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Offline Laxman  
#1 Posted : 20 February 2014 07:22:59(UTC)
Laxman

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

I am changing to a digital controlled layout with CS2 from analog control. I am looking to run run trains automatically with CS2 and possibly in future with computer software using s88 with the contact tracks.

I am going to install contact tracks and I had posed a question about their layout under help with track plans. John has provided me with some very useful and thoughtful information about contact tracks ( thanks JohnSmile Smile ) as I more or less previously placed circuit (flipper) tracks anywhere along the route so that they would trigger the next event in time. I have since tried to read up on contact track use and placement and have a few specific questions I am looking for some help with.

From my reading online, i have learned the following (please correct me if any of this information is not as it should be)

- The more track blocks the better

- There should be a minimum of two contact tracks within each block (one on entrance and one on exit) and many people advise more than two

-There should be a contact track after each switch on each of the divergent tracks

- track blocks should be as long as longest train

- contact tracks should be as long as longest car (length b/t two axles)

- on curves, the contact rail should be the inside rail so as to maintain better loco power with the ground to the outside rail (in case loco tips up onto outside going fast around the turn)

- most people tend to place contact rail on the same side of most/all track blocks for consistency -(like the inside rail, etc)

Now For my questions:

1) Most people seem to advocate for at least three contact tracks per block with one being in middle. Where in the middle? What is purpose of one in middle? Should one be in the middle if there is a good chance it will have a train sitting on it that is stopped in the block (like in the middle of a station siding track)? Is this one in the middle associated with the idea of having one approx 30 cm from end of block to be used for braking in the block?

2) Do you/can you/should you use braking modules to slow down loco and then keep lights etc on in the blocks, or can you do this with just a CS2 or with computer control software with the contact tracks? And how does the contact track approx 30 cm from the signal play into this?

(Can CS2 be programmed to do a specific thing to a specific loco (by its address) upon a triggering event from a contact track (like start moving, reverse, blow horn etc) or would this require computer software or do the locos move because power has been now been delivered to the block they are in and signal goes from red to green?)

3) If you have a track block just before a signal and are currently using a brake module with a transition area and then a short safety stopping area (no power with red signal to prevent loco from running through the signal) where exactly does the contact track go--if the contact track is in the safety stopping area (dead area) the loco may not trigger it if the loco stops a bit short of that because of the braking module; so does that mean the contact track does NOT go at very end of the track block.? Do you make contact track longer to insure capturing where the loco stops? Do you place contact track a bit 'upstream' in the braking area?

4)If you have a very long block --like a mainline between two stations with no sidings or passing area-- would you need more than the 2 (or 3 if using a middle one) contact tracks. Why or Why not?

5) If you have a station with several sidings can you have trains approaching from both directions potentially going to all the sidings with CS2 control? How easy is it with CS2 and/orcomputer control? I assume that it this case you would need to 'run a red signal' from behind and then stop at the signal at the other end of the block.

6) If #5 is difficult to do with CS2 or computer software, then do most people run trains through the station either in one direction only or use certain tracks in one direction.

7) Are there any special hints, suggestions, caveats about placing contact tracks in station sidings with braking modules in place and stopping areas past signals?

8) Is there any problems with contact tracks being connected to (ie the next track after) a switch or should there be a piece of 'normal' track between a switch and a contact track. Why or Why not? If so how long a 'normal' piece of track should one use? If so how important is it given layout and space issues?

9) Is there much/any difference in occupancy detection vs contact track with CS2/computer as my understanding is that it is the change in status either from occupied to unoccupied or unoccupied to occupied that triggers an event? Or is occupancy detection simply the failure to progress from an occupied state to an unoccupied state which is interpreted as the block being occupied?

Since I am thinking of possibly going for computer control in the future and I am going to be lifting some tracks up, it would be best to place contact tracks wherever I might need them in future even if I do not wire them to s88 at this time.

Thanks in advance for reading this and providing input. I hope that others out there have some of the same questions and can also benefit from the collective knowledge and expertise. Please do not feel you need to answer all the questions to respond. Answer whichever ones you can.

