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New iTrain Tutorial Series


BlasterBob
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With the assistance of Iain Morrison I have been working on a new series of iTrain tutorials.
The first five videos have now been published on YouTube.
Here are the links so far:
Tutorial 01: https://youtu.be/5jjA2mwRS1U
Installing iTrain
00:30 - What do I need?
01:37 - Downloading
02:05 - Check if Java is installed
03:08 - Download and Install Java
05:09 - Download and Install iTrain
06:48 - Opening iTrain
08:06 - iTrain license overview
09:10 - Applying for a trail license



Tutorial 02: https://youtu.be/HkQIi3E6ra0
iTrain Overview
00:24 - Introduction
00:59 – Fundamental windows at startup
01:44 – Top toolbar
03:28 – File - dropdown menus
04:04 – Editor - dropdown menus
04:12 – Settings
04:26 – Preferences
04:45 – Interfaces
05:01 - Boosters
05:15 – Feedbacks
05:52 – Accessories
06:17 – Track Routes
07:02 – Actions
07:32 – Locomotives, Wagons and Trains
08:17 – Train Types
08:80 – Train Routes
09:44 – Blocks
10:10 – Stations
11:14 - Switchboard
11:38 – Control – dropdown menu
11:48 – View – dropdown menu
11:59 – Diagnosis
12:42 – Keyboard
13:05 – Feedback Monitor
13:32 – Speed measurements
14:01 – Decoder Programming
14:25 – Layout views plus extra switchboards



Tutorial 03: https://youtu.be/mnJL5e2z5DA
Connecting a Command Station
00:46 - Saving a layout
02:08 - Interface Editor
04:06 - General Tab
04:17 - Connection Tab
06:18 - Specific Tab
06:29 - Image Tab
06:42 - Saving your Command Station
07:25 – Connect to your layout



Tutorial 04: https://youtu.be/Y-UnPm6fqqg
Running Locos Manually
00:31 – Fundamental Basics
02:54 - Quick Speed Profile
07:52 – Creating a new locomotive
09:36 – Image Tab
10:02 – Speed Tab – Step1 and Step 126 – Linear
10:56 – Options Tab
11:10 – Saving your new Locomotive
11:42 – The difference between Locomotives & Trains
13:34 – Making the train move manually – video insert
14:35 – Creating a new Locomotive – Revision
15:53 – Speed Tab – copy from existing locomotive
16:49 – Saving the new Locomotive
17:10 – Running the new Locomotives – video insert
18:48 – Saving the layout



Tutorial 05: https://youtu.be/Rp7fBxkFShM
Switchboard - Manual Turnout Control
00:30 – Start iTrain and open project
01:11 – Creating a new switchboard whilst retaining Locomotives & Trains
02:38 – Editing the Switchboard
03:26 – Diagram of Test Track for Tutorials
04:25 – Enlarging the grid space
05:09 – Drawing the mainline track
06:08 – Drawing the sidings
06:42 – Drawing the left-hand turnouts
07:32 – Drawing the right-hand turnouts
08:12 – Drawing the curves
08:52 – Drawing the buffers
09:39 – Naming and addressing the turnouts
12:50 – Applying / Saving the Switchboard
14:17 – Testing the turnout addressing and function on the layout – video insert
15:04 – Testing by moving trains over turnouts – video insert



Tutorial 06: https://youtu.be/ZkI_zQTVEXo
Laying Track, and Track Layers
00:03 – Overview
01:05 – Using the Keyboard to lay track in the switchboard
02:24 – Creating the sidings using keystrokes only
04:32 – Entering buffers using Shift + B
05:25 – Rotating elements using Shift + R
05:48 – Inserting Feedbacks using the F key
06:01 – Inserting Blocks using the B key
06:11 – Inserting Direction Arrows using the P key
06:23 – Using the Copy and Paste method
06:59 – Moving elements using Shift + Ctrl + Cursor Keys
07:17 – CAUTION when copying items
09:00 – Copying onto a new Tab
09:35 - Understanding Layers
10:17 – Creating a layer
10:46 – Editing elements on or below a layer
12:05 – CAUTION - Inadvertently creating layers
13:23 – Non-switchable elements above switchable elements
13:57 – CAUTION – you cannot have two switchable elements on top of each other
14:19 – IMPORTANT - leave at least two squares either side when creating Block elements.
14:35 – IMPORTANT – leave at least one square adjacent to ends of tracks.
15:06 – IMPORTANT – Direction Arrows pointing in the direction of the Block element dots.
16:18 – Undo Command – Ctrl + Z



