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admin 24.08.2013

The construction of this Marklin model railway layout began in 2005, and finally it has been designed as a segment system, which can be transported easily. Engadget RSS Feed - Weekly Technology Technology TechnologyAfraid of the future? Question: I have spent quite a bit of money on my DCC  layout only to discover that Computer Control via my PC would be the next logical step for me.
CTI Electronics of Baltimore, MD is a developer of model train Computer Control software (not free) and associated interface hardware  that will permit your DCC model train layout  to run your trains and associated model railroad accessories using an IBM Compatible Personal Computer (PC).  Basically with the CTI scheme your present manually operated control panel is replaced with your PC screen. Of course your PC screen with the help of CTI software and an array of  hardware control and sensor modules which  CTI refers to as Train Brains becomes a rather sophisticated train control panel. With the Train Brains it will be possible to control various railroad functions turnout control, track signal control,  detect and display train position, and detect and display turnout position, just to name a few.  In addition there will be true interaction between track signals, train speed and direction providing true model train speed control. Train Brain sensor modules are compatible with various types of sensor components such as Infra-Red, Photo cell and Current Detection. The CTI Smart Cab Hardware Module provides a pop-up throttle display onto your PC screen integrated with other Train Brains effects in lieu of using your own  DCC controller (Throttle). If you have a DC layout with blocks that are used to operate more than one train on a track, also lends itself control via the CTI Smart Cab Module. You can also use your own DCC throttle for parts of your layout operation and Smart Cab for the remaining sections.
In other words, use your DCC throttle without Smart cab and limit your Train Brains for turnout control, etc.
JAVA must also be available as well as a serial interface, either on the computer itself, or via a USB adapter.  You also need to have a serial connection to your DCC system for your DCC computer interface. Programs Configuration Variables (CVs) into a locomotive’s decoder without using your own DCC command station. Create a Roster of every locomotive you have depicting detailed Configuration Information for the installed mobile decoder.

Communicates to decoders using JMRI programming interface, compatible with most computers and layout hardware. SENSORS – Tool permits interface with your layout’s sensors to provide the sensor’s output, for example train position to be displayed on replica of track layout on PC screen. TURNOUTS – Used to control and display  turnout position via PC screen, on track replica or used for semaphore operation, etc.
SIGNALS – Provides signal head control, lamp colors as a function of train occupancy detection sensors, train speed, etc.
ROUTES– Permits the development of canned program scenarios to set up a complete set of actions and reactions on a train layout by one command, such as turnout control, in addition to others. FAST CLOCKS – Fast Clocks are used in model railroading to simulate the faster passage of time which makes the train on the layout appear to run longer distances.  In particular, this tool develops an internal fast clock using your computer or it can interface with an external clock provided by other DCC system vendors such as Digitrax or NCE. SPEEDOMETER – The tool calculates and displays the train’s scale speed.  Of course it is based on the train being detected as it passes motion sensors.
SCRIPTING – In the world of computer programming, a script is a program or sequence of instructions that is interpreted or carried out using another program rather than the computer processor, (as a compiled program is).  JMRI scripts use Python, a popular general-purpose computer language, which will be used to control the model trains. ID TAGS – This tool creates Identification Tags (ID Tags) for many items on your layout, for example, rolling stock.  With the use of sensors the tool can track rolling stock position and report the time the stock was last observed. LocoNet Tools – These tools have specifically written to interface with the Digitrax LocoNet specific hardware devices such as the PR3 which will tie in to the computer via the USB  interface port  to the Digitrax DCC model train controller. The PR2 is an interface device which allows Digitrax SoundFX locomotive decoder users to download new Project sound files and even reflash the decoder’s firmware for latest updates. The PR3  is also an interface device but is different from the PR2 in that it offers a USB 2.0 interface,  selectable MS100 mode, and is priced lower. The MS100 Computer Interface allows computer with an IBM compatible COM, or RS232 communications port, to monitor Digitrax LocoNet. Ofcourse the programming details can be found on the CTI Electronics website or JMRI website.

For IBM compatibles with only a 9 pin male DB9 type COM port connector, you can use a DB9(female) to DB25(male) adapter commonly sold in electronics.  Make sure you are connected to the correct COM port and that you have it set up as required to match the settings needed by your CTI Electronics software.
In conjunction with SoundLoader software the PR2 allows the hobbyist to substitute different locomotive sounds into a Sound Project file. The previous scheme can be expanded to include the addition of  CTI hardware and software for control of a typical group of  CTI’s Brain Train devices.
A train control panel is a central place where all or most of the electrical control of your layout occurs. PlanningThe main question is, with all these different switches on your control board, how do you know what switch goes to what device?To answer this question, model railroaders have come up with a way of basically putting a map of your layout on the train control panel and placing the switches in the appropriate positions on this map so that it will be easier to determine what controls what.In order to create this map and make it simple enough and neat enough to be understandable, it should be a very basic, simplified and condensed version of the mainline and its branches. Each CTI electronics Train Brain is daisy chained into a communications network which is connected to your computer’s COM or USB port.   See Figure below. Effectively will you will have accomplished the building of your own model railroad DCC controller.
It is called the Loco Buffer-USB and is another way to interface between a Digitrax DCC Controller and a Computer’s USB port. Again the computer will interface with the model railroad turnouts using the USB or COM ports.
On the layout there are trains and locomotives from Marklin, Roco, Fleischmann, Piko and Kato.

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