Laxman

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Offline French_Fabrice  
#2 Posted : 20 February 2014 21:42:47(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,382
Location: Lyon, France
Hello,

That's a vast topic and it may become sometimes complex.

I don't pretend to provide you answers to all of your question, but I'll try to highlight FIRST some aspects which may clarify things. The beginning of my reply is going to show the 3 main concepts you have to master, before going to manage a layout thru a PC in automatic mode. To better understand some of my writings, I will refer to the software I use to manage my layout, i.e. Rocrail. I don't say Rocrail is the software you have to use, it's only an example. You are totally free to choose the software you wish. Also, my examples use K-Track system, as I don't know about C-Track (You'll have to adapt my answers...)

About Automation, an introduction

For not to rewrite things that are already explained, I will put some links to some of the Rocrail wiki pages. Other software shares the same concepts...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 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 is the same blocks are used by these routes. The difference is the direction the train/loco may take.
See concept here : http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=route-en

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 BEFORE 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 kinds of 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, but it is not useful (in my opinion) for it to 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 setup, 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 alter an 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 your layout, so try to avoid it by taking the necessary time to think...

The things you'll have to decide for your 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 ?

About Automation, an introduction: The end

Now, back to your remarks & questions...
- The more track blocks the better
not always...in automatic mode, if you have too many blocks and too many trains, the trains may stop and start too frequently...
- There should be a minimum of two contact tracks within each block (one on entrance and one on exit) and many people advise more than two
it depends on the software you are using... even with one sensor, you may achieve interesting behavior...but as a general rule, 2 sensors are preferable : one at the block entrance, one at the end of the block -not after the block)
- There should be a contact track after each switch on each of the divergent tracks
??? maybe if you wish to go in manual mode ??? but in automatic mode, no need; the software will cope with the block arrangement and the various routes connecting the different blocks
- track blocks should be as long as longest train
yes
- contact tracks should be as long as longest car (length b/t two axles)
in my opinion, it should be long enough for the sensor to trigger, but to avoid reliability problem, your assertion may be ok...
Question 1)
Answer: The use of a third sensor depends on the event it represents. This may differ thru various software. With Rocrail, a 3rd sensor may be used to get a very low speed until the signal at the end of the block where the train will stop, or to stop a short train right now.
Question 2)
Answer: it's not useful to waste money in braking modules. The software is doing the job for you, with blocks, sensors and routes...
Question 4)
Answer: In my opinion if the block is long enough, then you have room to put a 3rd sensor to have a slow speed when reaching the end of the block, in case the train must stop; otherwise, 2 sensors are enough
Question 5 & 6)
Answer: It's sometimes difficult to mix automatic and manual traffic with a software...But you may also program it in automatic mode to go to sidings (this may be a subject for a later article)
Question 9)
Answer: I'm not sure to really understand what you mean. In my understanding, a set of contact track connected to a S88 input IS the sensor which generate an event of occupancy or non occupancy. After that, the software deals with that event...

I hope my answers will have helped you, but they may also have generated many more questions...

Cheers
fabrice

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Offline Laxman  
#3 Posted : 21 February 2014 06:28:39(UTC)
Laxman

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

What a great and detailed answer. ThumpUp ThumpUp ThumpUp

Thank you so very much. You have really clarified many, many points for me.

Quote:
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, but it is not useful (in my opinion) for it to cut the power...Let the software do its job..


I guess a CS2 alone is somewhere in between full automatic mode with a PC and complete analog control in that with its route systems it does require 'blocks' in the traditional M sense that power needs to interrupted by either a signal, relay, or k84; but in true automatic form with a PC and software (like Rocrail) all the tracks are 'live' (powered) and the sensors (contact tracks) allow the software to move the locos around the layout by controlling the locos individually by themselves like I would simply 'by hand'.

So in summary a block for software like rocrail does not require any track isolators like the 'blocks' shown historically by M that rely on power disruption?

