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RR&Co with a Heljan DCC Turntable - RR & Co - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 03:05 pm
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wogga
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Well i am halfway through building my new layout and with this one i am using a new Heljan DCC Turntable to turn locos.

The intention of the thread was to be a how to, but after 3 days fiddling it is going to be more like a here's my progress so far lets pitch in and finish the job.

The heljan TT is a new piece of kit which arrived in the UK late last year in DCC form, it is not directly supported by RR&Co and probably never will be. Information on the web is very limited and nothing to do with Traincontroller. It has been mentioned once or twice by people who have problems but they never post their solutions which is frustrating.

Gripe over, it is a really nice piece of kit and imo excellent once you get your head round it. It will be outstanding for a manually operated DCC layout my task is to see if it will measure up to Traincontroller.

Enough of the waffle a little video of my first automatic schedule with a hint of turntable enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPRl3eJuz78



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 04:16 pm
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John Dew
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Thats excellent Pete:thumbs.............I didnt see any problems .......I liked the way the Bridge did a bit of fine tuning when it indexed.

Hopefully you are going to post a "How I did it"

The Fairburn ran beautifully......cant wait to chip/repair mine....(Repair: the left hand feed wire came off so I have to remove the wheels to resolder it:roll::roll:  



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 05:00 pm
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wogga
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For sure John i will do a blow by blow for where i am upto but then i think i will need a pool of brain cells for when i get to doing a 180 but thats for later. I need to buy more pipe tobacco for that one. (ps i don't have a pipe...yet)

The Fairburns have always run very well John unlike the Hornby Stanier confined to the display case.

I am just planning on where to start then i will get cracking.



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 05:46 pm
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Geoff R
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Looks great, Pete, and the TT controlled by TC seems to work well in that video? Did TC select the exit track, or was it just a move to the next exit?

I have the original version of that TT which does not have the DCC interface. I have designed a simple interface of my own, to connect into the supplied control box, but it will not enable selection of exit track, rather just allow the table to turn from an accessory decoder, to the next track. From what I have seen, the DCC version of the TT is much more sophisticated, so they must have changed the electronics in the deck as well as provided a new control box.

Did you fit the sound chip to the Fairburn? It sounds great, and maybe something I should do to mine. I have the LMS version, but otherwise the same loco, I think?

 

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 06:29 pm
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John Dew
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Geoff R wrote: I have the original version of that TT which does not have the DCC interface. I have designed a simple interface of my own, to connect into the supplied control box, but it will not enable selection of exit track, rather just allow the table to turn from an accessory decoder, to the next track. 
 


You should be able to do it with Silver Geoff......you have reeds and magnets for each exit?

Set up a contact indicator for each reed (Exit)

Set up a TC On/Off switch for each exit

Set up a Flagman for each exit.....the trigger for the flagman is the contact indicator

                                                     the condition for the trigger is the exit switch must be on

                                                      the action is [Stop TT]

I know you dont run schedules regularly but if you construct an entry and depart schedule for each exit you could start them by a TC push button switch

Push Button for Exit 3 Schedule

Schedule 3 entry starts....Loco leaves entry block and stops on Bridge

                                         Operation at end of schedule

                                         Switch Entry Off

                                         Switch 3 On

                                         Start TT Clock wise   (or anticlockwise

                                          Delay x seconds

                                          Start Schedule 3 Depart

The turntable will start and when Contact indicator 3 is activated the flagman will stop the TT because Switch 3 is on

Schedule 3 Depart will drive the loco from the bridge block on to exit 3 block and onward if you wish as an operation either at the end of the schedule or when the bridge block is released turn switch 3 off and move the TT back to the entry block

It should work..............this is not my original work look up Fleischmann TT in help

Regards

 

 

    



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 07:40 pm
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Geoff R
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The Heljan doesn't work that way, John. It has a sensor to determine a zero point on the circumference and from that point it measures exactly where it is in the rotation by counting the number of times a spinning "fin" passes through a hall effect detector. The "fin" is connected to the motor drive. It is extremely accurate and allows an almost infinite number of stopping positions. These are set by a relatively simple sequence on the control box.

Thereafter, a push of single button on the control box takes the table to the next programmed exit. There are two such push buttons, one for either direction.

Operating this under DCC requires two outputs to replicate the push buttons, but to advance to a specific exit, an input is also required connected to the LED which lights up when the next exit is reached. That input would need to tell the TC that it has advanced by one track and depending on the number of tracks from the starting position to the desired end position, the output push button would need to be pressed again, and so on.

