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ian_penfold@btinternet.com

Software to control Switch Pilot's

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Hi,  I have a ECoS 50210 Command Station and around 50 points controlled by Switch Pilots which are programmed to the Command Station.  All works fine.  However, I find this is restrictive, having to swap views all the time and was wondering if there were a simple software based solution I could use to control the points in parallel with the Command Station.  Something touch screen that would work on an iPad that could connect to the Command Station and thereby find the points and allow me to map them to a representation of the layout?  Would be happy to pay for such a product if one existed.  Alternatively could get a touch screen PC if this were the only solution.  Any ideas? 

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You could use iTrain on an Android tablet to achieve this quite easily, though you would need the Professional version to achieve this which is presently €299

 

https://www.berros.eu/en/itrain/pricing.php

 

I suggest that is an expensive option just to control the points though, however if you are looking for more control then this will provide you with it :)

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Remove the switch pilots and use conventional control panels. Makes life much simpler.

Or seperate the DCC bus for the switch pilots from that for the track then you can use an alternative command station, maybe implemented on an Arduino to control the points.

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RocRail does all you want (and a lot more) Free if you are using a USB connection. Your restriction actually becomes the iPad as you cannot connect it to you ECoS as far as I am aware, a windows or android device will do the job, you could then link to your iPad via RocWeb (12 euro p/a extra) if essential. Does a lovely schematic for the touch screen and will operate any digital accessories, points, uncouplers, lights signals etc.etc. 

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Another option is  JMRI (free, open source), and then use the Webserver capability in JMRI to present the turnouts to the iPad.    Cost is nothing, other than needing a computer of some sort to run JMRI.  A RaspberryPI costing £35 would be suitable for this use.  

 

- Nigel

 

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9 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

You could use iTrain on an Android tablet to achieve this quite easily, though you would need the Professional version to achieve this which is presently €299

 

https://www.berros.eu/en/itrain/pricing.php

 

I suggest that is an expensive option just to control the points though, however if you are looking for more control then this will provide you with it :)

Hi, thanks for the tip.  For my sanity why would I need Professional version?  Have looked at the list of prices and nothing is leaping out at me when looking at the difference between the levels?  

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8 hours ago, [email protected] said:

Hi, thanks for the tip.  For my sanity why would I need Professional version?  Have looked at the list of prices and nothing is leaping out at me when looking at the difference between the levels?  

 

I think its the "use of tablet" or similar secondary devices which pushes to the Professional level.    If willing to do it on the primary computer, then the most basic version may do it.

 

But both RocRail and JMRI, which are much cheaper, will display and operate a turnout+signalling diagram.   The commercial tools like iTrain come into their own at higher levels of automation, when they need less setup to work than the open-source toolkits.

 

There are a few throttle Apps which will directly connect to the ECoS, and allow turnout or route control.  But they seem to all just list turnouts/routes as a list of buttons, not as a diagram of track.  Might do what's needed, but may be too limiting ?   They're primarily aimed as apps to drive the trains.

 

If happy with duplicating the ECoS screen, then a tablet or computer can operate the ECoS remotely, using VNC software.  But I think its limited to controlling the same screen as on the main ECoS, which isn't what you asked for in the first posting. 
 

 

 

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@[email protected] Nigel is correct, it is your desire to use a tablet that pushes you to the Pro version, however if you used a Microsoft Surface then you could run the program on the Surface and then the Lite version at €99 would meet your needs and provide a spring board for future automation.

 

I now find it impossible to run my layout manually as I cannot remember the point numbers that need switching and I use the mimic plan to change them, though mostly I simply drag and drop a train to where i want it on the mimic plan and let iTrain work out the  best route, control the speed and switch the points for me, it also allows for other trains that are running and will 'thread' my 'manual'  movement through the running trains :)

 

That may be a step too far for you, but it does provide another level of experience and means I can enjoy a cuppa whilst the trains, just run - a bit like a private exhibition where all the trains are run by another operator.

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