Laxman


Offline French_Fabrice  
#4 Posted : 21 February 2014 08:21:22(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,382
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Laxman Go to Quoted Post


So in summary a block for software like rocrail does not require any track isolators like the 'blocks' shown historically by M that rely on power disruption?



Yes, you're right.

Because the real controller of your layout is the software. The CS2 acts only as a hardware transmitter.
In my opinion, the CS2 is a very poor automation manager...And I think it's rather normal, because a dedicated software for managing automation is very complex and I don't see M going that way...

In the past for my first layout "Trossingen", I had doubled the wiring for blocks with real insulators : with a relay on each block I was able either to continuously provide the power, or let the traditional mechanism of cutting the power when signal is red. I've used it 2 or 3 times, then later I've always used the automation provided by the software, and I think I will never go back...

One last advice when entering the world of automation driven by software : If your pleasure mainly comes from using knobs, pressing buttons to switch turnouts, etc... you may be disappointed when using a software... Of course, you may interact with your trains using the mouse of your computer in "manual" mode, but it's different !

On the opposite side, if you want to run 10 trains simultaneously with elegant speed decrease and complex courses, only a software can allows it...Possibilities are infinite !

But it's up to you Wink

Cheers
Fabrice
PS: you may see an example of automation here: https://www.marklin-user...onnected.aspx#post426844
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Offline Danlake  
#5 Posted : 23 February 2014 02:29:05(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,551
Hi Laxman,

Excellent advice from FabriceThumpUp

I will just add a few comments regarding blocks.

Some users actually prefer to make the whole block as a whole contact track. This is more a safety issue - should your train drop a wagon it will be detected and a incoming train will not be allowed to enter the block.

For automation 1 sensor is enough and you can e.g. tell software when to brake (distance in cm) after having been triggered.

Personally I have 2 contact tracks for smaller block length (entry - exit) and for longer blocks (more than 1 meter) I install a contact track in the middle. With many software's it doesn't really matter the length of the contact track as you can put in delays in the software when the sensor should switch off (a normal value is 2s to avoid flickering of the sensor). Also disadvantages with too many contact tracks is that you are loosing some of the benefit with 3-rail by having isolated 1 outer rails. I have had performance issues with SDS loco (with no capacitors installed) continuously stalling on some contact tracks.

On my post for my layout "Greenwood forest" I uploaded my layout plans where you can see where I placed the contact tracks.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

Brgds - Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
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Offline Laxman  
#6 Posted : 23 February 2014 05:41:33(UTC)
Laxman

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

Thanks for your suggestions.

I have studied both your layouts and they are awesome.

I have initially planned upgrading to digital with the CS2 to run the trains automatically and the more I research the more I am leaning towards control via software as I am becoming aware of the limitations of the CS2 memory and automation.

Lasse-Are the infra-red detectors used because you have M track and a contact track is harder to come by with M track or is there another reason?

Lasse and Fabrice--Why did each of you choose the software you use? Can Train controller software be used on a Mac? (I will probably need to choose a software that is Mac compatible.)

Laxman
Offline French_Fabrice  
#7 Posted : 23 February 2014 08:57:55(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,382
Location: Lyon, France
Originally Posted by: Laxman Go to Quoted Post

Lasse and Fabrice--Why did each of you choose the software you use? Can Train controller software be used on a Mac? (I will probably need to choose a software that is Mac compatible.)

Laxman

Hi Laxman,

On my side, the choice of Rocrail was dictated by the fact it's open source software and able to run natively under Linux. This is a major constraint, but it's purely specific to me and some fundamental choices I did in my life. Having said that, I was very pleased to discover that it is a very rich featured software and it runs quite well.
Rocrail is available for Linux, Mac & Windows.

Cheers
fabrice

Offline Danlake  
#8 Posted : 23 February 2014 09:09:20(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,551
Hi Laxman,

Yes I opted for IF sensors on the M track, but mainly because I had already ballasted around the tracks.

Very easy to make contact track with C tracks but not sure how to do with M tracks...

Traincontroller is windows based. Can run on a MAC but you then of course need to install Windows as well.

