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44 minutes ago, Andymsa said:

I looked at your video on calibration of a loco. In I train or traincontroller there is no need to pick up a loco or inter fear once calibration is taking place I just go and have a cup of tea and let it get on with it.

 

I'm afraid Railmagic has finished the calibration process before the water is boiling :lol:

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@RailmagicI suggest that you should spend some time with some people who know, use and run the programs you are finding fault with because your impression of costs and how they work is significantly incorrect in almost every aspect. I suggest, however, that you should be aware that the desire of people to help you develop your product by providing free consultancy is limited.

 

As an example of your inaccuracies is that  you have inflated the cost of Loconet feedbacks by 100% because  you can obtain commercial Loconet feedbacks at $75 for 16 feedbacks (not the $150 you suggest) and these $75 are used by thousands of people around the world. Similarly don’t seem to understand that a $250 purchase of iTrain will accomplish everything that your product can do (and more), yet you fail to include the costs for all the RailMagic add-ins that are required to provide the same functionality, which leads me to consider that the cost comparisons you make are at best inaccurate. The same arguments apply to Traincontroller, though clearly open source software doesn’t attract a software cost.

 

So far what have demonstrated in this thread is that you have some very incorrect ideas of how current sensing feedbacks work, and most importantly how they work using your commercial competition who have developed their products with thousands of users over many years.
 

I wonder if you really understand the problem that you are trying to solve because presently you would appear to have a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist?

 

 

 

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Not specifically aimed at Railmagic, as it would also apply to the existing software packages and solutions..

 

True innovation in this field will not involve the addition of lots of extra electronic boxes and modules, with all the added complexity, cost and time that they bring to the table..

 

True innovation would throw away the need for that and find a simpler, less complex (to the end user) and cheaper solution, predominantly based on software, with relatively little hardware outlay.

Anyone moving closer to that stands a much better chance of success than an expensive, over-engineered solution of (perceived) minimal extra benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Ron Ron Ron
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Hi,

 

RailMagic seems to allow a loco to be brought to a halt anywhere on a layout to an accuracy of a millimetre. So that seems to allow extra automation that can't be achieved by any other means except at higher cost and taking up more space in a loco.

So DCC offered the option to stop and leave a loco anywhere on a layout without isolating section switches, RailMagic offers the option to stop a loco anywhere automatically rather than by eye.

 

Locos could be coupled onto sets of coaches, multiple units joined and split, shunting plus shuffling trains through unloading facilities all done automatically.

 

Whether many people want such facilities I don't know but RailMagic's magnetic sensing technology seems to be a new option.

Is the transmission of the magnetic data back to the RailMagic control unit compatible with all DCC decoders?.

Can info other than the magnetic data and DCC address be sent back by the same comms?.

Is calibration needed for every loco for every possible route?.

How is placing and removing locos from layout dealt with?.

 

Regards

 

Nick

 

 

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37 minutes ago, NIK said:

Hi,

 

RailMagic seems to allow a loco to be brought to a halt anywhere on a layout to an accuracy of a millimetre. So that seems to allow extra automation that can't be achieved by any other means except at higher cost and taking up more space in a loco.

So DCC offered the option to stop and leave a loco anywhere on a layout without isolating section switches, RailMagic offers the option to stop a loco anywhere automatically rather than by eye.

 

Locos could be coupled onto sets of coaches, multiple units joined and split, shunting plus shuffling trains through unloading facilities all done automatically.

 

Whether many people want such facilities I don't know but RailMagic's magnetic sensing technology seems to be a new option.

Is the transmission of the magnetic data back to the RailMagic control unit compatible with all DCC decoders?.

Can info other than the magnetic data and DCC address be sent back by the same comms?.

Is calibration needed for every loco for every possible route?.

How is placing and removing locos from layout dealt with?.

 

Regards

 

Nick

 

 


im sorry nick, but all the things you mention can already be done with existing software with no further modifications to a loco apart from the decoder you would put in anyway. The claim of millimetre precision stopping is a I think to be viewed with caution. Every loco reacts completely differently .
 

There is no magnetic data sent back to the hardware. Regardless of all our views the product has been brought to market incomplete and still under development for the basic items.

 

The problem is that the developers of such programs and systems as rail magic and the computer software are not modellers themselves and approach these problems from an engineering view and not from a practical view of usage.

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1 hour ago, Andymsa said:

A further thought how does rail magic cope with divided trains that may become uncoupled. Current detection copes with this, ok each vehicle needs a resistor but they are not particularly expensive or hard to fit.

