how to manage a module meet?

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PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:05 am

Hi

OK lets ignore the spec. But I maintain we should recommend that at largish "open" meets the organisers provide a JMRI WiFi Server.

At the moment we are having problems specifying what panel to use, one possible solution being the "organisers" provide spare panels (along with spare throttles?).

Remember the Universal Panel is apparently not universal, and in any case Lenz throttles are incompatible with the sockets.

This is a unresolved problem.

I sometimes think we should just struggle along with "whatever" and wait for the OpenLCB / NMRAnet.

All the best

Peter L-J

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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:58 am

Hi Peter, that I agree with as a recommendation, bring one along during large meets / public outings. It looks quite 'high tech' if Joe Public sees someone operate a train from an iPhone or whatever else, and might spark interest in those that are sensitive to gadgetry etc.

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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warbonnetuk
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by warbonnetuk » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:27 am

Koos

Me and a few friends run both WiThrottle (Apple IOS) and Engine Driver (Android) on different devices. Out of the two our general preference is for WiThrottle - the main reason being the user interface is a bit more intuative but both are as operationally reliable in operation as each other.

We run WiThrottle is run mainly on 3rd & 4th Gen iPod Touches as we have lanyard fittings (off of e-Bay) to free up hands for uncoupling. The beauty with both apps is that once you have paid for the software once (for the full version) providing you register any additional devices you want to add to app to with the same Apple or Google account (depending on platform) then they will load up with no additional charge. A couple of us have managed to source 2nd hand 3rd Gen iPod Touches off e-bay or Amazon Marketplace for around £70



Alan - we (Seaboard Southern) now have a USB interface for our NCE system with the intention to introduce WiFi control on our modular set up. Unlikely it will be sorted in time for the Crawley MRS show but it should be ready for our show in Sept

Dan
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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:50 am

Hi Dan,

yes it works great. I actually run WiThrottle on a 1st gen iPod touch, and also have it on my iPhone 4S. However, out of the two I prefer the iPod. Reason being is that the iPod is not a phone, and is not set up to receive calls / txt etc. With a (i)Phone you run the risk of getting a call while operating, thus losing temp control, and that's not a good thing. :-)

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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warbonnetuk
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by warbonnetuk » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:16 pm

Koos

According to the FAQ on the WiThrottle website WiThrottle will send your train to Idle if you get an incoming call

http://www.withrottle.com/WiThrottle/FAQ.html

Annoying but avoids any unfortunate incidents

Never tested this personally so can anyone out there verify this?

Dan
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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:58 pm

Yes it will indeed go to idle (but most be enabled to do so on the settings page of the throttle! Default is enabled) , but it still causes a bit of panic though, the majority of my locos have a fair amount of momentum programmed, so it's a bit 'scary' to see your loco rolling without being able to press the emergency stop button.

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 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:12 pm

One of the two compatible devices I have is my wife's old android phone, it was rubbish at being a phone and I hated the thing when I had to use it, but it's quite nice to use as a dedicated throttle.

As it's no longer linked to a mobile phone account you don't have the problem of incoming calls!
Martyn Read

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warbonnetuk
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by warbonnetuk » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:15 pm

Old smartphones never die, they just become wireless throttles.....

[Grin]

Dan
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BrianMoore
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by BrianMoore » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:43 pm

I confess my own device is an ancient Nokia thing, and I happily appall my children by calling it my "portable telephone". It affords me an ability to send and recieve texts (which I like), and to be phoned by other people (which I hate, and avoid at all costs). In my defence, I feel that this is less "Luddite" than just not needing to cart around a costly bit of kit that I wouldn't use when out and about, anyway.

I would be more than happy to pick up a device like Martyn talks of, his wife's old phone, if it would allow me to operate trains at meets. Like many others anyway, all I ever use when running a loco is the sound on-off, the bell and the horn facilities.

As Peter L-J comments on above, lending a £140 Lenz LH100 to the same two or three people every month at the club was really beginning to grate, especially as they pressed the buttons too hard (both of mine have had their pads cleaned and their cables repaired) and dropped them from time to time, viz: "Oops! Sorry! Ho ho! Don't worry, it's still working!"