Traincontroller is a paid software. The GOLD version has quite extensive functions and programming facilities (e.g. use of flagman - i.e. virtual sensors that monitor real sensors and can initiate all kinds of actions). I initially opted for this program (started with bronze) as I found the user manual very friendly and well written. I thought if the company is putting so much effort behind a English user manual (it's a German company) these guys not what they are doing.

My advice is - if you area already in favour for automation - you will be better off (cheaper as well) to design your layout for PC control from the beginning. If you already have a spare computer all you need to start with is one of the freeware programs - sensor tracks and S88 modules (which you need in any case for automation via CS2). Making routes and schedules is so much easier with the PC software and you will be able to break and stop the trains in a prototypical manner (more smoothly and accurately than with braking modules).

Brgds - Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
Offline Laxman  
#9 Posted : 24 February 2014 06:01:16(UTC)
Laxman

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

Thanks so very much for your generous feedback and info.

I am now more convinced to go all the way with PC control.

My understanding (please correct me if this is not true) is that if I am planning to go all the way with PC control all I need is k83 controlled switches and contact tracks (as we discussed above). I would not need any any other wiring in terms of 'power controlled on/off traditional M blocks (ie signal or k84 controlled and also no braking modules or transition zones) therefore there would be a great amount of time and money saved by not wiring up relays, signals, k84, block etc. Simply lay tracks and wire up contact tracks and switches?


Do you use traditional power cut off blocks for industrial siding/ shunting areas or just leave all tracks powered on?


How long is the learning curve for programming simple routes such as 2-3 trains at a station siding and simply have one leave, make a circle and return to its siding and then the next one leave and so on and so on?

How difficult is it to hook up the computer to the CS2 and get them to talk to each other. Will I need work arounds or is it pretty straightforward?

My concern is that since this is a display layout in my reception area, I would like to get a couple of trains running ASAP for people to see while I continue to update and convert the whole layout to this new digital format.

By the way Lasse, I looked at your track diagram with the contact tracks and noticed that you use a feeder track on each block. Why?


Laxman






Offline Danlake  
#10 Posted : 24 February 2014 07:16:13(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,551
Hi Laxman,

You are correct - all you need is switches to be digitally controlled (either by K83 or with their own decoder), S88 feedback modules and contact tracks.

No brake modules or K84 to switch off/on power. So yes, it would be cheaper if you don't have to buy a separate PC.

I am using a Sony laptop (5 years old) but still fast enough to run my layout without any problems.

It's fairly simple to make a small schedule for a train following a specific routes, if you got some basic PC understanding.

In train controller you can also (with one click) initiate spontaneous run. You tell the train to go in which direction and it will take random routes. What I really enjoy with PC software is to run some of my trains in automation and the e.g. take a diesel from the roundhouse and drive manual to the goods yard to pick up wagons. I then have to follow the signals and can only go on blocks that has a green light. A bit like in the real world!

I installed lots of feeders (probably too many)! I just spaced them out so that's why in many of them they will be in the middle of the block. They could have been anyway.

On this video I did a fairly basic automation of my shadow yard. First train departs - when it arrives it will trigger the next train to depart (in this case the oldest train that have driven).



Brgds - Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
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Offline French_Fabrice  
#11 Posted : 24 February 2014 23:18:12(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,382
Location: Lyon, France
Hi Laxman,

To complement Lasse's answer, I'll add the following remarks:

-if you have spare K84, then you may use them to switch on/off lights on your buildings, for instance;
-all my sidings have power on; no power cut; all sidings are made of "blocks" with 1 or 2 feedback contacts (i.e. sensors)
-most of my blocks have 2 sensors; each block has a feeder (B+O) somewhere between the contact tracks zones, to ensure better "ground" contact, and also to provide power approximately each 2 meters

