Rayman4449

MTH WiFi Control App & WIU (WiFi Interface Unit)

Recommended Posts

Subject: WIU Antenna Modification for Better Reception

 

I put my WIU inside my new trackside electrical cabinet as close to the track and as high as possible. I put it there to protect it from the elements. Conditions are cramped so I have to keep the antenna in a horizontal position.   When I put it in the new cabinet it caused a small reception dead area at the far side of my layout where my android loses contact with the WIU.  I'm wondering if I can improve the signal transmission by modifying the antenna of the WIU instead of moving the WIU out of the cabinet.  I'm thinking it might be possible to add a long antenna wire strung outside the cabinet.  I remember that Ray wrote about a similar antenna modification that he made to his TIU.  But in Ray's modification he used a very short wire that is only about a foot long, and he soldered it to the TIU circuit board.  According to Dr. Ray, the wire should be short to match the TIU's and remote's signal frequency.

 

Have any of you tried to modify your WIU antenna with any success? 

 

Does anyone know if a shorter wire (which would only be inside the cabinet) would be better than a longer wire (extended outside the cabinet)?

 

Should I solder the wire to the circuit board or somehow connect it to the base of the existing antenna?

 

thanks in advance

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're going to do anything I would look at seeing if you can get an extension adapter cable that allows you to move the antenna to a better location.  In fact, I would look at taking and drilling a hole in the cabinet and mounting the antenna on the outside of the cabinet on the side facing the layout to get maximum range.  Take and drill a hole just large enough to mount the new antenna extension wire base to the cabinet side then just screw the external antenna into the new receptacle post same way you do to the side of the WIU.  I wouldn't make any custom modifications like soldering wires to the WIU main board.  If you were to relocate the WIU antenna, how long would you need the cable to be?  

 

Another issue to keep in mind is where you show bars on the phone/tablet but data transmission slows to a crawl or stops.  The issue in those cases is the transmit power on your hand-held is much lower than that of your wifi base unit.  So the wifi base unit can get the signal to the device but the device doesn't have the power to get it back. 

 

What I do personally is have my WIUs connected to my home wired network and connect my handheld devices to my home wifi router network (I use new mesh network that has multiple access points with one right where I run trains near the back of the house).  In my case I have plenty good signal with either the WIU or the main Wifi router but at extreme ranges it could make a difference.  So that is another option (if you really wanted to go all out) is to invest in a good quality wifi router (or reuse an older one you might have) and connect the WIU via ethernet or via Wi-fi to that router and use that routers wifi to see if that gives better reception. (that option is more expensive and really shouldn't be necessary.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2017 at 6:32 PM, Rayman4449 said:

Premium version of the Wifi App & DCS 6.00:  

 

Sharing what Joe posted in another topic and also what is being sent out in official email from MTH, the Premium version of the App has been released to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and should be available for update in the next 7 to 10 days.  

 

The app will be released with a new version of DCS so you will need to update your TIU and any existing DCS Remotes to the new version.  The new DCS 6.00 will be available starting the week of April 16th.

 

So what exactly does this mean ?  You have to purchase the new TIU to use the premium DCS app ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Yardtrain said:

 

So what exactly does this mean ?  You have to purchase the new TIU to use the premium DCS app ?

 

You don't have to purchase new TIU, you can upgrade the DCS firmware version in the TIU  (and wireless remote if you currently have DCS system) for free using their DCS Consumer Loader program and the free files they provide.  See this link for how to update TIU & Remotes:  

 

 

Info on DCS Consumer Loader is here: 

 

The current versions of the app which right now is the Free and Standard versions, those run on DCS 5.00.  For the Premium version of the App you will need to update to 6.00 from what I understand.

 

There are basically two versions of the TIU, 1)  with 9-pin serial port only  or 2) with 9-pin serial port & a USB port.  The WIU (which is required to run your trains with the new Wifi app) comes with a USB cable made to plug into the side of the newer TIUs with USB Port.  If you have the older style TIU with only 9-pin port you can purchase a USB to Serial adapter cable (I have them available if you need one) to utilize the 9pin serial port instead.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ray wrote: " If you were to relocate the WIU antenna, how long would you need the cable to be?"

answer: I need at least two feet of antenna cable to reach the outside back of the cabinet which is attached to the side of the house, then I can take it straight up the side of the house another six feet to the roof eave if needed.