Tutorial 07: https://youtu.be/K6ZOtIIk3uI
Track Routes
00:00 – Introduction
01:17 – Adding text elements using Shift + E
04:05 – Adding a section of track in the switchboard using keystrokes
05:03 – Apply changes and save
05:19 – Creating Track Routes
06:10 – Placing Track Route elements away from the track.
06:43 – Entering the details of the Track Routes – naming and sequences
10:01 – Setting the delay in the Switch Order Tab
12:12 - Setting a Global delay in the Options Tab
13:44 - Set Always tick-box
14:21 – Reset Initial State tick-box
15:13 – Entering Track Route Details – Revision
18:00 – Apply changes and save
18:21 – Checking the operation of the saved Track Routes
18:50 – Lock symbols at turnouts
19:19 – IMPORTANT – deselect Track Route when finished.
20:08 – Automatic Track Route Control – Overview
22:14 - Homework suggestion



Tutorial 08: https://youtu.be/nhKXUSAgei0
Blocks, Feedbacks and Groups
00:13 – Introduction
00:52 – Blocks – graphic depicting real-world railway blocks
01:22 – Blocks in iTrain
01:43 – The three aspects of Blocks
02:49 – Block Properties Editor
03:22 – Block Terms Graphic – Physical Block, Block Element, Block Control Object
03:31 – Block Rules 1&2 - Graphic
04:02 – Block Rules 1 & 2 – Examples & Explanation
05:50 – Block Rules – Cross tracks
07:24 – Block Rules – Sidings and long track sections
08:06 – Block Rule 3 - Graphic – Block requirements
08:40 – Block Rule 3 – Examples & Explanation
10:37 - Preferred Direction of Travel definition – Previous to Next
11:40 – Block Element dots explanation
12:12 – Block Rule 5 – Graphic – Length of Blocks
12:26 – Block Rule 5 – Examples & Explanation
13:27 – Block Rule 6 – Graphic – Grouping
13:40 – Block Rule 6 – Using the Assign Group button or G Key
15:21 – Placing the required elements to create a Block

Tutorial 09: https://youtu.be/ymrhTb56qOA
Defining Feedbacks
00:00 – Introduction & Recap
00:59 – Running the Diagnosis – Ctrl D
01:45 – Correcting errors – inputting length of turnouts
03:34 – Opening the Switchboard, checking for black track elements and correcting errors
05:57 – Defining Feedbacks – Feedback Properties
08:38 – Defining Feedbacks by using the Template function for multiple Feedbacks
10:24 – Assigning control objects to Feedback elements – drag and drop
11:06 - Revision of defining Feedbacks
11:45 – Using Board Item to define a Feedback



Tutorial 10: https://youtu.be/8ndTcstd0Kw
Defining Blocks
00:00 – Introduction and Recap
01:00 – Opening Switchboard and selecting Block properties
01:44 - Naming and Describing the Block
01:56 – Selecting the type of Block
02:13 – Defining the length of the Block and the use of Autofill
02:46 – Options Tab
03:33 – Feedbacks Tab
04:24 – Feedbacks Tab with two feedback sensors
05:55 – IMPORTANT – Order of feedbacks – Previous to Next
06:19 – Feedbacks using light sensors or reed switches
07:15 – Direction Previous Tab – Use Positions checkbox
08:14 – Direction Previous Tab – Entering a STOP position – positive or negative distances
09:44 – Direction Previous Tab – Block
10:15 – Direction Next Tab
11:50 – IMPORTANT – Critical check box - avoiding deadlocks
14:12 - Results of defining a Block
14:56 - Defining Blocks by using the Template function for multiple Blocks
15:42 - Assigning control objects to Block elements – drag and drop
16:00 – Using the Autofill function
16:51 – Revision of entering the STOP position and Block properties
17:45 – Revision of defining Blocks
19:45 – Using the Board Item Tab
21:04 – Using the Text Direction drop-down menu in the Board Item Tab
21:45 – IMPORTANT – Using the Connect button
22:16 – Saving the Layout and running the Diagnosis – Ctrl D



