how to manage a module meet?

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calaf01
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by calaf01 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:37 pm

Did he say wife or wifi?
Alan C.

PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:40 am

Hi

Tom has reminded us that there are two separate subjects here.

Spec.

Currently as regards panels the spec says either do not bother or fit the Universal Panel. (We subsequently discovered this was a NCE). This should be changed to either do not bother or "recommend" the fitting of a Lenz panel.

The pre amble to the spec could perhaps say that in the long term we will be looking to NMRA Net.

Meets.

The organisers decide what system to use and call for modules. They will provide a JMRI WiFi Server.

At a Lenz or NCE meet the crews just plug in there throttles and get on with it. If there is no convenient panel the crew just must get prototypical and the conductor use signs or radio to direct his engineer.

At a digitrax meet we get to see the strength of that system for modular meets. The organisers provide a couple of IR panels and (hopefully) a Radio Panel on towers and again the crews just "get on with it" (All current Digitrax throttles are IR). A couple of conventional panels would also be required for consisting with non radio throttles.

And I think that is it :D

Peter L-J

tom_winlow
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by tom_winlow » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:54 am

I think Peter's suggestion (fit Lenz panels) would work well the way things are at present. It would enable people from Western Union, RS Tower, Bearwood, Seaboard Southern and Thamessiders to take their modules to a combined meet with no panel issues. These groups seem to be where the "centre of gravity" is for the new modular activity at present and I would imagine that these would be the ones to host large meets in the short term. If this is the case then the only people who would have problems would be those having modules built to the new spec that use Digitrax etc. AND who want to take them to a large meet. Are there any such modules/people out there? If there aren't many the "spare panel" approach shouldn't be too costly.

If we assume that, for the time being we use either Lenz or NCE systems with Lenz panels, plus WIFI, this gives us the opportunity for large multi-group working, plus the chance to see how well WIFI works in practice. If experience shows this is good, later layouts would be almost 100% WIFI. There would be no long wired throttle bus. People would turn up with whatever panels they already had fitted but they would never be never connected. The hosts would provide a few wired throttles close to the command station for emergency use, plus the WIFI and that's it. (The sort of emergency I am imagining is a router to command station problem that means we can't stop any trains!)

Tom

PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:18 pm

Hi

A further update on JMRI WiFi.

At Western Union this weekend they just worked. Our only problem was with turnout control and we think that the JMRI Server needs to have the list of all the turnouts. A minor point as NMRA Modules do not plan to use throttles for turnout control.

There has also ben quite a bit of post on the JMRI forum, all positive. (That is if one ignores the thread on security and the risk of "some kid" with a phone higacking your loco!!)

All the best

Peter L-J

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Gloriousnse
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Gloriousnse » Wed May 29, 2013 10:26 am

Going back to the wifi.

I used this quite a bit at Weston, I thought it was overall pretty successful, but it did depend on reliability of the computer providing the interface. Losing that meant losing the connection, and (I think?) the way the computer was configured meant that when it restarted it created a whole new 'session', which meant you then had to shut down the wifi on your device and reconnect manually (using a code) every time. That did provide security, but at a downside of being something that was very slow to recover from.

I did have some issues with the throttle being 'over sensitive' - I.E. me being able to inadvertantly knock it to full power, digging through the settings afterwards and i've discovered a setting which only allows a defined % change in the throttle at one time which has solved that. Setting that to 5% means an accidental hit on the throttle will only move it a max of 5%...

Security-wise - I think a simple password within a group is desirable, and maybe a better solution than the different sessions. Leaving it open (in a show environment) does allow for a random passer-by to connect and dial up a loco on your layout if they have the software on their phone. Not likely to be an issue at a local meet, but somewhere like Ally Pally then you're likely to have many folk who are aware of the program, have it on their machines, and it only takes one of those to 'have a laugh' to cause chaos.
Martyn Read

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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Wed May 29, 2013 11:43 am

Hi Martyn,
Some of the issues you describe I have seen as well. Some issues that should be checked before a session is:
-Host computer no power saving features to be enabled (screen saver might be ok)
-simple password set up (shared at beginning of the operation session/day)
-Use the latest version of your chosen throttle. WiThrottle, which I use has over time evolved from a fairly 'crude' controller to a much smoother interface.
(I still wish they could also provide a push button control as on a Lenz controller, in one or multiple speed step increments etc, which would avoid the speed jumps you mention).

I think a logical evolution would be to use WiFi throttles on local/small meets , until problems , bugs etc are ironed out and everyone is comfortable in their use, before using them (prescribing them) on a large meet.

Koos
Koos Fockens -Devon UK. North American Model Railroading
Age is just a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, then it doesn't matter.

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Gloriousnse
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Gloriousnse » Wed May 29, 2013 12:07 pm

I'm on the Android version, which means you can use the volume controls, and I think a tap on them is one speed step?

I think if went down to 4% then it's close to being one tap on the screen to one speed step (assuming 28 steps) anyhow - 100/28 = 3.57?
Martyn Read

PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Wed May 29, 2013 12:11 pm

torikoos wrote: I think a logical evolution would be to use WiFi throttles on local/small meets , until problems , bugs etc are ironed out and everyone is comfortable in their use, before using them (prescribing them) on a large meet.
Hi Koos

I think we are past that stage. They seem to be working OK at quite large meets over here (well as big as we can set up) , not to mention big ones in the US. The one provisore I would make is to have a dedicated machine. I think one can experience difficulties if the computer is also running the normal JMRI server.

Members can always use normal throttles if they have them, though it may be inconvenient for them as the provision of a plug for the throttle is not mandatory on a module.

All the best

Peter L-J

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Gloriousnse
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Gloriousnse » Wed May 29, 2013 1:12 pm

I don't think there's neccesarily a big issue for big meets, some of the overseas guys have been running some seriously large ones using the tech.

Once you get a fair number of throttles connecting it seems you need additional routers, connected to and repeating the same settings of the first (so that a throttle just auto connects to the closest router it can find)

Peter - is there a restriction on multiple JMRI computers linked to a setup?
Martyn Read

PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Wed May 29, 2013 3:51 pm

Gloriousnse wrote: is there a restriction on multiple JMRI computers linked to a setup?
Hi Martyn

I _think_ that is dependant on ones DCC system. But certainly we have run with more than one computer acting as a WiFi throtle host.

Peter

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Gloriousnse
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Gloriousnse » Wed May 29, 2013 5:31 pm

Thanks Peter

(Posted from my mobile)
Martyn Read

Mike_R
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Mike_R » Wed May 29, 2013 7:40 pm

You can have more than one computer with multiple interfaces to Lenz. I've also had my laptop wifi linked to my desktop which had the interface and both would run withrottle.
I think that the limit of connections to a router depends on the router.

Withrottle on Apple has adjustable sensitivity which limits the amount of throttle change.

My old Mac laptop has run withrottle for several meetings, very reliable, even with the screen saver running, all I've done is stop it shutting down. I normally run it without a password, but it does work with one. Only trouble is it runs an adhoc network with no router and Androids don't work with it, that is supposed to be coming in newer versions.
I have thought of getting the new Lenz interface and use Touchcab (Apple only).

All these solutions could work together giving more options.
Mike Ruby

JimD17
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by JimD17 » Wed May 29, 2013 11:29 pm

N gauge group has run with 3 computers using Digitrax with no problems, only 1 had wifi connected as we were using radio throttles and IR as well.

Jim Dickinson

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Gloriousnse
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by Gloriousnse » Thu May 30, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks guys, that's good to know - makes setting that kind of thing up much easier if you can split out the computer tasks! :)
Martyn Read

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