Not impossible, but not straight forward either.

I was dissappointed when I saw that the new DCC version of the TT was so different electronically, yet identical mechanically. It is a pity that they did not get further ahead with DCC compatibility before they released the first version.

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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 08:40 pm
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wogga
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Hi Geoff thanks for the input, yes it's an Lms Fairburn i had to reline it etc but it was LMS lovely runners

The exit track was done through TC by building the TT entry and exits into the schedule and it ran to schedule thats why i feel worthy to this in front of JD.:mutley

More to come now i have started the how to and it's become a bit of a war and peace i'm afraid so here goes.

The Heljan DCC Turntable then, it was launched in the UK the back end of last year and retails for around about £199 i got mine for £189.... bargain! It is an upgrade to the well tried and tested DC version many members have.

The TT in situ




 



As a standalone DCC unit it is excellent all it requires is a 16vac DCC supply and your away. It comes with its own controller which is required for operating, programming and calibration or it can be operated via your very DCC controller.

In the box you get the pit, bridge, hole cutting template  and the control box. Installation and assembly is as easy as fitting a point motor. The control box connects directly to the pit with the attached cable.

 The Control Box




 Buttons on the front of the control box are used for Calibration, programming track ways, deleting track ways, speed control how slow can you go...very slow, resetting and operating.. all very easy.

Once installed, track laid and the unit calibrated and programmed it’s time to get going with Traincontroller! There is little info on the web, or the Heljan manual and no support from Herr Freiwald at the moment, so it’s my way....... trial and error.

My first problem was decoder addressing, it comes with a default address of 57 super, smashing marvellous, meant nowt to me so what do i know now.

The control box is nothing more than a very good point decoder capable of controlling 24 point motors.  Just like a point motor it has two contacts to switch the point straight or bent, therefore you can program up to 48 stops.

Back to addressing the 57 is the default base decoder address, you have multiply this by 4 to get an operating address of 228 which has two operating contacts like a point motor straight and bent. You don’t use this first address for operating, it is used to reset the unit to unit to factory settings. Therefore the next useable address is 229 where its two contacts are used for track 1 and 2.

Right the next conundrum is that Heljan say that tracks 1 and 2 are factory set and the individual positions cannot be programmed until track 5 has been programmed??? So i have left them alone.

Now i don’t like odd numbers so i changed the base decoder address on the Heljan control box to 60, then times 4 = 240. Therefore in my example 241 bent and straight  operate Track 1 and 2 respectively on my layout.

Still awake? ok to progress you need to write a table has a handy guide for your addresses.

Here is mine


Track 1 =241 Red
Track 2 =241Green
Track 3 =242 Red
Track 4 =242 Green
Track 5 = 243 Red
Track 6 =243 Green
Track 7 =244 Red
Track 8 =244 Green
Track 9 =245 Red
Track10 =245Green

And so on until you have your 48 addresses or enough for your own needs. Now instead of straight or bent referring to a point switch i have used red and green as this refers better to the properties panel in TC when we set the contacts up.

Now basically each of the 48 available track positions on the Heljan has it’s own digital address, so if i send address 242 red to the Heljan controller it will drive to the tt to Track 3.

|Next installment operating the TT in TC.

 



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 09:29 pm
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John Dew
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Geoff R wrote:
Thereafter, a push of single button on the control box takes the table to the next programmed exit. There are two such push buttons, one for either direction.

Operating this under DCC requires two outputs to replicate the push buttons, but to advance to a specific exit, an input is also required connected to the LED which lights up when the next exit is reached. That input would need to tell the TC that it has advanced by one track and depending on the number of tracks from the starting position to the desired end position, the output push button would need to be pressed again, and so on.

Not impossible, but not straight forward either.



I should have guessed my solution was too simple:cry: although there  appear to be some similarities between the functions of the reed and the LED

Does that mean the TT stops at every exit that is set up? For greater certainty if, in manual mode,  you have 5 exits and you want the TT to stop at exit 4......you press the button... it stops at E2.....press the button.....it stops at E3....press the button.....it finally stops at E4..................that sounds awfully cumbersome..... I can understand your disappointment

the output push button would need to be pressed again,

But in DCC this would just be a repeat of the start command?