-about the learning curve: mmmh, not easy to tell... It mostly depends on your previous experience...
a) First, you have to sort out the PC <-> CS2 communication possible issue. If you already have a local network with at least 2 PC able to communicate together, then it will (would) be easy. The CS2 is no more than a PC with a touch control interface. If not, I suggest you to ask help to a friend who is fluent in setting PC to communicate each other. In summary, you need a LAN router (either wired or wifi -if only wifi, you need to add a wifi transmitter connected to the ethernet interface of the CS2) with an embedded DHCP server -the thing which provides you automatically an IP address... Sorry if these terms are cryptic, they are IT words.

b) Second, set the adequate parameters (not the IP address parameters, it should be done in previous step) in your software to allow communication between CS2 and the PC - these software allow many types of central stations, so you have to choose the right one... Don't be afraid, it may be as simple as a single (or a few) mouse click(s).

c) Third, as Lasse said, it's rather easy to set an oval with a station (let's say with 2 lanes at the station), and a few blocks with sensors and routes, but don't get too hurried. As a first experience, I wouldn't suggest to add sidings, but start by setting a couple of turnouts, program them, interact manually with them thru the software, then add a loco, interact manually with it thru the software. Only when it's ok, define blocks, associate sensors (and events), then define route and start the automatic mode. You have to master each step before going to the next one. If not, it may be complicated to identify the cause of trouble.

A step-by-step beginners guide for Rocrail is available here : http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=stepbystep-en

My 2 cents...
Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline garben  
#12 Posted : 06 March 2014 01:36:46(UTC)
garben

United States   
Joined: 23/01/2013(UTC)
Posts: 92
Location: New York
All, great and very informative thread. I am finished designing my layout and now I'm deciding on the electronics. The PC interface sounds very appealing. My question is if I go that route (no pun intended) do I still need a CS2? If not what could I use as it sounds like the PC interface can replace the CS2.

Thanks again for the great info.
Offline Danlake  
#13 Posted : 06 March 2014 11:05:55(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,551
You still need some types of a central control station to send the correct signal out on the track to the decoders.

Various option are available from different manufactures, but you cannot (e.g.) with Marklin just hook up a PC directly to the layout.

Brgds - Lasse


Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
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Offline Mark5  
#14 Posted : 18 November 2015 18:19:54(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,204
Location: Montreal
I just want to bump this excellent thread and say that I am thrilled to discover that PC control allows for slow breaking without having to install breaking modules or insulated blocks.
This alone seems well worth it.

It is possible to use the 6021 control unit together with PC control.
I would not know what kind LAN to connect to a 6021.
Or is the CS2 or ESU Central Station essential?

Perhaps a list here of what different controls M-users have used to connect to and run PC or Mac based route and train control software would be beneficial.

Thanks again for the great advice from Lasse and Fabrice and to Laxman for asking.
Curious to know how Laxman has progressed with his 'studies'.

- Mark

ps. It would be great if we could email notifications from threads without having to post on a thread.
Alas, I would not want to burden our dedicated webmaster with extra work managing our 1/2 million posts!
Thank you Juhan!


Added:
Similar topic from Fabrice - More great info on PC control of your layout
https://www.marklin-user...ftware---Tips-and-tricks
Interested in history of DB, DR and FS circa 1955 to 1965. Fan of signals, catenary, stations and yards.
Father of four girls running an exhibition layout, the Mädchenbahn--
https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=30519&b=1
Large version of my present avatar-- https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=29910&b=1
Source of previous avatar in "zoomify" detail-- http://bit.ly/1QqMgL0
Offline Webmaster  
#15 Posted : 18 November 2015 18:28:46(UTC)
Webmaster


Joined: 25/07/2001(UTC)
Posts: 11,124
Mark, have you tried the "options" button to the right in the red topic title bar and select "Watch this topic" to get notifications? Just curious if it works...
Juhan - "Webmaster", at your service...
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. [Old Chinese Proverb]
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Offline Mark5  
#16 Posted : 18 November 2015 18:32:46(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,204
Location: Montreal
Hadn't seen that! Sorry.
I will try that and wait for a post on a thread to see if I get a notification.
Thanks again Juhan!
- Mark


Originally Posted by: Webmaster Go to Quoted Post
Mark, have you tried the "options" button to the right in the red topic title bar and select "Watch this topic" to get notifications? Just curious if it works...


