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Offline French_Fabrice  
#1 Posted : 07 May 2014 16:58:01(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hello Friends,

From time to time, I've provided some of you with tips related to automating a layout and driving it with a software.
I think opening a dedicated thread to this vast topic may be useful, that's the reason why I'm doing it.

I know also that some of you have many questions, so it's the place where to put your questions, and if possible try to find useful answers.

A few warnings:
  • I'm not God, and I don't know all on all topics
  • Sometimes I may be wrong so be indulgent. My purpose is to learn new things are share them...
  • My examples will use a software called Rocrail. It's because it is the only one I know and I use since now 3 years, with satisfactory results.
  • Even if this software is open source and run under Windows, Mac & Linux, I don't say it is the software you have to use. You are absolutely free to choose the one you feel better with...


Of course, all volunteers to drive this thread are welcome. Especially people knowing other software may provide useful comparisons on concepts or ways of doing things.

The idea is to provide useful information for those willing to jump into the world of computer driven model railroad.

All the best
Fabrice

Edited by moderator 10 May 2014 23:23:20(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#2 Posted : 07 May 2014 17:08:35(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
The basics

As an introduction, I'm going to explain the basics (already written somewhere else if the forum)...

For not to rewrite things that are already explained, I will put some links to some of the Rocrail wiki pages. I've quickly read the doc of TC, and the main concepts are the same...Only the way they are implemented may differ...

The main concept of an automated railroad model is what is called a "block". Only one loco/train may be in a block at a given time.
See there: http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=block-en

For a software to know if a block is occupied or free, you need to have (at least 1) "sensor"(s) associated to each block. There are many kind of sensors. The most classic sensor is an input line of a S88/V5217/LDT equivalent. This input line is connected to a piece of track which is able to tell "there is an axle on this sensitive piece of track" or "there is nothing on this sensitive piece of track". For instance, you put a couple of K-tracks 2295 (please adapt for M or C-Tracks), insert a wire between where the rails are cut, connect this wire to one input line of a S88, provides "O" and "B" on the whole set of rails, put a wagon between the 2 K2295, and on the CS2, the icon representing the sensor connected to the S88 input changes its color...That means there is "something" between the 2 pieces of K2295. This is the basic concept to provide feedback to a CS2, and thru the ethernet cable and IP addresses of the CS2 and your PC, to a software installed on the PC.
See concept on sensor: http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=sensor-en

But there is an other important concept, which is a "route". A route is a segment of a travel which connects 2 blocks together. Generally, a route is oriented. For instance if you have 2 consecutive blocks "A" and "B" the route "AtoB" is different from "BtoA", even if the same blocks are used by these routes. The difference is the direction the train/loco may take.
Note: The route defined above is specific to Rocrail. Other software may use a different definition for a route...

With these 3 concepts: blocks, sensors and routes, you know the essential of automating a railroad model layout.

Additional useful bits:
-Does a block need to have a signal ?
In the real "train" life, of course YES. The lights of the signal of a block "B" are triggered by the occupancy of bloc "B+1" and "B+2". When a train leaves block "B" (and immediately enters block "B+1") the signal of block "B" is set to red. When a train leaves block "B+1" (and enters block "B+2"), the signal of block "B+1" is set to red, and the signal of block "B" is set to yellow or green (depending of the length of the block)...and so on...To summarize, a block "B+1" drives the logic of the block BEHIND it, i.e. block "B". For a train to be able to leave a block, the next block MUST BE free (i.e. empty). For increased security, sometimes two blocks ahead must be free.

There are also two logic available with blocks: closed blocks (by defaults all signals are red, and set to yellow or green when needed) and opened blocks (by default all signals are green, and set to yellow/red when needed).

Back to the model railroad, a signal is not mandatory at the end of a block, because it is the software which will decide to stop/slow down the loco or let it go, depending of the occupation of the next block. But for realism, it is advised to put a signal; it is not useful (in my opinion) the signal cut the power...Let the software do its job...
With Rocrail, the block logic is the "closed blocks" logic. With other software it depends on the choice of the designer...

-What about the turnouts ? All the turnouts implied in an automated driven layout MUST BE driven automatically for the routes to be correctly set, generally by K83 compatible devices, each turnout/motor having a different address.

-What about the locos ? All the locos you wish to drive with the software (either in manual or automatic mode), must be Digital (i.e have a decoder) and "registered" in the software. If you have a loco with MM protocol, then you have to provide at least the MM address when registering the loco, or the DCC address with a DCC decoder, or some kind of special info when a MFX decoder... After that, when initializing the automatic mode, you put each loco involved in the automatic traffic in a distinct block, you tell the software that loco "X" is in block "B1", loco "Y" is in block "B2"...etc. Then you are ready to start the "auto" mode. The software knows the initial place of each/loco train, and having occupancy feedback from each blocks provided by the associated sensors, it is able to determine possible routes for the various locos and fully drive them...

One important thing to remember: If you have "N" blocks in your layout, you'll be able to drive automatically only "N-1" locos (a free block ahead is mandatory for a train to leave a block).

For a good understanding of these concepts, I suggest you to setup a simple "squared oval" layout (without any turnout and signal) on a workbench, put a block on each side of the oval with one or two sensors in each block, register 3 locos, get a software of your choice, and try some automatic mode with 1, then 2, then 3 locos together...have fun...and let your imagination flows...

It's better to try on a workbench before going to modify your planned or existing layout, especially if you don't have any experience on automated railroad (or find a friend which already knows automating and allows you some testing). Don't be too hurried ! In case you make mistakes, you'll have a lot of work to redo you nice layout, so try to avoid it by taking the necessary time to think...

The things you'll have to decide in the future for your final layout are:

-Where do i put the blocks ?
-If very long straight lines, how many blocks in these long lines ? Beware! More blocks allow more trains at the same time, but if blocks are too short, trains will always start and stop too quickly...
-how many sensors per block ? (in my opinion, two is a good choice, but it depends on how the software manage the blocks)
-signal at block exit ?
-facility for the software to mix manual and automatic traffic ? (I must admit I still need to investigate this point with Rocrail...)

Hope you'll find my writings interesting...

One last point: I don't work in a railroad company, I'm only a guy which loves trains since 45 years, and sometimes I may be wrong compared to the trains in the real life. But for model railroading, most of what I'm saying is certainly correct.

Have fun!
Cheers
fabrice

Edited by user 10 August 2014 08:20:59(UTC)  | Reason: precision on route

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Offline Ian555  
#3 Posted : 07 May 2014 17:44:52(UTC)
Ian555

Scotland   
Joined: 04/06/2009(UTC)
Posts: 19,966
Location: Scotland
Hi Fabrice,

Thanks for the introduction in getting started...

Sorry for what will appear to be my very basic questions...

1. How do I connect a computer to my layout/CS2

2.Using K tracks, can I make my own contact track from a 90mm track.

Ian.

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#4 Posted : 07 May 2014 18:36:18(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Ian555 Go to Quoted Post
Hi Fabrice,

Thanks for the introduction in getting started...

Sorry for what will appear to be my very basic questions...

1. How do I connect a computer to my layout/CS2

2.Using K tracks, can I make my own contact track from a 90mm track.

Ian.



A very quick answer:
1. To connect a computer to the CS2, use a RJ45 cross cable and plug it on one end to the network output of your computer, and on the other end to the network plug of the CS2... But it's not enough, you need to set addresses (compatible IP addresses) both on your computer and on the CS2.
2. Yes, in fact that's what I did. Use 2 pieces of 2201 K track, and on each piece of track, replace on one side only the metallic rail joiner by a SL11 PECO insulating rail joiner. Very easy to do. Then when connecting the 2 pieces of track together, you have 90mm length of rail insulated on one side. You have only to use a connector (ref 7500) on this insulated section later to connect to one S88 input.

I'll post a more complete answer later, especially about connecting the CS2 and a computer because using a LAN switch (or Wi-fi router) is better, but I need to do some drawings, and also explain you the basics of IP addressing.

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#5 Posted : 07 May 2014 23:16:57(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Connecting a CS2 to a computer

Here is a set of drawings with 3 variants for connecting a CS2 to a computer:
UserPostedImage

Drawing 1 is the simplest: it's a point to point connection between a CS2 and a computer. It uses a RJ45 crossover cable.