I am sure there has to be a way of doing this with flagmen



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 09:34 pm
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wogga wrote:
And so on until you have your 48 addresses or enough for your own needs. Now instead of straight or bent referring to a point switch i have used red and green as this refers better to the properties panel in TC when we set the contacts up.

Now basically each of the 48 available track positions on the Heljan has it’s own digital address, so if i send address 242 red to the Heljan controller it will drive to the tt to Track 3.

|Next installment operating the TT in TC.

 



Thanks Pete thats a great start............I had read about this addressing issue but never really understood it..........much clearer now...thank you

It looks a super piece of Kit.......hopefully I will be ready for one by Xmas:roll:

Kind Regards



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 10:02 pm
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Heljans instructional video of sorts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjvKv6jwCmQ



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 Posted: Sat May 7th, 2011 11:16 pm
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Geoff R
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John Dew wrote: Does that mean the TT stops at every exit that is set up? For greater certainty if, in manual mode,  you have 5 exits and you want the TT to stop at exit 4......you press the button... it stops at E2.....press the button.....it stops at E3....press the button.....it finally stops at E4..................that sounds awfully cumbersome..... I can understand your disappointment
Correct! There is, however, a small feature for which I have been trying to design a circuit to take advantage of. That is if you hold the button and do not let go (i.e. a continuous contact), the table keeps turning in that direction and does not stop at any exit it passes. As soon as the button is let go, it stops at the next exit it finds.

If you are working the control box manually - as would normally be the case - this is not too much of a task rather than pushing the button each time the table stops.

The new DCC version described by Pete is, however, far more sophisticated. I wonder if they might consider an upgrade at some stage? It might only be a change of a chip or perhaps a circuit board under the deck. I expect that is a wish that won't come true though.

 

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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 07:20 am
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wogga
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Operating buttons.

After much trial i have had to  setup push buttons on my Switchboard which throw the contacts above to send the required   track number to the Heljan, much like manually operating any accessory from the Switchboard that we may all do.

So select some push buttons and place them on the switchboard, i have put a bank of six and labelled them for each track i need, i only have 3 tracks but i need to do 180’s so i have set “ hidden” tracks so the bridge will do a 180 from my 3 visible tracks if you know what i mean.

In edit mode double left click a button to enter it’s properties box.




In the General tab i have named the push button TR05, this is what is displayed on the Heljan control box when the TT is at my programmed Track 5 on my layout. I did nothing else on that tab.

So next is the Connection TAB really important this one.




Digital system is set to my ECOS, now the address is taken from my list above, 243 and contact 2 red is equal to sending the heljan to track 5. I decided to programme my tracks beginning with track 5 position on the Heljan. It’s your choice but the address and mode must match the table above because this tells the heljan to go to relevant track position.

N.B. I left the Operations tab alone at this stage, although it does have some important control aspects.

I added 5 more buttons and now have TR05 to TR10 programmed and set. TR05 to TR07 will put the TT bridge to the 3 tracks on shown with the Bridge hut on the left. TR08 - TR10 will swing the bridge 180 degrees to the track so the bridge hut is on the right in the TT schematic.






Now when i click a button on the switchboard the Heljan Control receives that signal and drives to the matching programmed track

So that’s manual operation from switchboard.

Next installment we try to go for automation.

 

 



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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 09:02 am
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This is very exciting, Pete.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 02:03 pm
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Geoff R
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Excellent Pete. This DCC version of the table does seem to have a lot more control features for only a little higher cost over the original version. :mrgreen:

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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 03:05 pm
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Excellent indeed:thumbs

 I am amazed you didnt get a tick VG and Elephant stamp from Max......perhaps he is holding back for the schedules?



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 Posted: Mon May 9th, 2011 03:20 pm
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Geoff R wrote:
Correct! There is, however, a small feature for which I have been trying to design a circuit to take advantage of. That is if you hold the button and do not let go (i.e. a continuous contact), the table keeps turning in that direction and does not stop at any exit it passes. As soon as the button is let go, it stops at the next exit it finds.

If you are working the control box manually - as would normally be the case - this is not too much of a task rather than pushing the button each time the table stops.

 


In that sense it is no different than the Fleischman...................so if you can connect the circuit that is "made" (by holding the button down) to a point motor you can turn the TT on and off.............the only problem being when to stop !

