Inexpensive DCC Physical Wireless Throttle.....

Sumner Nov 4, 2021

  1. FlightRisk

    FlightRisk TrainBoard Member

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    We need more options like this for Conductors. Ideally, everything should have plastic cases and just plug together
     
  2. FlightRisk

    FlightRisk TrainBoard Member

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    @Sumner Looks like they blocked out the writing on the main chip?
     
  3. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Andy. I was going to try the knob at the other end originally but that presented the problem of the USB cable that goes from the phone to the volume control running pretty much into the knob unless you move the phone a considerable distance from the knob.

    Your 'rotate the phone 180 degrees' though got me thinking, can I rotate the screen? Steve does have a 'Preferences' option in EngineDriver where you can have the screen auto-rotate. On my Android phone it would rotate between portrait and landscape but wouldn't rotate the portrait 180 degrees, which is what is needed. Doing a quick search I found a free app that would though so now....

    If you don't like the phone with …

    [​IMG]

    .... the control knob at the top you have …..

    [​IMG]

    ….... the choice of having it on the side or ….

    [​IMG]

    …. on the bottom.

    Steve's EngineDriver has an auto rotate option in 'preferences' but I couldn't get it to rotate 180 degrees in the portrait mode. There is a free Android app ( Screen Rotation Control ) that will rotated the screen 180 degrees in portrait. It will rotate it to any position in fact. Your phone might not need the app if you like the knob at the bottom. I like the knob on the top but now that I've tried the bottom I think I'll stick with it for a while. Show me a commercial throttle that offers you these choices.

    Thanks for making me do a little more research Andy :sneaky:. Of some interest, maybe, I don't think I've seen a commercial throttle that doesn't have the throttle knob at or near the top above the function buttons. So now we have an inexpensive, less than $40, wireless handheld throttle with a physical speed/direction control and a lot of other options, thanks to Steve, that I think equals or exceeds a number of the commercial throttles out there. Also you don't have to be a computer guy/gal or electronics wizard to have one. It is basically 'plug-n-play'.

    Sumner
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
    BigJake likes this.
  4. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]

    Yep, if that is the one you are talking about. Even if you knew what it was it doesn't look to friendly for most of us to work with and then all the other components that are needed along with a PCB might not make it very friendly. There are other places on the PCB to connect other inputs so bet it is the same board that is used in some of the other products that have the option of what to me looks like 'pre-set' buttons for different volume levels. I've also read some place that it looks like it might be programable to use some of the other inputs, which I guess would be necessary.

    Not sure what you have in mind if you want to still use EngineDriver since you have all the function keys available with it unless you would like to add some other physical buttons to replace those function keys?

    As far as having available cases goes my files are up where anyone could download and print them and sell them. I can't or I'd violate my Fusion 360 license use as a hobbyist. If someone did print and sell the cases it would be nice though to get some credit and maybe a donation to help keep my site up from time to time. One problem with printing the case though is that it is a long total print. About 15 hours total for the three parts of the case so probably a better option for making cases in a different manner that could be marketed. If one does have a printer and is only printing a couple for themselves or a friend it is a reasonable option though. It does need to work with a wide variety of phones. That was why I made it so that the phone (about any phone) sits on the top.

    Sumner
     
  5. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Cool!!!

    After looking at the photo with knob at the bottom, would it be possible to design the housing to raise the base of the knob up, more or less even with the phone face, and then in that edge between the knob platform and the phone platform, provide a cable/connector clearance hole, so the phone can sit upright with the knob directly below it? It looks like only one of the two 3d printed pieces would need modification.

    Keeping the phone upright keeps the phone's physical buttons in their normal location relative to your hand.

    Just a thought...
     
  6. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    As far as attaching the phone to the knob platform, (especially if one want's to use their normal phone with it, but still need it for 1:1 purposes), it might be easer to find a slip-on protective case for the phone, and attach that to the knob platform. Then you just slip your phone into the case, without having to afix velcro to the back of it (which would make it less easy to slip in and out of my pocket in the 1:1 world.
     
    Sumner likes this.
  7. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]

    The phone platform is at a fair angle to the knob now which results in the phone rotating upwards when you are using the knob. Not sure if that is what you are talking about or not but I'm happy with it how it is and won't be going further on that angle so won't be doing any more mods to it at this time.

    Also you don't need to have a working Android phone that is on a plan. The phone I'm using is an older one that I can't use for calls but will connect to the houses wifi and/or the JMRI/Raspberry Pi wifi. It wouldn't cost much to pick up a used phone if you don't have one yourself but the slip in case would also work.

