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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#1 von RudyB , 29.05.2015 14:21

After several days of playing with Traincontroller I can only say is that I'm having a lot of fun with the software. So much fun actually, that I plan to control my layout with it.

I though it might be an idea to do a series of video's on "Working with Traincontroller' while going through the process.

This is the first video in the series, it's about installing the software and then making the connection to the Command Station.

Link to Traincontroller video 01.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#2 von RudyB , 31.05.2015 10:59

The second video on Traincontroller is online.

Now that the software is installed and the connection to the Command Station has been made, it's getting time to drive some trains.

The blog has a short description on the steps to take to create a user panel with some throttles.

Link to Traincontroller 02: Let's Drive Some Trains!



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#3 von RudyB , 04.06.2015 11:44

Video nr 03 on working with Traincontroller is about drawing a layout on the switchboard, after which turnouts can be switched.

TC has a 'Draw' tool with which creating a layout becomes a matter of seconds. Turnouts are automatically inserted when two lines touch each other.

Then double-click each turnout to enter its properties such as DCC address and ... we're already done!

In the next video's we'll add blocks and train detection sensors, after which automated driving can start!

Link to the Traincontroller 03 video.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#4 von RudyB , 07.06.2015 13:03

The fourth Traincontroller video is online.

Two more preparations are needed to enable automated traffic. One is to divide the layout into blocks (this video) and the other is to add train detection sensors (next video).

For the division into blocks, Traincontroller has only one important rule: no turnouts or crossings are allowed inside a block. Further, it is not necessary to create blocks in between turnouts that are (relatively) close together. TC automatically creates so called 'junction streets'. The tracks in between the turnouts become part of these junction streets and TC takes care they get reserved and released in the proper way to avoid collisions.

Every block has a set of properties an attributes like a name, max speed, allowed directions of travel, max train length, and many others.

While we are creating the blocks on the switchboard, TC automatically calculates the routes and junction streets to travel from one block to another. These routes can later be selected to switch all needed junctions at once, and also to create more elaborate routes, called 'Schedules'. This way very varied automated train traffic is made possible.

Link to video Traincontroller 04: Divide The Layout Into Blocks



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#5 von RudyB , 11.06.2015 13:48

Now that the blocks are created (in the previous video), one more thing has to be accomplished to enable automated traffic:adding the train detection sensors to the switchboard layout.

TC can work with both permanent sensors (current detection) as with momentary sensors (e.g. reed switches). When the speed profiles of the engines are known (which can be measured via the profiling function built into TC), then TC actually has enough at one permanent sensor per block, or two momentary sensors, one at each side of the block (if bi-directional, otherwise 1 would suffice). Through the precise conditioned deceleration TC can halt an engine at an exact number of centimetres from the trigger. If wanted, of course TC can also handle 2 or more sensors per block.

Link to Traincontroller video nr 5: Add Train Detection Sensors

In the next video we'll drive trains, still manually, over routes, via which we can test the sensors. The video's after that, we'll start automatic driving.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#6 von RudyB , 14.06.2015 10:36

In the previous video's we did all the preliminary work to now be able to drive trains around on the layout, while their routes will be protected via the use of blocks and sensors. A real layout, by the way, does not even need to be connected, we can use the built in Simulator.

First we place some engines in some blocks. When we would drive these engines, TC will see them move from block to block. TC knows where they are thanks to the feedback from the train detection sensors.

When we select routes (a route is a path between two blocks), TC will switch the turnouts on that route for us. Longer routes, covering multiple blocks, can be created via a very handy 'route recording' tool.

Once a route is active, the turnouts on that route can not be operated manually anymore, which helps prevent accidents from happening.

In this video we'll drive the trains manually and we'll see them move from block to block on the switchboard.

In the next video we'll start with automated train traffic.

Link to video Traincontroller 06: Drive Trains Manually with Routes



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#7 von RudyB , 18.06.2015 11:18

Driving trains manually is fun, but driving more than 2 without causing accidents can be quite taxing. It would help if trains can drive automatic. Then it can be fun to control a few by hand in between all the automated traffic. TC can handle all that.

There are several options for automated traffic:
– Auto Train by Drag and Drop (drive from A to B, with rules)
– Spontaneous Run (drive randomly, with rules)
– Auto Train Toolbar (drive from A to B with rules and conditions)
– Schedules (a set of routes with rules and conditions and successors, very versatile and powerful!)
– Time tables

This video is about Train by Drag and Drop. It sends a train on a route from A to B. The route is protected. TC automatically controls speed and braking and it takes care of waiting for red signals on the way when the route ahead is not yet free.