Tutorial 11: https://youtu.be/ZwuzZX6RaHs
Instant Route Basics
0:45 - "Wide" layout and how to select it
0:54 - Recall of "Track Routes" and their limitations
3:37 - Putting/Removing trains in blocks in the Switchboard
5:09 - Synching physical orientation of the train in the switchboard
8:40 - Creation of an "Instant Route" and Route vs Shunt selection
10:25 - Information in the switchboard about the route and the train
12:20 - How iTrain knows where the train is?
12:29 - Example of movement simulation with iTrain offline, not connected, by double clicking in the feedbacks. (simulation mode)
13:37 - Shunt example
14:19 - Erasing a route error message



Tutorial 12: https://youtu.be/INdIf2rB44o
Multiple Instant Routes
Auto Reverse using Instant Route
Splitting and reattaching a Loco
00:00 – Introduction and Recap
01:13 – Placing a Train on the Switchboard and checking the orientation of the Train
03:06 - Shift + Click on Direction Arrow to change the iTrain orientation to match reality
03:16 – Checking the orientation – Select forward – note the direction of the arrow and compare
04:09 – Creating an Instant Route with simple drag & drop
04:40 – Creating a simultaneous Instant Routes with drag & drop
06:11 – Creating more simultaneous Instant Routes including moving into an occupied siding
11:10 – Auto Reversing
12:02 – Splitting a Train - Left-click and Hold (note: the "Split Train" option will not appear until the train has previously been routed somewhere. So it is not available when the train is first placed onto the layout)
14:09 – Reattaching a Locomotive to Wagons by shunting
14:41 – “Allow shunt in occupied Block” setting change in Block Properties
15:20 - Reattaching a Locomotive to Wagons by shunting – Left-Click and Hold to join


Tutorial 13: https://youtu.be/a63agS5XwY4
Semi-Automatic and Manual Instant Routes
Block Position
00:00 – Introduction
00:50 – Checking Train Properties
01:39 – Instant Route Recap – Drag & Drop – Route or Shunt
02:22 – New feature iTrain 5.0.5 and above – Pop-Up option to run the route in 3 ways
03:02 – Explanation of difference in route options – Automatic, Semi-Automatic, Manual
04:08 – Semi-Automatic Mode – Example
05:47 – Positional information in the Block
07:18 – Starting a Semi-Automatic route – Apply throttle or you get an error
07:49 – Resetting the Route
08:18 – Applying throttle in offline mode and simulating the movement of the train
08:37 – QUESTION? – Why is iTrain reporting 3cm when the train first enters the block?
09:21 – Monitoring the position of the train in the control Block.
12:14 – QUESTION? Why is iTrain only releasing after the train has moved 65cm into the Block and not 58,5cm
12:51 – A closer look at Block Properties and interpretation of positions
14:21 – IMPORTANT - Iain Morrison’s iTrain Forum post explaining Block Position
17:29 – Reporting Position dependent on the direction of Direction Arrow
18:07 – QUESTION? Reversing a Train into a Block – what position will iTrain report?


Tutorial 14: https://youtu.be/ed9W-Uoxw44
Answers to the questions from video 13.
00:00 – Introduction
00:10 – ANSWER - Why is iTrain reporting 3cm when the train first enters the block?
01:47 – ANSWER - Why is iTrain only releasing after the train has moved 65cm into the Block and not 58,5cm
03:05 – IMPORTANT – Explanation and Table regarding Margins
04:38 – ANSWER - Reversing a Train into a Block – what position will iTrain report?
05:38 – IMPORTANT – Occupancy sensors triggered by current conducting/pickup wheels


Tutorial 15: https://youtu.be/Qg0xjJl14Y0
Deadlocks and Critical Blocks
00:00 – Introduction of the new layout
01:38 – Setting up three Instant Routes
02:14 – Starting the Instant Routes and moving the trains along the routes.
02:59 – Example and Explanation of a classic Deadlock
03:34 – How to prevent a Deadlock and identify a Critical Block
04:42 - How to make a Critical Block in Direction Next
06:28 – Definition of a Critical Block
07:17 – Checking the operation with Critical Block selected – Deadlock avoided
09:03 – More complex example of a Deadlock – Critical Block in Direction Previous
16:18 - Checking the operation with Critical Block selected – Deadlock avoided



