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You know the options look not so hot for dead protosound boards right now. If you have legacy also and a burned out protosound board ... It's seems the best bet is the tmcc package suggested above. If not, the legacy base is a few hundred on top.

Or DCC seems an option but there's the mixed command system operation problem... Which may not have a solution.

But for pure DCC, there's the cost DCC engine board itself (aka sound decoder). Not to mention a DCC control system. It might be worth a quick mention DCC uses bemf to estimate motor rotations unlike the direct detect systems by mth and Lionel.

Anyway in the DCC control system or "base station", many of us in ho-land have built the so called DCC++ open source base station project and use that with the free jmri software package for operation.

Whether DCC++ power is enough for o gauge motors is not known to me. I'm sure finding bigger such boards is realistic but someone has to do it, to modify the DCC++ software to make it work.

In the end DCC++ for o is starting to sound like project in its own right..
 

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Perhaps you should start a thread asking same to alert others into that question with more experience with diesel locos.

I'm focusing on Prewar Lionel - only steam. And my investigation into the BlueRail Approach is for that purpose.

One note: In basic mode, you have two additional 3 V outputs on the 5-Amp module that can be controlled via the App. They are designated for front and rear lights. As per the picture, the 5-Amp module supplies a constant 3 V and the two controllable outputs would complete a circuit to ground to activate the LED(s).That may be appropriate for a diesel loco but not essential for steam (or at all - lights always on). I might use one to trigger a small relay that would control a generic sound module (a module that's not necessarily a dedicated model railroad product). I may use the other to control the Lionel E-unit for reverse control of my prewar locos.

I would imagine that there are sound modules that can be controlled via the Lionel "DC power overlay approach". Others would have better info on that.

View attachment 545817
I'm interested in the BlueRailDCC boards as well. I had a discussion with someone who works with them, and they said the latest Tam Valley firmware helps manage voltage spike issues often associated with older motors - so they are trying to accommodate that market. I was interested to learn that the 5-amp board has 2 additional connection ports (marked D1 and D2) that are triggered by the bell and horn buttons in the app ( F1 and F2). I don't think this is documented, but its good to know there are 2 additional places to trigger things in the larger board. There is a lot of information in the userguide on the site: BlueRailDCC by Tam Valley UserGuide
 

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I'm interested in the BlueRailDCC boards as well. I had a discussion with someone who works with them, and they said the latest Tam Valley firmware helps manage voltage spike issues often associated with older motors - so they are trying to accommodate that market. I was interested to learn that the 5-amp board has 2 additional connection ports (marked D1 and D2) that are triggered by the bell and horn buttons in the app ( F1 and F2). I don't think this is documented, but its good to know there are 2 additional places to trigger things in the larger board. There is a lot of information in the userguide on the site: BlueRailDCC by Tam Valley UserGuide
Yes, I sent them a msg and their response mentioned the S/W vis-a-vis the voltage spikes. I would think that adding the capacitor, recommended for higher amp draw locos, would minimize spikes to the sensitive electronics on the board (or an additional small cap as well).

That's good to know about the D1/D2 outputs, thx for that. I wonder if they work similar to the front and rear light outputs that complete the connection to ground to power LEDS. Not a lot of power there as I've read "20 ma" for the +3.3 V source on the board.

But they didn't answer my question on maximum voltage. As stated the 5-amp board is good to 18 V. But they don't specify AC or DC. AC voltage is measure as an rms value. That value peaks at 1.4 times the rms rating. So 18 V AC has a peak ~ 25.5 V. I asked about that but they didn't directly address that in their response to me.

If they're max rating is 18 V DC, that pretty much precludes powering pre/post war locos with a classic AC transformer. The max AC voltage would need to < ~12.75 V rms not to exceed 18 V max. Fortunately the classic Lionel Loco.'s have "universal" motors that run just fine on DC. You would need an 18 V DC power pack for the track. You would also need to isolate the motor from the frame. That can be accomplished on most, but not all, Lionel loco's by detaching the one field winding lead connected to the motor frame.

Lastly, they may not offer an android version of the app any time soon. They said they would need to sell 5,000 units to break even. That would be a bummer for me as I'm used to android and have never owned an Apple phone. And they have to compete with DCC in the large HO market.

The plot thickens ...
 

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I know from experience building an app on any platform (iOS or Android) is usually at $10-20K effort. I don't know what their profit margins are, and how many boards you need to sell as a small company for that to make sense, but it is probably harder for a small company to launch on all platforms at once. I know when BlueRail made their first product they partnered with Bachmann on the EZ App, and I imagine the partnership helped subsidize the Android version of the app they put out. Hopefully they can do something similar to upgrade their Android app to support DCC.
 

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Android WIFI Solution

WiFiTrax makes an onboard wireless module ($79 msrp) that accepts commands from the EngineDriver Android App and delivers them to a generic DCC decoder such as a DigiTrax DG583AR 5-Amp decoder ($67 msrp, $54 @ sbs4dcc.com)). Spec.'s for the WifiTrax module indicate 3 amp continuous and 4 amp peak with an input voltage of 12 to 18 V DC. (However, the module's PCB silkscreen lists 8-24 V DC input). Obviously, you need to consider the max voltage for the decoder itself. Adding sound would be the next step. DigiTrax makes separate sound decoders that can be used independently of the DCC Decoder. DigiTrax SFX006 Soundbug ($53 msrp) can be wired in parallel to the output of the WifiTrax DCC interface (low output volume but there are others). I presume that would mean a second address for operating the sound module (like a separate loco or other sound device such as a depot). There are some high power DCC decoders with sound but pricing starts at $150+.

For $186 for the setup (plus tax & shipping if applicable) with a benefit of moving towards an "open architecture" wireless DCC solution. A high current DCC decoder with onboard sound would be ideal. I've seen a few but they're ~$150+ before adding the WiFiTrax module/

WiFiTrax.png


EngineDriver.png Decoder.png Sound.png
 

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If I understand you question ... You want to update a generic DCC module w/Sound via the WiFiTrax module.

I haven't see any mfg literature that supports that. You can update the WiFiTrax module firmware via a USB interface using this WiFiTrax Interface Module.

The Digitrax PR4 module supports USB to DCC decoder for programming modules. It also allows PCs to connect to the track for PC control Apps of DCC modules.
 
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