 

Well at the moment, according to the instruction sheet, it doesn't even support double-heading. So the software is a very long way from being finished. It's taken over 25 years for Freiwald to get Traincontroller to version 9, and over 10 years for iTrain to reach version 5. I suspect at this point the free Rocrail product has more capability.

 

The number one requirement for all software products that are running model railways automatically is that trains do not hit each other. Meeting that requirement takes a lot of intensive testing which I suspect has still to be done. 

 

Watching the video on calibration using Railmagic made doing it the Traincontroller way, with 3 occupancy detectors, look refreshingly simple. 

Edited by RFS
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13 minutes ago, RFS said:

 

Well at the moment, according to the instruction sheet, it doesn't even support double-heading. So the software is a very long way from being finished. It's taken over 25 years for Freiwald to get Traincontroller to version 9, and over 10 years for iTrain to reach version 5. I suspect at this point the free Rocrail product has more capability.

 

The number one requirement for all software products that are running model railways automatically is that trains do not hit each other. Meeting that requirement takes are lot of intensive testing which I suspect has still to be done. 

 

Watching the video on calibration using Railmagic made doing it the Traincontroller way, with 3 occupancy detectors, look refreshingly simple. 


I had the same thought on loco calibration

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1 hour ago, Andymsa said:


im sorry nick, but all the things you mention can already be done with existing software with no further modifications to a loco apart from the decoder you would put in anyway. The claim of millimetre precision stopping is a I think to be viewed with caution. Every loco reacts completely differently .
 

There is no magnetic data sent back to the hardware. Regardless of all our views the product has been brought to market incomplete and still under development for the basic items.

 

The problem is that the developers of such programs and systems as rail magic and the computer software are not modellers themselves and approach these problems from an engineering view and not from a practical view of usage.

Hi,

 

If magnetic data is not sent back from the tracker to the RailMagic control unit then how does it work?. RailMagic say they use permanent magnets stuck under baseboards in a pattern and calibration by running a loco over the route is needed.

 

I agree that analysis of the problem from a modellers point of view is essential as they are the customer.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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On 22/08/2021 at 22:53, RFS said:

 

The number one requirement for all software products that are running model railways automatically is that trains do not hit each other. 

 

 

This is where you computer control guys might have missed the point of Railmagic. At running sessions in clubs Peter, Edward and Thomas are driving one train each with a handheld throttle working around on the floor. Mick and Charlie are controlling one station each and giving permission to use the mainlines. Railmagic can replace Peter, Edward and Thomas or be their's invisible friend and control additional trains. Mick and Charlie will still be needed - at least until the "press-one-button-and-watch" feature is ready.

 

Equivalently, you can have great running sessions all by yourself at home with tens of trains running.

 

The world is not black and white. Why must it then be full automation or none? The majority of modellers has no automation at all and will welcome Railmagic to give them an extra hand and two. Railmagic gives you engine drivers and they have never been responsible for prevention collisions.

 

When it comes to my knowledge about computer control, I might have downplayed myself to be polite and ask open-ended questions. I could do more research, but the answers from a couple of you guys shows that trying to find out the truth about computer control is like finding the truth in politics.

 

Thank you for taking the time, this debate has been valuable for me. Best regards, Ulrik

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45 minutes ago, Railmagic said:

 

This is where you computer control guys might have missed the point of Railmagic. At running sessions in clubs Peter, Edward and Thomas are driving one train each with a handheld throttle working around on the floor. Mick and Charlie are controlling one station each and giving permission to use the mainlines. Railmagic can replace Peter, Edward and Thomas or be their's invisible friend and control additional trains. Mick and Charlie will still be needed - at least until the "press-one-button-and-watch" feature is ready.

 

Equivalently, you can have great running sessions all by yourself at home with tens of trains running.

 

The world is not black and white. Why must it then be full automation or none? The majority of modellers has no automation at all and will welcome Railmagic to give them an extra hand and two. Railmagic gives you engine drivers and they have never been responsible for prevention collisions.

 

When it comes to my knowledge about computer control, I might have downplayed myself to be polite and ask open-ended questions. I could do more research, but the answers from a couple of you guys shows that trying to find out the truth about computer control is like finding the truth in politics.