Drawing 2 is a more complex example depicting a small Local Area Network you may have at your home

Drawing 3 is a variant of Drawing 2, where the RJ45 cable between the CS2 and the LAN switch is replaced by a Wifi to Ethernet adapter (for instance http://www.netgear.com/h...2001.aspx#tab-techspecs) and a wireless access point connected to the LAN switch. I personally use such a configuration.

More variants are possible, feel free to enhance this post.

Cheers
Fabrice

Edited by user 08 May 2014 22:30:39(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#6 Posted : 07 May 2014 23:25:43(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
IP addresses: A brief introduction (IPV4 only)

An IP address is like a postal address: It allows you to receive messages from the world, and when you want to send somebody a letter, you write on the envelope the destination address.
Computers use the same paradigm, and a computer address is called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. In real it's a bit more complicated but for basic explanation, we stay with this initial metaphor.

Today, there are two versions of IP addressing:
-The oldest one called IPV4, coded with 32 bits, allowing around 4.3 billion addresses. This protocol is the widest in use, even if it is completely saturated today (no more free IPV4 addresses available)
-The new one called IPV6, coded with 128 bits, allowing a much much larger number of addresses (2 to the power of 128)

Most modern computers allow to manage at least IPV4, and for not too old versions of computer Operating Systems, also IPV6; Both can be active at the same time.

The CS2 uses an IPV4 address scheme, and for a computer to be able to communicate with the CS2, they both need to have the same kind of addresses i.e. IPV4

An IPV4 address is composed of 4 bytes : The common notation is A.B.C.D.
Each letter represents a number. The range of the numbers is the same for each letter, i.e. between 0 and 255 inclusive.
Example : The "google-public-dns-a.google.com" DNS server has IPV4 address 8.8.8.8

Among the 4.3 billion addresses, some are reserved for special use.
If you have many computers in your company for various purposes, most of them are not directly reachable from the Internet, even if they can browse the Web.

All these hidden computers from the Internet are connected together thru a Hi-speed LAN (Local Area Network) - a LAN may be very large, allowing thousands of computers -, and some special computers inside the LAN plays the role of gateways, allowing access to (and sometimes from) the Internet.

IPV4 protocol has some reserved addresses, usable only for LAN addressing. These addresses range are :
10.*.*.*
172.16.*.* to 172.31.*.*
192.168.*.*
* means any value between 0 and 255. Note: To avoid some specials case which may generate trouble, do not use the numbers 0 and 255, so stay with 1 to 254 inclusive.

The last concept to know a bit about is the concept of subnetwork: a subnetwork is a set of computers which may communicate directly to each other, without passing thru special devices called routers.

For example, 192.168.10.* is a subnetwork which may be composed of up to 254 computers able to communicate directly; 192.168.33.* is another one, etc... (again * means a value between 1 and 254)

At your home, if you have more than one computer and you want them to be able to communicate with each other or share some common resources (some files for instances), then to ease the things, it is preferable they share the same subnetwork address. This is where the "network mask" comes (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subnetwork).

Let's have a middle sized example, with 3 computers, and ADSL modem, an IP printer and the CS2:

1) I choose the subnetwork of my home LAN, for instance 192.168.23.*. Once I have chosen it, all LAN addresses must start with this value, and you may choose from 1 to 254 as the last number (number D) for the various computers connected to the LAN.
2) My own computer has address 192.168.23.5; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
3) My son's computer has address 192.168.23.12; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
4) My wife's computer has address 192.168.23.18; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
5) the IP printer has address 192.168.23.100; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
6) the ADSL modem has two addresses, one WAN (Wide Area Network = Internet) address given by my ADSL provider, for instance 200.200.100.12 and generally a special value for the mask (255.255.255.255), and a LAN address with the same subnetwork as 1), for instance 192.168.23.2 and the netmask 255.255.255.0
7) for the CS2 to be able to communicate with 2), the CS2 must have an unused address in the 192.168.23 subnetwork, let's say 192.168.23.40, and its network mask equals to 255.255.255.0 (the English translation in the CS2 for the network mask is called "IP Network template"). For the IP gateway of the CS2, either enter the modem LAN address or the address of the calling computer 2), and for the DNS address, enter the DNS address given by your Internet provider.

In summary:
-Choose a subnetwork address 192.168.C with "C" between 1 and 254, and stay with it
-Assign the final part of the IP address (D number) between 1 and 254. Please note that all computers must have a different "D" value.
-Use a network mask equals to 255.255.255.0
-Test the communication between your computer and the CS2 by issuing the command "ping <CS2_Address>" where <CS2_Address> is the value set at step 7 above.

Feel free to amend, add, correct if mistakes, provide better examples, etc...

Cheers
Fabrice

Edited by user 08 May 2014 22:36:50(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#7 Posted : 08 May 2014 10:43:31(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Building home made contact track section (K-Track)

3 photos describing how to build your own K-Track contact sections:

UserPostedImage

UserPostedImage

UserPostedImage

Feel free to provide comments and/or instructions related to M-Tracks or C-Tracks.

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline Caralain  
#8 Posted : 09 May 2014 00:02:48(UTC)
Caralain

United States   
Joined: 15/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 301
Location: Bay Area, California
[Hi Fabrice:

It's a very interesting technique that will simplify greatly the insulation process. I have ordered a few of those joiners to try them. The traditional method (Dremel or other) is fine, but has a big disadvantage: as in reality, the tracks extend and contract depending on the temperature and the humidity. I had recently a few problem with two blocks due to this phenomenon. When building those blocks, the space between the two cut segments was enough to avoid any ground contact, but with time, the space was reduced to almost nothing, allowing ground current to pass through. I have found you can avoid that by using plumber's putty. You insert a very small amount of this putty just after the cut and shape it to the size of the track. After a few days, the compound is dry enough to be painted. I have attached a PDF copy of an article showing the technique I have used so far. I prefer personally solder directly to the track the cable going to the S88. It's less visible than the Marklin 7500 ground terminal clip, but the soldering may be difficult and can become loose after some time.

Pierre
File Attachment(s):
solder_track_cutting.pdf (249kb) downloaded 231 time(s).
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Offline ajpattersonnz  
#9 Posted : 09 May 2014 06:25:55(UTC)
ajpattersonnz

New Zealand   
Joined: 29/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: Christchurch
Hi Fabrice,

I have ben watching the thread for Trossingen 1 and 2 for quite some time and I have been impressed with the creativity of your layout designs and the means by which you have been controlling them and as a result I have had a very brief play with Rocrail. I am still in the process of building a modular layout for the use of myself and the local club and I have not gotten as far as automation with Rocrail, but I have managed to network the cs2 and register loco's and points into the system - and even control them off my smartphone with rocrail's mobile app Androc.

With regards to the networking options you have suggested - I would like to point out to the readers of this forum that he distinct advantage of connecting the cs2 to a wireless router ( in my case I have a dedicated router screwed to my control console adjacent the cs2) is that not only can you then use your laptop / pc with Rocrail software wirelessly, but it also allows for the potential to run Apps such as Marklin's mobile station app in parallel giving you the option of a non rocrail manual wireless controller. I find this feature useful when running in a club environment where most of the members have smart phones, but lack the understanding to run a layout automatically. It gives a more flexible solution between full automation and a single person experience and running in a more manual mode in a club environment. Of course this observation is relevant to my own particular situation, but it serves to demonstrate just how flexible a concept this can be!

One subject I am interested to know about - because I am nearly at the point of trying to make it work - is the requirements in Rocrail for configuring signals - and in my case semaphores. I recall needing to do a bit of research about protocols and switching times for points and I am guessing there is going to be a little bit of fiddling about to configure these as well????

Thank you for starting this thread and taking the time to explain all this. I don't consider myself a total digital novice, but it is nice to talk to someone who has been there - done that - and can hopefully save others time and money avoiding mistakes.

Kind regards,


Andrew
Andrew
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#10 Posted : 09 May 2014 11:37:29(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your useful comments on using a Wifi router.

Back to your question about setting signals (and semaphores) with Rocrail, it's sometimes a complex topic I don't completely master, and the doc in the wiki would need in my opinion more examples.

Fortunately, in the step-by-step guide ( http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=stepbystep-en ) , section 6.3.2, you have examples showing how to declare semaphores. Stay without using patterns because you may get confused -use default, use PADA addressing (i.e. don't fill address field, only fill port field) it's more simple.
  • For semaphore with 2 aspects (7039, 7040, 7042 or Viessmann equivalent) see example #1 and #2. Check the "switch" option, and if needed the "invert" option.
  • For semaphore with 3 aspects (7041 or Viessmann equivalent) see example #3

Note: of course, each semaphore must be digitally controlled, I mean plugged in a K83 device or Viessmann equivalent...

