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RR&Co and Loksound - RR & Co - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 06:23 am
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John Dew
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I havent run a schedule for about 2 weeks.......I have a little bit of tidying up (read more detailing:roll:) then my plan is to operate my shuttle/Bset run around/ pick up goods routines for a day or so

I will try and do this methodically and report back



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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 06:31 am
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MaxSouthOz
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That will be interesting, John.  Yours are non-sound decoders, aren't they?



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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 07:40 am
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wogga
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Shame it didn't work for you Max bit of a bummer really. I have two consistently good running engines and they go astray and then conform.

Like John says a scientific approach is required because in my experience they do end up back on the spot but at what point and after how many runs?

I will have a look at the weekend to see if i can find a pattern.



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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 08:09 am
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MaxSouthOz
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It kinda worked, Pete.  I just had to surreptitiously push the wagons with a kebab stick to keep it all looking kosher.  What I might do is write another programme for my 4 x GPs, which will include stopping and reversing up a few inches and then going on.

None of my blocks is less than 300 mm, so there will be plenty of room for error.  I'll put some little marker pins near the tracks so I can watch to see if it changes over time.

I'll be interested in your results as well.  You've actually got Lok equipped locos, haven't you?



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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 06:06 pm
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wogga
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Yes they are Max, i only have hassle if they drop power and the soundfile starts again before they move off.

I will run a couple of shuttles and see what happens.



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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 08:17 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Thanks, Pete.   :thumbs



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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 07:31 pm
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Matt
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max can you try the test with a non sound equiped loco? just to see if the sound fitted decoder changes anything.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 07:48 pm
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Geoff R
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I've kept up with this thread as an interested, but inactive party in regard to the subject. Given the latest revelations, I wonder if we are perhaps expecting too much from the technology - or combination of technologies. In recalling some of my control theory, I wonder if the method of using timing to set a stopping point is rather too much of an "open loop" situation and prone to problems?

As you know, I have been working on an interlocked signalling system which only uses TC to set the pointwork. Part of my system includes train detection though, to ensure that not only is the correct route selected for the signal, but also that the route is not already occupied.

I am using infrared under track detectors for this. They are very easy to fit and operate, and do give a very precise indication of a train arriving at a specific place - and for that matter an indication of when that place is passed. I am using devices with a built in delay so as not to go off and on as adjacent wagons or coaches pass, but without that delay, the devices provide an output pulse between each wagon.

Maybe it would be worth fitting such devices just in front of uncoupling magnets to facilitate a more "closed loop" approach to stopping pairs of wagons ready for uncoupling? The devices I am using provide an open collector output so could be interface to TC through something like the LDT 16 way contact sensor.

Just a thought.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 07:59 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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I'm embarrased to admit; I don't have a non-sound DCC loco, Matt.  I guess I could borrow one.  :oops:



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 04:29 pm
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Geoff R
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The McKinley team were at the Southampton Show today, demonstrating RR&Co with a very easy to understand demo layout with all the devices above the board surface to show what was going on, together with an overhead projection of the software.

I asked one of them if they had any experience with sound equipped locos and stopping accurately. They had, but said that they felt the distance detection system currently within RR&Co was not up to the task. They said that work was going on to improve this, but did not elucidate further.

They were using multiple occupancy detectors in their blocks on the demo - including infra red. They were using block detectors for most of the operation but they felt that the only way to stop very accurately every time at a specific place was with an infra red detector at that place. Of course, the train needed to have been slowed to a crawl before reaching that detector.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 04:56 pm
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John Dew
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Thats very interesting Geoff.........I wonder what the developments are and when they will be released.......I suppose Juergen is planning a platinum version:roll:

It took me longer than I hoped to find time to actually run trains....but I managed a couple of hours yesterday......it wasnt a totally satisfactory experience:cry: with all sorts of other things going wrong......the LS150 failed to operate one (critical) point movement .......I dont understand the problem they have always been very robust.......in the end when I was absolutely satisfied that was the problem I replaced the unit and I will use the old unit just for 5 points somewhere else.........then the        peco polarity switch on the same critical point went......fortunately it was surface mounted

Anyway after that tale of woe the loco started to stop short of the uncoupler and so I progressively increased the stop marker distance and then of course it started  to overshoot:twisted:.  This is a relatively new phenomena for me and I am beginning to think that the distance the loco has travelled may have something to do with it because I have only noticed it after I started testing from the adjacent block rather than the full schedule

Hopefully I will have more time today or tomorrow and report back

Regards   



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 06:50 pm
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wogga
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Max you have started something here, i ran 20 shuttles of my DMU and the train consistantly stopped.....at two points 20mm apart! i say the only consistancy it was the same two spots.

Now when i think about my successes with uncoupling it is probably due to me using one tension coupling over the length of a cheap Peco uncoupling ramp. There is some margin for error there boy!

I still maintain that changes in block speed will alter the stopping distances and of course we must remember the delay of detection and the program reacting to the detection there has got to be some variable there especially if other stuff is running on the PC.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 08:37 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Hi guys.  Just got up this fine Sunday morning - est 40+ today, so I'll be staying in my air conditioned train room.