 

Thank you for taking the time, this debate has been valuable for me. Best regards, Ulrik


I’m not sure the purpose of the post apart from trying to provoke more free advice and research judging by the statements contained in the post. It appears you have not understood your market and the views held by modellers if they choose to use any form of automation or not and attitudes towards automation. I remember seeing a very similar concept at the Dortmund 2014 intermodellbau  oddly enough from the same region. 

Edited by Andymsa
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52 minutes ago, Railmagic said:

 

This is where you computer control guys might have missed the point of Railmagic. At running sessions in clubs Peter, Edward and Thomas are driving one train each with a handheld throttle working around on the floor. Mick and Charlie are controlling one station each and giving permission to use the mainlines. Railmagic can replace Peter, Edward and Thomas or be their's invisible friend and control additional trains. Mick and Charlie will still be needed - at least until the "press-one-button-and-watch" feature is ready.

 

Equivalently, you can have great running sessions all by yourself at home with tens of trains running.

 

The world is not black and white. Why must it then be full automation or none? The majority of modellers has no automation at all and will welcome Railmagic to give them an extra hand and two. Railmagic gives you engine drivers and they have never been responsible for prevention collisions.

 

When it comes to my knowledge about computer control, I might have downplayed myself to be polite and ask open-ended questions. I could do more research, but the answers from a couple of you guys shows that trying to find out the truth about computer control is like finding the truth in politics.

 

Thank you for taking the time, this debate has been valuable for me. Best regards, Ulrik

 

Can you explain to us what Railmagic provides that has an advantage over the existing control systems that already provide all the functionality that you suggest is unique to RailMagic? 

 

The existing products will allow one, two, three or even more operators at the same time as computer control is happening - they will also allow no operators. This is how I operate my exhibition layout where I simply stand back and let it run fully automatically, with random trains running for the 8 hour day of the exhibition, however I can act and take control of a train when I want to demonstrate that capability to people. At home I will often allow children to run trains using the hand throttle safe in the knowledge that they cannot do damage as iTrain has a watching eye over their movements and will prevent any 'accidents' - no matter how much they try to create them. 

 

There is also a large, comprehensive layout in UK that needs 8 operators to run properly doing the marshalling and train despatch, yet it has TrainController at the heart of it to run trains between stations.

 

Even the concept of not using on or in track feedbacks, whether they be current sensing or discrete feedbacks such as reed or optical switches, is already on the market from GamesOnTrack, although it doesn't use magnets, however the positioning concept seems pretty well identical.

 

I am not against innovation, indeed far from it - but innovation needs to solve a problem, and presently I cannot see a problem that needs solving.

 

 

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2 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

The existing products will allow one, two, three or even more operators at the same time as computer control is happening - they will also allow no operators.

 

... even the free/donation versions allow you the different degrees of automation that you describe.  Also, although others may have different standards, the one I use has more than 'accurate enough' positional sense, slowing and stopping for my needs.

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Hi,

 

An advantage RailMagic seems to have is the ability to stop locos anywhere on a layout without any need for any fixed position detectors or major modifications to the locos.

 

Programs such as Traincontroller use fixed position detectors as they were the only technology at the time and were available from a range of suppliers.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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You are wrong with your view of TC, and similarly iTrain. The method you describe is how programs used to work, but they haven’t needed to work like that for a long time, as in years and years.
 

I certainly know that I can stop a train anywhere within millimetres using only one current sensing detector per the block - and that is without any modifications to the loco, unlike Railmagic which requires every loco to be modified.

Edited by WIMorrison
Correcting the autocorrections
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16 minutes ago, NIK said:

Hi,

 

An advantage RailMagic seems to have is the ability to stop locos anywhere on a layout without any need for any fixed position detectors or major modifications to the locos.

 

Programs such as Traincontroller use fixed position detectors as they were the only technology at the time and were available from a range of suppliers.

 

Regards

 

Nick


You appear not to have a comprehensive understanding of how Traincontroller works. Stopping trains in any location is a straight forward process. May I ask do you use Traincontroller?

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3 hours ago, NIK said:

Hi,

 

An advantage RailMagic seems to have is the ability to stop locos anywhere on a layout without any need for any fixed position detectors or major modifications to the locos.

 

Programs such as Traincontroller use fixed position detectors as they were the only technology at the time and were available from a range of suppliers.