    The print files are up on thingiverse.com so any one could work on modifying them to their liking.....

    https://www.thingiverse.com/sumner/designs

    Thanks for the input,

    Sumner
     
    BigJake likes this.
  8. Kuba

    Kuba TrainBoard Member

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    Of course, I fully agree with you. Not everyone has the ability, skills, willingness, or even tools or time to play electronics. The plug & play solution is very convenient.
     
  9. FlightRisk

    FlightRisk TrainBoard Member

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    I was thinking more along the lines of making one on a circuit board less expensively. Also, look at other boards that have a clamp style case to hold the phone. The other thing was to find or make a smaller cable. I uses something like this also to keep things flush against the bottoms of the phone. Again, this plug and play option is great. Stellar work.
    USB Type C Splitter, Cablecreations https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YD3BF4N/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_V181PXX3B1ZF0GFF5SKZ
     
  10. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]
    That looks nice but you still have the cable coming off the side and it will have to go back into the case or to the volume control some how. I also couldn't use the one that Jimmy used or one like above because I'm using an older phone the isn't USB C. I might get rid if the charging cable that is part of the OTG cable I'm using since I don't use it. I'll never have that cable plugged in to charge at the same time I'm using the throttle as that would defeat the 'walk-around' capability for me. I'd unplug the OTG cable when done and plug in a charging cable. I do that with my phones every day anyway.

    If one is using the phone the rest of the time away from the layout as a phone then attaching a 'clip-on' phone holder to the 3D printed case or the 'wood' one is an option but for not much more you could pickup a used phone. I had started to design something in the case itself to hold the phone but there are a lot of different sized phones. Also it added bulk where you are holding the throttle so gave up on it.

    I'm using a old phone I have for the throttle so it stays on all the time. At this point I would think that most modelers probably have also upgraded to a newer phone and have one they could use. If they don't you can buy a new or used phone without a plan (don't need one) for $30 or less.

    For less than the price for one used loco ($70) one has a dedicated wireless throttle with physical speed/direction control with tons of features thanks to Steve's EngineDriver program even if they need to get a phone to use.

    Sumner
     
  11. esfeld

    esfeld TrainBoard Member

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    Has anybody attempted to configure the volume control knob so that pushing down on the knob would allow engine driver to reverse the direction of the loco? Again, this would allow a significant control feature to keep from having to look down at ED to reverse an engine.
     
  12. esfeld

    esfeld TrainBoard Member

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    Sumner: Went to Cable Creation site did not see the adapter pictured ... any info on where you found it?
     
  13. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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  14. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I feel this would have to be a feature in Steve's EngineDriver that would respond to the knob being pushed down. I just sent him an email about it. I'd think it might take two pushes though. The first would turn the direction and the second would restore the speed direction.

    Right now turning the knob one way increases the speed in one direction. Turning it the other way decreases the speed to it goes to zero and then starts increasing the speed in the opposite direction.

    Sumner
     
  15. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    update on parts needed so you can charge phone with out having to disconnect from the phone.

    ah ha i got the phone throttle set up to charge with out unplugging the cable from phone
    parts needed
    #1https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09CKKS5ZQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    #2 THIS EXACT CABLE https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0882Y5RWG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    #3 1 of these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MV5NFCH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    this setup works then of coarse you need a volume knob
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PH3VXZT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    just thought an up date too connections would be good.........
     
    308GTSi likes this.
  16. 308GTSi

    308GTSi TrainBoard Member

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    All of this is waaaaaaaay beyond my understanding but I thought I'd share an experimental throttle project from one of our club members, Peter Akers .....

     
    sidney likes this.
  17. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    That is very impressive :). Lots of work went into that project. Probably the best home brew handheld throttle I've seen to this point.

    I bought the parts to build one of Dave's throttles which is nowhere as sophisticated. Problem now is after using EngineDriver on a phone that also uses a physical throttle I'm spoiled with all the features EngineDriver has and with the physical throttle knob that took care of that need. I used a really nice $200+ name brand throttle on a club layout a couple years ago and was hoping to get one but even it didn't have what EngineDriver has in features so no desire now.

    Sumner
     
  18. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

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    308gtsi thats a cool throttle too. i too am very happy with my phone throttle and engine driver it works great.........
    Thanks for sharing...
     
  19. 308GTSi

    308GTSi TrainBoard Member

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    The speed control knob is highly desirable.
    I have an iPhone with a huge protective case and don't have too much trouble with bumping the speed control. On the other hand dad has a very small android phone with no protective cover and at least once a day he accidentally bumps the speed way up or down to a stop.
    Either way adjusting the speed a tiny bit is not always consistent.
    The physical knob on the old DC systems always seemed to be a nice fine adjustment and accidental large speed changes didn't really happen.
    :)
     
  20. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    If he is running engine driver he could put the physical knob on that I showed for $35 or less. Works great, easy to adjust speed one notch at a time.
    Sumner
     

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