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Author Topic: Railroad & Co Train Controller  (Read 985 times)

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Offline Caz

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Railroad & Co Train Controller
« on: April 24, 2014, 09:31:01 am »
Really nice work Caz!

How are you getting the positioning that precise?  I'm assuming some kind of 'spot' detector rather than very small sections...

No spot detector, just using the standard brake and stop markers built into R&R Train Controller software.  The block in the video is 25cm long (about 10") and I've set up a series of markers that are dependant on which schedule is running.  Sometimes I need the rear coupling over the magnet and sometimes the front so as well as the standard set of markers I have set up two additional sets of markers that position the loco where I want it.

For those not familiar with R&R software it is extremely clever.  To ensure all locos stop in the same place at any block marker it has a built in loco calibration program that measures the speed over a known section of track to give you accurate speed control with a mph/kph readout. It then calibrates the braking to stop over a set distance so that in theory all loco parameters are a known quantity and this enables the main program to precisely control each loco.  The main software uses the block detectors to track the various engines and stock without any need for decoders with built in tracking, once you tell the program where the loco is it will track it wherever it goes using the block detectors.

Here's a little part of the main R&R switchboard showing Claywell terminus station and its block and inset on the right hand side is a window that shows the block in the video with its various brake and stop markers.  These markers are fully adjustable in measurement and additional can be offset from the start of a block if necessary.

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Offline tim-pelican

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2014, 01:34:15 pm »
No spot detector, just using the standard brake and stop markers built into R&R Train Controller software.  The block in the video is 25cm long (about 10") and I've set up a series of markers that are dependant on which schedule is running.  Sometimes I need the rear coupling over the magnet and sometimes the front so as well as the standard set of markers I have set up two additional sets of markers that position the loco where I want it.

Wow.  I've had a bit of the browse of the RR&Co manual, but it seemed to be implying that you wanted block detection plus lots of point detectors to get to that kind of precision.  I'm starting to feel that I need a second look.  (I didn't want to start a trial until I *really* had some time to throw at it - nothing worse than an expired trial that you haven't really finished evaluating...)

Thanks for sharing.

Offline Caz

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2014, 02:32:21 pm »

Wow.  I've had a bit of the browse of the RR&Co manual, but it seemed to be implying that you wanted block detection plus lots of point detectors to get to that kind of precision.  I'm starting to feel that I need a second look.  (I didn't want to start a trial until I *really* had some time to throw at it - nothing worse than an expired trial that you haven't really finished evaluating...)

Thanks for sharing.

A bit off topic I now but it is sort of to do with uncoupling, you do need the block detectors to make in work but I don't have a single point detector (the system remembers where all the points are), once the block detector is activated the system starts the measuring process.  Some folks have blocks of many feet and with care it still all works.

Anyone thinking of using R&R don't buy the basic Bronze version (I did and ended up paying twice), it works but doesn't have any of the necessary refinements to make the railway really work, it will allow you to automate the running of trains and stop them where necessary but not with the necessary precision.

Offline tim-pelican

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 10:36:05 pm »
A bit off topic I now but it is sort of to do with uncoupling, you do need the block detectors to make in work but I don't have a single point detector (the system remembers where all the points are), once the block detector is activated the system starts the measuring process.  Some folks have blocks of many feet and with care it still all works.

Oops, by "point detector", I meant "has a train gone past this point in space right now" - infra-red detectors, reed-switches and the like.  The two points I've wired so far do have feedback, but that's "how should I set the signal" (with the SIGM20s, which I think you're using also), not "where's my train?".

I have everything (so far - wiring is still in progress) running through a BDL168, and block detection is working fine for the blocks I've wired.  Blocks are of the order of 18" to 3', possibly shorter for some sidings when I get to them.

Quote
Anyone thinking of using R&R don't buy the basic Bronze version (I did and ended up paying twice), it works but doesn't have any of the necessary refinements to make the railway really work, it will allow you to automate the running of trains and stop them where necessary but not with the necessary precision.

That's also worth knowing, thanks!

Sorry for the topic drift, if I've got any more RR&Co questions I'll take them to the right place  :-[

Offline Caz

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 09:49:03 am »
I've now created this separate Railroad & Co Train Controller thread so it is no longer off topic.   ;)

Please use this thread if you have any queries on using R&R or want to know more about it.  Once you get into the software I would strongly recommend you join the R&R Train Controller software forum run by the owner of the software at www.freiwald.com but be warned it can get very technical and nowhere near as friendly as this forum.   :)

Offline Caz

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 06:29:02 pm »
I have been asked by someone on the forum to explain a little more how Railroad & Co's Train Controller software works and its controls etc and thought perhaps some members on here might like to know a little more of what it can do.

Here's some screen grabs from my laptop that controls Claywell.

The "Dispatcher" is where you setup the various schedules and how they operate, what schedule will follow etc.  Once the Train Controller software knows where a loco is it will keep track of it without any need for transponding etc.

The main "Switchboard" is a diagram of the actual layout showing all the block sections, signals etc.  I originally had a lot of the additional control switches on there but as the layout expanded created additional switchboards "Train Control" and "Lights & Bells" to house the additional options.

The "Train Control" switchboard allows me to start a schedule with a press of a button if needed and also has buttons to select whether the train runs under manual, auto or timetable control etc.  I can also run trains off and on to the turntable by a single press of a button or use an allocated shortcut key.

The "Lights & Bells" switchboard controls all the layout lighting, this can be controlled by manually flipping the switchboard switches or by a timetable. 

The "Bells" part allows me to switch in and out the various signal box bell sounds.  With one or two trains running having them all on is ok but once you get more than 2 trains running it becomes a bit overpowering so I usually just leave one box switched in with multiple trains running.  Likewise of a night time I can turn them off completely so as not to disturb the rest of the household, this option is also available for the loco whistles which can be a bit penetrating of a night time. 

Both the "Train Control" and the "Lights & Bells" panels have matrices that show the make up of the various trains, this is used in shunting operations so the system knows which end of the train or whereabouts in the trains the various wagons or coaches are.  ie.  Is the CCT wagon at the front or back of the rake of coaches or how many goods wagons and where are they in the XYZ train so they can be seperated out automatically if need be.

These hopefully will give an idea of the control options I've used.

I've added annotations in red to explain some of the option buttons etc but you will need to expand the image to be able to read them.

I will follow this up with a schedule example to show how it all works if there is sufficient interest.

Dispatcher



Main switchboard



Train Control switchboard



Lights and Bells switchboard

[/quote]

Offline Malc

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 11:05:10 pm »
I think I saw similar screen shots on a program about the London Underground.
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Offline Caz

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 08:15:38 pm »
 :laughabovepost:    :laughabovepost:    :laughabovepost:

Offline kirky

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 10:27:15 pm »
Thanks Caz, thats a really useful post.
Did you end up buying the Gold version or Silver?

And excuse my ignorance but do you still need a dcc command station to operate with R and R or is all done through the PC?

heers
kirky
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Offline Caz

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Re: Railroad & Co Train Controller
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 10:39:56 am »
I did it the expensive way, initially bought Bronze and fairly quickly updated it to Silver and when I installed the turntables updated again to Gold, would've saved a packet by buying Gold first out.

Yes, you still need some sort of Command Station, Train Controller tells it what to do.  If you're going that route I'd strongly recommend the Digitrax Zephyr DCS51, it has more that enough power to drive a dozen sound fitted locos of the current type and opens up the world of Loconet with many makers of accessory decoders etc which keeps the costs down.  I use the Digitrax BDL168's for occupation and the CML range for the rest (points, signals etc) although I believe the Digikeys units also work with Loconet.

 

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