Author Topic: Starting in DCC: Need some advice  (Read 3591 times)

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Ike the BN Freak

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2013, 10:33:03 PM »
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With regards to smartphone throttles....does anyone want to share their opinion about their ease of use (positive or negative) for extensive switching operations. That is mostly how I will be operating, and my preconcieved opinion is that adjusting the speed with a physical dial would work better than a smartphone slider.

Best wishes, Dave

I haven't actually run anything using my phone, however I have played around with it.  The slider is iffy, but think part of that has to do with my case on it.

I'm like you, I'd rather use a throttle with a knob on it than a phone.

Also I prefer the UT series to the DT for ops, as with DT you have two throttles in one, and I like playing and tommy toggling, so chances are I'd try to run two trains at once.

conrail98

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2013, 11:09:54 PM »
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Add duplex and the wireless throttle option from JMRI as described. Then any a$$hat can run on your layout.

Those two are mutually exclusive. Wireless throttle using JMRI can be obtained under normal, radio or duplex. Duplex is not required as I've been on layouts that are Radio only and do the wireless throttle through a closed WiFi network,

Phil
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conrail98

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2013, 11:11:45 PM »
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With regards to smartphone throttles....does anyone want to share their opinion about their ease of use (positive or negative) for extensive switching operations. That is mostly how I will be operating, and my preconcieved opinion is that adjusting the speed with a physical dial would work better than a smartphone slider.

The guys I operate with actually prefer to use the WiThrottle over their Digitrax or NCE throttles. Now, most of them usually operate with either DT400s whereas I like the UT4R I have and think the WiThrottle is a little overkill for operating. I don't like Android's Engine Driver,

Phil
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Bendtracker1

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2013, 11:27:45 PM »
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...whereas I like the UT4R I have...
Phil

+1 on the UT4r's
I have several of these and what I like about the UT4's is you can operate them without having to take your eyes off your train.  Hold them in one hand and use your thumb for speed and a finger for direction.  Easy!

mmyers

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 06:35:47 AM »
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I have a Dt402D that started life years ago as a dt400. It's my go to throttle because I can run two trains, make and break consists,  program, and throw switches. I also have a Ut4D, With throttle, and Android's Engine driver. The DT throttle gets used the most. I like JMRI for programming but learned how to use a throttle way before Decoder Pro existed. Not trying to talk you out of connecting a computer but there are other purchases that can come first if a tight budget is involved.  Like decoders.
Peteski pointed out the complexity of Digitrax. I've not seen the huge learning difference between Digitrax and other systems. Guess that's because I started with Digitrax. Now the others do not seem as intuitive to me.
Martin Myers

reinhardtjh

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2013, 06:46:25 AM »
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Add duplex and the wireless throttle option from JMRI as described. Then any a$$hat can run on your layout.

Those two are mutually exclusive. Wireless throttle using JMRI can be obtained under normal, radio or duplex. Duplex is not required as I've been on layouts that are Radio only and do the wireless throttle through a closed WiFi network,

Phil

This is not correct. You most certainly can run a Digitrax duplex radios and a JMRI wireless throttles at the same time.  The smartphone app connects to the JMRI server and mimicks a throttle on the Loconet to the command station.  You can mix any combination of tethered, simplex or duplex radio or wi-fi throttles on the same layout.
John H. Reinhardt
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reinhardtjh

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2013, 06:56:57 AM »
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With regards to smartphone throttles....does anyone want to share their opinion about their ease of use (positive or negative) for extensive switching operations. That is mostly how I will be operating, and my preconcieved opinion is that adjusting the speed with a physical dial would work better than a smartphone slider.

Best wishes, Dave

I have used the Android EngineDriver app on my Samsung Galaxy SIII at a friend's layout.  He has a Lenz system and normally we use the Lenz LH90 knob throttle.  I also operate at two other layouts using Digitrax and I take along my UT4D and operate in tethered mode (I built a cable extender).

Having done one session in the yard building trains and one on the road with the EngineDriver throttle, I'd say at the moment I still prefer the LH90 or UT4D throttles.  But I also have to agree that the touch screen slider wasn't as awkward as I first thought it would be.  I could imagine that after a couple sessions using it I will be acclimated to the way it works.  The caveat is that our operating sessions are very low key.  We use JMRI switch lists and a "mother may I' dispatching system for making our way around the layout.  No time schedules.  Trains run in a prescribed order but that's the limit of the schedule.  We have plenty of time for fumbling with the throttle if needed.


The coolest part of the smartphone apps for me is the fact that if you have sound and the loco is set up in JMRI correctly, then all the function buttons are labeled with the function - lights, horn, bell, etc.  Two of the three layouts I run on have some sound enabled engines so it's handy.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 07:00:07 AM by reinhardtjh »
John H. Reinhardt
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conrail98

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2013, 07:01:38 AM »
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Those two are mutually exclusive. Wireless throttle using JMRI can be obtained under normal, radio or duplex. Duplex is not required as I've been on layouts that are Radio only and do the wireless throttle through a closed WiFi network,

Phil

This is not correct. You most certainly can run a Digitrax duplex radios and a JMRI wireless throttles at the same time.  The smartphone app connects to the JMRI server and mimicks a throttle on the Loconet to the command station.  You can mix any combination of tethered, simplex or duplex radio or wi-fi throttles on the same layout.

