New – DCS WIFI App. To Run Your Trains

DCS WIFI App. The Latest In Technology.

There are a lot of changes occurring in the toy train and model railroad world of miniaturized trains.   More way and means aka choices to operate your trains then ever before.   Most of which is coming at us  at the same time.

I recently hooked up my computer and printer using a WIFI application.     Easy as pie!

Check out what the  DCS  WIFI App. can do for you and what it will mean to your train operations.

Here is a presentation from Mike Wolf, the CEO of Mike’s Train House aka MTH.     Filmed at Train World with Ken as the moderator.

Mike Wolf Talks About DCS WIFI App. #50-1034

Published on Nov 7, 2015

Mike Wolf Talks about DCS Wifi MTH #50-1034 DCS Wifi Module…     Thanks for watching, Mike and Ken!

Of course this begs all kinds of questions and no they didn’t answer them all here in this video.     So more to come as details and information becomes available.

I talk about various problems and inherent flaws with DCC here on        Off the cuff, I’m wondering if this will solve some of those inherent failings?

DCS WIFI App.     It can’t be a bad thing!

Stay tuned.


New – Blue Tooth / BlueRails Train Operations

Blue Tooth / BlueRails  Train Operations.   You might like this.

I can already hear it.    Someone is asking… Rick, are you actually going to say something nice about Bachmann?    The answer is, Yes!   Well sort of.   Grin!  The reputation they developed from both our pasts, (theirs and mine)  is cemented in concrete.     Stay away from the old $#!+…!!!

Allow me to say:   My interest in DCC is waning and I’m not a happy camper with the outcome.   To many DCC foibles and failures causing me to reset my locomotives back to factory default… or worse yet replace the decoder.     Way to many times.      Time spent reprogramming when I would of rather been operating my trains.    It’s toooo    (expletives I can’t use here)   complicated!!!

As of this writing DCC is  over 20 years old and has seen little improvements or advancements.    As of this writing there is still no diagnostic tools you can use to resolve DCC related issues.    Inherent flaws appear to be built in to the systems.   Although, there is no proof it appears a minor short or nuisance short can compromise a decoder.    They shouldn’t.     A lot of this has been blamed on shorts in our track and if that’s true then someone needs to engineer, into the decoder, a type of built in circuit breaker that can reset itself.   They haven’t.   Resulting in  decoders having a  short life time with eventual  replacement of  said decoders.   Or so goes my experience.    Keeping in mind I’ve eliminated most if not all the shorts in the switches.      I discuss this more in a four part series on Switches….DCC Friendly or Not.

You have choices as to what system you can buy but for the most part.   Some are better then others.   However in the ranks of model railroaders who use DCC  you can still hear a discontented rumbling. Voicing how complicated they’ve made it.     Oh, and I know  who the rumblings are coming from.    They have  angry faces.

Here is Jack Lynch, from Bachmann introducing Blue Tooth.     The video is self explainable and worth watching.    Should you like what you hear as much as I do, I think you are going to like the future of train operations.     Bachmann might just redeem themselves with this venture.

Bachmann Unveils Bluetooth Trains at TCA Open House Fall 2014

Bachmann Trains demos their new E-Z App Wireless Train Control system in partnership with BlueRail Trains. Bluetooth Smart trains operated by smartphone or tablet. Available now at this link:    Thanks for watching, Jack!

I watched a friend of mine operate his Blue Tooth train at the Bakersfield Train Show and was impressed.     If you get a chance to see one of these systems in operation I think you will be too.

Now if they could learn how to operate their PA sound system without it sitting  on the edge of squealing.  Oh well!   Believe me it’s harder to train a good sound technician then it is to train a newbie in the world of miniature trains    True story…but no time for it now.

Go have some fun!


Layout – You’re Never To Old

Your Never To Old!

For that matter never to young!

A fellow BVMR and good friend John Acosta, sent me this video.    I’m impressed and think you will be too.

Here you will find one man’s love for the hobby expressed in a most unique way.

Howard Zane’s Piermont Division Layout

Tunnel Vision:   Man Builds Million Dollar Model Railroad.    I’ll let the gentleman introduce himself and his layout.     Enjoy!


Tunnel Vision: Man Builds Million Dollar Model Railway

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A train enthusiast has devoted 30 years of his life to his model railroad, which could be worth more than $3m. Howard Zane, 77 spends most of his time in the basement of his home in Columbia, Maryland working on his 3,000 square foot masterpiece that he made from scratch. His fascination began at the age of three when his father gave him a train set.     Thanks for watching!

In the next video Joey Piccard will give us further insights into Howard Zane’s, Piermont Division Layout.     Joey is a photographer and should know better then to rush the camera around blurring the pictures.   He should of made a slide show…but…he didn’t.     He wants you to see this gorgeous layout and in a hurry.     So put your quick vision goggles on, take a motion sick pill and enjoy.   Grin!

What looks like an eye patch that Howard is wearing….isn’t.

Howard Zane’s Piermont Division Layout – Model Railroad Inspirations

In this video we take a quick look at the inspirational model railroad masterpiece of Howard Zane.

Howard is known the world over for his HO Scale Piermont Division layout as well as his many contributions to the hobby of model railroading.

Howard’s work on and off the layout have been of great inspiration to many of us and we are glad he is so gracious in his efforts to extend and share his love for the hobby.

While this video is not an in depth look at Howard’s layout, it is a overview in the form of a virtual “walk-around” and “take in the sights” sort of thing. It was shot with a cell phone video camera and it is what it is in terms of video quality.

Howard’s layout has been the focus of countless magazine articles and videos such as appearing several times in Allen Keller’s “Great Model Railroads” series  to which I personally own many.

As this visit was last minute and short, I did the best I could to take in as much as possible with my obvious goal – as you know, shooting cell phone video for you to see here.

I did not have time to interview Howard as he and I have discussed many times before and he was busy upstairs playing with his band,
“The New Southern Cow Tippers”. One of these days, I will make time to speak with him as his has always been a big inspiration and I am sure folks would want to hear what he has to say.

With many of the great model railroads we have come to know and love now gone and some of those modelers no longer with us, it was my pleasure to be able to visit Howard and his layout. Thank you Howard!

Howard’s websites are listed below for those interested.

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Please be sure to help our hobby grow by sharing and subscribing to this channel. Stay tuned for more videos.     Thanks for watching!

If that doesn’t wet your appetite, give you ideas,  provide some inspiration and you don’t find it fun or interesting, I give up.

Gives me hope that someday I may see my layout up and running and trains making the grades and locomotives making the pull.    More on this in other posts here on     Model Railroading How To’s.


DCC – How To Set CV Values

Programming CV’s for DCC/Sound Decoders.

CV’s or Configuration Values can be a real mystery to many of us.   Here is a video that you may find helpful with  tips and hints on how to manage your CV’s.    Emphasis here is on sound and variables available.

Programming CV’s for DCC/Sound Decoders

Here’s how and why I program the configuration variables (cv’s) in my HO Scale locos with DCC/Sound.

Enjoy and Thanks for Watching, PennCentral99.

Whether you are setting CV’s for running the locomotive or setting the CV’s for sound it’s pretty much the same procedure.

Today there is more information available then what we’ve had in the past and even so it can still be difficult to wrap ones head around it.

Not to worry you’ll figure it out and have trains running in no time.

Update:    Broadway Limited put out a pamphlet you might find helpful.    Setting  CV’s and suggested Values.

In the meantime check out David E’s contribution here on       He shares with us the actual Decoder CV Values he uses to operate his locomotives.   See:

There’s more to be said and more to learn,  so stay tuned to this work in progress.