OK train people, I haven’t written much about model trains recently, but this Kickstarter project is very interesting. Basically, this small board which would be added into the model locomotive would enable you to control your trains via a Bluetooth device such as an Apple or Android phone.
As much as other hobbies have advanced over the years, model trains have gotten a bit stuck. Or maybe we should say “derailed”? Anyway, the trains are still, for the most part, controlled via power and signals over the track. This is often called driving the track instead of driving the train. While DCC helps with that, it still relies on the track for the power and the computer signal to reach the train. The goal everyone would like to get to would be for the track to be support only, as they are in real life, with power and controls coming from the locomotive itself.
While the project of this kickstarted does not address the power aspect, it deals quite well with the control. “By communicating directly with the locomotive wirelessly through an easy to use application – the immense power of your smart device can be put to work improving and simplifying advanced control of hobby locomotives.”
The Bluetooth module looks like it would be very easy to install. They site the example of a standard Bachman HO gauge locomotive:
- Remove the locomotive housing.
- Remove the existing DCC control board and clip the motor wires.
- Connect the motor wires and any light wires to the appropriate wires on the module’s wire harness.
- Open the control app on your mobile device, run through a quick configuration wizard where you can set forward direction, name, photograph and customize your locomotives settings – that’s it.
If this looks interesting at all, I encourage you to take a look at the Kickstarter project and give it some backing. I am honestly hoping they can make it all come together.