DCC Control via iPhone?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by dhudson, May 30, 2008.

  1. dhudson

    dhudson New Member

    Maybe I'm setting the bar too high on this one, but my iPhone would seem like a great portable DCC controller.

    Of course, it has no serial (other than comms via USB with a cable), but it does have WiFi, and could communicate with TCP via a server connected to the LocoNet.

    The reconfigurable touch screen would give it a distinct advantage over any of the fancy (expensive) controllers on the market, and a good design would make the whole affair much more intuitive than the existing controllers (too many buttons, too many cryptic readouts, too many instructions).

    Thoughts? Leads? Sounds like a killer app (on the train side) to me!

  2. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    I would think the main problem would be the lag time for the commands to go over the internet. Just a thought
  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    JMRI has a OS X version, so you could possibly port that down to a iPhone app and utlitize the USB comm port to connect to a locobuffer II USB. Certainly feasible I'd say.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I am sure someone is working on it...! There were applications available for past models of Palm devices that turned them into infrared wireless throttles. I believe Digitrax offered something at one point...

    Using an iPhone makes for an expensive throttle though... ;) :eek:

  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    It is certainly doable. I don't think the lag would be an issue at all.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    No comment here on the feasibility of the idea. But I would like to drop my jaw for a moment at the way the hobby has changed over the past 15 years - just the idea of controlling a layout with an iPhone!!! Who would have thunk? I had thought of contolling a layout with a computer way back during the Commodore 64 days. It was more of a novelty of figuring out how to do it, and the best I could figure for practicality would be staging automated trains (possibly for a museum display layout). But to contol a layout with a cell phone!! Wow.

  7. dhudson

    dhudson New Member

    Thanks for the responses, all. Yes, it would make an expensive controller if that was its only function, but I already own it, I use if for email and phone calls many times daily, it can communicate wirelessely two ways (GSM or WiFi), it has a fairly robust web browser, and now a public development interface.

    ...not to mention that I'm also using it to track my complete inventory, and maintain a "wanted" list. It also makes a handy tool when I'm out bargain hunting, as I have a web browser right there in my hand, and can check prices, availability, etc.

    My goal is actually to reduce cost and complexity through integration.

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I figured you musta had it for some other reason! ;)

    Can you see the day though when the cell providers add "Model Railroad Throttle" to the list of functions with phone, video, camera, mp3 player...? Nah, me neither! :) :D

    Godd luck, and let us know what you find out.

  9. dhudson

    dhudson New Member

    Good point, Andrew: We can barely get Apple to support Word, Excel, etc.... much less Digitrax/et.al.

    I certainly don't have the time, but maybe someone out there is listening... :)
  10. woodone

    woodone Member

    Lenz has a system that lets you use a wireless phone as a throttle.
    Called a XPA. This might be just what you are looking for.
  11. Harrys_nscale

    Harrys_nscale New Member

    hey why not use the i phone there was a guy selling an app for your palm pilot though sadly that has disappeared

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