zephyr1934

BuWizz and trains

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I'm thinking about trying out a BuWizz in my next build. The size looks great, the integrated battery looks great, and I've never heard anyone complain about the BuWizz.

My biggest concern is the quality of the Bluetooth connection, I've had minor to major problems with all of the other Bluetooth systems disconnecting at shows (SBrick, PFx, and PU)

 

My three questions are this:
What happens when BuWizz loses connection- will it stop, keep going on last command, or can you toggle between the two?

How quick is it for the BuWizz to reestablish connection and does it do so automatically? For example, if I put my phone to sleep, will the BuWizz be connected or reconnect quickly when I open my phone?

I've used both an iPhone and a iPad for control, so it is certainly possible that part of my Bluetooth problems are related to Apple rather than the various receivers. Has anyone had poorer performance with Apple and Bluetooth hubs/receivers?

 

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For context:

I'm mostly happy with PF, I like the controller and the fact that for trains they essentially have a set and forget functionality. In other words, I do not need Bluetooth and actually find it a liability, I only turn to these options for the smaller size of the components or the added power they provide. BuWizz looks like it is the smallest option hands down.

My comparison example, with PFx I found that it would drop Bluetooth connection but keep running, which is mostly a good thing. Except for the fact that I would not notice the lost connection. Then when I wanted to take control I'd have to wake my phone, go to the app, and then I think actively tell it to reconnect to the brick. Taking 20+ sec before I could resume control over the app. That isn't good if the train is coming up on an obstacle on the track (derailed train from another track, etc.). Since PFx supports IR I don't need Bluetooth, but since PFx takes up about as much room as PF I just need PFx for models that require more power than PF can supply.

In the case of BuWizz there is no IR option, so I would need a robust Bluetooth connection. I'm fine if it sometimes drops up to once an hour on a large layout at a show and the train stops. Not okay if it drops every five minutes. For my needs the small size and integrated battery make the BuWizz really attractive, but before jumping in I figured I'd see what others have found.

 

 

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Having used Buwizz extensively on many trains, I feel I have accumulated enough experience to answer these questions.

1 hour ago, zephyr1934 said:

What happens when BuWizz loses connection- will it stop, keep going on last command, or can you toggle between the two?

When the connection is lost, all motors will come to a stop and you have to reconnect to the buwizz to continue.

 

1 hour ago, zephyr1934 said:

How quick is it for the BuWizz to reestablish connection and does it do so automatically? For example, if I put my phone to sleep, will the BuWizz be connected or reconnect quickly when I open my phone?

The connection process takes about 5 seconds. If you put your phone to sleep or open another app, the connection will remain and will only fail if you cut the power to your phone.

 

Sometimes I am able to run my train for ~1.5hr straight without any connectivity problems and other times, bluetooth fails within 10mins. Overall I totally recommend it due to it's size, power output, charge capacity, and rechargeability.

Edited by Beck

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I'll chime in on the iPhone side. The iPhone arbitrarily cuts both wifi and bluetooth connections when you put the phone to sleep. I have constant issues with Google Home connections, Nest, Chromecast, and most annoyingly the wifi on airplanes. The iPhone assumes since I'm on airplane mode the goal is to try to save battery when going to sleep. Not the fact that I'm ON AN AIRPLANE and would like to continue streaming music via wifi with my phone screen asleep and phone in my pocket. I've tried many many settings, but every time iOS updates, I find myself having to toggle these settings (location services for wifi) on/off to maintain connectivity, or having to uninstall/reinstall specific apps with connection issues (Hulu, google home, gboard, etc.). Unfortunately work supplies the iPhone and I'm too cheap to purchase a second phone! I suppose resurrecting an old android and using it without cell service as a stand-alone BuWizz controller would work well!

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The fact the the BuWizz disconnects so frequently at shows and just in my living room made me grow to hate it. Granted I hate all PF Bluetooth control but I hated the BuWizz the most. At least make it an option to toggle in the app that if it disconnects, motors stay running. How hard is this ffs?? Looking at you SBrick, BuWizz and PFx brick.

-Jeffinslaw

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Thanks all for the replies, so I'm at one for, one against, and one "stupid IOS." All of these seem spot on.

 

On 7/22/2020 at 3:31 PM, jrathfon said:

suppose resurrecting an old android and using it without cell service as a stand-alone BuWizz controller would work well!

Now that is definitely an option to escape my phone thinking it is smarter than me

 

On 7/22/2020 at 10:01 PM, Jeffinslaw said:

the BuWizz disconnects so frequently at shows

For the moment this comment gives me the greatest pause. I think I'll start by trying to squeeze the IR receiver in my build.

 

On 7/22/2020 at 10:01 PM, Jeffinslaw said:

At least make it an option to toggle in the app that if it disconnects, motors stay running. How hard is this ffs?? Looking at you SBrick, BuWizz and PFx brick. 

Actually PFx does make that an option, and it supports IR

 

 

 

If others have experience with BuWizz they'd like to share, I'm still interested in learning more

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