The article below is reproduced from Rapido Newsletter Vol. 122, released Friday, March 13. We are very excited to be working with Rapido Trains and look forward to many successful collaborations! - Stephen
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Earlier I mentioned Rapido-TCS decoders in the HO scale M420. I'd like to tell you more about this new collaboration.
We feel it is best to have more than one decoder supplier, and we've been very impressed with the folks at Train Control Systems. Our main concern with having two suppliers is that we want our locomotives to work well together. So we have been working with TCS to create a custom Rapido-TCS decoder that is fully compatible with our ESU LokSound-equipped locomotives. We are continuing to use ESU for many of our locomotive projects, and we want you to feel confident running your different Rapido engines together.
Please note that the Rapido-TCS decoder is not a WOWSound decoder. It is a new collaborative product.
Mohan checks out the Quality Control camera at TCS headquarters. Inspecting the decoder circuit
boards manually used to take half an hour. Now it takes less than a minute.
TCS is a family business and their decoders are all made in-house in the USA. This month we visited their shop in Pennsylvania and we'll be posting a video in the next few days. The video will show the TCS operation as well as how our ESU-equipped and TCS-equipped engines can play nicely together. The vibe at TCS is almost exactly the same as the vibe at Rapido – you can tell these guys really love what they are doing.
Mohan is entranced by one of the TCS Pick And Place machines. This creates the decoders while you watch. It's really neat!
TCS now has a wi-fi compatible throttle (also made in the USA) which was a joy to use, and they have almost finished the development of a TCS Desktop Programmer which does exactly what it says on the box: it will allow you to connect your PC to your track and customize the programming of your locomotives with easy-to-use software. It's also universal and can adjust the settings of all of your DCC-equipped locomotives. The programmers should hit store shelves around the same time as our M420.
Rapido-TCS decoders will all have Keep Alive® and will incorporate many of the other proprietary TCS features as options.
- Jason Shron, Rapido Trains Inc.
Perhaps you find yourself asking "How in the world am I supposed to attach the lanyard to my new UWT-100?"
You're not alone. We hear you. And we made a video to answer this burning question.
"This is now my favorite throttle. By far. It just works, and very well. User interface mostly clear, so much so I still have not read the instructions." - MM
"Just received my UWT-100. Put the batteries in and easily connected to my Digitrax LNWI. These two were meant for each other. Really, really nice, intuitive, and easy to use. I didn’t even need to look at a tutorial for this. Onboard help is nice. So much easier than the Digitrax, NCE Powercab, and ESU CabControl. Much easier and faster to get up and running than connecting an iOS or Android to the LNWI. Faster start-up than an ESU CabControl. I don’t want to mess with powering up a computer and running JMRI to get the UWT-100 to connect to my Powercab or CabControl. Kudos to TCS for making this." - ME
"Just received my pre-ordered throttle. It is great! Well done! Running trains in five minutes.
The throttle fits my hand perfectly and one-handed eyes-free operation is nearly intuitive. Menu operation is fast and clear making it easy to explore and fine-tune. In my opinion, this has every other throttle beat. It does what is needed cleanly and efficiently. Thank you for such a good job!" - RR
"I finally had time to sit down and try mine. It worked perfectly right out of the box. I love this throttle! It's easy to see all of the time and effort that went into producing these throttles. It's such an incredibly polished product." - JE
"I received my UWT-100 Throttle today. Got it set up on my Digitrax LNWI. It works great and is easy to set up and use. Much better than using my phone." - DB
"I received my UWT-100 today. It took me longer to get my computer started than it did to get started using the throttle. I'm using it with Digitrax DSC50, Locobuffer-USB and JMRI. So far I am impressed. It feels nice in hand and I don't have to worry about accidentally touching the screen (smartphone). I agree that it is a bit expensive but I think it is well worth the price. It has a very intuitive interface. I never looked at the manual." - KM
"Must say I have been very pleased with the ease of using this throttle in general and the intelligent consisting programmed into it. Picking up and dropping locomotives, even changing cabs is a cinch." - JR
TCS is launching an online documentation platform! The TCS Documentation Wiki (https://docs.tcsdcc.com) is an online encyclopedia that we will be populating with technical content, tips, and resources for TCS decoders, accessories, and throttles.
We will be continuously expanding on topics until we have complied a comprehensive knowledge base that is accessible to everyone and always up-to-date.
While we're busy moving our existing documentation to the wiki, we're also looking for suggestions on new articles and content that our users would find helpful. Please feel free to send us your suggestions!
Curious? Head to docs.tcsdcc.com and browse around! We recommend starting with our UWT-100 throttle article.