I think the answer lies with TC on/off switches........these are often used just as memory.......turn switch 5 on to remind TC to stop at track 5..........so use a second set of switches to count

I am sure you can capture the current draw when the diode lights up? .......when the diode lights up for the first time turn Switch Count 1 on..........Switch Count 2 turns on provided switch count 1 is on.......Switch Count 3 turns on when the diode lights and Count 1 and 2 are on

Trigger Flagman 5 when Switch Count 5 turns on provided Switch Exit 5 is on......Flagman 5 action......Stop 

Cumbersome but I think it should work................mind you........ you probably have better things to do with your time.:lol::lol:

Kind Regards

   



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 Posted: Wed May 11th, 2011 06:41 pm
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Part one of getting rady for automisation.

Setting up the Heljan TT in TC for automatic operation

When you laying your track on the switchboard you need to position a TT and run the track to and from it. A TT is a selectable object and places a schematic TT on your switchboard.

Select a TT icon in switchboard.





And this is what you get in Switchboard  is a rather square TT.

Now we need to set the turntable properties for the Heljan, these are what I have ended up with after a few days trial and error so not necessarily the best way.

Double left click on the TT symbol on the Switchboard in Edit Mode to open the TT properties box



Give the TT a name, check the TT option and set for the max number of tracks the TT can have in the case of the Heljan it’s 48. Check an orientation that best suits your switchboard. Turn time is the time it takes the TT to go through 360 degrees. With the Heljan control box you can change the speed to one you think looks ok. Therefore mine is set to 90 secs.

Please note this is only to get the TT animation window,  we will see later, in sync with your TT speed on the layout, this will not alter the speed of your turntable rotation.

Next tab connection




 

One of the many quandaries I had was what type should I select? I tried all options and have currently settled on Generic. There are various options when you hit the down arrow in the type window. Interestingly when I went into the help for more info there was mention of an option called Muet TT which by the description seemed similar to the Heljan, unfortunately it doesn’t appear in the dropdown? I have emailed Freiwald to find out more.

All other options give you a chance to add a decoder setting, but the way I have ended up operating the TT none of the options or a lack of a decoder address matters.

I left Timing as it is.

 Position control feedback, there is none with the Heljan this probably applies only to the top end Marklin and Fleischmann offerings i think.

I left the customize TAB which just seems to allow you to change the animation TT colours etc.

Now the next tab TRACKS is important

 



On the left hand side is a turntable symbol which looks like a turntable , this is what would appear on your desktop if you selected “New turntable window” form the Window tab on the main menu bar.

On the right is the square turntable which appears on the switchboard.

The idea of this tab is to match the tracks on the round tt with the tracks as per the square tt which is in your track diagram with tracks laid as per your layout. On that square TT you will see i have three tracks coloured orange these are the tracksways which align with the tracks on my layout





When you first open this tab you will note that all the tracks are orange, use the remove button below to delete (greyout) the trackways you don’t need for your layout.

Now the object of the exercise is to get the round tt on the left to match the track ways on the square tt.

Under the round tt are tabs Activate, Deactivate and delete. Activate will enable a trackway on the drawing.  Click on one of the trackways  that best matches your track position on the square turntable and click activate you will noticed the little box goes blue, now click the the box 180 from that and click deactivate you will notice a half blue box. The deactivate ( half blue box) means the TT can turn to that position but nothing enters or exits the TT. Activate full blue box means the tt can turn to that point a track is connected therefore trains and enter and exit there.

You need the deactivated box so the tt can turn there for a 180!

Once you have done that delete the unused positions by clicking on them and hitting the delete button.

Now if this done right the message under each drawing should say you have, in my case, 3 active, 3 passive under the round TT and 3 active under the square tt.

The rule is the active number of tracks on both sides must be equal. Don’y worry you can’t balance the passives. Make sure remember to delete or remove unsed stops on both TT’s. You add or activate them aginf if you wish by hitting the respective buttons.

The next job is to assign, or pair is a better description, the tracks on the round tt to the corresponding tracks on the square TT. Click on the two points you want to pair, the assign button should change from being greyed out to full mode , hit it and you have assigned the tracks.

If the button stays greyed out the error is your active track numbers for each tt are wrong and are not equal or you have not deleted or removed the unused track boxes.

Now when you successfully hit the assign button TT will pair the remainder of tracks automatically. You can test this by selecting any active track box on the round tt and its paired one on the square tt should highlight in yellow to suit. All match like below ..happy days!

 





Eureka Moment.