Tutorial 16: https://youtu.be/80K2VIXVO1I
Preparing a Locomotive for iTrain (part 1)
02:30 - Five step summary
05:15 - Creating a CV Table
09:13 - Setting CV3 Acceleration, CV4 Deceleration
10:50 - Measuring and setting CV5 Max Speed
13:30 - Measuring and setting CV2 Min Speed
14:38 - Creating a Speed Profile
20:00 - Inertia Simulation - Acceleration - Deceleration - Step Delay - Step Size - Feedback Offset


Tutorial 17: https://youtu.be/uBldmYVxkK4
Preparing a Locomotive for iTrain (part 2) - Reaction Delay

 

 

Tutorial 18:   https://youtu.be/Y1H-bYn2e28
Preparing a Locomotive for iTrain (part 3) - Reaction Delay Shuttle Train Route


Don't forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel, it's completely free, and also press the bell icon so that you receive a notification when a new video has been posted.

 

I hope you find them useful.
Bob

Edited by BlasterBob
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I've just watched all 7 videos, subscribed and :good:

 

Thanks Bob (and Iain) for taking the time to put this series together.  The manual is good ( and extensive), but there's nothing better than watching someone take you through things step by step. 

 

 

 

Steve

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On 05/07/2020 at 22:54, 55020 said:

I've just watched all 7 videos, subscribed and :good:

 

Thanks Bob (and Iain) for taking the time to put this series together.  The manual is good ( and extensive), but there's nothing better than watching someone take you through things step by step. 

 

 

 

Steve

Thanks Steve. Appreciated.

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I binged the first 7 videos during the week and then caught up with video 8 yesterday, fantastic.

 

As Steve said, as good as the manual is, seeing practical demonstrations of how iTrain works really does help whet the appetite to get it and makes you think "this is for me", so thank you (and Iain) for putting these together.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the videos!

 

Richard

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19 hours ago, R.Langley said:

I binged the first 7 videos during the week and then caught up with video 8 yesterday, fantastic.

 

As Steve said, as good as the manual is, seeing practical demonstrations of how iTrain works really does help whet the appetite to get it and makes you think "this is for me", so thank you (and Iain) for putting these together.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the videos!

 

Richard

 

Thank you, Richard. It's great to hear that the videos are proving useful. iTrain provides an exciting new dimension to the hobby.

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Thank you Bob and Iain.  This whole series of videos is excellent, very clear explanations of how this system works.  I thought I'd watched the complete set until this latest one was added.  There's obviously so much more to this software than I had first realised.  My initial impression is that this seems to be the best thought out product since Acorn brought out the BBC micro all those years ago.   How much more is there for the videos to cover??

 

I have not long had my Z21 and am still trying getting used to that and using smartphones as throttles/controllers. I have a lot of locos to chip, points to be changed to interface to DCC and I also have to fit some form of feedbacks, so exploring the software isn't top priority and the layout work will take me rather longer than the 2 months trial period.  It does look as though using the package for configuration may be much smarter than using the Z21 native though.  At the moment I have downloaded Itrain but not yet registered as I am not yet ready to start evaluating it properly, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I could do even in unregistered mode and what a promising system Itrain is.  There is reference to a putative Version 6.0 in the pricing blurb, but I can't help wondering what functionality there is to add and whether anything  new is in the pipeline.

 

The only anomaly I have noticed in your videos is that they show more than one throttle, whereas I can only see one on the version I have downloaded and I haven't found any options for changing settings.  Presumably that is just a limitation of looking at it before getting at least a trial licence, which is fair enough.  

 

One concern I do have is transferability to a future PC as and when I replace the one I'm currently using, particularly if he were to cease trading for any reason.  It's only right that the vendor should protect his product against piracy but I don't understand how his licence code protects against that unless the software is restricted in some way to the machine concerned.  

