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  • Topic: I Think I found my Software

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    • January 25, 2013 7:44 AM EST
      • Maryville, Tennessee
         
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      For several years I have wanted to do a fully automated Garden Railroad. Some software programs are expensive and the learning curve is way too long, also the setup is long. Some systems have so many bells ans whistles you cannot afford to buy it. Some are just to complicated and will not hold up outside.

      My list is short but could not find anything I liked without some serious wiring issues until now.

      1. Loop, Loop to loop and point to point operations combinations on one layout.
      2. Multiple trains running on each track.
      3. Bi-directional operation.
      4. Run a train manually while others run by computer control on same track.
      5. DCC and/or DC, primarily want DCC.
      6. All signals and turnouts connected to system with minimal wiring.
      7. Easy to shut down and restart the whole layout or computer control and will remember locations and routes of trains.
      8. Ease of removing a train from a route or return train to original point while the rest of the layout is still running.
      9. Three different ways of IDing the trains, 3rd Gen DCC decoder transponders , RFID, or Phantom RFID. I like the Phantom RFID.
      10. Collision Avoidance.

      Only possible part I find may be a problem is having to program the routes in a language with "Procedure and Function" routines, but not a big issue.

      I will start by using this on my 'N' Scale layout inside and incorporate it into my new Garden Railroad.

      Anyone interested?
      ____________________________________

      Dennis in East Tennessee

       

    • January 25, 2013 7:57 AM EST
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      Interesting. I'm not interested in the automation part of it, but train/car ID and block detection/train location, I'm definitely interested. Ive been working on and off on reliable outdoor *WORKING* block signals for a long time, and the big problem I've found is reliable detection.
      ____________________________________

      Bob, your Site Host and Benevolent Dictator.

    • January 25, 2013 9:19 AM EST
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      That RFID thing sounds like it might solve the detection problem outdoors. Not sure how big the hardware is or what the cost, but putting an ID chip on a loco and readers in the blocks sounds doable.

      I use RFID key cards in one of the buildings we manage. The hardware inside the card is tiny; about the size of a surface mount capacitor. The antenna is a coil of fine wire. No power needed. The readers are pretty bulky and you need to be within an inch to detect but better stuff is out there - think EZ-Pass / FastLane (TM)
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      www.cvsry.com www.cvsry.com

    • January 25, 2013 10:18 AM EST
      • Maryville, Tennessee
         
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      Bob McCown said:
      Interesting. I'm not interested in the automation part of it, but train/car ID and block detection/train location, I'm definitely interested. Ive been working on and off on reliable outdoor *WORKING* block signals for a long time, and the big problem I've found is reliable detection.
      Have 2 reason why I want automation: 1. During Open House or Club Meetings the trains can run while we all can talk, etc. Still have to watch but having multiple trains running on the same train is more interesting than watching the one train going around and around. IMHO. 2. If I want to run a train manually in my railroad with other trains on the line, it would be like running a real train operation. Just imagine picking up loads and dropping off loads and having to get permission to use sections of track. Yes the automatic trains would stop and wait for you or vise versa. Here is the link: http://www.cti-electronics.com/dcc.htm Looked at this company several years ago and did not have the software ready for DCC. Now he does. You can download the software and manual (176 pages).
      ____________________________________

      Dennis in East Tennessee

       

    • January 28, 2013 4:50 PM EST
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      At one time, I was contemplating some sort of system, employing rare earth magnets and sealed reed switches......I was at the time thinking of installing rare earth magnets in all vans (Cabooses)or(Cabeese), and locomotives. This would have given me the first part of the sensors. The other part was the sealed reed switches that would have been located in the roadbed wherever they were needed. This was not high tech, but it might be the answer, for what you guys are looking at....
    • January 28, 2013 6:02 PM EST

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      The cool thing about the RFID is you get the unique number of each car or loco.
      ____________________________________

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