Author Topic: RailPro vs Bluerail  (Read 3365 times)

farmhand

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RailPro vs Bluerail
« on: June 07, 2016, 03:04:48 PM »
I'm 6 months into railroading if you don't count the trial run with my son 25 years ago.  I'm running JMRI software using a Spog DCC controler and WiThrottle on my iphone.  I'm here not because I'm unhappy with how everything works but because everything seems to require me hitting my head against the wall to get it set up.
So I'm looking a RailPro and Bulerail and was hoping for honest input about both.  RailPro looks great but Bluerail would be alot less $ to get started with.  The blueRail bluetooth card is the same that Buchmann is using for their E-Z app. 
Tks
farmhand aka Clifford aka Grampa  :)

KPack

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 11:50:32 PM »
Clifford - Welcome to the forum and thanks for the question.

I don't know much about Bluerail besides what I've read on various posts, so my information may be incorrect.  From what I understand Bluerail is a bluetooth-controlled module that you can install into a locomotive (not sure if it needs DCC already installed or not....probably not).  It can be controlled from your smartphone.  So touchscreen control and wireless communication.  In those respects it is similar to Railpro.  Same concept, different implementation.

Bluerail does talk about two-way communication, but I haven't heard what that actually means in their application.  How will they use it?  Not sure.  Railpro uses two-way communication to automatically load share, as well as to provide real-time feedback on the status of the locomotives, and real-time adjusting of settings.  I'm presuming that Bluerail will be capable of the something similar if it is truly two-way communication.  Whether or not it currently has that functionality is another question.

The current Bluerail module very large.  It seems that at this point it can only be used in tenders of steam locomotives or F-units.  No doubt they will decrease in size over time.  Railpro is currently on its second generation and their LM-2S can fit most any HO locomotive.  I'm currently installing them in SW-1200's.

I don't think Bluerail has sound, though I assume that's in the works.  Railpro currently is fully sound supported, though there is room for improvement in some of the prime mover files.  I know that is currently being worked on.

If you were ask me personally, I am familiar with and like Railpro.  I have no hands-on experience with Bluerail, but I don't need to.  Railpro has made running model trains fun and it does everything I need it do to and more.  Bluerail will probably get to the point that Railpro is at eventually.  At that time I would hope that Railpro has advanced even further.  Bottom line is that both control systems are FAR better than DCC.

-Kevin

hirailer

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 01:09:16 AM »
What I have read so far about Bluerail, consisting locomotives is just as difficult as it is with DCC.

With my RailPro system, I can link three or four locos in a matter of seconds, and I can place them individually in any part of my train and they all play together perfectly.  Personally, I much prefer a good sized knob for my throttle control. There are quite a few people out there that issues with their hands such as injuries and arthritis. For them, little buttons on a cell phone are very difficult to use. For me, that alone is a deal breaker with Bluerail.


Mel
Having more fun with RailPro

G8B4Life

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 07:24:17 AM »
Welcome Clifford.

As you've no doubt come to the conclusion you won't find many here familiar with BlueRail, we are after all RailPro users.

I just had a breeze through the BlueRail website and I've picked up on a few things.

Propriety (this one is used against RailPro a lot). It looks like BlueRail is in the same boat as RailPro on this one, their board and their app. It does say compatible with Bachmann but it doesn't really elaborate on what that compatibility is. RailPro obviously is only compatible with RailPro.

The app. The app might be well written but the UI looks like it's a game to me, not that that's bad but it's a bit off putting to me.

Sound. From what I can see sound is actually played through the controller (phone / tablet). I don't know if they intend to ever have the sound onboard the loco but this one would be a no deal for me. Also it doesn't sound like they plan on custom user sounds like we can do with RailPro, you could be stuck with whatever they provide.

Multi unit. Their is no mention of MU'ing or even if it's possible. This is a major deal breaker.

Less cost. That is relative, not fact. The BlueRail app requires a minimum version of iOS or Android so if you have a phone or tablet that's not got the required versions and cannot be updated then you have to buy a new device. This can cost more than RailPro.

Extensibility. From what I've read on the user guide page, BlueRail does not seem very extensible. That is compared to RailPro it is not very customisible. With RailPro we (the user) can assign any button to perform any function or play any sound that we've downloaded to the loco module whereas BlueRail is limited by what they include in their app and how they present that to you for use.

Oh, and possibly the reason you've had to collide head with wall is the Sprog DCC family are not actual DCC systems but rather just DCC packet generators. I've used JMRI, WiThrottle and a Sprog DCC to test train control with but I wouldn't consider that combination any sort of proper or reliable control system.

- Tim

farmhand

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2016, 12:21:20 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  RailPro owners are very supportive of RailPro, and I think that speaks for itself.
What’s giving me pause with RailPro is the controller cost.  I like to run trains when the grandkids come over and with Bluerail, we gather up phones and everyone who wants to run a train can.
One idea I have is to run all three systems along side of each other since I already have a couple of units running on DCC.  Maybe buy a BlueRail unit and start collecting nice units that run off of RailPro.  That way everyone can run something.   As I understand both RailPro and BlueRail can run on DCC track.   
Farmhand aka Clifford aka Grandpa  :)

TomO

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2016, 07:07:00 PM »
I was a very satisfied owner of RailPro and sold the system along with the railroad and house. I also have 3 BlueRail boards. As I have noted previously on another thread I will be again buying RailPro for the next layout. There is nothing better or easier than using and setting up RailPro. The consisting of locomotives is so easy its scary.

BlueRail is definitely a nice idea and an easy transition into independent control. My idea was for $85 (battery ready board) and a smart phone I would have control of one locomotive independent of anything else. BlueRail is unable to consist locomotives but they claim someday they will. The sound on Bluerail is via the smart phone and not the engine. Someday they will have sound via the board and engine but not today. The control is smooth and nice. The battery is lasting 2hours, the battery and BlueRail board are not small enough at this time to fit in a diesel locomotive. I run a dummy unit holding the battery and am looking for a solution to hide the wires between units. I have not used a non battery BlueRail board yet.

You are viewing a forum of avowed RailPro converts and loyalist. ]In my opinion there is nothing easier or better than using RailPro. It is not cheap for a controller if you are running multiple operators but as noted by others, expensive is in the eyes of the beholder. BlueRail is a great entry system but will always have detractors. IMO you cannot go wrong with RailPro. I am experimenting with BlueRail and will not knock it, but RailPro is so much more...

TomO

Dean

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Re: RailPro vs Bluerail
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 09:42:03 AM »
I don't own a smart phone. No Bluerail for me.
Besides, when you replace your phone, do you have to reconfigure it for Bluerail? 
Dean