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Video's on working with Traincontroller

Posted: Fri May 29, 2015 1:31 pm
by RudyB
After several days of playing with Traincontroller I can only say is that I'm having a lot of fun with the software. So much fun actually, that I plan to control my layout with it.

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

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

Link to Traincontroller video 01.


Traincontroller 02: Let's Drive Some Trains!

Posted: Sun May 31, 2015 10:02 am
by RudyB
The second video on Traincontroller is online.

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

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

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


Traincontroller 03: Create a Switch Panel

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:46 am
by RudyB
Video nr 03 on working with Traincontroller is about drawing a layout on the switchboard, after which turnouts can be switched.

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

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

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

Link to the Traincontroller 03 video.


Traincontroller 04: Divide The Layout Into Blocks

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:05 pm
by RudyB
The fourth Traincontroller video is online.

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

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

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

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

Link to video Traincontroller 04: Divide The Layout Into Blocks


Traincontroller 05: Add Train Detection Sensors

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:54 pm
by RudyB
Now that the blocks are created (in the previous video), one more thing has to be accomplished to enable automated traffic:adding the train detection sensors to the switchboard layout.

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

Link to Traincontroller video nr 5: Add Train Detection Sensors

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


Traincontroller 06: Drive Trains Manually with Routes

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:41 am
by RudyB
In the previous video's we did all the preliminary work to now be able to drive trains around on the layout, while their routes will be protected via the use of blocks and sensors. A real layout, by the way, does not even need to be connected, we can use the built in Simulator.

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

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

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

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

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

Link to video Traincontroller 06: Drive Trains Manually with Routes


Traincontroller 07: Automatic Driving – Auto Train by Drag D

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:28 am
by RudyB
Driving trains manually is fun, but driving more than 2 without causing accidents can be quite taxing. It would help if trains can drive automatic. Then it can be fun to control a few by hand in between all the automated traffic. TC can handle all that.

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

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

Link to the video.


Traincontroller 08: Automatic Driving - Spontaneous Run

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:31 pm
by RudyB
One of the many possible ways to have automatic traffic with Traincontroller is the so called ‘Spontaneous Run’.

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

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

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

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

Link to the video on 'Spontaneous Run'.


Traincontroller 09: Automatic Driving with Auto Train Toolba

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:55 pm
by RudyB
In the previous 2 video's we had a look at Auto Train by Drag and Drop, which made it easy to send a train from A to B, and we could send a train on a random journey with Spontaneous Run.

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

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

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

Link to the Traincontroller Auto Train Toolbar video.


Traincontroller 10: Shuttle and Cycle Operations via Auto Tr

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:15 am
by RudyB
In the previous video we created, and saved, a Shuttle train operation using the Auto Train Toolbar..

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

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

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


Traincontroller 11: Create Schedules in the Dispatcher Windo

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:53 am
by RudyB
In the previous video we created shuttle and cycle Schedules with the Auto Train Toolbar. We were able to save them, they ended up in the Schedules tab of the Dispatcher Window.

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

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


Traincontroller 12: Complex Operations via Schedule Successo

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:11 am
by RudyB
In the previous video we created a shuttle- and a cycle operation in the Dispatcher window. These are relatively simple operations, based on just one schedule that repeats itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Traincontroller 13: Start / Stop Schedules via a Switch on t

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:51 am
by RudyB
To start a Schedule, so far we had to open the Dispatcher window, find the schedule in the list, right click and select start forward or reverse. It works, but it requires several actions. It would be much more convenient to have a switch on our Switchboard that can start the schedule.

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

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

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


Traincontroller 14: Customize the User Interface

Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:15 am
by RudyB
In the previous video's 01 - 13 we saw how we can create a layout in Traincontroller and how we can drive trains around, either manually or half- or fully automated. Quite a few times I said 'this will be the subject of a later video'. Well ... the 'quick start' is over, from here on we'll dive a bit more into the details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Traincontroller 15: Customize the Train Window - Throttle

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:25 pm
by RudyB
In the previous video we modified the user interface to our liking. As an example, amongst others, we changed the look and feel of the Switchboard.

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

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