Link to the video.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#8 von RudyB , 21.06.2015 14:27

One of the many possible ways to have automatic traffic with Traincontroller is the so called ‘Spontaneous Run’.

First select a train, by clickiing it either on the Switchboard or in the Engine List.

Now, on the toolbar, click one of the two Spontaneous Run icons in the desired direction.

The SR is added to the Schedules column in the Engines List. The train will take a random route by making random picks from all the blocks it can reach. It looks 2 blocks ahead. The train will temporary stay in its start block when the track ahead is not yet free. Also on the way it will temporarily halt every time tracks ahead are reserved.

When it reaches a dead end, the train will stop and the SR is taken out of the list, unless a tick mark has been set in the Rules, that says ‘Reverse Direction’. The Rules for Spontaneous Run can be found by right click on a train (not in Edit mode, we need to be in Operations mode) and select Rules from the pop up menu.

Link to the video on 'Spontaneous Run'.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#9 von RudyB , 02.07.2015 13:52

In the previous 2 video's we had a look at Auto Train by Drag and Drop, which made it easy to send a train from A to B, and we could send a train on a random journey with Spontaneous Run.

When we would like some more control on where our trains are going, and/or have multiple start and destination blocks, and/or create a shuttle or cycle operation, then the ‘Autotrain Toolbar’ is our friend.

With the Auto Train Toolbar it is possible to create versatile train operations. These can also be saved for later use as a ‘Schedule’. In Traincontroller a ‘Schedule’ is a set of routes, combined with a set of attributes and Rules. Saved Schedules can be found in the Dispatcher Window under the Schedules tab.

With Auto Train Toolbar the same set of Rules is used as with Auto Train by Drag and Drop. These Rules can be edited via the menu Schedule > Auto Train Rules

Link to the Traincontroller Auto Train Toolbar video.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#10 von RudyB , 05.07.2015 10:12

In the previous video we created, and saved, a Shuttle train operation using the Auto Train Toolbar..

In this video we'll modify our layout by adding an oval track. Then, again using the Auto Train Toolbar, we'll create a Cycle operation, a train that automatically drives around the loop, and continues to do so, with scheduled stops.

Both the Cycle and the Shuttle train now continuously run, in automatic mode. Traincontroller takes care there are no collisions by halting trains when the route ahead is reserved or occupied, or at scheduled stops.

Link to the video: Traincontroller 10: Shuttle and Cycle Operations via Auto Train Toolbar



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#11 von RudyB , 09.07.2015 10:50

In the previous video we created shuttle and cycle Schedules with the Auto Train Toolbar. We were able to save them, they ended up in the Schedules tab of the Dispatcher Window.

It is possible to create and edit Schedules directly in the Dispatcher window. This even gives some more possibilities and some more 'precise' control than the Auto Train Toolbar, which is why I prefer this way of creating Schedules.

Here's the link to Traincontroller 11: Create Schedules in the Dispatcher Window



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#12 von RudyB , 12.07.2015 12:09

In the previous video we created a shuttle- and a cycle operation in the Dispatcher window. These are relatively simple operations, based on just one schedule that repeats itself.

More complex operations can be built using the 'Successor' tab of a schedule. Here other schedules can be listen that will start, after the previous schedule has reached its destination block.

Multiple schedules van be listed in the successor tab. If so, a random selection can will be made, or they can be picked in sequence.

With any schedule it is possible to add one or more 'operations' that will be carried out at the start or at the end of the schedule, like for instance switch the cabin light off, switch the headlights on, sound the horn ... anything.

It is also possible to add start conditions to a schedule. The schedule only starts (or is selected as a successor) when all the listed conditions (with logical functions like AND / OR) are met. This can vary from checking the status of a toggle switch on the switchboard, to the position of a turnout, to the state of a signal, to the presence of a certain train in a certain block, and more.

With these versatile and extended sequences of schedules, even with (complex) logic, ivery varied train traffic and operations can be created on our layout.

In this video we'll create a schedule that sends a cargo train, loaded with lumber and sand, from the raw materials trading company at Station South siding, to the furniture factory at Station East siding, then to the pottery at Station West siding and the return back to Station South siding.


