In my report on last week’s visit by my friend Michel Boucher, I mentioned that while the layout ran very well from a mechanical perspective, I had a couple of problems with my throttles. One of my two Lenz keypad throttles is wearing out, and a Lenz rotary knob throttle was having problems talking with the command station. I decided I needed to do something about this.
My initial thought was to buy a new Lenz keypad throttle. But when I priced them, I realized that they’re about the same price as a brand new 16Gb iPod Touch. This is relevant because I’ve been using an iPod Touch as a throttle for a while now, thanks to an app called TouchCab. As a bonus, this solution gives me an elegant and robust wireless throttle – something Lenz has not offered.
I’ll still need to have one Lenz keypad throttle in good condition, which I can use to handle all programming tasks. (To that end, I’ll likely pick up a keypad throttle at some point to have as a spare.)
But for regular ops, I’ll use TouchCab from now on (or, at least, until I find a good reason to not do so).
To that end, the iPod Touch in the picture above arrived today. I’ve loaded it with a stripped down set of apps and it will live in the layout room. I will have to look at cases (perhaps an Otter Box) to keep the device safe from the inevitable trip to the floor. I will also have to design and build a rack to mount near the sector plate for charging and storing throttles.
Regular operators with an iPhone or iPod Touch can also load TouchCab on their own device and use it on my layout.