Author Topic: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.  (Read 789 times)

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peteski

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TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« on: May 03, 2019, 04:44:52 PM »
+1
I just received an email with pre-order info.
http://tcsdcc.com/Zen/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=134&products_id=1276

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Sorry to say that for a brand new design, I'm not impressed at all.

It seems that they aped the NCE throttle design:  Up/down buttons, and thumbwheel.  While I use and like (when compared to  other domestic brands) NCE DCC throttles, I would be lying if I didn't admit that its design is aging.

The TCS throttle's display doesn't impress me either.   Yes, there appear to be 4 soft buttons, but compared to ESU's throttle for example (with its nice large knob, and touch sensitive color screen), the new TCS throttle seems like a dinosaur (and the price seems comparable).  Too bad that TCS is another American DCC manufacturer lagging behind when it comes to current technology.

ESU throttle:
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C855B

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 04:49:36 PM »
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Is the ESU throttle WiFi?
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peteski

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 05:01:16 PM »
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Is the ESU throttle WiFi?

Hmm, Since it is WiFi and Android-based, I assumed that it was a WiFi throttle compatible with the JMRI standard. But you're right - it seems that it uses proprietary protocol, as JMRI is not mentioned anywhere.   :facepalm:  Interesting.

I might just have to put a foot in my mouth (or at least eat my ESU Power Cab throttle.  :)
But still, I'm not impressed with a new for 2019 piece of electronic equipment coming from an American DCC manufacturer. Actually I'm more impressed with the metamorphosis of the Digitrax's Zephyr system with its new human interface.
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learmoia

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 05:06:19 PM »
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Yeah... Cell phones are $50....

So I can get 5 cell phone wifi throttles for the price of 1 TCS wifi throttle.

The people who aren't comfortable with cell phone throttle, wont be too interested in this either.. (vs a regular throttle...)

~Ian
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C855B

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 05:38:48 PM »
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... But you're right - it seems that it uses proprietary protocol, as JMRI is not mentioned anywhere.   :facepalm:  Interesting.

JMRI/WiThrottle protocol is the dominating standard, for better or for worse. The new Digitrax WiFi interface is plug-and-play with WiThrottle and Engine Driver, don't even need JMRI in the loop any more.

In TCS' defense, they're going with a fully tactile interface, and electromechanicals cost more. The ESU and smartphone reliance on touch screen is not my preference (nod to ESU's big dial, tho'). I have seven iPhones as my primary throttles that have cost me nothing since they're family upgrade throw-aways, and I couldn't pre-order the TCS throttle fast enough.

What I'm really after is the TCS Mini-throttle, planned to be similar capability in a smaller package with fewer buttons but a big dial instead of the thumbwheel. However, the "Universal" will certainly be interesting to try for the time being.
...mike

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We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

wcfn100

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 06:00:49 PM »
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Is the ESU throttle WiFi?

Yeah, its WiFi.  It's just preloaded with the ESU protocol.  You would need to install WiThrottle or whatever and then could use like any normal wireless setup.

It's just an Android phone with a knob.

Jason

reinhardtjh

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 06:52:49 PM »
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Yeah, its WiFi.  It's just preloaded with the ESU protocol.  You would need to install WiThrottle or whatever and then could use like any normal wireless setup.

It's just an Android phone with a knob.

Jason

The Android version is Engine Driver.  In some ways it's better than WiThrottle and some ways not.  Just different. But it works on the ESU throttle with JMRI.
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wcfn100

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 07:37:17 PM »
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But it works on the ESU throttle with JMRI.

So it should work with the Digitrax WiFi without JRMI too. 

Jason


jagged ben

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 11:13:06 PM »
+1
For a minute I thought that $50 was the price, not the deposit.    Until I see a wifi throttle that is actually $50 total, I don't think I would consider anything in this category other than the Protothrottle.  I mean, go whole hog or don't bother, I say.

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 11:15:00 PM »
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I think Engine Driver even auto recognizes the ESU throttle and allows use of the thumb wheel and other proprietary hardware.
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reinhardtjh

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 11:56:24 PM »
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Does Engine Driver use the knob now? Last I had read (quite a while ago) was ESU hadn't released the API for the custom controls.

Apparently John C. gave a pretty good review and the following discussion indicates the knob does work  Mobile Control II and JMRI Thumbs Up

This review is probably why I bought one.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 01:16:56 PM by reinhardtjh »
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jdcolombo

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2019, 09:52:19 AM »
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I've now used two ESU Mobile Control II throttles with my Digitrax/JMRI setup at three different op sessions on my layout, and they have worked extremely well.  One unanticipated issue is that occasionally operators will hit the "Return" button at the bottom of the throttle, which then causes them to exit the Engine Driver app.  But I've had these sorts of things happen with iPhones used as throttles, too, so it's a hazard of touch-operated (or even button-operated) things.  And I've got at least one operator that much prefers using Wi-Throttle on an iPhone 5 because of the way it fits in his hand and the ability to configure the throttle for switching.

I'm probably not going to add one of the TCS throttles, simply because I very much like the Big Knob on the ESU throttle, along with the configurable touch screen.  Might try the "utility" version of the TCS when it becomes available, though.

John C.

conrad

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 12:28:57 PM »
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On the low cost end (cheap) I use a $50 7" Azpen table with Engine Driver on my Digitrax/JMRI layout.  It's great for an old guy with so so eyesight.

Conrad

PS It's a very strange tablet with the camera on the front, the display side, so you can't see what you are photographing:(

peteski

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 05:04:39 PM »
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PS It's a very strange tablet with the camera on the front, the display side, so you can't see what you are photographing:(

Ah, one of those "selfie-only" tablets.  :D  Good option when one uses Skype video calls.
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CodyO

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Re: TCS announces a new WiFi throttle: Not impressed.
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2019, 12:50:59 PM »
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Yeah TCS and digitrax are both dropping the ball.

The ESU throttle is amazing and it does have 4 configurable buttons on the sides and the touch screen is a nice feature I find I can actually focus on the trains more than the throttle after I setup the 4 buttons for what's best for me.

 If you like running multiple trains simultaneously the ESU throttle is also great cause you can just scroll on the touch screen quickly.
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