Link to video Traincontroller 12: Complex Operations via Schedule Successors.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#13 von PaSchu ( gelöscht ) , 13.07.2015 09:14

Thanks Rudy for this Thread.

Wirklich sehr hilfreich aber scheinbar weiß das keiner zuwürdigen.


PaSchu

RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#14 von Marky ( gelöscht ) , 13.07.2015 17:35

Zitat von PaSchu
Thanks Rudy for this Thread.

Wirklich sehr hilfreich aber scheinbar weiß das keiner zuwürdigen.




Hallo,

"wegen dem Würdigen"

vielleicht deswegen, weil er es noch zu umständlich angeht. Zugfahrten erstellen mache ich im Fahrdienstleiterfenster per Doppelklick auf die einzelnen Abschnitte , die ich haben möchte. Würde ich die Weichenstraßen, die ich für eine Zugfahrt benötige, wie hier gezeigt aus der Liste im rechten Fenster zusammenklicken, würde ich mir einen Wolf suchen. Bei 10 Weichenstraßen mag man das noch überschauen, aber bei mehr als 100 (z.B. bei meiner Anlage) wird das dann schon mehr als schwierig/nervig.


Nebenbei bemerkt finde ich TC spitzenmäßig programmiert und ganz leicht erlernbar.


Gruß Markus


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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#15 von RudyB , 16.07.2015 11:47

To start a Schedule, so far we had to open the Dispatcher window, find the schedule in the list, right click and select start forward or reverse. It works, but it requires several actions. It would be much more convenient to have a switch on our Switchboard that can start the schedule.

Well ... that is possible. It is even quite simple. Just add a switch to the Switchboard, double click it and in the properties window, in the 'Operations' tab, add the schedule(s) to start to the right hand pane. That's all! Click the appropriate icon if you'd like to start a schedule in reverse. With a shuttle schedule, it is a good idea to add the same schedule twice, once in forward and once in reverse direction, it will then always start no matter if the train is in the start or in the destination block.

It would of course also be nice if we can stop the schedule with that same switch. Also that is possible. Go to the Dispatcher window and double click the schedule in the list to open its properties window. Now in the 'Conditions' tab add the switch to the right hand pane as a start condition. This means, as long as the switch is 'on', the schedule can start as a successor, or in the case of a shuttle or cycle it restarts itself. If the switch is turned 'off', then the condition of not met, end the schedule will not restart.

Link to video Traincontroller 13: Start / Stop Schedules via a Switch on the Switchboard



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#16 von RudyB , 19.07.2015 12:12

In the previous video's 01 - 13 we saw how we can create a layout in Traincontroller and how we can drive trains around, either manually or half- or fully automated. Quite a few times I said 'this will be the subject of a later video'. Well ... the 'quick start' is over, from here on we'll dive a bit more into the details.

In this video we'll have a look at how we can modify the User Interface to our liking.

The toolbars can be modified via menu 'View > Customize Menu's and Tool Bars', then the 'Commands' tab. Select a category and then simply drag an icon to a toolbar. To remove icons that you seldom use, simply drag them off the toolbar.

The overall look and feel of Traincontroller can be changed via the menu: 'View > UI-Style', then select a style from the list.

Many windows have the option to customize their colors and settings. For instance to change the Switchboard, go to menu 'View > Switchboard > Customize'.

The Switchboard has no zoom function with a percentage, like the Dispatcher has. There is an option however to change the icon size via the menu 'View > Switchboard > Symbol Size'. The result is similar to a stepwise zoom in or out.

Windows can be made floating, dockable or tabbed. This way a User Interface layout can be created to any ones liking.

Link to video Traincontroller 14: Customize the User Interface - Toolbars / Colors / Windows



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#17 von RudyB , 23.07.2015 14:23

In the previous video we modified the user interface to our liking. As an example, amongst others, we changed the look and feel of the Switchboard.

Also the 'Train Window' (throttle) offers a lot of customization possibilities. This video shows most of its available options.

Link to video Traincontroller 15: Customize the Train Window - Throttle



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#18 von RudyB , 26.07.2015 11:55

When a new engine is brought to our layout and we 'throttle it up', the speed at which it moves at every DCC speed step is unknown. To know the engine speeds they need to be measured. This is done by counting travel time over a given distance, which results in a scale speed in m/s. Given your layout scale (N, HO, O, ...) the 'real world' speed in km/hr is calculated. Traincontroller has a built in function to do these measurements, this is called Speed Profiling.