 

Regards

 

Nick

 

Nick - if you're really interested in using automation on your layout, then you ought to familiarize yourself with how the main software products - Traincontroller and iTrain - work today. You might find that both of these products actually have all the features you need. Go to the Traincontroller or iTrain website and download the manual for some bedtime reading. :)

 

Early versions of Traincontroller required 3 indicators per block, but that all changed in 2005 when version 5 was announced which coincided with the arrival of decoders with BEMF, thereby allowing configurations with a single occupancy dectector per block. Subsequent versions of TC have further exploited BEMF as decoders implemented more accurate versions. Brake and stop markers are no longer physical contacts but virtual contacts (what TC calls shifted brake and stop markers) which are defined as offsets from the start of the block. TC then uses "dead reckoning" with the measured speed profile of the locomotive to position it exactly in a block as you want it to be. 

 

Let me give you an example from my layout.  The main station has its "facilities" in the centre, so I need stopping trains to stop in a convenient place for the passengers. Thus the stop marker is defined as "middle of train". The actual stopping place of a train is that value + half the length of the train, so the train straddles the centre. 2, 4, and 8 car trains all have different stopping places, and all is done with one detector. And platforms are bidirectional so there are markers for both directions. Further, trains which aren't due to stop but have to do so for a signal check (eg freight trains) have their own stop marker which is always end of platform regardless of length. So you see there is great flexibility already.

 

It's all very well for Railmagic to know exactly where a locomotive is anywhere on the layout: you still need the automation program to be able to make use of that information, and as far as I can see they're a very long way from achieving that. And it can't detect anything without a tracker, such as lighted vehicles or vehicles with resistor wheelsets. So it can't deal with coupling failures causing a train to split, for example.

Edited by RFS
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Hi,

 

In order to stop anywhere within a block using Traincontroller requires a position detector?.

 

If so then an advantage RailMagic seems to have is the ability to stop locos anywhere on a layout without any need for any fixed position detectors or major modifications to the locos.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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Neither TrainController nor iTrain need a position detector to stop a train. The position to stop is simply defined within the software and the train stops at that position. 
 

this position may be fixed, as in 5cm before the signal for the block, or dynamic to stop the train with the centre of the train at a defined position, normally the centre of a platform, but it is your choice. When stopping with the train at the centre of the platform the loco will stop in a different place for each train due to the variation in lengths of the trains, but the middle will always be in the middle of the platform.
 

Edit

 

Neither  iTrain or TrainController  require any modifications to the locomotives, unlike Railmagic which requires you to solder an additional device across the decoder which is a pretty major modification and only required by RailMagic. 

Edited by WIMorrison
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5 minutes ago, WIMorrison said:

Neither TrainController nor iTrain need a position detector to stop a train. The position to stop is simply defined within the software and the train stops at that position. 
 

this position may be fixed, as in 5cm before the signal for the block, or dynamic to stop the train with the centre of the train at a defined position, normally the centre of a platform, but it is your choice. When stopping with the train at the centre of the platform the loco will stop in a different place for each train due to the variation in lengths of the trains, but the middle will always be in the middle of the platform.
 

 

Hi,

 

I meant any position detector anywhere on a layout not a position detector where the train is to stop or a fixed distance from any position.

Are you saying that TrainController needs no position detectors in order to stop a loco to an accuracy of one millimetre?.

If so how does it do it?.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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14 minutes ago, NIK said:

Hi,

 

In order to stop anywhere within a block using Traincontroller requires a position detector?.

 

If so then an advantage RailMagic seems to have is the ability to stop locos anywhere on a layout without any need for any fixed position detectors or major modifications to the locos.

 

Regards

 

Nick

 

Did you not ready my post?

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Nick,

 

Railmagic still has to use a detector or how else does it know where to stop the loco.

 

DO YOU USE TRAINCONTROLLER ? You appear to be making statements which show you are not as you do not have a fundamental understanding of how to stop trains in various positions. RFS explained it very well :banghead: may I suggest if the manual is not clear look for a YouTube channel Rudysmodelrailway there are a set of videos which explains many aspects of Traincontroller .

Edited by Andymsa
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This is very sad. This hobby is great but so conservative. I think it is fantastic and exciting that young engineers are trying to move the technology on. It's obvious that the long in tooth are going to be resistant to change particularly with large amounts of cash tied up in  legacy systems. Its heartening to know that however much some might wish it, you can't stop the new taking over from the old.

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Hi,

 

I'm trying to understand how TrainController can stop a loco at any position on a layout if no position detectors are fitted to the layout.

 

How does it get position information if no position detectors are fitted?. When I have used TrainController I have had had position detectors fitted to the layout.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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