The UWT-100 Universal WiFi Throttle from TCS was just previewed on Ken Patterson's "What's Neat This Week in Model Railroading" Video Podcast. James Regier, a podcast regular, pre-ordered his UWT-100 last summer and took it on the show as soon as the box arrived at his home.
The UWT-100 discussion lasts from about 14:15 to 19:40. Check out the video below!
The video transcript is below:
Ken Patterson: So James Regier, you've got something special going on tonight: tell us about this throttle system, who is this made by, what is this?
James Regier: This was kind of an exciting thing to arrive in the mail today. This is the new Universal Wi-Fi Throttle from TCS Train Control Systems and it's designed to be compatible with any system out there as long as it's connected to Wi-Fi.
Ken: So this will work with NCE?
James: You can connect it up to your NCE system.
Ken: And Digitrax?
James: Yes. The best way is probably to connect it through JMRI like you would your cell phone but once you do... this thing is fully loaded. I mean, you can easily consist your trains on this, it has up to 30 functions that you can access on it, it has it has eight different programmable buttons and you can set these as as you like, it even has a flashlight for if you’re doing night operations like we did at [K10s] last week where they just shut down the lights and you have the whole layout lit up by either the buildings that they have lit on the layout or the headlights on your locomotive, so there was a lot of thought that went into this. It has the same ergonomic qualities that the NCE throttle has, in fact, it feels very similar to those, it's kind of like the NCE throttle.
Ken: it's got the same - what is it - the slide switch with your thumb?
James: Yeah, that nice little thumb wheel.
Ken: Now this is something you can use with Digitrax and/or NCE or any of the other systems out there that you're connected to Wi-Fi on?
James: Any system you like as long as it's Wi-Fi.
Ken: And the nice thing about this that I like is you don't have to recharge it so that means that if the battery is low don't have to quit running trains until it charges up again.
James: Yeah just two AAs right in the back, not even a special battery size.
Ken: And it automatically shuts off so if you don't touch it or handle it for a little while you don't worry about the batteries going dead. Those are two important things about a throttle system. So this essentially replaces your cell phone but makes all thirty functions available on the keypad.
James: Right and you know it was just one of those things. I saw that TCS was announcing them in the summer for pre-order and I got kind of excited about it because you know I like to use the TCS WOW decoders in all my locomotives just because they're very innovative with their sound and they have some of the best quality sound out there - at least in my opinion - and so I knew that that when they would take on a project like this they would do it over-the-top and and I've not been disappointed so far.
Ken: That’s great, and you bought this, they didn’t send this to you? This is an endorsement? This is what we do.
James: The the only thing - when I when they told him that I would like to talk about it on the show, they sent me a standard face instead of the serial number case that you'd get with the pre-order. Just because this is the standard case that you'd get with the throttle and they didn't want the impression that you'd get the serial number on it.
Campbell Rice: That's always so much better because when I'm using my phone I always get a phone call you know so now you don't have to worry about that.
James: And the other thing that I've the other thing is when you're using your phone - suppose you want to take a picture of your train and you do it and suddenly you've lost control of your train and I've noticed with my iPhone that you you not only lose control of your train but you lose your consists, you lose everything else and you have to dial it back up and that means that the automatic train stop kicks in and so it can mess up the whole thing.
Campbell: That’s a game changer.
James: But with this, none of that’s a factor, it's like you're walking around with a regular throttle. And the the nice thing is it'll it can pick up anybody's WiFi so if you're wanting to go to a club layout or if you're an operating group or that sort of thing, anybody who has WiFi you can just go from layout to layout and hook up and connect and they'll probably be more comfortable with you setting up with your throttle here than they would with your phone just because they're there always seems to become some concern that if you have your phone hooked up into their network that that's gonna mess something up.
Campbell: So what's the price point on that?
James: The price point is right around 300 dollars so you know it's about the cost of a premium locomotive these days. So that’s the price point they were working at, and this is the first actually in a network of throttles that will be coming out from TCS including some that are a bit more stripped-down than this, that would more resemble the NCE handheld mini throttle, with a reduced number of features, with a potentiometer on it.
Ken: I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. Just the fact that you bought this on your own... this is a brand new product on the market and you can see first on What's Neat show - that's what I like. I love it when manufacturers share their stuff with us, to share with the best people in the world out there - our viewers.
James: Oh - and the neat thing I gotta say is, because I did the pre-order I got a coffee mug just like yours!
Ken: I got one of those around here somewhere - Yes, the TCS coffee mug! I'll tell you what that was a nice gift thanks guys. I don't know how you guys knew I love caffeine but rock and roll you helped me with my fix.