I am absolutely correct. You are misunderstanding my statement. The WiThrottle/Engine Driver connects to the JMRI server, through a Wireless Router. Duplex and their associated throttles has absolutely nothing to do with that connection, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I should know, I operate with the guy that built the WiThrottle. In fact, if using a Sprog, computer, and wireless router, one could run exclusively on the WiThrottle/Engeine Driver and JMRI and have no need for a DCC system,

Phil
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Philip H

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2013, 08:15:01 AM »
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being an NCE guy, I prefer my WiThrottle when running on a Digitrax layout - I'm used to controlling speed with an up or down thumb motion, not a rotate the knob thumb motion.
Philip H.
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2013, 01:08:19 PM »
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I am absolutely correct. You are misunderstanding my statement. The WiThrottle/Engine Driver connects to the JMRI server, through a Wireless Router. Duplex and their associated throttles has absolutely nothing to do with that connection, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other....

I think there was just a semantics problem.  Like John, I interpreted "mutually exclusive" to mean incompatible.  It sounds like you are both saying the systems are independent, which is quite different.

Lots of useful information in this thread!

John

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2013, 02:00:57 PM »
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We use JMRI switch lists and a "mother may I' dispatching system for making our way around the layout.  No time schedules.  Trains run in a prescribed order but that's the limit of the schedule.  We have plenty of time for fumbling with the throttle if needed.
y.

Thread drift .. how do you like the JMRI switch lists .. I

reinhardtjh

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Re: Starting in DCC: Need some advice
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2013, 05:40:04 AM »
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I am absolutely correct. You are misunderstanding my statement. The WiThrottle/Engine Driver connects to the JMRI server, through a Wireless Router. Duplex and their associated throttles has absolutely nothing to do with that connection, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I should know, I operate with the guy that built the WiThrottle. In fact, if using a Sprog, computer, and wireless router, one could run exclusively on the WiThrottle/Engeine Driver and JMRI and have no need for a DCC system,

Phil

I think there was just a semantics problem.  Like John, I interpreted "mutually exclusive" to mean incompatible.  It sounds like you are both saying the systems are independent, which is quite different.

Lots of useful information in this thread!

What Gary said.  Your use of the term "mutually exclusive" implies that you can use one or the other, but not both.  I think what you meant to say, and what is totally correct, is that neither relies on the other. i.e.  You can use radio (simplex or duplex) but it does not require you to use the wi-fi and vice-versa.  Picky semantics I know, but I think your first comment might be confusing to people who aren't familiar with the setup.
John H. Reinhardt
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reinhardtjh

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OT: JMRI Switch lists
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2013, 06:30:27 AM »
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Thread drift .. how do you like the JMRI switch lists .. I

To be clear, two of the three layouts I operate on use the JMRI switch lists.  The other uses car cards.  Both methods have good and bad points and I am at a deadlock in deciding how I'd go when (if) my layout ever gets operating.

I like the JMRI switch lists overall.  As a yardmaster there are some things I don't like.  How major/minor that is depends on your operating style I think.  As a road engineer I think they work very well.  From watching the JMRI Yahoo group I think they can be a bear to set up right.

The biggest problem I have with them as a yard master is that when a train is terminated in the yard, JMRI determines which yard tracks the various incoming cars go to.  From what we have been able to see, there is no particular rhyme or reason to which track.  The root of the problem is that JMRI does not really know where the cars are going in the future.  A real yardmaster would have some sort of idea where the cars are going and could break the train in such a manner as to get a jump on sending the cars to the next destination.  To JMRI most cars stop in the yard.  When you generate the next set of trains, it takes whatever it knows is in the yard and builds trains out of it.  A car could come into the yard as a load from an industry in one session and the next session it could go right back out as an empty to another industry.

On the other hand, the build lists you get are really good.  They list the cars and their destinations so when building the train it is easy to block the train such that towns/industries are grouped to make it easier on the road crew.

When running as road crew the switch lists work pretty well.  Our group is used to them as the two layouts we run have been using them for nearly 2 years.  The two layouts use different formats.  Each has their own advantages.  One uses the default JMRI switch list but in a shrunken format to fit on a half sheet of paper (cut vertically) and the other uses an excel spreadsheet formatter and is printed on a full sheet of paper.

As how a layout owner feels about JMRI, I cannot say.  I do know that it takes a fair amount of time to set up your layout in the Ops section so that things work right.  And it can be finicky.  And frustrating.  Both owners in our group are still fiddling with things to make them work more to their liking.
John H. Reinhardt
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John

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Re: OT: JMRI Switch lists
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2013, 03:14:43 PM »
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The biggest problem I have with them as a yard master is that when a train is terminated in the yard, JMRI determines which yard tracks the various incoming cars go to.  From what we have been able to see, there is no particular rhyme or reason to which track. 

I've found the same thing .. I am still waffling back and forth .. I think some of the problems can be solved with "custom schedules" and such ..