About pulse time duration for the signals/semaphores in Rocrail, I think there is no dedicated parameter ???, or at least I didn't find it !
My recommendation is to set the necessary pulse time duration inside the CS2.

When running in automatic mode, you may also adjust the "semaphore time" parameter to prevent the loco starting immediately when the semaphore goes to Green or Yellow; (see http://wiki.rocrail.net/...d=rocrailini-automode-en )

Hope that helps...

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline ajpattersonnz  
#11 Posted : 10 May 2014 04:41:10(UTC)
ajpattersonnz

New Zealand   
Joined: 29/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: Christchurch
Originally Posted by: French_Fabrice Go to Quoted Post
Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your useful comments on using a Wifi router.

Back to your question about setting signals (and semaphores) with Rocrail, it's sometimes a complex topic I don't completely master, and the doc in the wiki would need in my opinion more examples.

Fortunately, in the step-by-step guide ( http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=stepbystep-en ) , section 6.3.2, you have examples showing how to declare semaphores. Stay without using patterns because you may get confused -use default, use PADA addressing (i.e. don't fill address field, only fill port field) it's more simple.
  • For semaphore with 2 aspects (7039, 7040, 7042 or Viessmann equivalent) see example #1 and #2. Check the "switch" option, and if needed the "invert" option.
  • For semaphore with 3 aspects (7041 or Viessmann equivalent) see example #3

Note: of course, each semaphore must be digitally controlled, I mean plugged in a K83 device or Viessmann equivalent...

About pulse time duration for the signals/semaphores in Rocrail, I think there is no dedicated parameter ???, or at least I didn't find it !
My recommendation is to set the necessary pulse time duration inside the CS2.

When running in automatic mode, you may also adjust the "semaphore time" parameter to prevent the loco starting immediately when the semaphore goes to Green or Yellow; (see http://wiki.rocrail.net/...d=rocrailini-automode-en )

Hope that helps...

Cheers
Fabrice






Thanks Fabrice, that will save me a bit of time fluffing about. I seem to recall the pulse time being something that could be configured for points, and being a bit confused about it at the time but now that I think about it I believe it became irrelevant in that as you say the pulse time is set by the cs2. It was over a year ago since I started playing with this software and once I got things switching I left well enough alone. I think I might start myself a notebook...... BigGrin

Anyway I see you have put a new post up on Trossingen, so off for a look.....

Andrew



Andrew
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#12 Posted : 10 May 2014 09:03:23(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: ajpattersonnz Go to Quoted Post


Thanks Fabrice, that will save me a bit of time fluffing about. I seem to recall the pulse time being something that could be configured for points, and being a bit confused about it at the time but now that I think about it I believe it became irrelevant in that as you say the pulse time is set by the cs2. It was over a year ago since I started playing with this software and once I got things switching I left well enough alone. I think I might start myself a notebook...... BigGrin

...

Andrew


This page : http://wiki.rocrail.net/...d=rocrailini-automode-en shows the default value used when switching a turnout in auto mode.

The small "note" get me a bit confused, especially the "hardware" word... Is the CS2 a "hardware" command station Confused

About each pulse time specific for each turnout, my assumption is:
-if not 0, then this duration is used (running either auto or manual mode)
-if 0, then either the CS2 pulse duration is used if running in manual mode, or the general "switch time" parameter is used in auto mode

I'll try to post a question in Rocrail forum to get the precise answer on this issue...

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline ajpattersonnz  
#13 Posted : 11 May 2014 02:06:22(UTC)
ajpattersonnz

New Zealand   
Joined: 29/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 16
Location: Christchurch



The small "note" get me a bit confused, especially the "hardware" word... Is the CS2 a "hardware" command station Confused



Thanks for the link. Reading it I would assume that for the purpose of Rocrail that the CS2 is a Hardware command station in that it has its own processor / software etc and that the switch time in rocrail should be set to at least the value in the CS2 to prevent the Rocrail software from getting ahead of what the CS2 is doing. I am assuming that the CS2 handles commands from rocrail in much the same way as it would from an MS1 or MS2 on the CANBUS. I should qualify this in saying that I am merely guessing - I am not a computer or software professional - I am an electrician!Smile

Regards,

Andrew
Andrew
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Offline Janne75  
#14 Posted : 11 May 2014 09:31:31(UTC)
Janne75

Finland   
Joined: 23/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 2,681
Location: Finland
Hi Fabrice, all,

This automatic train control is very interesting. I am a totally newbie with these things, but I would like to have a little bit automatisation on my layout. I'm not going to modify my whole existing layout though. I would like to try this for one track section where there are two 94,2 mm straight C-tracks in the ends near turnouts. So if I have understood right I could replace these normal Märklin 24094 straight 94,2 mm tracks with Märklin 24995 contact tracks?

At the moment I have routes configured in my CS2. These routes control my turnouts, but not any signals and don't cut power on any track sections.

So are these 24995 the right tracks to use with C-tracks? And then I need one S88, right? I would want only very simple setup. When a train comes from direction A or direction B on this track section between these two contact tracks 24995, it would "tell" my CS2 that this block is occupied and then turn my mainline turnouts to avoid any trains to run to this track section / block. If I have understood right this kind of "simple setup" is possible without any computers or computer programs? Only CS2, contact tracks and S88 needed. I have my layout power feeding wires in eight places and two of them are on this track section which I would like to be "detected" for CS2 to be occupied or free. So no automatic power cut off needed and I would like to still run my trains manually.

There is one thing that can cause this kind of setup a bit difficult to use. As I sometimes just run my trains around the two mainlines going side by side of each other and this "block" is on the outer mainline it can cause some problems if this "block mode" can't be set on/off when wanted. If I run my trains around my layout manually and there are two or more trains on the outer mainline and some trains on the inner mainline running at the same time, then when one train just runs on this "block" it would cause always my outer mainline turnouts to switch and cause the other train on the outer mainline to run then on the inner mainline and collide with the other train(s)... Confused

So some further detection is needed or this mode put on and off manually. Is this kind of setup easy to do with CS2 routes only?

I'm sorry to ask these questions here, but I thought I would get some advices here from the pros Cool .

Regards,
Janne
Märklin H0 digital layout. I have analog and digital H0 Collection. Rolling stock mostly from era I, II, III and IV. Märklin 1 gauge beginner.
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#15 Posted : 11 May 2014 11:12:15(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Janne75 Go to Quoted Post
Hi Fabrice, all,

This automatic train control is very interesting. I am a totally newbie with these things, but I would like to have a little bit automatisation on my layout. I'm not going to modify my whole existing layout though. I would like to try this for one track section where there are two 94,2 mm straight C-tracks in the ends near turnouts. So if I have understood right I could replace these normal Märklin 24094 straight 94,2 mm tracks with Märklin 24995 contact tracks?

At the moment I have routes configured in my CS2. These routes control my turnouts, but not any signals and don't cut power on any track sections.

So are these 24995 the right tracks to use with C-tracks? And then I need one S88, right? I would want only very simple setup. When a train comes from direction A or direction B on this track section between these two contact tracks 24995, it would "tell" my CS2 that this block is occupied and then turn my mainline turnouts to avoid any trains to run to this track section / block. If I have understood right this kind of "simple setup" is possible without any computers or computer programs? Only CS2, contact tracks and S88 needed. I have my layout power feeding wires in eight places and two of them are on this track section which I would like to be "detected" for CS2 to be occupied or free. So no automatic power cut off needed and I would like to still run my trains manually.

There is one thing that can cause this kind of setup a bit difficult to use. As I sometimes just run my trains around the two mainlines going side by side of each other and this "block" is on the outer mainline it can cause some problems if this "block mode" can't be set on/off when wanted. If I run my trains around my layout manually and there are two or more trains on the outer mainline and some trains on the inner mainline running at the same time, then when one train just runs on this "block" it would cause always my outer mainline turnouts to switch and cause the other train on the outer mainline to run then on the inner mainline and collide with the other train(s)... Confused

So some further detection is needed or this mode put on and off manually. Is this kind of setup easy to do with CS2 routes only?

I'm sorry to ask these questions here, but I thought I would get some advices here from the pros Cool .

Regards,
Janne


Hi Janne,

I have no expertise using C-Tracks, but having read the doc about the 24995, yes it is the right set of tracks to use to detect some occupation between the 2 pieces of 24995. Yes, you need a S88 to provide the CS2 some feedback and be able to trigger the route.
Beware not to put your feeders (B+0) inside the delimited section by the two 24995. If yes, the "0" will be always "on" !

