Sorry for the dumb question...but...

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by vanda32547, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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    I was wondering if by using DCC to run trains and turnouts if you can pre-program the trains to run certain scenerios so that they can run all by themselves...starting and stopping, changing turnouts, waiting for a few moments and then continuing? :confused:

    This would be nice when guests come over to see the layout ... allowing you to talk with them and point out things on the layout and not worrying about operations until you wanted to. :)

    I have the new MRC Prodigy Advance System on my new layout, which is currently under construction.

    Thanks for any insight,
  2. SteamerFan

    SteamerFan Member

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    you'd need a train control system for a computer in order to do that. there's a few on the market, but they'realmost as expensive (if not more) than the high end DCC systems, not to mention all the items needed to interface the DCC system to the computer.
  3. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    There is one computer package available FREE called JMRI (jmri.sourceforge.net). I've recently downloaded it to start playing with. It seems pretty comprehensive and does "routing" (what you referred to). Not precisely user-friendly, though, and I didn't begin to understand how it works until I read a tutorial (http://www.wsbcos.com/jmri_clinic.htm).

    This software works with several systems, but one thing you will definitely need is a way to connect your computer to your DCC system. I use Lenz and they have an interface that costs about $40. Others have similar devices, I believe. Also, note that in order to do "routing" as you describe it, you have to have your turnouts hooked to the DCC system with stationary decoders too...

    So the whole deal isn't "free" -- but certainly not $2-300 as the commercial software packages run...

    Kris
  4. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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    This software works with several systems, but one thing you will definitely need is a way to connect your computer to your DCC system. I use Lenz and they have an interface that costs about $40. Others have similar devices, I believe. Also, note that in order to do "routing" as you describe it, you have to have your turnouts hooked to the DCC system with stationary decoders too...

    So the whole deal isn't "free" -- but certainly not $2-300 as the commercial software packages run...

    Kris[/QUOTE]



    My system will control the turnouts. I tried to download the program you wrote about but was unable to. :confused: Can you provide a link to the correct download site?

    Thanks,
  5. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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  6. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Bob - Also I would definitely hit the tutorial at http://www.wsbcos.com/jmri_clinic.htm. I'm a very computer-savvy guy - I run a website for a living, know how to program, the works... And I couldn't figure this sonofabiscuit out without help. It's not difficult, just needs explanation. E.g. you'd think setting up your "panel" would be step one -- but you can't add turnouts to the panel until you go into another area and define the turnouts... I spent at least 20 minutes clicking "add switch" and cursing at the program that "didn't work" until I read the clinic/tutorial...
  7. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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    Thanks for the info...It downloaded for me this time and will be checking it out.

    Regards,
  8. moria

    moria Member

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    Greetings :)

    I use the CTI system on my layout in conjunction with a lenz DCC system in N scale.

    http://www.cti-electronics.com/

    It requires a computer, whatever computer interface is required by your DCC system and some simple programming skills to write the sequence of events you wish to accomplish, but the examples given in the manual and on the website really guide you through all of that.

    My CTI system controls all my turnouts, all my signalling, all my ancilliary stuff, like building lighting etc and I hive just written a section in the program called Auto which runs a complete timetable so that when I am working on things, or have visitors, the trains run automatically via a timetable.

    My layout has DCC current sensors on each block, so I know when a section is occupied, and also has electrical switches on turnouts, so the system actually knows whether a turnout has thrown.. its not assuming it has :)

    CTI already has built into it the ability to communicate with most DCC systems and can provide an onscreen throttle to control your DCC locos, and also has provision for building a track display panel, reflecting all blocks (occupied or not), all switch positions, and all signal settings, and show where trains are on the layout.

    Its not cheap ($100 for the starter kit of software, connectors and a board) and additional boards need to be added, but once the initial investment is over, it can be added to as needed and is a simple to operate system. However, if you replace stationary decoders and lots of switches with this system, its remarkably cheap, and as soon as you start using a throttle on the system, then the cost of additional DCC throttles makes this system very cheap.

    For me it was the ideal solution and has provided me with many happy hours of sitting and watching the trains go by, and really simplified the control of my model empire:)

    As usual, no link to the manufacturer, just a happy satisfied user.

    Regards

    Graham Evans
  9. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Graham -

    Sounds interesting. But can you define "simple programming skills"...

    Kris
  10. moria

    moria Member

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    Greetings :)

    Yeah, point taken..

    The whole program is based on statements such as When xyz Do abc

    Example.. When Sensor1 = true do Signal1 = Red

    You can define all the sensors and controls to the names you want.

    My suggestion is look at the documentation, then download the program and try it out.. its got a protection that after 10 minutes it cannot operate online, but for testing programs and playing the demo is fine. You can also simulate sensors and controls offline for testing, and playing with the demo version etc is free, always a good price :thumb: .

    Regards

    Graham
  11. kchronister

    kchronister Member

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    Oh, that I can handle easily enough! Just when someone says "programming" I start thinking about things like Java... which makes my head hurt.
  12. moria

    moria Member

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    Greetings :)


    LOL yeah me too. I have just had to self convert from VB6 to VBNet.. ackkkkk!!! anyway... forgot to mention.. if you are into programming, CTI has a unit which interfaces into the system allowing you to write your own complete control program in VB6.0 (or I guess any other language you might want to interface using Dll's maybe)... bit beyond me but I am starting to look at it with interest...

    For now, the existing program seems to cover me for what I am doing :)

    Regards

    Graham
  13. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

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    I just heard from MRC about the Prodigy Advance System...

    I just heard from MRC about their Prodigy Advance System and my inquiry about computer control possibilities. They have no plans to do anything about it. :(

    However, they did refer me to a outside company that is currently working on software to do just that. KAM INDUSTRIES is currently working on making the Prodigy Advance DCC System PC friendly and automated. I am in touch with them and they will let me know when this becomes available to folks with this system. :D

    Will keep you posted,