the screen) that is a true E Stop.  From what I see I have to push three buttons on three screens to currently E Stop.

While I can instantly kill the throttle, I like to run with a load so it takes the train a while to stop.  An E Stop that would really function as an All Stop for all RP trains (either track powered or battery powered) would really be helpful.

Thanks.  Good thread.
Ron

G8B4Life

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 06:51:37 AM »
Well while your asking......
  • A "dark" UI, like I was throwing around a long time ago.
  • A less cluttered Locomotive control screen. Some things you don't do while driving, like setting the module up, creating/ breaking down MU's so things like that could be accessed from a separate page from a single Fn button.
  • Use while charging.
  • For the HC-3 (too late for the -2), easy access to change the batteries, this is a consumer device, not an onsite managed commercial product with a support plan!
If we were adding tactile buttons as Ron mentioned, these could possibly also be user programmed, for example for the horn. There's probably other things if I spent the time thinking about it.

- Tim

Alan

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 07:32:18 AM »
Sturdy lanyard hook cast into the case.
Alan

LK&O Railroad website

When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

atsfguy

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 07:48:00 AM »
Add a more ergonomically shaped HC, possibly a hammer-head to the list.
Cecil
ATSF-Eastern Division

Josephbw

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2021, 08:53:43 AM »
Add a more ergonomically shaped HC, possibly a hammer-head to the list.

This would be number 1 on my list.
Joe

KPack

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2021, 10:20:39 AM »
A.)   Dedicated engine operating screen. Number one complaint from my crew
B.)   Consisting/linking. Way to difficult to add or subtract engines to a consist i.e. to add helpers in route all engines are unlinked then all have to be linked. Pain in the butt.
C.)   Ability to control headlights on linked locos
D.)   Override button to bypass warning messages. Needed if you use Keep Alives or PBMs
E.)   Load function. Use knob to set speed and the brake to ramp up or down.

Lee, could you provide a little clarification on these?

A.) What do you mean by a dedicated engine operating screen?  Are you saying to remove some of the items from the current locomotive operating screen?
B.) I agree with this one....I'd like to add an option to "flip" the consist with a tap of a button so that the previous last locomotive now becomes the leader (useful while switching with a consist).  It would be faster than breaking the consist and redoing it.
C.) I'm confused on this one.....you already have full control of all functions on linked locomotives....just select that locomotive and turn on the lights as necessary.  Are you saying you want the following locomotive headlight to turn on when the consist is reversed? 
D.) I completely ignore all warning messages.  When they pop up it doesn't prevent me from operating the locomotive, and most of the time I'm not even looking at the screen.  The only time I ever look at a warning message is if the locomotive will not respond to any commands.  It's a very rare occurrence and it usually means something went catastrophically wrong.
E.) Not sure I understand this one.  Use the brake to set the load??  Sounds like you're asking for a combo of manual notching and load.

In addition to the notes I made above, I would really like to see a factory-installed eyelet for a lanyard.  Ergonomics of the controller doesn't bother me that much, especially if there is a lanyard.  Less functional improvements like a dark UI would be nice, but not critical to me at this point.

-Kevin

ON28

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2021, 02:37:53 PM »
Thanks for this, Lee!

1. Simpler method for sizing and uploading loco images
2. Lanyard hook
3. Lighter weight, slimmer HC
4. Time/clock on loco screen
5. Emergency stop on loco screen
6. Non-marring HC holder for layout fascia


There's a discussion to be had about the industry-wide move to wifi throttles and what it means for RP.



Lee Nicholas

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2021, 05:25:16 PM »

Lee, could you provide a little clarification on these?

A.) What do you mean by a dedicated engine operating screen?  Are you saying to remove some of the items from the current locomotive operating screen?
*** All that don't apply to running a train. Locate all the engine setup requirements on a separate setup screen. No need for the crew to worry about setup requirements. 
B.) I agree with this one....I'd like to add an option to "flip" the consist with a tap of a button so that the previous last locomotive now becomes the leader (useful while switching with a consist).  It would be faster than breaking the consist and redoing it.
*** Agree
C.) I'm confused on this one.....you already have full control of all functions on linked locomotives....just select that locomotive and turn on the lights as necessary.  Are you saying you want the following locomotive headlight to turn on when the consist is reversed?
*** Yes
D.) I completely ignore all warning messages.  When they pop up it doesn't prevent me from operating the locomotive, and most of the time I'm not even looking at the screen.  The only time I ever look at a warning message is if the locomotive will not respond to any commands.  It's a very rare occurrence and it usually means something went catastrophically wrong.
*** If you have PBM's installed and receive a motor overload warning you cannot ignore the message. The only way to get rid of it is to remove the engine from the tracks until it resets. This can take 20 seconds and is a pain. Tim is aware and promised and over ride button to make it go away.

