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Battery Power - D.C.C. - Bluetooth
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 Posted: Tue Sep 24th, 2019 07:58 am
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Sean W.
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I will be seeing Bluerail trains new board this weekend,
at the 2019 Pacific Southwest Region NMRA convention in Mesa Arizona.

I'm driving over from Pasadena to go to the show,
but if I'm being honest, seeing the board is a big reason I'm going!





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 Posted: Tue Sep 24th, 2019 08:58 am
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davecttr
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Is this the Tam Valley board mentioned on the Bluerail site?





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 Posted: Tue Sep 24th, 2019 07:51 pm
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Sean W.
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davecttr wrote:
Is this the Tam Valley board mentioned on the Bluerail site?


Unsure.

Will find out when I see it.




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 Posted: Sun Sep 29th, 2019 08:09 pm
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Sean W.
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I saw the new Bluerail trains board this weekend.
It's awesome.

They said it should be out sometime after Halloween,
but before Thanksgiving.

It is manufactured by Tam Valley.




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 Posted: Tue Oct 1st, 2019 01:05 am
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Rick Dow
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Hi Sean,

Thank you for giving us all an update on the state of BlueRail.
I would be interested to hear more details regarding what you saw at the show.

For instance, were the BlueRail products demonstrated in HO scale?
If so were they located within the powered locomotive,
or located in a second dummy car?

Were the BlueRail boards powered by a Li-Po battery?
If so, was it 2 cell or 3 cell?

Was there a speaker or clinic demonstrating installation? 
Doubt it, but thought I would ask anyway.

You were apparently impressed,
and it would be fun to hear about what you liked the most.

Thanking you in advance.

Rick




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 Posted: Tue Oct 1st, 2019 03:21 am
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Sean W.
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Rick Dow wrote: Hi Sean,

Thank you for giving us all an update on the state of BlueRail.
I would be interested to hear more details regarding what you saw at the show.

For instance, were the BlueRail products demonstrated in HO scale?
If so were they located within the powered locomotive,
or located in a second dummy car?

Were the BlueRail boards powered by a Li-Po battery?
If so, was it 2 cell or 3 cell?

Was there a speaker or clinic demonstrating installation? 
Doubt it, but thought I would ask anyway.

You were apparently impressed,
and it would be fun to hear about what you liked the most.

Thanking you in advance.


Hi Rick,

The test unit he used was an HO unit.  It was an Alco engine.
It was not closed up though, so we could see the board and how everything was wired.
He had two size batteries, a 850mAh and a 450mAh battery, both were 11.1volts.
They were 3 cell Lithium-Polymer batteries. He recommends 4 cell for Li-Po batteries.

He did give a clinic on "dead rail", but gave the presentation as more of a concept,
and not a sales pitch for Bluerail trains products specifically,
though he did touch on them as one of the manufacturers in the space.

I was super impressed with the new board and the app.
Going to see his presentation was 90% of the reason I made the drive from Pasadena to Phoenix.

Going in I really didn't know much about it or how it worked.
I spoke to him for probably a good solid 3 hours after his presentation.
We went and sat down, and I got to play with the board and the app,
and ask any question that I could think of.

The hardware is locked in and they aren't making any changes to it. 
The hangup is the app at this time.
They want to get it as full featured as possible before they release the boards for sale.
They have 3 developers working on it full time to get it ready. 

I really liked the way the board gives you I believe 8 different headlight functions,
mars, beacon, pulsing etc That was very cool.

They didn't show it, but he mentioned that you don't have to use your phone or tablet to control the trains,
you can use an Xbox Bluetooth controller (or any Bluetooth controller) linked to your phone to control the train.
You just program the X button for the horn, Y for bell, forwards, backwards etc etc.
So you can literally run your train with a Xbox controller, if you aren't happy with the interface on your phone.
To clarify the chain of command, the Xbox controller is telling your phone, to tell the engine what to do,
you are NOT directly controlling the engine with the controller.

The app can both read and write CVs.
He showed it with a TCS decoder I believe.
The TCS guys were there as well, and It was great chatting with them.
 
I hope this answered all your questions, let me know if you have any more.




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 Posted: Tue Oct 1st, 2019 11:26 am
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fallen
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For those who did not get the email from Bluerail,

there is a demo video in the link below.

Frank

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzDc-LEptNE


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 Posted: Wed Oct 2nd, 2019 03:39 am
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Rick Dow
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Thank you very much for the update, Sean.

Sounds like they have advanced their product significantly,
and they are to be congratulated for that.

For sure, none of this design work and hardware manufacturing comes cheaply.
They must be committed to this technology as being the future.

Has BlueRail managed to design and manufacture a receiver smaller than their previous model? 
I hope they did. 
With HO scale, the size of the product,
will always be a factor for many modellers, in my opinion.

Hopefully BlueRail will now re-enter the market with this new receiver,
and be very successful.  

A hurdle that the battery powered / radio controlled market is facing, is the learning curve,
to confidently install whatever available technology the modeller chooses to purchase.

Of course, the real answer is for the success of these products,
is to be available in a "ready-to-go" state on the hobby shop shelves,
similar to today's DCC installed locomotives.

But since no manufacturer is leaning in this direction,
the easiest "self-installed" product will carry a lot of weight in this market, in my opinion   

BlueRail seems interested in presenting a multitude of features.
But a good portion of modellers may want to convert to battery/radio,
yet still keep it simple from that point on
(traditional throttle with forward / back  and speed)
so they can keep their operations sessions relatively unchanged.

There will be many though I'm sure,
who will buy and implement these new BlueRail products,
if they are marketed well.

Good Luck to them I'm sure, from all of us here on the Forum.

Interesting times, for sure


Cheers

Rick




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 Posted: Wed Oct 2nd, 2019 05:20 pm
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Bob R
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The new BlueRail system sounds good. 

The 2 amp board size for smaller installations is a plus. 
Still lacking enough information to do a real comparison. 

The Easy DCC Airwire 900 system and Tam Valley BlueRail, appear to be very similar,
other than the transmission frequency.
 
Airwire 900 is on 900 MHz frequency,
and BlueRail appears to be via 2.4 GHz, since it uses a smart phone for a throttle.
 
The Airwire 900 small board is 0.6 x 2.4 inch, which is longer than the BlueRail 0.6 x 1.5 inch.
 
Cost is about the same, with Airwire 900 at $89, and BlueRail at $95.

I have a fair amount of experience with the Airwire 900, having installed and operated four engines. 
Very satisfied with the performance and DCC compatibility. 
I assume the BlueRail will be equally as satisfying.
 
The ability to use a smart phone, rather than buying a separate controller is nice,
although I personally like knobs and switches.

I am perplexed by the description,
indicating they demonstrated, with a 450 mAh and 850 mAh 3 cell 11.1 volt battery. 
Way bigger than HO will allow, except in a large steam tender or separate "radio" car. 

My experience is that smaller engines get very satisfactory run times, with no more than 300 mAh. 
Also, use of a two cell 7.4 volt battery and a voltage regulator, to step voltage, to either 9 or 12 volts,
is a good option to reduce size of components. 
I have not found an engine that would not run a satisfactory scale speed at 9 volts. 

The Airwire 900 input voltage range is 8.2 to 18 volts. 
I have not found information on BlueRail to know if a 9 volt input is acceptable.




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 Posted: Thu Oct 3rd, 2019 12:35 am
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Bob Walker
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I have extensive experience with the original BlueRail Trains board,
in all various power modes, track and battery.

It performs as well or better than any other wireless control system,
and the app is easy to use.

Like many of us, I am anxious to see the new version.


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