Author Topic: BlueRail Update 7/2/19  (Read 258 times)

TwinStar

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BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« on: July 02, 2019, 03:41:30 PM »
Hello from BlueRail,

Here is a development update from BlueRail Trains. Im pleased to inform you that BlueRail has been involved in 2 separate but related co-development projects. Both projects are in full swing (one of which I can give you some detail on). The first is a board we have been developing in cooperation with Tam Valley Depot. This board allows you to connect the DCC decoder of your choice to control your loco and edit CVs with your smartphone using the BlueRail app. The board I have been using is a 6 amp board measuring 1.25 x 2.75.  There is also a lower amperage HO version that is .75 x 1.5. The boards can be powered with the power source of your choice: AC, DC, DCC, and Battery. These boards are nearing availability.  Pricing and spec sheets will be made available soon, as well as a pre-order sign-up form.  Boards will be made available based on sign-up priority as they roll off the assembly line.  Further information on the product will be made available through this email group and on the BlueRailTrains.com website (when updated). A link will be sent out to this mailing group when a sign-up sheet is ready. We will have information available for retailers sometime soon. DCC control will be added first to the BlueRail App (before porting to Android). Here is an article that describes why we develop on iOS first:  http://bluerailtrains.com/2017/02/12/why-do-developers-release-ios-versions-before-android/
If you are attending NMRA 2019 in Salt Lake City, Pete Steinmetz of DeadRail installs will have a working board on hand that you can check out.  Pete is hosting a weathering clinic on Tuesday night at 6:30pm (and a DeadRail clinic on Thursday night at 6:30). He will be available after the Tuesday weathering clinic to show the board and answer questions. The Thursday clinic will discuss Dead Rail, but there will be a large portion devoted to the new BlueRail Trains board.

The second board under co-development is an all-inclusive product in which the DCC sound decoder and bluetooth module are all built into a single board. The manufacturer has a terrific sound library and decades of experience making DCC sound decoders, so the boards will be available in a variety of sound variants and amperages. These boards are produced in volume, so they take a little longer to release. This will be an impressive product, but the manufacturer has asked we save revealing more until they make an announcement (the announcement will not be in Salt Lake City).

Both of these products are exciting. In testing the prototypes I have really enjoyed using both. They each have their strengths. They work well together side-by-side.

The Tam Valley product will be of particular interest to Large Scale users who require more than 4 amps, or anyone who has a specific DCC sound decoder that you would like to control and edit from a smartphone.  Its ability to read/write CVs, battery support, and the opportunities it offers to O and S users (who will finally have train control options) is noteworthy. Not to mention the fact that this product will be available this summer.  Tam Valley is an award winning San Diego based company that has made Model Railroad control products for many years. They have established a great reputation of producing high-quality dependable train, DCC, and layout control electronics.

The second product is exciting because its the first high end DCC sound decoder with integrated bluetooth control. All bi-directional communication occurs instantaneously. There is no need to understand CVs: you can change sounds and control over 300 parameters in real-time using a logically organized, easy-to-use interface. For added flexibility, you will also be able to control the train through the rails on your favorite DCC layout (in addition to using DC or battery for power). The integrated bluetooth module is 6mmx9mm, giving the board a very small form factor.

Whats exciting about both products is we are partnering with companies that are experts in their fields, which allows them to focus on making great train control hardware and sounds (as they always have), and allows BlueRail to concentrate our energy on making great control interfaces (and the firmware that supports it).  You get all the features BlueRail develops (like simple speed-matching/consisting and over-the-air wireless firmware updates), and the peace of mind of using a control system embraced by multiple manufacturers (BlueRail, Tam Valley, Bachmann and our other partner). Both products in development now (and products we have developed in the past) are all controlled by the same app. They are completely compatible with one another, and can be mixed and matched (for control purposes).

2019 is turning out to be the year for train control. BlueRail wants to thank all our friends and supporters for helping make that happen. If you would like to stop receiving these emails, use the unsubscribe link below.


David Rees
BlueRail Trains
Jacob Damron
Modeling late 1950's Dallas Union Terminal in Proto-Rail modules

Texas Railway Modeling and Historical Society trmhs.org
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KPack

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Re: BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 06:59:58 PM »
Saw this before you posted it here, and thought it was interesting.  Pairing with existing DCC decoders is really their best way forward.  I think they realized that they would not be able to compete on the sound side of things.

That's the struggle that Railpro has always had, and it will continue to be an uphill battle for them.  It's hard to compete with the likes of Loksound and Soundtraxx, who have been doing sound for decades, and have a much larger employee base to record sounds, and a much larger user base to provide sounds.  From where Railpro was at 3-4 years ago, they have come a very long ways.  The software is significantly better and the sounds are 1000 times better (thanks Bruce and others!).  We just need to continue going in this direction and Railpro will get better.

-Kevin

TwinStar

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Re: BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 10:58:24 AM »
There's a youtube! update out for this and to me it's a colossal fail. You have to buy their board at $99 MRSP and connect it to a DCC board. You then still have to know which CV does which function in order to manipulate any change. It looks like an expensive onboard JMRI to me.


Maybe I'm missing something but why would you pay that much to move the DCC technology goal posts from 1988 to 1994? Why not go RailPro for far less cost and for far more capability?
Jacob Damron
Modeling late 1950's Dallas Union Terminal in Proto-Rail modules

Texas Railway Modeling and Historical Society trmhs.org
trmhs.org

G8B4Life

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Re: BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 08:52:39 AM »
Maybe I'm missing something but why would you pay that much to move the DCC technology goal posts from 1988 to 1994?

Because a great proportion of the hobby still believes that DCC is the only real control system from the false belief that DCC is non propriety (yeah, good luck getting your throttles to work on another manufacturers system after your command station fails and your system manufacturer went belly up like they think RE will, or maybe getting your x brand system to work with Y brands Y brand specific decoder features).  What's worse is a lot of those same people who shout down RailPro's "high" module cost will probably welcome this "twice the price" system with open arms  :o

Off the soapbox now, remember that we've only seen the two board system as mentioned in the first part of your opening post. We have not seen the all inclusive board mentioned in the second part yet. How much that is priced for and how well it it works and integrates we will have to wait and see. It'll still use CV's in the backend though  :P

- Tim

Alan

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Re: BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 01:01:15 PM »
Makes more sense if you factor in the significant investment some people have in DCC. I bet they sell quite a few of them. Just not to RP people.  :P
Alan

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

ON28

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Re: BlueRail Update 7/2/19
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2019, 03:58:13 PM »

The recent RP sound developments strike me as crowd-sourced, kind of like what's going on with the DIY builds of DCC+. At the same time, I asked a friend -- a DCC user for decades -- how proficient he is with CVs. "Oh, I don't do any of that. I get someone else to do it," he said.