 

Ray wrote: If you're going to do anything I would look at seeing if you can get an extension adapter cable that allows you to move the antenna to a better location."

question for Ray: Is the extension adapter cable an accessory sold by MTH or others or do I need to make one?  I can't quite visualize it.  Do I need to remove the original WIU antenna and attach the adapter cable where the original antenna is connected?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It wouldn't be sold by MTH, but would be purchased aftermarket.  Nothing to make, one end would screw into the WIU and the other would screw into the antenna.  Let me see what I can find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh!  Now I understand.  I keep the original antenna, but remove it and attach it to the high outside end of the adapter cable.  I had been thinking of using just a cable by itself like the old Crest Train Engineer had on its trackside receiver.

 

Thanks Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
grr7315   

Tried, tried to get the iPad going with the WiFi -- no go, has been sitting next to my computers for months!  :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From http://mthtrains.com/news/594

New DCS 6.0 Software Available For Download

 

dcs_software_v6.jpg.06c84b25c851bdd20e1f40ebd6a71d2d.jpg  Click HERE to Download DCS 6.0 Software 

YOU MUST USE THE DCS 5.0 CONSUMER LOADER TO INSTALL DCS 6.0 SOFTWARE INTO YOUR TIU AND REMOTE.

dcs_v234.jpg Click HERE To Download DCS 5.0 Consumer Loader Software

April 17, 2017 - The latest version of the software used in the DCS system is now available for download. The download is FREE and includes new DCS Hardware Software (Version 6.00) that allows the TIU to control Lionel Legacy locomotive features when the TIU is paired with the DCS WIU WiFi Interface Unit. Both the DCS Remote and TIU Track Interface Unit should be updated with the new software however, once updated the Remote will NOT have Legacy function control. Legacy control is only available when DCS is controlled via the DCS Premium App.

The new DCS Software allows the user to control the TIU from the DCS iOS and Android Premium App available from the Google Play and Apple iTunes online stores. App control of DCS also requires the separately sold DCS Wi-Fi Interface Unit (WIU).

The new DCS Consumer Loader Program (Version 5.0) must be used to reprogram the TIU. Older versions of the DCS Loader Program are incapable of making some firmware changes to the TIU that allow the TIU to interface with the Wi-Fi Interface Unit.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I updated the TIU and remote to DCS 6.0. It was easy and uneventful. Having the newer TIU Rev-L makes it easier because you can power it up for the update with just the USB cable and without a power pack. The remote update requires two hands and a very strong finger- one hand for the mouse and one for pushing the power button.  I remember from the 5.0 update that you must hold the button down for almost five minutes and my finger got sore.  So this time, in my left hand, I pushed the button with the eraser end of a pencil and held the mouse in my right hand.  Use a pencil!

 

I just tested both the updated remote and the Standard version android Wifi app with engine on track.  Everything worked normally- no glitches, problems or improvements. The noticeable improvements should become apparent with the Premium version of the Wifi app which is still unavailable as of this morning.

 

p.s. Note to MTH: MTH needs to do a better job reviewing, testing and fixing their broken and improperly routed website links, especially when they are announcing important new product updates.  They should do that today!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ray!

They've released this news: http://mthtrains.com/news/595

 

Article%20595_DCS-Premium-App.jpg
 

M.T.H. Premium Smart Phone App - Now Available For Download On Google Play And The Apple App Store

April 18, 2017 – M.T.H. Electric Trains has published its smartphone and tablet Premium App for controlling a DCS layout wirelessly to the Apple App Store and Google Play stores. As of 10:00 AM, Tuesday, April 18, the apps have not propagated through the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Keep checking the respective stores for the app's appearance throughout the day.

The long-awaited Premium version of the App is the third "level" of the DCS App that allows users to gain full access of their DCS controlled layout via wifi control from their Apple and Android smart phones and tablets. Owners of the existing app will need to update the app (if auto-update is not enabled on their devices) to gain access to the Premium level. Once updated (the new version is 2.0), users should proceed to the More section of the App and click on Upgrade. From there, the Premium version is just an in-app purchase away from loading onto your smart device. Pricing for the Premium version is just $24.99 ($19.99 for Standard App owners).