About your second point, you're beginning to face some constraint which would need to add also some blocks in the inner tracks, and use more routes associated with "conditions", i.e. "route1" will throw the turnout if the block on the inner track is free, "route2" will not throw the turnout if the block is occupied, etc...

Frankly, I don't know if it is possible using only the CS2, mainly because I've not investigated in such a way. If I remind well, 15 years ago was published a Marklin booklet (very well written and full of useful examples ThumpUp ) describing how to use the 6021 family with some kind of automation, and some simple "conditions" were applicable for triggering routes. When I looked at the same kind of features in the CS2 a few years ago, I didn't find them implemented, so I gave up and switched to software driven control, which is much much easier...

As a general rule, when you start to use the block system, you must put blocks in each place where it is needed to have a safe traffic. If not, you will quickly have trouble...

One last thing: If you want to disable the S88 input and go back in manual mode, use a relay (i.e. 7245 or 7045 or a K84 entry) on the S88 input line. Then, by switching the relay on (S88 line not interrupted) or off (S88 line interrupted) you may either allow the route to be triggered, of disallow it.

I think expert people using the route feature of the CS2 may provide better answers, so please feel free to enhance my basic answer.

HTH
Fabrice
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Offline Janne75  
#16 Posted : 11 May 2014 11:41:34(UTC)
Janne75

Finland   
Joined: 23/03/2012(UTC)
Posts: 2,681
Location: Finland
Hi Fabrice,

Thanks for answer. It seems like if I need to install more contact tracks for train detection in the other places too I will not do this then. It gets too complicated. But if it is possible to do this with routes, two contact tracks and one S88 then I will do it and take away those two power feeder wires from that track section / block. One more question: How do I get power feeded to this block?

If I run a train on this outer mainline and the first contact track section detects the track block as occupied and S88 sends command to CS2 to switch the turnouts, it would be best to first switch only the turnout on the other side of this block and not the one where from the train comes as otherwise the rolling stock would derail... I think the whole layout should be built differently to be able to use these S88 and contact track sections like they should be used. Full computer control is then again a different story. The track section lenght between the two 24995 contact tracks would be around 3 meters and after them there is turnout on each side.

Maybe this is "mission impossible" and I will then just stay in using routes to switch my turnouts like at the moment without any train detection by contact tracks and routes controlled according to this.

Regards,
Janne
Märklin H0 digital layout. I have analog and digital H0 Collection. Rolling stock mostly from era I, II, III and IV. Märklin 1 gauge beginner.
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#17 Posted : 11 May 2014 11:59:07(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Janne75 Go to Quoted Post
Hi Fabrice,

Thanks for answer. It seems like if I need to install more contact tracks for train detection in the other places too I will not do this then. It gets too complicated. But if it is possible to do this with routes, two contact tracks and one S88 then I will do it and take away those two power feeder wires from that track section / block. One more question: How do I get power feeded to this block?
...


You may provide "B" (power) without any trouble inside the block. But for ground (0) if you provide it inside the delimited section, then ground will be always "on" on the two rails and no event can be generated as there is no state change...

Either:
-Provide ground only on the rail side NOT involved in the detection
-Or use 2 sets of 24995, one at the beginning of the block (for instance to trigger a signal going to Yellow using a very simple route), and the other one at the end of the block. In such a case, put your feeder (B+0) between these 2 sets.

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline Laxman  
#18 Posted : 22 May 2014 19:28:13(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Hi Janne

I think what you would like to do can be done in the route section of the CS2. I fiddled a short while with setting up some routes in CS2 before deciding to go all the way with computer control and am now finally finishing putting in my 'new' contact tracks.

You can use a contact track to trigger an occupancy event in the CS2 which can than be programmed to initiate a route in the CS2.

I decided to change to complete software control based on Fabrice and Lasse input and the possibility of using the computer to automatically slow down and stopping the individual trains without the need to have brake modules or dead power sections/blocks.

I will attach a pdf of a presentation I got somewhere (maybe in this forum BigGrin BigGrin ) of how to use M contact tracks in a shadow yard with the CS.

Laxman
File Attachment(s):
Memory- Examples of shawdow yard CS2, k83, k84.pdf (1,458kb) downloaded 661 time(s).
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Offline Laxman  
#19 Posted : 22 May 2014 19:43:57(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Fabrice

I am so glad you have posted this thread.

I have a question about the CS2 to PC connection. I have made that connection with a wireless router (Apple Airport Base station) which automatically (dchp?) assigns the IP address to both the CS2 and my laptop.

My question is how to do a direct connection as I have read that the wireless connection can sometimes not be as reliable with the marklin CS2 protocol.

1) What is an RJ45 cross cable? How is this different from a regular RJ45 cable?

2) If the PC and CS2 are directly connected without a router between them how are the IP addresses for each assigned?

3) Can the PC laptop still connect to internet via its wireless connection with an RJ45 cross cable plugged into its network port?

Thanks

Laxman

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#20 Posted : 22 May 2014 22:48:24(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hi Laxman,

I'm glad you find this thread useful, even if it's the very beginning BigGrin

The answers:

1) difference between a straight RJ45 and a crossover RJ45: see http://www.cablesplususa.com/rj45-utp-guide.php
To summarize TX (transmit) at one end is connected to RX (receive) at the other end and vice versa, in case of crossover.
In case of straight, TX is connected to TX and RX to RX.

Crossover cables are used when connecting directly 2 PCs together, without using a hub or switch or router (The 1st one speaks - transmits- to the 2nd one which is listening -receiving).
When using a hub/switch/router, generally straight cables are used. Most recent version of these devices have a feature allowing auto detection of the cable type, and automatic appropriate settings inside the switch. That's the reason why today most RJ45 cables are "straight" -easier to build- as it doesn't matter.

2) if IP address are not automatically assigned by a dhcp server, then you have to set them manually:
-On your PC, use the network card properties to assign the IP, the mask, and the gateway if needed
-On the CS2, do the same thing: you can either use manually assigned ip address or dhcp assigned address

Don't forget when assigning manually IP adresses, to assign IP on the same subnet and a compatible mask - see my post above about IPV4 addresses

3) Yes. In fact your PC has 2 network devices (I suppose, but it's very probable): The wired one which use a cable, and the other one which use the wireless card/chip.

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline Chook  
#21 Posted : 23 May 2014 11:54:13(UTC)
Chook

Australia   
Joined: 15/08/2012(UTC)
Posts: 234
Location: Perth, Western Australia.
Originally Posted by: Laxman Go to Quoted Post
Fabrice

I am so glad you have posted this thread.



1) What is an RJ45 cross cable? How is this different from a regular RJ45 cable?


Laxman do you want to know the actual connection details so that you can manufacture your own crossover cable ?
Do you have the necessary cable, plugs and crimping tool to build your own?

Regards...Chook.
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Offline Laxman  
#22 Posted : 23 May 2014 16:22:52(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Chook

That would be great.

I have plenty of Cat 5 cable if thats what I need.

I also should have some RJ45 connectors lying around and a crimper (if I can remember where I used it last Confused Confused )

Thanks

Laxman
Offline Laxman  
#23 Posted : 23 May 2014 16:34:45(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Fabrice

Quote:
1) difference between a straight RJ45 and a crossover RJ45: see http://www.cablesplususa.com/rj45-utp-guide.php
To summarize TX (transmit) at one end is connected to RX (receive) at the other end and vice versa, in case of crossover.
In case of straight, TX is connected to TX and RX to RX.


Great Link!!

Does it matter which end of a crossover cable goes to PC and which to the CS2? (In the diagram on the link they label on side as PC and the other as hub ( but the CS2 is in reality another PC?? is it not?)

Laxman
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Offline Caralain  
#24 Posted : 23 May 2014 17:55:23(UTC)
Caralain

United States   
Joined: 15/08/2010(UTC)
Posts: 301
Location: Bay Area, California
Hi Laxman,

It doesn't matter because the two RJ45 plugs are both "males". Look at this link, and you will see that those crossover cables are pretty inexpensive and come in different quality and length: http://www.newegg.com/Pr...&N=-1&isNodeId=1

You're right: the CS2 is a small computer with dedicated functions for train management. I am not sure about the CS, but the OS (operating system) of the ESU Ecos is Linux. As Fabrice said, you have to configure "manually" the IP address for both your computer and the CS2. Please refer to his post #6 for more information. It's not difficult to do, but it might be a bit tricky depending on your computer's configuration and your operation system (windows, Mac, Linux, etc.). Please let us know if you have any problem, and we will guide you step by step in this process.