Why is speed profiling of our engines important?

Well ... first of all of course to have our TC speed gauges show the correct values in km/hr.

But more important, to have the correct brake- and stop distances, in cm, when using one sensor per block. One and the same engine, with the same block entry speed, will stop repeatable at the same spot. But it's probably not the point that we specified in cm. Also, different engines, and different block run in speeds, will give a large spread in the stop positions. Absolute accuracy can only be accomplished when the engine speeds have been measured.

The video shows how to prepare the engine'e CV values, how to prepare the measurement track, how to perform the speed profiling and finally to perform a measurement to add the 'brake compensation'.

Link to video Traincontroller 16: Engine Speed Profiling

A PDF document with a step by step 'cook book' explanation is also available via the link.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#19 von RudyB , 30.07.2015 13:11

As a preparation for speed profiling, we changed the decoder’s CV3 and 4 values for acceleration and deceleration to zero, or as close to zero as possible without visual loco jerk with a speed step change. But of course we like our trains to look like they have a mass and that it takes some effort to get them moving … speeding up slowly, and also braking slowly.

We probably remember from school that F=ma, or a=F/m. A higher mass, or less engine power, leads to a lower acceleration. Traincontroller can take care of this ‘mass simulation’. It controls the train’s acceleration and deceleration by sending out the DCC speed steps carefully spread over time.

This video shows how we can go about.

In the train properties window, on the 'General' tab there is an entry for weight. This influences acceleration and deceleration. The higher the weight, the more time it takes to get up to speed or to slow down.

On the ‘Speed’ tab, there is an entry for engine power. This also has an effect on acceleration. To make things even more realistic, at a certain point a heigh mass with (too) little engine power, also influences the maximum speed that can be reached.

Then there are two sliders called 'acceleration' and 'deceleration'. Just play with those and watch the effect until you have something that looks nice to you.

It is possible to create 'train sets', which is done by allocating wagons to engines. When both the engine and the wagons in the train set have been given a specific weight (their prototypical weights can be used of course), Traincontroller dynamically keeps track of the total train weight. If cars are added, their weight is added and vice versa. The total train weight, combined with the engine power and the acc / dec sliders now influence acceleration, deceleration, and maximum speed.

Link to video Traincontroller 17: Acceleration, Deceleration, Weight, Engine Power



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#20 von RudyB , 02.08.2015 11:59

When an engine or a wagon has been added, it can happen that the image you like to use is not available by default in TC. Luckily there is an option to import our own images, although it is not as easy as simply uploading a jpg or bmp file. The image has to be converted to a special TC format. The program needed for the conversion is called TrainAnimator. It is available for free at the TC website: http://freiwald.com/pages/download.htm.

A paid version of the program is also available. It includes a database with some 2000 images, ready for use. But of course ... to us hobbyists it is more fun to create our own images!

The start of the process is a nice image of our engine. We could make it ourselves with a digicam, or we could try to find it on the Internet. Chances are that a nice image is already available there. A website with thousands of loco images is: http://pc.pxtr.de/stocke.htm

The video shows how to go about with the TrainAnimator program. The 'trick' is to start off with an image that is not too large, or you may end up with much too big a file size for just some small TC loco icons. The magic number is an image height of 48 pixels.

TrainAnimator has some built in functionality to crop an image, but no resize. It can be worthwhile to first use an external editor to prepare the image. But not everyone has Photoshop installed, or knows how to use it. Not to worry ... some very good image editors are available for free.

One option is to use a web based editor like e.g. https://pixlr.com

Another option is to download one of the many free image editors that are available. I use Photoshop for the more intricate work, but for just some fast and easy editing I prefer FastStone: http://www.faststone.org

When the image is cropped and resized to 48 pixels height, we can load it into TrainAnimator. The TrainAnimator crop sliders are not needed now, since our image already has a perfect fit. All that may be needed is to make the surroundings of the engine or car transparent, such that the image icons look good on a light as well as on a dark background. The available previews show the result of your work.

Link to video Traincontroller 18: Use Your Own Engine and Car Images



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#21 von RudyB , 06.08.2015 11:36

It is possible to restrict the use of blocks or schedules to only certain trains. To do this, we need to go to the 'Trains' tab of the block or schedule's properties window. In the left hand pane there's a list of all available vehicles, either listed in some default available groups, or, if we use the bottom tab called 'Vehicles', in a plain list of all available vehicles.