E.) Not sure I understand this one.  Use the brake to set the load??  Sounds like you're asking for a combo of manual notching and load.
*** Set the load with the knob as currently we currently do. Once engines are moving use the brake button to reduce speed rather than having to turn the knob to zero before the brake will engage. When brake is released have it ramp up to the knob setting. Would make it very nice for switching. I like the load feature for switching but it's very cumbersome they way it's setup.

In addition to the notes I made above, I would really like to see a factory-installed eyelet for a lanyard.  Ergonomics of the controller doesn't bother me that much, especially if there is a lanyard.  Less functional improvements like a dark UI would be nice, but not critical to me at this point.
*** Tim has eyelets I sent him a bunch. If you ask he will install anyway that the last I heard.
Lee

KPack

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2021, 06:14:14 PM »
Thanks Lee, that all makes sense.  Using the brake as you described is intriguing.  Tim almost had something like this going back when he did the first major update.  He had the dynamic brake button programmed to slowly bring the train to a stop on it's own.  Press the button, hear the sound, and watch the train descend to a full stop.  I asked him to remove that functionality because sometimes it's just easier to control the speed of the train yourself.  I prefer having the option to play the dynamic sound, then control how long it takes the train to stop using the knob.

If you are getting motor overload warnings, I'm assuming you are having that happen on older locomotives?  I've had it before, but it was on my older blue box locos.  An override option would be a nice thing.

-Kevin

William Brillinger

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2021, 07:16:51 AM »
A.)   Dedicated engine operating screen. Number one complaint from my crew
- Yes Please, Take all the things that are not needed for operation off of this screen and maybe give us another row of buttons.
- Ditch the loco picture and only show the Loco name/number and have as many programmable buttons as possible on the screen. 4 rows? This could be an optional mode set in the HC options, call it "operations mode" vs "default mode"

B.)   Consisting/linking. Way to difficult to add or subtract engines to a consist i.e. to add helpers in route all engines are unlinked then all have to be linked. Pain in the butt.
- Yes Please, Adding or removing a loco should be easy without rebuilding a consist, and a swap ends option would be nice.

C.)   Ability to control headlights on linked locos
- When the rear light button on the screen is selected, it should turn on the rear most light in the consist.

D.)   Override button to bypass warning messages. Needed if you use Keep Alives or PBMs
- Yes Please!

E.)   Load function. Use knob to set speed and the brake to ramp up or down.
- I would like the load function to stay as is, but have the ability to also notch up and down with the manual buttons at the same time. No need for this to be an either/or situation with separate setup.
- How it would work? I see the automatic notching being overridden by the notch up and down buttons until the speed dial is set to zero, then it should spool the sound down and go back to automatic.

I would also like to see a notch indicator on the screen showing what notch the engine is in, in both manual and automatic mode.
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


potlatcher

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2021, 04:13:32 PM »
I'm a new user and have not yet run into some of the issues mentioned by others, but almost all of them sound like good ideas. Of all these suggestions, here are a couple I think would be most useful for me in priority order:
  • Warning message override button
  • Improved consist linking/unlinking
  • E-stop button
  • Lanyard loop

KPack

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2021, 04:38:13 PM »
Good suggestions Bill.  I do like the option of "ops mode" and "default mode".  Better yet, I wonder how difficult it would be to give us an option in RPA to design our own screen?  You can already do that to some extent when creating an accessory program...you can put whatever buttons you want anywhere on the screen.  Give us a blank slate, and a list of buttons/functions that we can add, then let the user set up their screen the way they want. 

Based on everything I've read here and my own thoughts, I would say the following are things I'd like to see:
1.) Improved consist linking/unlinking/switching leader/adding to consist
2.) Lanyard loop standard on all throttles
3.) Warning message override
4.) Hybrid manual/automatic notching (similar to Bill's description)
5.) Locomotive screen update....uncluttered ops mode with more function buttons would be great.  Currently I run out of functions....16 isn't enough.

-Kevin

TJMac

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2021, 04:46:46 PM »
I 2nd the dark UI background, not a fan of the white.

Josephbw

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Re: Improvements to the Hand Held Throttles
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2021, 05:08:18 PM »
Thanks for this, Lee!

1. Simpler method for sizing and uploading loco images
2. Lanyard hook
3. Lighter weight, slimmer HC
4. Time/clock on loco screen
5. Emergency stop on loco screen
6. Non-marring HC holder for layout fascia


Bill sells a nice wooden box lined with a slick-faced foam that is made to fit the HC. It works great and I would highly recommend it. It comes disassembled and is very easy to put together.

Joe


There's a discussion to be had about the industry-wide move to wifi throttles and what it means for RP.