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Investigating Hornby Railmaster - Part 2

By Stephen Nicholson

Prior to the Elink becoming available I purchased a second hand Palm PDA from Ebay so that I could have a wireless controller. The Elink supports the popular tablets and smart phones, but I have neither. However it also has support for certain older PDAs. PDAs have gone out of fashion with the rise of smart phones, but Palm devices were sold in millions. (PDA – think smart phone without the phone!).

The Elink came available in July and one was duly purchased from Hattons. As I had prepared the computer and wiring beforehand it was a very straight forward to plug the device into a free USB port on the computer and connect one set of wires to the layout and the other to my programming track. The remaining software was installed, but initially the Elink could not be “seen” by the Railmaster software. After a good deal of fiddling about I got it working – however even now it’s not completely reliable. I have yet to work out whether the computer or the Elink is at the root of the problem.

So, what does the Elink offer? It has all the features of a good DCC controller that you would expect plus a good deal else that hosting control on a computer allows. Here are some of them:

So whats the verdict?  I am still a bit undecided due the reliability issue – although a recent update seems to have improved this. However there is no doubt there is great potential for this device. Whether you are a Fat Controller, Signalman or Engine Driver type modeller there is scope for all three types of operation.
PROS

CONS
Peter demonstrate Hornby Railmaster