Heigh ho.
Brian Moore

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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:00 pm

That reminds me, I will bring my own LH 100 this coming weekend at the Plymouth meet :-) It is best to use this wired device during the video shoots as being interupted by an incoming txt or call, or other network issues can ruin that.

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.

calaf01
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by calaf01 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:43 pm

Good to hear, Dan. I look forward to seeing it in action.

By the way, this thread ought to be cross-referenced into Electrical - DCC I would have thought. Is that possible?

Another comment - Old smartphones never die, they just don't ring true. :lol:
Alan C.

tom_winlow
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by tom_winlow » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:59 pm

Now we are into throttles, WiFi etc it might be worth explaining our thinking as we generated the spec and where we are now with wired busses (WiFi may be a solution to incompatibility in the future, but I think it's probably a bit early for 100% WiFi).

We originally specified Tony's Trains panels in the spec. because these will work with Digitrax, NCE and Lenz, although Lenz would need DIN to RJ12 conversion cables between the panels and sockets. (Incidentally, we later discovered that the Ton'y's panels are NCE ones rebadged). The idea was that nobody would have to change their modules when going to a multi-group meet.

So far so good. For modest layouts everything is fine. However, since writing the spec, we have discovered that, for large layouts, the throttle bus needs to be repowered. What constitutes "Large" is vague and depends on the length of the bus, the number of throttles etc. The way the repowering must be done for Digitrax is different from NCE/Lenz. The Tony's/NCE panels are designed to be modified so the required powering for all three systems is catered for. However the way panels must be modified and used is tricky. This leads to a concern that somebody might make a mistake and damage all the throttles on the bus(!). This doesn't seem the way to go so we need a different solution.

There have been several suggestions so far.
1) We could make a particular system mandatory - not likely to be accepted as the present groups all have investment in "legacy" systems.
2) We could ask people to fit multiple different panels and replug the cables as necessary for a particular meet. This would work but is expensive.
3) My suggestion is for the spec to allow people to fit whichever manufacturer's panel they choose. This would most likely be the type used by their local group. When this module is taken to a multi-group meet it may be that the same system, or a compatible one, is being used in which case no change is necessary. If a different, incompatible, system is being used, a panel of that type would be screwed, temporarily, to the bottom edge of the module side, below the permanent panel. The throttle cables would be unplugged from the permanent panel and plugged into the temporary one. The attraction of this approach is that only people going to multi-group meets have to do anything. Also, since it will be known in advance from which side the module will be operated the temporary panel will only be needed on one side, keeping the cost down.
4) Another option might be to let people fit whatever panel they choose for local use but make large multi-group meets 100% WiFi with no throttle bus except for maybe one or two throttles connected to the command station for emergencies. The consensus seems to be that it is a bit early for this
There may be other, better, ideas out there.
Tom

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BrianMoore
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by BrianMoore » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:38 pm

In respect of Tom's Suggestion #3 (which I would also humbly agree with), perhaps the cost of providing such temporary panels could be paid from NMRA(BR) funds, as they would be a positive contribution that would facilitate US modellers to enjoy the shared benefits of modular operation?
Brian Moore

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torikoos
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by torikoos » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:08 am

Yes Tom's suggestion in point 3 is a good one.
As Brian says groups could be funded to add such a temp panel by the NMRA-BR, or even better. The NMRA-BR retains ownership of the provided panel so that when a group is dissolved for whatever reason, the NMRA-BR get's the panel back, and available for who ever next needs it.
Another idea is to 'rent' these panels out to a larger meet/show. This will then gradually pay back the investment the region has made.

The Wifi option is one for a later phase, and can at best only be a recommended practice, not a mandatory standard at this time.

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.

PeterLJ
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Re: how to manage a module meet?

Post by PeterLJ » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:20 am

Hi

There still remains the question of which type of panel the NMRA Buy, which in fact takes us straight back to square one, which DCC system, which is what we are trying to avoid.

I have a Digitrax and a Lenz panel on both sides of one module, but as that is expensive have none on my other module!
Currently I think that the two panels (Lenz and Digitrax) are the only way to achieve full compatibility with the major systems, so should we try and get that funded?

The other problem is its all very well having a panel, you also need the throttle!

BTW how many NMRA BR Modules are there? (Is there a big problem yet).

Wireless will be the cheapest solution but unfortunately we have no feed back from the n scale groups who have used them at large setups.

Peter L-J

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