 

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On 22/08/2020 at 20:07, Michael Hodgson said:

Thank you Bob and Iain.  This whole series of videos is excellent, very clear explanations of how this system works.  I thought I'd watched the complete set until this latest one was added.  There's obviously so much more to this software than I had first realised.  My initial impression is that this seems to be the best thought out product since Acorn brought out the BBC micro all those years ago.   How much more is there for the videos to cover??

 

I have not long had my Z21 and am still trying getting used to that and using smartphones as throttles/controllers. I have a lot of locos to chip, points to be changed to interface to DCC and I also have to fit some form of feedbacks, so exploring the software isn't top priority and the layout work will take me rather longer than the 2 months trial period.  It does look as though using the package for configuration may be much smarter than using the Z21 native though.  At the moment I have downloaded Itrain but not yet registered as I am not yet ready to start evaluating it properly, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I could do even in unregistered mode and what a promising system Itrain is.  There is reference to a putative Version 6.0 in the pricing blurb, but I can't help wondering what functionality there is to add and whether anything  new is in the pipeline.

 

The only anomaly I have noticed in your videos is that they show more than one throttle, whereas I can only see one on the version I have downloaded and I haven't found any options for changing settings.  Presumably that is just a limitation of looking at it before getting at least a trial licence, which is fair enough.  

 

One concern I do have is transferability to a future PC as and when I replace the one I'm currently using, particularly if he were to cease trading for any reason.  It's only right that the vendor should protect his product against piracy but I don't understand how his licence code protects against that unless the software is restricted in some way to the machine concerned.  

 


there is no need to be concerned about the license code as it is transferable between computers.

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@Michael Hodgson

 

The number of handheld throttles you can operate is dictated by your command station and the number of iTrain throttles is limited by the size if the layout, the capabilities of your command station, available power and finally the number of screens you have to display the throttles.

 

There is a restriction on the number of interface available defined by the licence type that you purchase as shown here

 

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

 

The licence for iTrain is to you personally  and is transferrable across devices and operating systems. You are also permitted to run your licence on more tan one machine and if the layout is large enough to warrant then you can use iTrain in Client/Server mode - again dependent upon the licence that you purchase.

 

PM me if you have other questions :)

 

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Many thanks, I think that answers my questions Iain.  I was aware of the licence options and I suspect I will be going for the full Pro version. 

 

I will probably be using a 2- or maybe even 3-screen desktop in due course, running Windows 10.  At the moment I am still getting my head round the Z21 and have only used that with two smartphones so far.  But the big attraction of itrain is that in principle I don't need to use hand throttles at all, just set up the routes/timetable and leave the trains to drive to signals.  It is obvious that Itrain will do for me a lot of work that I might otherwise have to do in writing scripts.  Other systems do this too but this certainly seems the best I have looked at so far.   I know I need to get the trial licence and initially connect my laptop to it, and also to configure routers so that I can also have internet access while logged onto the layout.  Unfortunately  those are not the sort of thing I want to start until I am clear of current family distractions as I need to be able to concentrate on the railway without interruptions.  Playing just with the unregistered version is already very promising though. 

 

My layout itself is still DC, so I have to modify that anyway.  It isn't just a case plugging the Z21 in where analogue controllers currently are, as the layout hasnt' been used for a good many years and even the DC isn't ready to simply switch on.  I probably have to add a lot more droppers for reliability.  I might use distributed MERG DTC8 modules for occupancy detection as the Roco modules seem overpriced for what they do, but I would have to decide on the best way to interface the DTC8s to the Z21, as their output is not  DCC.  I have to evaluate which I would use of several known solutions to that problem.  I may well be using one of the other buses on the Z21. I will also need to find a cost-efficient way of using DCC-generated events to trigger my solenoid point motors which currently work off a motley variety of distributed Capacitor Discharge modules.

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Tutorial 16:  Preparing a Locomotive for iTrain (part 1)   is now ready for viewing
02:30 - Five step summary
05:15 - Creating a CV Table
09:13 - Setting CV3 Acceleration, CV4 Deceleration
10:50 - Measuring and setting CV5 Max Speed
13:30 - Measuring and setting CV2 Min Speed
14:38 - Creating a Speed Profile
20:00 - Inertia Simulation - Acceleration - Deceleration - Step Delay - Step Size - Feedback Offset

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