Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

MRC Prodigy Advance2 WiFi

Read this review from the March 2018 Model Railroader
MRRPR0318_09
MRRPR0318_Enginedriverscreenshot
Engine Driver screenshot

Smartphone apps such as Engine Driver or WiThrottle have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional Digital Command Control (DCC) throttles. In addition to downloading the app, to turn a smartphone or tablet into a DCC throttle usually involves setting up a computer running Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI) software and a WiFi router. With the new Model Rectifier Corp. Prodigy Advance2 WiFi system, smartphone train control is as simple as plugging in a small module.

A complete system. The Prodigy Advance2 WiFi set includes everything needed to get up and running with DCC and WiFi control. The included 13.8V power supply and the command station’s 3.5A booster is more than enough to power a small to mid-size HO layout running five to eight sound-equipped locomotives. The command station features two sets of terminals, one marked main and the other programming, which makes it easy to set up an isolated programming track section.

The included Prodigy Advance2 Elite tethered cab features the intuitive button layout and throttle knob of previous MRC throttles. This Elite version also features an easy-to-read backlit display.

Three cab jacks on the front of the command station allow for expansion, either for more throttles or setting up a cab bus via plug panels. A wireless receiver or computer interface (both sold separately) can also be plugged into these jacks. See the MRC website for information on extension plates, additional power boosters, wireless throttles, and computer interface products.

Visit ModelRailroader.com/archive to read reviews of the Prodigy Advance2 (July 2007 Model Railroader) and Prodigy Wireless (February 2008 MR).

Smartphone control. The Prodigy WiFi module is a 21⁄2" square box that’s less than an inch thick. There are two screw holes on each side of the box so it can easily be mounted under layout benchwork. To enable the module I simply plugged it into one of the command station’s cab jacks using the supplied 8-wire networking cable.

That was it! I didn’t need a computer or internet connection.

For those who already have a Prodigy system, the WiFi module is backward- compatible. I also tested the WiFi module on a 13-year-old MRC Prodigy Advance command station, and the smartphone control worked flawlessly.

With the module plugged in, I could run trains with a smartphone or tablet running one of the supported apps. Apple iPhone or iPad users should download the WiThrottle app, while Android users should download the free Engine Driver app (shown in the inset). The WiThrottle App costs $9.99, but a WiThrottle Lite version is available free. During testing I found that the module’s range with either app was about 100 feet.

Each WiFi module supports up to eight smartphones or tablets. Tethered or wireless throttles can still be used with the system. On our layout, I ran a freight with WiThrottle on an iPad while a colleague switched a yard using a Prodigy Advance tethered throttle.

Both WiThrottle and Engine Driver are intuitive to use, but working with a touch screen can take a bit of adjustment. Function response was instantaneous. I pressed F2 and heard the horn. Likewise, the throttle response was spot-on and worked according to the momentum I’d programmed into a locomotive. Both apps use on-screen sliders for speed control, and I had to practice to avoid over- or under-shooting the desired locomotive speed.

Note that the apps function as utility throttles. Programming decoders requires a Prodigy Advance throttle or computer interface.

Easy WiFi control is a welcome addition to the well-rounded MRC Prodigy Advance2 DCC system.

Price: $529.98 (complete system), $129.98 (WiFi module only)

Manufacturer
Model Rectifier Corp.
80 Newfield Ave.
Edison, NJ 08837
www.modelrectifier.com

Features
• 3.5A maximum current
• Advanced or universal consisting
• Built-in fast clock
• Prodigy Elite tethered handheld throttle with backlit display
• Programming on the main or service mode with isolated programming track
• Supports 28 functions
• Supports Prodigy wireless throttles (sold separately)
• Three throttle jacks
• Turnout routing and accessory control
• Two- or four-digit addressing
• WiFi module for smartphone app control

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of ModelRailroader.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
5 compact track plans

5 compact track plans

Pack lots of fun into a small space.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy