Author Topic: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction  (Read 1464 times)

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mmagliaro

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This may seem either silly, intractable, or both, but I have mused over it for some time and it still frustrates me.
When you operate a train, let's say it is physically moving to the right, and your direction indicator (whether it be
on a DCC or DC throttle, doesn't really matter) says, "E" (or a right-pointing arrow, or whatever it is).

Now, say, you move around a 180 degree curve, come into a yard, and start doing switching.
All is well, except that now, when you move the engine to the right, the throttle indicator says "W" (or left-pointing arrow, or whatever).

Everything works, but the throttle indications are completely the opposite of the physical direction your train moves.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it IS still moving the right way, with respect to the main.  It's just
puzzling within the little zone of tracks your attention happens to be focused on at the moment.

Is there some other way to think about this, and/or display direction indicators, that makes it more intuitive, or is this just something
we have to train our brains to live with?

(Like I said, it seems intractable, or like I've already answered my own question, but I've wondered about this for years, so...)

C855B

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 05:36:26 AM »
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Easy - the directional arrow is from the viewpoint of the locomotive, not an external view of the train. There is no N/S/E/W - you, the engineer, are controlling the loco to go forward, or backward. IOW, direction is relative to the loco, not the layout.

To really understand this, I guess you'll need to borrow the TRW shrink-ray so you can fit in the cab. :trollface:
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross

mmagliaro

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 06:05:52 AM »
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Easy - the directional arrow is from the viewpoint of the locomotive, not an external view of the train. There is no N/S/E/W - you, the engineer, are controlling the loco to go forward, or backward. IOW, direction is relative to the loco, not the layout.

To really understand this, I guess you'll need to borrow the TRW shrink-ray so you can fit in the cab. :trollface:

Good Heavens... of course!  After you said this, I jumped to the layout... ran an engine back and forth,
and what ho!  Yes, the direction indicator arrow is pointing left, the engine is moving to the right... but FORGET THAT.
Then I just thought, "the direction indicator says reverse, and the engine is .... BACKING UP!  ... HA HA HA!"

Wow.   Must have been a mental block.  There's something in my brain hemispheres that needs attention.

THANK YOU.

jdcolombo

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 08:21:59 AM »
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Whether you view this from the standpoint of the engineer or not, I find this behavior annoying when I'm using throttles that have a toggle switch for direction (like the Digitrax UT4).  I just can't get comfortable with the notion of throwing the switch to the RIGHT in order to have the locomotive move LEFT.   However, when I'm using a throttle that just has a button to control direction (e.g., a Digitrax DT200), it doesn't bother me at all, perhaps because the Digitrax system has a little locomotive icon, and a directional arrow that appears at the front or rear of the locomotive icon in the LCD screen - so if I look down and seen the arrow at the rear, I know the train is in reverse and vice versa.   Since I'm not physically throwing a toggle switch in one direction or the other, it doesn't bother me.   But it bothers me so much with a toggle switch that in my main yard and on my local trains, I set them up so that the direction of the toggle switch is always in sync with the direction of the train.  That means one of my locals is technically running it's engines in reverse (though you don't notice it because I use 2-unit diesel consists coupled back-to-back, so one of the diesels is always pointing forward).  But my mental state is much improved!

John C.


sizemore

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 09:18:25 AM »
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Whether you view this from the standpoint of the engineer or not, I find this behavior annoying when I'm using throttles that have a toggle switch for direction (like the Digitrax UT4).  I just can't get comfortable with the notion of throwing the switch to the RIGHT in order to have the locomotive move LEFT.   However, when I'm using a throttle that just has a button to control direction (e.g., a Digitrax DT200), it doesn't bother me at all, perhaps because the Digitrax system has a little locomotive icon, and a directional arrow that appears at the front or rear of the locomotive icon in the LCD screen - so if I look down and seen the arrow at the rear, I know the train is in reverse and vice versa.   Since I'm not physically throwing a toggle switch in one direction or the other, it doesn't bother me.   But it bothers me so much with a toggle switch that in my main yard and on my local trains, I set them up so that the direction of the toggle switch is always in sync with the direction of the train.  That means one of my locals is technically running it's engines in reverse (though you don't notice it because I use 2-unit diesel consists coupled back-to-back, so one of the diesels is always pointing forward).  But my mental state is much improved!

John C.

Well then use your steam head, your toggle is pulling the lever for the power reverse!

The S.

up1950s

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 09:59:52 AM »
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Re-name it ------- " To Mile Post 0 " & " To Mile Post 99 " . Works even if you're takin' a ride in your dryer .

« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 10:32:43 AM by up1950s »

LV LOU

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 10:43:29 AM »
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 Four mains on my railroad,all the direction switches are pointing in the same direction.All four are wired to be  set to normal direction of travel for that main.I built all my DC walkarounds so the direction switches go up/down,not right/left,and they're wired so the normal direction of travel out of the yard is up..

haasmarc

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 05:54:19 PM »
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I added an extra relay to my throttles.  This relay is called the direction relay.  When a train goes through some kind of reverse loop, the computer throws this relay automatically.  My throttle has forward and reverse and that stays true no matter what.  When I am setting a train up to run, I have a indicator on the computer screen that tells me the direction.  I just have to make sure it is set correctly at the start.
Marc Haas
Keeping the Reading alive in N scale!

peteski

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 05:58:25 PM »
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I added an extra relay to my throttles.  This relay is called the direction relay.  When a train goes through some kind of reverse loop, the computer throws this relay automatically.  My throttle has forward and reverse and that stays true no matter what.  When I am setting a train up to run, I have a indicator on the computer screen that tells me the direction.  I just have to make sure it is set correctly at the start.

This look like  you are running DC (since in DCC track polarity is irrelevant to the loco's direction).
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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mmagliaro

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 06:28:44 PM »
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What Marc describes is something I considered.  I am also running regular DC.
I have home-made throttles with push-buttons to set direction.  They are lighted pushbuttons with an illuminated
arrow in them, so you push, a latching relay closes, and the arrow lights up.

The whole layout is a strictly one-train-at-a-time operation, so I could rig an extra sensor and relay
to flip the orientation of the buttons and lighted arrows based on where the train is.
But that is really getting complicated.

I think the key is to get rid of the arrows, and replace them with "F" and "R" (for "Forward" and "Reverse").
Honestly, the original suggestion seemed best to me.  Once you think about direction as though you are sitting in the cab
of the engine, all the rest is simple, whether DC or DCC. 

haasmarc

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 06:42:42 PM »
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I am using the Tractronics SECI system which is computerized block control.  I have my DCC system hooked up as just another throttle.  That way I can run DC and DCC trains at the same time, just not in the same block.  The extra relay is only on the DC throttles because, as you say, it is not needed when using DCC.
Marc Haas
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John

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 07:23:44 PM »
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My old power pack had a switch to change direction .. and depending on how i hooked the power pack up ... it would either go one way or the other .. same difference .. if you flick the switch and the loco goes in the wrong direction, throw it the other way ... don't over think this ..


LV LOU

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 08:17:13 PM »
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What Marc describes is something I considered.  I am also running regular DC.
I have home-made throttles with push-buttons to set direction.  They are lighted pushbuttons with an illuminated
arrow in them, so you push, a latching relay closes, and the arrow lights up.

The whole layout is a strictly one-train-at-a-time operation, so I could rig an extra sensor and relay
to flip the orientation of the buttons and lighted arrows based on where the train is.
But that is really getting complicated.

I think the key is to get rid of the arrows, and replace them with "F" and "R" (for "Forward" and "Reverse").
Honestly, the original suggestion seemed best to me.  Once you think about direction as though you are sitting in the cab
of the engine, all the rest is simple, whether DC or DCC.
Max,just add a DPDT reversing switch to the throttle that keeps everything on the throttle the same,but reverses the output..I suspect you wouldn't be any good with model helicopters,LOL!!!

mmagliaro

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 01:05:09 PM »
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My old power pack had a switch to change direction .. and depending on how i hooked the power pack up ... it would either go one way or the other .. same difference .. if you flick the switch and the loco goes in the wrong direction, throw it the other way ... don't over think this ..

Yeah, but this is exactly what I want to avoid.  I just find it annoying to look at an engine, look at an "arrow" or "E/W" indicator,
and think, from looking at that, that the engine is going to move to the right when I turn up the throttle, only to have it
move left, possibly re-couple to a cut of cars I just uncoupled from, or run into a siding, or worse, and then have to
flip the switch and try again.  Yes, these are only toy trains, and of course, nobody gets hurt.  It just makes
for a minor annoyance in these situations.
Lou, yeah, another DPDT switch, but then I have to remember to flip that thing when I am in certain areas of the layout.

No... the first suggestion really was the best one.  Just think of the direction as though you are sitting in the engine,
forget about "East" "West" or "Left" "Right", and just think Forward/Reverse. 

peteski

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Re: East/West Throttle Indication vs Loco's physical direction
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2014, 04:00:33 PM »
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No... the first suggestion really was the best one.  Just think of the direction as though you are sitting in the engine,
forget about "East" "West" or "Left" "Right", and just think Forward/Reverse.

EXACTLY!  Since the tracks are fixed, you can's steer a locomotive in any direction. You follow the track, in a forward or reverse direction,  wherever the track leads.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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