To restrict a block or schedule to certain vehicles, we need to add the ones that we want to allow to the right hand pane. As long as that pane is empty, all trains are allowed. As soon as at least one train is in that pane, only that one is allowed, all others are not.

As long as we have just a few engines or cars, there is good oversight and it is easy to select the vehicles that we want to add to the right hand pane. When we'd have a lot of engines, it becomes a more tedious job when for instance we need to select 12 cargo trains, and when we have to repeat this several times with other blocks or schedules. This is when the use of 'Vehicle Groups' comes in handy.

The video shows how we can create these Vehicle Groups and how we can assign trains to them. Their purpose is ease of the selection process later on. To spend some time once with the creation of well chosen groups, can save us a lot of time later, every time when we need to make train selections.

The video also shows how after the creation of a "Cargo' group and an 'Intercity' group they are used to restrict traffic to certain blocks. Then we also create some rules and some scheduled stops for Spontaneous Run after which we send off the trains on a Spontaneous Run. Then we enjoy and see that what we designed workes out well. I love it when a plan comes together.

Link to video Traincontroller 19: Vehicle Groups



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#22 von RudyB , 09.08.2015 15:48

The Switchboard will probably be the TC screen we watch most of the time. First of all we of course would like it to have all the functions and indicators we need to control our layout. Then, it might also be worthwhile to spend some time to make it look as nice as we can get.

In video 14 we saw how all the panel colors can be changed and how we could select a different interface look & feel. In this video we'll have a look at all the options the Switchboard Editor has to offer.

Link to video Traincontroller 20: The Switchboard Editor.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#23 von RudyB , 13.08.2015 13:28

On my layout I want some trains to make a scheduled stop at a station, while others just need to rush through. With the trains that need to stop, I think it looks nicer when they already slow down in the previous block and then smoothly enter the station at an already reduced speed. There are several possibilities to do this in TC. The video shows some of these possibilities.

In TC, the maximum speed at which a train can drive in a block is the minimum of several settings:
- max engine speed
- max block speed at green signal
- max block speed at yellow signal
- block speed settings per Schedule
- temporary speed limits

The position where a train starts to slow down in a block is the 'brake marker'. If a slow down takes place in the previous block already, then that starts at the 'brake marker' of that block, unless a 'speed marker' was placed, in which case this 'speed marker' position is used (which can be placed before or after the brake marker).

Alternatively a 'temporary speed limit' could be used as an 'operation' with an 'action marker'.

As often, several options are available. Which one to choose may depend on the task you like to accomplish or on your personal preferences.

Link to video Traincontroller 21: Block Speed Settings.



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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#24 von RudyB , 16.08.2015 10:07

While in the previous video we saw how different block speeds can be managed, this video is about having different stop positions in a block.

For instance, at a station, we may want long trains to halt at a different spot than short trains, such that the carriages are always nicely aligned with the platform. And maybe we want a train that is on a 'drive through' to stop at the end of the block, if the next block is occupied.

This is all possible, and it is even quite easy to do. The video shows how.

Link to video Traincontroller 22: Block Stop Position Settings



Youtube channel on Model Railway, Traincontroller, Arduino and more


RudyB  
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RE: Video's on working with Traincontroller

#25 von RudyB , 20.08.2015 10:35

In the previous 2 videos we saw how we can have different trains run at different speeds in one and the same block and how we can create different stop positions also.

In this video we're going to use both possibilities to run a second train into a block that already contains a one.

The use for such an operation could be for instance when a train runs into a terminal track and we don't want that train to return onto the main track, driving backwards.

We'll first need to decouple the loc. If we have a decoupler installed, TC can do that for us. Or, when using Kadee couplers, TC can perform a 'Kadee shuffle'.

Then a new loco needs to run into the block, carefully, driving slow, and also stopping in time, before it hits the wagons.

The video shows how this can be accomplished.

Link to video Traincontroller 23: Run a Second Train Into a Block/



Youtube channel on Model Railway, Traincontroller, Arduino and more


RudyB  
RudyB
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Beiträge: 222
Registriert am: 20.09.2014
Homepage: Link
Gleise Peco 75
Spurweite H0
Steuerung TrainController
Stromart Digital


   


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