Regards,

Pierre
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#25 Posted : 23 May 2014 18:54:26(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Caralain Go to Quoted Post
Hi Laxman,

You're right: the CS2 is a small computer with dedicated functions for train management. I am not sure about the CS, but the OS (operating system) of the ESU Ecos is Linux.
...
Regards,

Pierre


The CS2 has an embedded Linux system inside.
Cheers
Fabrice
Offline French_Fabrice  
#26 Posted : 29 May 2014 14:34:01(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Rocrail & CS2 version 3.6.2

Hi all,
For users of Rocrail, if after an update of the CS2 to version 3.6.2 you encounter some problems reading S88 feedback,
see there : http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=cs2:cs2-en

In summary, disable model-time clock.

My CS2 has been updated to 3.6.2, and the model-time clock is off. All S88 feedback sensors run correctly.

Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline Laxman  
#27 Posted : 29 May 2014 21:58:38(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Hey All

Over the past weekend I built a crossover cable and it works well and is very easy to set up.

Setting up the computer to work with the CS2 was very much easier than my initial trial with a wireless connection and may be the way to go for those first starting out. (It took awhile the first time I tried to connect my computer with software ( I am currently using iTrain http://www.berros.eu/itrain/en/ on my mac ) to the CS2 over a wireless network. Nevertheless, I got it to work.)

I think for first timers it may be easier to link the computer directly to the CS2 via a crossover cable to establish communication between your computer software and the CS2 and run a few trains. Later on you can easily set up whatever network you would like (wireless, wired via router, etc). Plus if you do not have the needed hardware for a network in your train room (or don't want to or can't connect your CS2 to your current wireless network at home) it is much cheaper to buy a crossover cable, download a software program of your choice to your laptop (most seem to offer a free trail period ), connect directly to the CS2 and go from there. If you find that software control is not for you, you are only out the cost of the crossover cable (10.00 or less).

Based on the ease of the crossover cable, I pretty much would recommend that anyone with a CS2, a laptop (or extra computer), and any curiosity/desire for software control give it a try.

If you are not computer savvy I would recommend considering simply purchasing a crossover cable online as they are relatively inexpensive. See the links above provided by Pierre

A few tips for others wishing to make a crossover cable themselves.

1) Follow the directions with regard to wire colors and pairs and plug positions ( the first one I made did not work as I had the wire pairs in wrong place--I inadvertently started with plug 8 instead of plug 1) see the link that Fabrice provided

http://www.cablesplususa.com/rj45-utp-guide.php

Looking at the RJ-45 with the clip facing away from you, Brown is always on the right, and pin 1 is on the left.

2) After making the crossover cable I went to hook it up to the CS2 and my laptop (Macbook pro) only to realize that I did not have an ethernet port Blushing Blushing so I then trotted off to Best Buy to get an Apple thunderbolt to ethernet connector.

3) I had to turn my wi-fi off on the laptop as periodically the IP address would change to one assigned by my wireless network from the one I had set manually to connect to the CS2. (I suspect, but am not 100% sure, that if I had let my wireless network set my computer IP address automatically and then used the 'rules' mentioned above by fabrice to choose a compatible IP address for the CS2 I could have continued to be connected to the wireless network --and the internet-- and also to the CS2 through the crossover cable. (please feel free to confirm or correct this if you know the answer )

Best of luck.

Laxman


Offline French_Fabrice  
#28 Posted : 29 May 2014 22:34:58(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hi Laxman,

I'm glad you have successfully connected your computer to the CS2 ThumpUp .

You've said in point 3) that your IP would change from time to time, due to your wireless network. That's a bit strange, and it may be really annoying if 2 computers must exchange data for a while.

I don't know what kind of DHCP server is embedded in your wireless router, but I'd like to tell you 2 things:

1) Generally, a dhcp address has a "lease time". When this lease time expires, the IP address is renewed if the computer is connected. Normal dhcp servers should provide the same address as before. If not, try to look for the lease time parameter, and increase it to for instance 24 hours (beware, the value is sometimes shown in seconds)

2) On "advanced" dhcp servers, it is possible to assign some kind of fixed address to a computer. More precisely, a permanent association may be done between the MAC address of the network chip (wired or wireless) and an IP address. Try to look is such a feature is available on your wireless router. A MAC address - 48 bits wide - is the physical address of the network chip (it's not an IP address; more than one IP address can be associated to a MAC address, but it's advanced networking computing and out of topic here). A MAC address is generally shown as xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx where x between 0 and 9 inclusive and A to F inclusive - (it's hexadecimal representation).
A MAC address example : 6C:F0:49:E1:8F:46
Each network chip throughout the world has a different MAC address, until so far...

HTH

Cheers
Fabrice
Offline MikeR  
#29 Posted : 29 May 2014 22:54:56(UTC)
MikeR

United States   
Joined: 26/08/2012(UTC)
Posts: 259
Location: Denver
Hi Laxman and Fabrice

I have also connected my CS2 to my computer and I find that the address changes from time to time. I thought that this occurred when the router or the CS2 is switched off and then back on as the device has to re-register and may get a different address. It is quite easy to check the address on the CS2 after switching on to see if it has changed and then reconfigure the model railroad software. Not sure if I am correct but this is my understanding/ interpretation of what is happening.

Mike
Mike
Digital - C track with CS2 and Railroad&Co TrainController; feedback using LocoIO via a Locobuffer
Analog - M track with solid centre rail (after C track layout is complete)
Collect all Eras - especially Crocodiles
Member of the Marklin Modellers' Group Johannesburg
Offline French_Fabrice  
#30 Posted : 29 May 2014 23:39:50(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: MikeR Go to Quoted Post
Hi Laxman and Fabrice

I have also connected my CS2 to my computer and I find that the address changes from time to time. I thought that this occurred when the router or the CS2 is switched off and then back on as the device has to re-register and may get a different address. It is quite easy to check the address on the CS2 after switching on to see if it has changed and then reconfigure the model railroad software. Not sure if I am correct but this is my understanding/ interpretation of what is happening.

Mike


Hello Mike,

The definitive way to get rid of these address changes would be to use a name server (DNS) coupled with a DHCP server, and call your CS2 by its name and not its IP address... But I'm afraid most of embedded dhcp server in wireless routers don't provide such a feature...

The other way is to use fixed addresses (either manually assigned in the traditional way, or pseudo-fixed inside the dhcp as I described it my previous post in 2)).

When you run a software on a PC which drives your CS2, both must have stable IP addresses... If not, a major crash with many locos involved may occur on the layout, which is not acceptable (This hobby is too expensive for that, at least for me...)

Cheers
Fabrice
Offline Laxman  
#31 Posted : 30 May 2014 00:06:44(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Fabrice

My wireless router at home is an Apple Time Machine and the IP address it assigns to my laptop seems to be the same each time.


When I first connected my CS2 to the laptop via a crossover cable I set the IP address on my computer and the CS2 to the same numbers you gave in your example in your house and they worked great

Quote:
1) I choose the subnetwork of my home LAN, for instance 192.168.23.*. Once I have chosen it, all LAN addresses must start with this value, and you may choose from 1 to 254 as the last number (number D) for the various computers connected to the LAN.
2) My own computer has address 192.168.23.5; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
3) My son's computer has address 192.168.23.12; the netmask is 255.255.255.0;
.

I think the problem was when I turned the wi-fi back on (while using the above IP addresses and the crossover cable with the CS2) then the dchp server on the wireless router reset the computer IP address to the one it had been assigned before I took it offline to manually connect to the CS2 (10.0.1.18).

I do know that my IP address while at home on my laptop seems to be the same each time and I think it (the IP address) changes when I take my laptop to work.Unsure Unsure

I suspect that my computer cannot have 2 different IP addresses at the same time which is why I wonder if I keep the IP address on the computer assigned by the wireless router and assign the CS2 a compatible IP address (following your instructions above) then I could communicate between the computer and CS2 with the crossover cable and still use internet via my wireless network?

I didn't have any problem accessing internet from my computer and communicating with CS2 when I set them up with a wireless network (but of course the wireless router assigned both of their addresses and all I had to do was enter them in the appropriate place in the software program the CS2).

Not sure if this makes any sense to anybody else?