In addition to full control over DCS functions, the Premium App brings new features not available via the traditional DCS Remote/TIU configuration. These new features include control over select Lionel Legacy® locomotive features via an easy and intuitive interface that enhances operation of Legacy products. Users will be able to access all the popular Legacy features and build Legacy and TMCC® lashups with just a few taps. Legacy operation has never been so easy.

Premium users will also gain access to other popular DCS functions including Record and Playback, Lashup Creation and AIU Accessory Interface Control. At last, users will be able to control their layout's switches and accessories from the ease and convenience of their smartphones and tablets.

Using the Premium version's Import/Export function, power users can import those accessory and switch configurations into their smart device. For users with dozens of switches and accessories, this easy import process eliminates the need to re-key all those items back into their smart device. Best of all, the import process takes just seconds.

The app communicate with a separately sold DCS Wi-Fi Interface Unit or WIU. Any Android tablet or phone and Apple iPhone or iPad will bring the DCS Digital Command System to life in a way never thought possible when first paired with a DCS remote control. Any of these smart devices can run the new apps.

The Premium App requires an update to the DCS Track Interface Unit (TIU) software. The new DCS software, version 6.00 is available as a free download from the M.T.H. Website. The DCS 6.0 software must be loaded into the TIU and Remote with the latest DCS Loader program (Version 5.0). Like the new DCS software, the DCS Loader Program is a free download from the M.T.H. website.

dcs_v234.jpg Click HERE To Download DCS 5.0 Consumer Loader Software

dcs_software_v6.jpg Click HERE To Download DCS 6.0 Software

Google_Play_18072015.jpg Click HERE To Go To Google Play

iTunes_1114.jpg Click HERE To Go To iTunes

Lionel, Legacy, TMCC are registered trademarks of Lionel LLC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently getting an Authentication is required error message when trying to update to the Premium version of the app. (The Standard app features still work ok)   Worked on it a bit and don't see an immediate solution.  I've notified MTH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I turned my android on there was a notification that an MTH app update was available, so I clicked on it and it installed.  Then I opened the app and in "More", under App Settings/APP VERSION it says I now have v2.0.0, build 36.  That is the premium version. So far, so good.  But when I go to "More/+Upgrade, and touch "Purchase" I get a message that says: "Error - Authentication is required. You need to sign into your Google Account. Google Play- OK"  Now I'm stuck, because when I touch "OK", it says to sign in again.  But I think I am signed in already!  Is this where you got stuck too Ray?

 

Do you think we now have an inactivated premium version on our smart devices, where activation depends on payment?  Do you think there is a glitch preventing payment?

 

I haven't tested v2.0.0 on the track yet.  I'll do that next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes that's the issue I am seeing as well.  The standard app features still work fine so the app will work as before you just have the new features added but can't unlock them till this issue is sorted out.  I'm not sure exactly where the issue is but do think this is one MTH has to fix and is not something we can do on our end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn! (excuse my French)  Just when I thought the big updates were going so well and smoothly.  At the very end of the process this fatal glitch shows up.  It is serious on two fronts. One, because there will be a lot of unhappy people who have been waiting a long time for the premium. And two, because MTH won't be able to sell the premium and get paid until it is fixed. 

 

I guess we'll just have to tread water until help arrives.

 

Thanks Ray for telling MTH.  Stay on top of them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you encounter any issues, go to "More ..." then select "App Settings" then "App Support" then fill out the web form with your information and problem description.  This is how to get bug reporting/feedback to MTH.

 

If there are any issues that you want to discuss on the forums, go to this Topic:  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also regarding the initial issue with being unable to purchase the upgrade, it was a shared issue between Google and MTH.  Google revised their app distribution system today (same day as the app released) and MTH got caught up in some of those changes.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Ray-To finish off this topic, I'll post my last observation here, but I'll use the error reporting page for future error reporting) 

 

A friend of mine had the same payment problem as Ray and I did.  He said he turned off his phone and rebooted it and the app payment issue got fixed.  So I did that to my phone and tablet and they both allowed easy payment after rebooting.  Perhaps that was just a coincidence since you attribute the cause and the fix to MTH and Google.  Did you reboot your phone and tablet Ray?  If you rebooted yours, then perhaps rebooting is necessary for the fix to work.  We might suggest rebooting to anyone who is having problems.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fix was something MTH had to implement with Google, rebooting was not a fix as I tried that on a number of devices.  It wasn't until MTH implemented the change did the problem clear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now