Interested in history of DB, DR and FS circa 1955 to 1965. Fan of signals, catenary, stations and yards.
Father of four girls running an exhibition layout, the Mädchenbahn--
https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=30519&b=1
Large version of my present avatar-- https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=29910&b=1
Source of previous avatar in "zoomify" detail-- http://bit.ly/1QqMgL0
Offline kiwiAlan  
#17 Posted : 18 November 2015 22:21:56(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,291
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post

It is possible to use the 6021 control unit together with PC control.
I would not know what kind LAN to connect to a 6021.
Or is the CS2 or ESU Central Station essential?


The Marklin graphical PC program currently available can only be used with a cs2, although it is also reported to work with a cs1.

You can use a PC to control trains through a 6021, but you need a 6051 serial interface to connect to the PC through a serial port. You then need to write the control program yourself.

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Offline Mark5  
#18 Posted : 18 November 2015 22:41:44(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,204
Location: Montreal
Thank you Alan,

That's exciting news.
Do you know anyone who is currently using or writing a program of their own?
It would useful to have something to use as open source and can be shared.

Have you seen the 6051 interface available online?

- Mark

Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
.... 6051 serial interface to connect to the PC through a serial port. You then need to write the control program yourself.



Interested in history of DB, DR and FS circa 1955 to 1965. Fan of signals, catenary, stations and yards.
Father of four girls running an exhibition layout, the Mädchenbahn--
https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=30519&b=1
Large version of my present avatar-- https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=29910&b=1
Source of previous avatar in "zoomify" detail-- http://bit.ly/1QqMgL0
Offline PeFu  
#19 Posted : 19 November 2015 00:16:02(UTC)
PeFu

Sweden   
Joined: 30/08/2002(UTC)
Posts: 903
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post
Thank you Alan,

That's exciting news.
Do you know anyone who is currently using or writing a program of their own?
It would useful to have something to use as open source and can be shared.

Have you seen the 6051 interface available online?

- Mark

Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
.... 6051 serial interface to connect to the PC through a serial port. You then need to write the control program yourself.





The 6021 and the 6051 interface is the "old" combo for connecting a Märklin layout to a computer. You don't need to write your own program (unless you want to), the combo is still supported by e.g. TrainController: http://www.freiwald.com/pages/hardware.htm

Today, the CS2 provides the same features as the old combo. The only main reason for me to go for the CS2 is to access mfx!

BigGrin Peter
Inspired by Swiss railways SBB and BLS | C and K track | CS2 | TrainController Gold V9
Youtube Channel for the Andreasburg-Mattiasberg layout
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Offline clapcott  
#20 Posted : 19 November 2015 03:05:16(UTC)
clapcott

New Zealand   
Joined: 12/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 2,332
Location: Wellington, New_Zealand
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post

Do you know anyone who is currently using or writing a program of their own?
It would useful to have something to use as open source and can be shared.

There are a number of recreational developers around.

The whole point is that modelers can write a program the way they want it.
Therefore, I am not sure if open source sharing of code is all that beneficial, except maybe for the interface setup and then only to copy and paste.
Usually once you have got over the connection hurdle you run in your own direction.

You would do well by identifying your preferred development environment

you may wish to checkout JMRI , although that is not overflowing with Marklin chatter.

Quote:

Have you seen the 6051 interface available online?

If you wish to continue using your 6020/1 I would suggest investigating the LocoNet adapters (Uhlenbrock sell both a 6021<>Loconet and a PB<>Loconet option)

This offers the advantage of bi-directional awareness - the 6021 does not provide the ability to query a loco or accessory state - or a short detection

Comment: CS1 and CS2 use IP(ethernet) but different protocols
Peter
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Offline Mark5  
#21 Posted : 19 November 2015 05:05:19(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,204
Location: Montreal
Hello Peter,

Directional indication is a very important feature.
Is this what you are talking about: Loconet feedback module for 3 rail?
Or was it a unit specifically designed for the 6021?
http://www.uhlenbrock.de...A64-023.apd/Bes63352.pdf

No doubt using IPs would be easier.