Laxman

Offline French_Fabrice  
#32 Posted : 30 May 2014 00:19:11(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Laxman,

Can you provide me the exact reference of your Apple Time machine (there are many docs on Apple support site, and I'd like to download the "good" handbook) ?

If this device provides CLASS A (10.*.*.*) ranges of dhcp addresses, I'd like to see if you can shrink the range of dhcp IP addresses provided, just to put a fixed address on the CS2 compatible with the 10.*.*.* range...

Cheers
Fabrice
Offline MikeR  
#33 Posted : 30 May 2014 11:54:31(UTC)
MikeR

United States   
Joined: 26/08/2012(UTC)
Posts: 259
Location: Denver
Originally Posted by: French_Fabrice Go to Quoted Post

Hello Mike,

The definitive way to get rid of these address changes would be to use a name server (DNS) coupled with a DHCP server, and call your CS2 by its name and not its IP address... But I'm afraid most of embedded dhcp server in wireless routers don't provide such a feature...

The other way is to use fixed addresses (either manually assigned in the traditional way, or pseudo-fixed inside the dhcp as I described it my previous post in 2)).

When you run a software on a PC which drives your CS2, both must have stable IP addresses... If not, a major crash with many locos involved may occur on the layout, which is not acceptable (This hobby is too expensive for that, at least for me...)

Cheers
Fabrice


Hi Fabrice

Thank you for the explanation. Once the IP address is set it does not seem to change during that session. At least I have not had that problem - only on start up. I agree that this is too expensive a hobby to have the computer lose control because a router has re-assigned an address so I will try fixed addresses as you suggested. My router is an Apple Time Machine and I will need to find my way around in the setup app next week as I am away for the weekend.

Regards

Mike
Mike
Digital - C track with CS2 and Railroad&Co TrainController; feedback using LocoIO via a Locobuffer
Analog - M track with solid centre rail (after C track layout is complete)
Collect all Eras - especially Crocodiles
Member of the Marklin Modellers' Group Johannesburg
Offline ecastrog  
#34 Posted : 09 June 2014 18:21:00(UTC)
ecastrog

Ecuador   
Joined: 05/06/2014(UTC)
Posts: 44
Location: Quito
Hi Fabrice and all

This is my first post in this forum...

Frist of all, congratulations Fabrice, I've seen the pictures of your work and its really quite impressive!! Also the way you explain things here is very helpful.

I have started to experiment a bit with automatization, and finally managed to understand how to isolate blocks, and do some routes with my CS2. I use C-Tracks, but instead of using contact tracks I am doing the isolation by means of cutting the contact of one of the tracks, therefore I can use any piece of railtrack I need...

The question I have now, for anyone who can help is the following:

I want to put an entrance signal before a turnout that leads to two tracks of the station. Lets call track A and track B.

I already know how to detect occupation on both tracks
I also know how to make the light go green or red depending on the occupation on the track. (using routes in the CS2)
But the problem now is that I can only make this work "individually" (hope I can make myself clear), so I have to put one signal for each track, after the turnout.... this will only help if I have a train entering the station and the track is ocuppied, then it will stop to avoid a crash...
But what I am trying to do (and CAN'T!!!) is the following:

I want to put only ONE entrance signal, before the turnout, and depending on the direction of the turnout make this signal respond. To explain myself:
- If the turnout is set for track A, and track A is ocuppied, then the signal is red. If the track is free then the signal is green (or white in this case).
- If the turnout is set for track B, and track B is occupied, then the signal is red. If the track is free then the signal is green
It seems that I don´t know how to launch a route depending on the turnout direction (this is supposed to be the condition), which I think is what I need to do...

In this way I can set the block before the turnout, and have only one entrance signal.

I am using s88 module, but I don't understand how to program this in the CS2...

Any help will be appreciated!! ThumpUp
Offline French_Fabrice  
#35 Posted : 11 June 2014 22:36:25(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hello Esteban, and welcome to the forum !

Well, I'm not very fluent about using "memory" features.
From my viewpoint, the automation capabilities of "memory" are very limited, that's the reason why I switched to external PC software to have decent and safe automation...
An other reason is the lack of public documentation about memory features (and even when willing to pay for purchasing useful books from Marklin, I don't find one !).

You may also experiment with the CS2 and try to discover the new features implemented in the "memory" brought by latest software update, but it may be sometimes a frustrating experience...

Back to your questions, my feeling is there is something wrong in your approach.
- OK to put an entrance signal before the turnout
- but even if the 2 next conditions you wrote seem logical, you can't trigger a route i.e. a sequence of actions (setting turnouts & signals) depending on a turnout position. The routes are generally triggered by a state (on or off) associated to a sensor entry (S88 input line), and except modifying a turnout to be able to associate sensors detecting the frog position, I don't understand how you can achieve such a goal... The most common sensors are occupancy detection made with contact tracks connected to a s88 input.

You should instead view the things by setting "logical" blocks (and associated sensors) and remember that a block B drives the logic of the block BEHIND.
So if you have a block B1 ending with signal S1, followed by a turnout (SW1) allowing access to block B2 (turnout straight) or block B3 (turnout thrown), this simple configuration... is not so simple !
I'm not sure you can achieve safe running conditions with only using memory features ???
But some other members may have better answers...

Try to have a look at various threads like:
https://www.marklin-user...-Feature.aspx#post397828
https://www.marklin-user...y-Manual.aspx#post395696
https://www.marklin-user...de-Video.aspx#post386401
https://www.marklin-user...y-set-up.aspx#post401024
https://www.marklin-user...-MS2v2-1.aspx#post449862
or do some more digging in the forum using keywords like "memory"

I wish you good luck!
Sorry not to be able to help you more! If you choose the software way of doing things, I may provide more helpful answers...

Cheers
Fabrice
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by French_Fabrice
Offline ecastrog  
#36 Posted : 16 June 2014 20:52:35(UTC)
ecastrog

Ecuador   
Joined: 05/06/2014(UTC)
Posts: 44
Location: Quito
Originally Posted by: French_Fabrice Go to Quoted Post
Hello Esteban, and welcome to the forum !

Well, I'm not very fluent about using "memory" features.
From my viewpoint, the automation capabilities of "memory" are very limited, that's the reason why I switched to external PC software to have decent and safe automation...
An other reason is the lack of public documentation about memory features (and even when willing to pay for purchasing useful books from Marklin, I don't find one !).

You may also experiment with the CS2 and try to discover the new features implemented in the "memory" brought by latest software update, but it may be sometimes a frustrating experience...

Back to your questions, my feeling is there is something wrong in your approach.
- OK to put an entrance signal before the turnout
- but even if the 2 next conditions you wrote seem logical, you can't trigger a route i.e. a sequence of actions (setting turnouts & signals) depending on a turnout position. The routes are generally triggered by a state (on or off) associated to a sensor entry (S88 input line), and except modifying a turnout to be able to associate sensors detecting the frog position, I don't understand how you can achieve such a goal... The most common sensors are occupancy detection made with contact tracks connected to a s88 input.

You should instead view the things by setting "logical" blocks (and associated sensors) and remember that a block B drives the logic of the block BEHIND.
So if you have a block B1 ending with signal S1, followed by a turnout (SW1) allowing access to block B2 (turnout straight) or block B3 (turnout thrown), this simple configuration... is not so simple !
I'm not sure you can achieve safe running conditions with only using memory features ???
But some other members may have better answers...

Try to have a look at various threads like:
https://www.marklin-user...-Feature.aspx#post397828
https://www.marklin-user...y-Manual.aspx#post395696
https://www.marklin-user...de-Video.aspx#post386401
https://www.marklin-user...y-set-up.aspx#post401024
https://www.marklin-user...-MS2v2-1.aspx#post449862
or do some more digging in the forum using keywords like "memory"

I wish you good luck!
Sorry not to be able to help you more! If you choose the software way of doing things, I may provide more helpful answers...

Cheers
Fabrice


Hi Fabrice, and thank you for your clear explanation..

It seems I still need to understand better how signals and blocks work. I still need to understand how to prevent a train to enter a station if its occupied by another train, but to stop before the turnout... and if the other side of the turnout is free, then letting that train come into that track.....

I downloaded itrain software, and it seems that there is a lot you can do with the software, so I need to study the whole thing...

Can you deepen a little on the explanation on the "entrance" signal? how the logic works?