Thanks for that information, Geoff.  In a way I'm glad it's not only me.  I have my loco speed set down to 20 km/h now, and I'm using long stopping gradients, but it's still all over the place.

Interestingly, there are a few Schedules where the loco stops exactly over the middle of the magnet EVERY TIME and shuffles just the right amount, EVERY TIME.  I've been over and over my programme, making sure all of the Schedules are exactly the same in relation to the shuffles and brake and stop markers, but I can't put my finger on why these few work perfectly and others don't.

Stopping inaccuracy is one of the reasons I haven't done the video.  Apart from the amount of time it will take to trick it up, it will be a fictional representation of TC and may make some You Tubers think it can really do it.

I like the idea of pushing up to the boundaries with things; I think we may well have found one here.  I'm thinking I might do another programme, with 4 locos running together on the tiny layout and (hopefully), not crashing into each other. :lol:

I thought it might be fun to get the locos to stop somewhere along the way and back up once or twice before moving on again.  With big blocks like mine it doesn't matter how far out the stops are.  There is also the shut down and start up, station announcements and the like, which could make it interesting.

Cheers



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 08:49 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Geoff R wrote: In recalling some of my control theory, I wonder if the method of using timing to set a stopping point is rather too much of an "open loop" situation and prone to problems?

Good point, Geoff.  The software tells you to measure the distance to where you want your stop marker.  If TC doesn't really measure how far the loco has travelled, but pretends to - actually using a timer, no wonder we are having problems!

If I showed you the Sound Schedule in a Loksound decoder, you would be gob smacked.  It's not unusual for a loco to be running along and have a small glitch out of the blue in the engine sound, for example.  There are so many little timers in the Schedule, it's not funny.  Who knows how reliable the rest of the thing is.

If you're just driving your loco, you don't notice a few milliseconds either way as it takes off or slows down and stops.  With all of the variables in the loco from the drive train through to the decoder, if we add another timer for good measure I reckon it's just all too much. 

 



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 09:13 pm
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Geoff R
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The guys I spoke to today confirmed that TC Gold works purely on timing. (I think that before v7 came out, the only thing programmed into TC was the capability to work with several fixed detectors to allow stopping)

The speed profiling allows the program to record the characteristics of each loco so that when one is detected as entering a new block, TC starts counting time, thinking it knows what speed the loco is moving at because of the speed steps it has told it - that is the first problem, because there is no guarantee that the motor and gear chain will be moving exactly the same speed for a given number of speed steps every time as there could be all sorts of things slowing it just a little (or making it run faster for that matter - like 40degrees in the sun!! - I wish - 2degrees at best here!)

If a stop marker has been set some distance into the block, then TC uses a calculation of time from the entry point based on the speed it thinks the loco is doing. Distance equals speed divided by time, so to stop at a given distance from the beginning of the block, TC just sets a timer - and then complicates things further by decelerating the loco by gradually reducing the speed steps which again assumes that the drive mechanism will behave exactly the same every time.

The more I think about this, the less I believe that it is possible to use TC and just occupancy detection to stop accurately. Fine for a station stop where an inch or two would be no problem. But over a magnet, as you say, I think we are hitting the boundary.

However, don't rule out the use of an infra red detector. These same guys were using them, and as I said before, provided the loco is crawling by the time it reaches the detector and TC sees its output, it can be stopped very accurately.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 09:30 pm
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wogga
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Geoff R wrote:  But over a magnet, as you say, I think we are hitting the boundary.


 

Fit a 6" long magnet! :mutley



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Pete.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 09:49 pm
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Many a true word, Pete.  I think you're right. Geoff.  Infrared looks like a pretty good option.  I've got a lot on the go at the moment, so I'll just make up a loco dancing programme for the time being.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2011 10:18 pm
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Geoff R
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MaxSouthOz wrote: so I'll just make up a loco dancing programme for the time being.  :thumbs
as long as it is a can-can :lol:

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 Posted: Tue Feb 1st, 2011 06:10 am
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MaxSouthOz
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OK.  Inspiration has struck!  I was chatting with our Vice President this arvo and he mentioned en passant,  (I think that's French, for in passing, from my Chess days), his uncoupling boxcar.  Eureka!

http://www.dccuncoupling.com/page1.htm

Now these little critters come in 40 and 50 foot, single end and both end decoder activated Kadee couplers.  It won't matter if the loco doesn't stop on a dime for my purposes.  As long as it stops roughly in the middle of the block, I can couple or uncouple anywhere.

I won't have to uncouple over the magnet and push it, I can take it to the spot I want it to be and viola, open the coupler.

The decoder has an address and uses 4 functions to open and close the couplers at each end.

Diabolically clever, no?



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 Posted: Tue Feb 1st, 2011 06:17 am
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MaxSouthOz wrote: OK.  Inspiration has struck!  I was chatting with our Vice President this arvo and he mentioned en passant,  (I think that's French, for in passing, from my Chess days), 
 

Like  this then ?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jySg-c7yX3A
Did he capture you or you him? :thumbs

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