Hi. I’m based in the UK and have an interest in WiFi control of an OO layout. This is still at the planning stage and I didn’t want to take the DCC route for a number of reasons. I became aware of your 1st generation product some months ago (and in fact I’m on your mailing list) but I considered it too large for my needs. I want to accommodate all receiver electronics within OO gauge locomotives, both diesel and steam. However, I was very interested to understand and potentially test out the technology so I embarked on a DIY project. Using off the shelf components (principally an ESP8266 and H bridge motor driver) housed in the locomotive tender, I very quickly had a prototype up and running. It has no sound and no lights, but is nonetheless quite impressive in operation and with my own “stay alive” circuit is unperturbed by power breaks at turnouts. Also I found that generating the code for the processor using Arduino IDE both straightforward and rewarding. Although my prototype does not require an app on the handset (the onboard processor acts as a web server generating its own control interface), I’m pretty much sold on the technology and I note that your 2nd generation product is now much smaller. However, I have a few questions:-
1/ Have you, or anyone else you know of, installed LocoFi in an OO gauge locomotive (particularly steam, which are more challenging space wise)?
2/ Do you have a UK distributor? Whilst I’m sure that you can ship direct from the US, product support may be easier with a UK supplier.
3/ Do you have plans for providing UK locomotive sounds?
4/ On another forum, I have noted somewhat negative comments regarding the reliability of WiFi at shows/exhibitions where many people are trying to access the network. Obviously this would not be a problem in a home environment, but is this an issue that you have experienced and overcome?
Certainly. While not imminent, we hope to showcase the LocoFi™ technology in Europe some day.
Hi. Thank you. I am encouraged by your comments. The network issue does not really concern me anyway - my rural location puts me about as far as you get get from any likely congestion!!
I would be interested to hear from anyone in the UK who has had experience of your product and I'd also like to see it in action for myself - any chance you'll be doing a show "across the pond"?
All the best
Thank you for the kind words.
1. LocoFi™ does not offer steam sound modules yet. However, steam sound is our top priority now and we hope to release it very soon.
As for installation otherwise, we have ourselves done successful installs in OO gauge diesels using the LocoFi™ 1st Generation module (DDLLHA) with plenty room to spare (say to house battery or supercapacitors). It primarily depends on the space available inside the loco which will vary from model to model.
As for customer installs, we do have customers in UK and most likely they are using OO. Hopefully someone from UK can confirm.
2. We do not have a distributor yet. All sales are direct to our customers and we directly support our products. Please note that we try to meet or exceed customer expectations. So, rest assured for a great customer support.
3. LocoFi™ provides for easy customization of sounds based on open standards. If you have sounds available, you can easily edit and load them onto the onboard microSD card. We are starting to see many customers adopting it. See, for example, https://www.wifimodelrailroad.com/forum/sound/sound-files-for-swiss-e-loco-re-4-4-i and the result can seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-IwfheGyzE&ab_channel=RetoHuber
This does not however preclude us from providing sounds. We are working on getting rights to some common sounds or worst case will go out to do our own recordings. This will complement to what can be available from third parties.
4. Most negative comments you see will come from those who have never experienced LocoFi™. Now that you've experienced it yourself, you know better.
As for bandwidth contention, yes, if the access point can't handle the number of connections, there will be issues. There is also the physical limitations to how far a signal can propagate but WiFi technology has tools like "mesh networking" to overcome that. WiFi is everywhere! The negative comments are usually made to focus on those use cases that are just the physical reali