Thank you very much again ThumpUp
Offline Laxman  
#37 Posted : 16 June 2014 22:27:28(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Esteban

If you have downloaded iTrain, then make sure you go to the website and download the iTrain manual and read through it; I found the manual well written and informative. The sections on blocks are very helpful.

In essence, if you are going to use software (like iTrain) to control your layout then the signals are simply lights to reflect what the software is doing. The program will start and stop the locos AND the program will change the light colors on the signals. The signals themselves do not control the blocks or the trains. (This is the opposite of the old analog M way where the signal was a relay and actually turned power on and off to a section of track which was called a block). This is opposed to a block on layout using software where there is no cutting off the power --

"A Block is a single place on your layout, where only one locomotive or train can exist at a time. It is usually a group of track sections with no turnouts in them, and at least one sensor." from the Rocrail website

The entrance signal is a visual manifestation of what iTrain is doing.

If, for example, you have three station tracks A, B, and C. iTrain knows which tracks are open and which are occupied. If all three are occupied, then iTrain stops the train before the turnout(s) to the station and iTrain has the signal color set to red.

When one of the tracks becomes clear then iTrain changes the turnouts to proceed to that particular free track, starts the loco, and changes the signal to green. The train now proceeds into the station siding.

Software (like Rocrail or iTrain) can do so much more than the memory in CS2. For example you can freight trains go only to one station track and passenger trains to another. You can have the software randomly choose the station track each time. You can have the trains wait a fixed or random amount of time at the station. You can have the loco lights go off and on again before departing.

If you already know how to detect occupancy and make contact tracks ( I also make them like it sounds like you do--super easy with C track) and make blocks, then you are easily halfway there.

I am still learning my way around iTrain but if I will help you where I can

Best of Luck

Laxman
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by Laxman
Offline French_Fabrice  
#38 Posted : 18 June 2014 18:39:14(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hi all,

As this place is dedicated to software control of a layout, I add here links to previous articles I wrote.

Warning: These articles are specific to Rocrail !

Turntable 7286 & Rocrail : Quick how-to
See here: https://www.marklin-user...ck-Howto.aspx#post337543

The second article speaks about complex "actions" (in Rocrail meaning). This article is of Advanced level, so if you don't master the basics and are not used to Rocrail, you may get lost...

Rocrail & actions: complex driving of railroad crossings
See here: https://www.marklin-user...rossings.aspx#post390239

Cheers
Fabrice
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by French_Fabrice
Offline ecastrog  
#39 Posted : 19 June 2014 19:21:38(UTC)
ecastrog

Ecuador   
Joined: 05/06/2014(UTC)
Posts: 44
Location: Quito
Originally Posted by: Laxman Go to Quoted Post
Esteban

If you have downloaded iTrain, then make sure you go to the website and download the iTrain manual and read through it; I found the manual well written and informative. The sections on blocks are very helpful.

In essence, if you are going to use software (like iTrain) to control your layout then the signals are simply lights to reflect what the software is doing. The program will start and stop the locos AND the program will change the light colors on the signals. The signals themselves do not control the blocks or the trains. (This is the opposite of the old analog M way where the signal was a relay and actually turned power on and off to a section of track which was called a block). This is opposed to a block on layout using software where there is no cutting off the power --

"A Block is a single place on your layout, where only one locomotive or train can exist at a time. It is usually a group of track sections with no turnouts in them, and at least one sensor." from the Rocrail website

The entrance signal is a visual manifestation of what iTrain is doing.

If, for example, you have three station tracks A, B, and C. iTrain knows which tracks are open and which are occupied. If all three are occupied, then iTrain stops the train before the turnout(s) to the station and iTrain has the signal color set to red.

When one of the tracks becomes clear then iTrain changes the turnouts to proceed to that particular free track, starts the loco, and changes the signal to green. The train now proceeds into the station siding.

Software (like Rocrail or iTrain) can do so much more than the memory in CS2. For example you can freight trains go only to one station track and passenger trains to another. You can have the software randomly choose the station track each time. You can have the trains wait a fixed or random amount of time at the station. You can have the loco lights go off and on again before departing.

If you already know how to detect occupancy and make contact tracks ( I also make them like it sounds like you do--super easy with C track) and make blocks, then you are easily halfway there.

I am still learning my way around iTrain but if I will help you where I can

Best of Luck

Laxman


Hi Laxman

Thank you for your explanation.

Yes, I started to read the whole iTrain manual, and play a little with the program. I already manage to connect it to my CS2 and drive some locos..
Regarding the whole signal issue, it is more clear now to me, which takes me to the next question:

I have some 76494 signals (which I think are "exit" signals, I should get some entrance signals instead) and a couple of 76472 (which are yard block signals). All of them can control the current on the track, but if I understand you well, I should connect only the lights to the control box (m84), and not connect any of the blocking capabilities of the light?, instead I should make the program do the work?

Thanks again for your comments!!

Esteban

Offline French_Fabrice  
#40 Posted : 19 June 2014 20:12:36(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: ecastrog Go to Quoted Post

...

I have some 76494 signals (which I think are "exit" signals, I should get some entrance signals instead) and a couple of 76472 (which are yard block signals). All of them can control the current on the track, but if I understand you well, I should connect only the lights to the control box (m84), and not connect any of the blocking capabilities of the light?, instead I should make the program do the work?

Thanks again for your comments!!

Esteban



Hello Esteban,

Yes, you're right. There is no use, if you go to computer control, for the signal to cut the power. The consequence is all locos and coaches keep their light "on" when the loco stops in front of a signal, and it's much more pretty...

Extract from post #2:

Back to the model railroad, a signal is not mandatory at the end of a block, because it is the software which will decide to stop/slow down the loco or let it go, depending of the occupation of the next block. But for realism, it is advised to put a signal; it is not useful (in my opinion) the signal cut the power...Let the software do its job...


Cheers
Fabrice
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by French_Fabrice
Offline BrianM  
#41 Posted : 26 August 2014 21:07:33(UTC)
BrianM

United States   
Joined: 06/10/2012(UTC)
Posts: 19
Location: Kaiserslautern, Germany
Originally Posted by: ecastrog Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: French_Fabrice Go to Quoted Post
Hello Esteban, and welcome to the forum !

Well, I'm not very fluent about using "memory" features.
From my viewpoint, the automation capabilities of "memory" are very limited, that's the reason why I switched to external PC software to have decent and safe automation...
An other reason is the lack of public documentation about memory features (and even when willing to pay for purchasing useful books from Marklin, I don't find one !).

You may also experiment with the CS2 and try to discover the new features implemented in the "memory" brought by latest software update, but it may be sometimes a frustrating experience...

Back to your questions, my feeling is there is something wrong in your approach.
- OK to put an entrance signal before the turnout
- but even if the 2 next conditions you wrote seem logical, you can't trigger a route i.e. a sequence of actions (setting turnouts & signals) depending on a turnout position. The routes are generally triggered by a state (on or off) associated to a sensor entry (S88 input line), and except modifying a turnout to be able to associate sensors detecting the frog position, I don't understand how you can achieve such a goal... The most common sensors are occupancy detection made with contact tracks connected to a s88 input.

You should instead view the things by setting "logical" blocks (and associated sensors) and remember that a block B drives the logic of the block BEHIND.
So if you have a block B1 ending with signal S1, followed by a turnout (SW1) allowing access to block B2 (turnout straight) or block B3 (turnout thrown), this simple configuration... is not so simple !
I'm not sure you can achieve safe running conditions with only using memory features ???
But some other members may have better answers...

Try to have a look at various threads like:
https://www.marklin-user...-Feature.aspx#post397828
https://www.marklin-user...y-Manual.aspx#post395696
https://www.marklin-user...de-Video.aspx#post386401
https://www.marklin-user...y-set-up.aspx#post401024
https://www.marklin-user...-MS2v2-1.aspx#post449862
or do some more digging in the forum using keywords like "memory"

I wish you good luck!
Sorry not to be able to help you more! If you choose the software way of doing things, I may provide more helpful answers...

Cheers
Fabrice


Hi Fabrice, and thank you for your clear explanation..

It seems I still need to understand better how signals and blocks work. I still need to understand how to prevent a train to enter a station if its occupied by another train, but to stop before the turnout... and if the other side of the turnout is free, then letting that train come into that track.....

I downloaded itrain software, and it seems that there is a lot you can do with the software, so I need to study the whole thing...

Can you deepen a little on the explanation on the "entrance" signal? how the logic works?

