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> Hornby Railmaster, Anyone with experience ?
BobB
post 3 Mar 2013, 05:46
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Hi everyone.

I've just been looking at an advert for the new Hornby "e-link" module. It would seem that the Elite controller is no longer required, just the Railmaster software and the e-link to control the complete layout from a PC. Given the negative comments about the Select and Elite controllers in the past, how does this new possibility stack up in practice ? Has anybody tried it, and will it work with N gauge stuff ?

Thanks

BobB
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JonMann
post 23 Mar 2013, 21:34
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Saw it working at Alexandra Palace today and it seemed great to me. The guys on the Hornby stand had it set up so he could use a touch screen or an ipad, though to use it through the ipad you still need your laptop/pc running the software. He had 4 trains going on a layout and 4 on rolling roads and was controlling all the points through it aswell. The hand out i got about it says it is compatible with anything form 'O' down to 'N'. The guy said it is going to cost 80, includes a copy of Railmaster and will be out in May.
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Kevin Appleby
post 23 Mar 2013, 22:28
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QUOTE (JonMann @ 23 Mar 2013, 21:34) *
The guy said it is going to cost 80, includes a copy of Railmaster and will be out in May.


Why wait until May? Some of us have been doing this for getting on for 3 years. Take a look at Withrottle in the apple App Store and spend the 80 on a sprog 3 to connect the laptop to the layout. Download a copy of jmri layout control software to the laptop, which is hugely more functional than rail master and you will have a first rate DCC control system that is much better than a toy train manufacturer will ever produce.


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Brian Considine
post 23 Mar 2013, 23:12
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QUOTE (Kevin Appleby @ 23 Mar 2013, 22:28) *
Why wait until May? Some of us have been doing this for getting on for 3 years. Take a look at Withrottle in the apple App Store and spend the 80 on a sprog 3 to connect the laptop to the layout. Download a copy of jmri layout control software to the laptop, which is hugely more functional than rail master and you will have a first rate DCC control system that is much better than a toy train manufacturer will ever produce.


The OP asked if anyone had used the Railmaster software, not for alternatives - why not wait until you have used/seen the Railmaster software in use yourself & give it a chance before you condem it ?

I've seen the Railmaster in action & from what I've seen it's pretty good.

I use JMRI & a Spog myself (admitted an early one) & find it just a little "nerdy".
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Richard Johnson
post 24 Mar 2013, 04:49
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*** All of the "Black box + smart phone" systems will work just fine... As will all of the very many "handset" based systems that can also be linked to a PC via a wireless router and smart phone throttle.

It comes down to what the user is comfortable with - a new user will be impressed whatever the depth as they do not use of see the need for the greater sophistication of one vs the other... but in reality each will also have a greater or lesser degree of sophistication and refinement in control or a greater or lesser degree of abilities for realted layout control.

All of the screen based systems are far less clumsy to operate with than Select or Elite, especially with sound locos, as the user interface provided by the maker, be it Z21, Railmaster, or Wi-throttle and Android equivalents is always much better.

regards

Richard


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BobB
post 24 Mar 2013, 09:03
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I've just got a response from Hornby to some questions.

They suggest that we can use other manufacturer's reverse loop modules and accessory decoders but that to boost the one amp power supply we should use their model which seems to cost more than the elink and railmaster software package.

Out of interest, they plan to add train location functions for those of us with hidden sidings "in the future"

I would like to hear from somebody actually using the system.
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Andrew Rolland
post 24 Mar 2013, 09:46
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QUOTE (BobB @ 24 Mar 2013, 09:03) *
I would like to hear from somebody actually using the system.



I have an Elite, I have the Railmaster software, I used it to control a small shunting plank layout. Using the 'puter to operate the points was easier than clunk click twirl of the Elite. I have not used the Railmaster since Summer 2011 as I've been building my layout and efforts are concentrated elsewhere. There have been several upgrades of Railmaster since I last used it and again another update of the Elite V1.4 which reduces the numbers of buttons to push and twirl.

Hornby have always said and as per NMRA that you can use other manufacturers reverse modules accessory decoders etc with their equipment.

I had good fun with it and it is, IMO, a good introduction to the world of DCC, but I have since discovered that I want a bit more out of a DCC system than the Elite can provide me with so will probably upgrade when I get my layout finished. Whatever system I buy it will need to have a computer interface so that in the future I can use a pc to 'play' trains.

Andrew
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Dave c
post 24 Mar 2013, 16:23
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I've just got back form the Ally Pally and was quite taken with it, apart from the point motors on top of the boards, but the operation of the software and being able to program routes looked great, and also voice recognition coming soon, although that doesn't appeal to me, but generally, for someone moving to DCC this year as I am, it looked good to me, and for 85, I'd be quite happy

Dave
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TheBufoon
post 24 Mar 2013, 19:54
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Hi BobB,

I have been using RailMaster with an Elite for quite a while now, I think It's great!

I'm assuming that the e-link is just the insides of an Elite, so it shouldn't work any different to using RaiMaster with an Elite.

However, I'll not be ditching my Elite quite yet, I do prefer addressing & tinkering with CV's via the Elite rather than RailMaster, mainly due to not enough experimentation with RailMaster.

I've just got the evaluation of the RailMaster app on my iPod, this too works great, but I'll wait until I have an iPad to get the full version, as the screen on the iPod is just too small.

As for N Gauge control I can't see any problems, as the hardware/software is just controlling decoders.

Give it a go, at that price it's a great starting point to computer DCC control.

Cheers, Chris.









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Dave c
post 24 Mar 2013, 22:07
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Hi Chris,

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be going this route, e-link that is, and I just wondered what type of points you use, and point motors ?

Dave
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TheBufoon
post 24 Mar 2013, 22:13
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QUOTE (Dave c @ 24 Mar 2013, 22:07) *
Hi Chris,

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be going this route, e-link that is, and I just wondered what type of points you use, and point motors ?

Dave


Hi Dave,

I have Peco point motors (with separate power from an ex laptop PSU), with 3 x Bachmann/ESU decoders, these work just fine with the Elite & RailMaster.

Cheers, Chris.


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BobB
post 25 Mar 2013, 01:50
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Thanks guys,

I think I'll give it a go.

BobB
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Richard Lee
post 25 Mar 2013, 07:18
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Although the layout I am doing now, and the old layout that I will re-furbish, are both DC, I would be interested to hear about people's experiences with E-link, in due course, if it is convenient for them to share their experiences. smile.gif
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BobB
post 25 Mar 2013, 14:11
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I see the intended release date for the elink + railmaster is May, I wonder if the promise will turn out the same as for rolling stock.
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