The Block properties tab opens a standard propertis box for the TT bridge, brake and stop markers are entered here. Contact indicator??? how can i get a feedback contact on the Heljan bridge?

I scoured the manual and the web nothing diddly squat. Horlicks i thought how can i have automatic operation if i can't get feed back from the bridge.

So Wogga experimentation went in to action. the Heljan control box is fed by two wire from the track bus, these two inputs are then paired to the a second set of inputs on the control box.

What if the first pair are the power for controls and TT motor and second pair are for the bridge track:hmm.

Lets try it something will go bang if i am wrong.

So i disconnected second live link and fed another feed from an occupancy decoder (LDT) eureka it worked sorted.

So if you back to the picture of the control box you will see a red live wire whichs feeds the control motor circuit and blue wire from my feedback which puts the live on the bridge track. The yellow wire "neutral" is linked ar per destcrutions.

Sorted now we are cooking.

Next installment to follow. I'm in the hotel and my dinner is calling.




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 Posted: Wed May 11th, 2011 07:47 pm
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Geoff R
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Pete, does this new table still use split rings to feed the power to the deck to give automatic polarity changing when turned? If so, will that confuse your occupancy detector at the break point? If it does not have split rings, do you have to feed the deck wires with a reverser? 

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 Posted: Wed May 11th, 2011 09:09 pm
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wogga
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Hi Jeff It uses several split ring contacts, i think there are six rings and sweepers, i am away at the moment so cannot take a picture for you, i guess the six sweepers will be motor pair, track pair and control pcb pair so i am guessing not dissimilar to the DC version.

There is a dead point where you cannot lay track as this is the point the track polarity changes which is at 12 and 6 o'clock respectively to the optical sensor.

In operation when the loco drives onto the bridge feedback is detected, as it turns when it gets to the 12/6 position i lose my sound and feedback momentarily as it changes polarity. However TC, been as smart as anything, knows its doing a 180 and turns the loco's orientation.

I have not told it is doing a 180 but due to my assignments, as above in my last installment, if i ask the bridge to go from one track to another opposite it knows to turn the loco. I'm giving you look into the next installment.



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 Posted: Wed May 11th, 2011 09:51 pm
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wogga
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Ok next instalment the Operations Tab.

I will skip the trains tab as this is like the trains tab in a lot of other property boxes it is where you can specify the actions you are doing will only affect certain trains i have not used at all yet in scenario in TC.

Ok the Operations tab what do i do here?





Right clicking help will give you an explanation of what the individual options will do so i won’t go through them here but what i do know is that the Marklin job has separate dcc decoder addresses for stopping the table and doing a 180 by using the Turn < .

Now the Heljans addresses only tell me to go to a certain track, so i have worked that the bottom option go to will work currently.

So on the round TT diagram if i select the bridge exit i want tp set click on it it will go yellow and in this case TC knows it as track 25 of 48. I then hit the down arrow and the only TC elements i can select are the push buttons on my Switchboard. (it was not as simple as this really, i tried this setup before i got to using push buttons and used get nothing in the dropdown menu! So it was a case of what came first the chicken or the egg.)

I select the push button which takes the TT to that position. Not with the later version you can get the choice button on, off or momentary contact. Momentary contact thats new now when operating other things like functions now you can set momentary instead of on – delay – off.

Link the remaining pushbuttons on my switchboard to the bridge positions and we are done.

The other tabs are nothing unusual.

Right its testing time...will it work!

I built a schedule that sent a loco from FY3 to the TT then off the TT to an engine yard see below this was built as a normal schedule, the TT was nothing more than a block inbetween the start and finish blocks. I can assure you no special commands were used.

 




Off we go then

Loco left the FY through the Up and TT Approach blocks and onto the bridge and stopped. TT bridge turns to my TR07 and stops loco drives off into block engine one done and dusted  a real Condor moment.

If i open a New turntable window, the round TT will be animated and in sync with the real TT pretty. You can also selct manually on both TT schematics the track you want and the TT will turn to it super smashing marvellous.

 




Attatched is my YRR file i hope so you can play with the TT run the schedule "FY3 via TT to Eng one" in simulator.

Next the unresolved 180 conundrum which i haven't resolved yet.

Attachment: Stonebridge 2v FINAL.zip (Downloaded 6 times)



____________________
Regards
Pete.

ECOS2 with RR&Co Traincontroller and a load of other electronics so i can sit back and watch the trains go by.
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