Thank you very much again ThumpUp


You should get this Marklin book on Signals
BrianM attached the following image(s):
03402 signal book.jpg
Offline ecastrog  
#42 Posted : 12 September 2014 22:48:56(UTC)
ecastrog

Ecuador   
Joined: 05/06/2014(UTC)
Posts: 44
Location: Quito
Originally Posted by: Laxman Go to Quoted Post
Esteban

If you have downloaded iTrain, then make sure you go to the website and download the iTrain manual and read through it; I found the manual well written and informative. The sections on blocks are very helpful.

In essence, if you are going to use software (like iTrain) to control your layout then the signals are simply lights to reflect what the software is doing. The program will start and stop the locos AND the program will change the light colors on the signals. The signals themselves do not control the blocks or the trains. (This is the opposite of the old analog M way where the signal was a relay and actually turned power on and off to a section of track which was called a block). This is opposed to a block on layout using software where there is no cutting off the power --

"A Block is a single place on your layout, where only one locomotive or train can exist at a time. It is usually a group of track sections with no turnouts in them, and at least one sensor." from the Rocrail website

The entrance signal is a visual manifestation of what iTrain is doing.

If, for example, you have three station tracks A, B, and C. iTrain knows which tracks are open and which are occupied. If all three are occupied, then iTrain stops the train before the turnout(s) to the station and iTrain has the signal color set to red.

When one of the tracks becomes clear then iTrain changes the turnouts to proceed to that particular free track, starts the loco, and changes the signal to green. The train now proceeds into the station siding.

Software (like Rocrail or iTrain) can do so much more than the memory in CS2. For example you can freight trains go only to one station track and passenger trains to another. You can have the software randomly choose the station track each time. You can have the trains wait a fixed or random amount of time at the station. You can have the loco lights go off and on again before departing.

If you already know how to detect occupancy and make contact tracks ( I also make them like it sounds like you do--super easy with C track) and make blocks, then you are easily halfway there.

I am still learning my way around iTrain but if I will help you where I can

Best of Luck

Laxman


Hi Laxman

I have been playing around with iTrain, and have finally understood the whole concept of the signals and blocks... (i think...Huh )

Now I am ready to start building my layout after gathering all the necessary things

I have another question to ask:

Since you know I will be using contact tracks (doing the isolation by cutting the contact track).. but I am not sure of the following: Do I need to isolate the whole length of the block, or just where the "feedback" is going to be?. I have some blocks that will have 3 feedbacks (entry, brake and stop), but some others (the longest ones) that will have only one (because they are just rail track with no signals)...

I was reading (i think in this same post) that you cannot put "B" and "0" inside an isolated block, which leads me to this doubt, because my whole layout will be divided in blocks, and if I isolate all the individual blocks, then I wouldn't have anywhere to connect the power..... I don't know if I am making myself clear about this...

But on the other hand, I have thought that if I only isolate a part of the defined block, then when the train passes that part, the program will think the block is free....

Any clarification on this will be very appreciated

Best regards,
Esteban
Offline Laxman  
#43 Posted : 13 September 2014 05:28:27(UTC)
Laxman

United States   
Joined: 18/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 240
Location: South Carolina
Hi Esteban

I think I understand your question.

First a few basic principals.

A contact track is a track that has the two outer (ground rails) electrically separated from each other. One of these rails is connected to the ground on the track on each side of the contact track. (The red, or power, or middle rail is always live and connected to the power of the layout and NOT isolated in a contact track). The other outer rail (electrically isolated) is connected to a detection device like a S88.

When a loco or car with metal wheels crosses over a contact track, the metal wheels complete the circuit of the ground rail through the wheels of the car or loco to complete the circuit and trigger an 'ON' reading with the s88 detection device.

As stated in the M signal manual 03402
"Normally, both of the running rails for Marklin's track system are electrically connected to one another. With the contact track, they are separated from one another. Only one rail is connected to the brown ground return (0=ground). the other rail is connected to the the rail connected to the ground return by the conductive wheels on the loco and cars. the loco and cars wheels represent in principle an electrical switch."

So yes you may put a B and O inside of a contact track, but the O would only be attached to the one "active rail".

A contact track needs to be as long as the longest distance between any two wheels on your train consists (loco or cars). In practice this is generally either long low side gondola cars or passenger cars and usually one uses about 20-30 cm as a contact length.

I do not make the entire block a contact track. I usually try and have at least 2 contact tracks per block (enter and exit) and will try and have a middle contact track in shadow yards or stations. Some people will make the whole block a contact track (especially in shadow yards and stations) so they can always tell if there are any cars or loco's in that block (detection block).

So in a simple digital software controlled layout you have ALL tracks powered via B and all regular tracks and one rail of each contact track connected to ground via O. You then have the 'other,isolated, rail of each contact track connected to a s88 detection device.

So there are no isolated blocks in terms of power (B) only isolated rails in the contact tracks on a software digitally controlled layout.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions let us know.

Laxman
Laxman attached the following image(s):
contact track.jpg
Offline French_Fabrice  
#44 Posted : 13 September 2014 10:25:36(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hi Esteban,

To complement the very clear Laxman's reply, a small drawing that may be useful in some cases...

UserPostedImage

I say "put an additional 0 feeder if length is >50cm"... This length is only an indication, not an absolute rule. It may also be useful if detection sections are done in curves...

Have a nice day
Fabrice
Offline ecastrog  
#45 Posted : 15 September 2014 18:36:16(UTC)
ecastrog

Ecuador   
Joined: 05/06/2014(UTC)
Posts: 44
Location: Quito
Thank you Laxman and Fabrice for your clear explanations...

Much clearer now!

Esteban
Offline klausdk  
#46 Posted : 15 September 2014 20:35:25(UTC)
klausdk

Denmark   
Joined: 30/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 1
Location: Århus
Budt what S88 decoder do i need to buy ?
Offline French_Fabrice  
#47 Posted : 15 September 2014 20:52:51(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Hello,

For traditional feedback decoder, you may buy either Marklin 6088 (no more in production) or Marklin 60880, or Viessman 5217 or LDT RM88N.

Cheers
fabrice
Offline Ross  
#48 Posted : 17 September 2014 05:41:01(UTC)
Ross

Australia   
Joined: 25/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 722
Location: Sydney, NSW
Hello Fabrice/All,

UserPostedImage


I have tried to improve your diagram to have and extra s88 contact and include the diode trick for better power supply.
It is best to use occupancy sensoring rather than momentary contacts for more reliable operation.

See my tips page and look for the Diode trick article which also shows upgrading standard 6088 (s88) to the s88-N standard.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~.../pdf/the_diode_trick.pdf

Thanks Fabrice for creating this topic, great work.




Originally Posted by: French_Fabrice Go to Quoted Post
Hi Esteban,

To complement the very clear Laxman's reply, a small drawing that may be useful in some cases...


I say "put an additional 0 feeder if length is >50cm"... This length is only an indication, not an absolute rule. It may also be useful if detection sections are done in curves...

Have a nice day
Fabrice

Edited by user 02 May 2016 02:54:29(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Ross
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by Ross
Offline French_Fabrice  
#49 Posted : 19 November 2014 23:18:20(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,286
Location: Lyon, France
Getting CS2 icons

Hello folks !

A few software allow to put some icons on various buttons/frames.
For instance, Rocrail allows to put icons on function buttons related to locos.

If you wish to get the CS2 icons (other than loco icons), then use the following urls:

http://cs2_ip_address/fcticons to get loco function related icons
http://cs2_ip_address/magicons to get electromagnetic related icons
http://cs2_ip_address/sysicons to get system related icons
http://cs2_ip_address/gbsicons to get layout related icons (gleisbilder)

Replace cs2_ip_address with the ip address of your CS2 and use your favorite browser to get them...

Cheers
fabrice
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by French_Fabrice
Offline siroljuk  
#50 Posted : 11 February 2015 10:07:14(UTC)
siroljuk


Joined: 29/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 369
Hello all,

I have used WinDigipet latest English version about two years. I have to say that this is good but expensive application. You can control your layout as muchs and as complicated as you wish.

My point is that from WinDigipet´s WEB-site you can find very valuable information for all questions conserning controlling Märklin layout with PC.
The only thing is that you have to register into site first, its free of charge.
Go to forum and use English version. I have found for instance WORKSHOP No. 11 very usefull.

If you register into site, you can download also WinDigipet English manual, which is huge, but in many cases usefull for users of other applications.

I do not want to advertise anything in particular, only to get more help fore you, so I hope you don´t mind this post.


Jukka
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