- Mark

FYI - They have their manuals in English available to download here
http://www.uhlenbrock.de/intern/20/1/english/
Interested in history of DB, DR and FS circa 1955 to 1965. Fan of signals, catenary, stations and yards.
Father of four girls running an exhibition layout, the Mädchenbahn--
https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=30519&b=1
Large version of my present avatar-- https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=29910&b=1
Source of previous avatar in "zoomify" detail-- http://bit.ly/1QqMgL0
Offline Laxman  
#22 Posted : 19 November 2015 05:24:55(UTC)
Laxman

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

Thanks so much for your post. As an update, I have completely rewired my layout using only contact tracks and am currently using CS2 and PC control with iTrain software. I chose iTrain as it was the only one I could find that was truly Mac compatible.

I have been very happy with my choice to change to PC control. The options to run trains are quite extensive in iTrain and I am sure just as extensive in a program such as rocrail which Fabrice is an expert at or TrainController. The learning curve was not that difficult although it took a bit of time. I think the trickiest part is setting up the connection bt the CS2 and the PC.

To be honest the only problems I have had are with regards to the C track turnout motors 74490 and 74491. I had very many problems with them not working reliably and have since gone to shorting them out across the microswitches ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkt5h4b0WGE this is excellent you tube video by Oscar Tamayo on how to do this) and have increased my reliability.

With regard to signals and station platforms, PC control is great as you can choose where you want the trains to stop with realistic braking and no need for braking modules. There are no separate power blocks ( the traditional M method ). Only feeder wires and contact tracks. You will need at least one contact track per block ( I use two--one entry and one exit ) for most blocks.

I cannot give any advice concerning the 6021. I can say, however, that the nice thing about the programs ( iTrain, TrainController etc) is that the programs are written and instruction manuals are provided and all you need to do is read them and then choose the options/settings you want for your particular situation.

Best of Luck and keep us updated on your progress.

Laxman

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Offline Danlake  
#23 Posted : 19 November 2015 07:33:51(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,551
Hi Laxman,

Great to hear that you are enjoying the lay out and you get everything to works!

Brgds - Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
Offline clapcott  
#24 Posted : 20 November 2015 21:05:47(UTC)
clapcott

New Zealand   
Joined: 12/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 2,332
Location: Wellington, New_Zealand
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post
Directional indication is a very important feature.

My reference to bi-directional was in regards to the PC knowing (and displaying) what happens on the controller hardware AND that the controller hardware (except throttle knob) reflected what happens on the PC.

The 605x will only provide sensor information

However, you raise a good point as to the locomotives direction. The 6050 is not able to specifically instruct a particular direction. It has a speed command and a reverse command. These are sent to the controller, who has the responsibility of overlaying the two in the command that goes to the track.

you are advised not to use 6080 decoders that do not support even the controller combined command.

Quote:

Is this what you are talking about: Loconet feedback module for 3 rail?
http://www.uhlenbrock.de...A64-023.apd/Bes63352.pdf


No the unit is UHL63830, however I have only ever seen it stocked as part of the 64830 kit. (The unit also includes an IR receiver and the kit provides the remote unit)
Ref
http://www.uhlenbrock.de...LocoNet/ICD95992-001.htm!ArcEntryInfo=0007.5.ICD95992
and
http://www.uhlenbrock.de...A64-01D.apd/Bes63820.pdf


UHL have a PC to loconet adapter 63120 (USB), but you may also find the RR-Circuits equivalent locally.
Of interest may also be the Faller161351

These offer plenty of variation and versatility because of the things you can do on the LocoNet.
Personally I retain an interest purely as it allows a bridge the Accessory devices like UHL TrackControl, various S88 solutions, LISSY etc.

If I was only or primarily interested in train movement I would continue with or invest in, the CS (1 or 2) .
- The CS1 has a sniffer port for reading MM from the likes of a 6021
- The CS2 needs a 60128 to do the same.





Peter
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