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.