DCC Train Information System

Discuss your experiences with systems, decoders, installations, wiring, control and any general hints & tips you have found.
garethevans1986
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DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:44 pm

So my background is IT, a software engineer / network engineer / devops / technical architect / solution architect of 10+ years and I've always been intrigued with the DCC system that our club layouts use and what could be picked up "off the wire".

Using a NCE DCC Analyser (now unfortunately discontinued) with a Serial port on, I managed to be able to do just that, seeing the DCC Id, Speed Step and Direction of a loco moving was pretty cool.

We started off storing this data in a database and querying the movement data, coupled (no pun intended) with a seperate database with train information in, we combine both datasets when we query the movement data to give the following output on a screen for the public to see. See below.

post-1929-0-26243700-1508242980.jpg


We're able to "see" a loco appear on the TV around 5 seconds once it's Speed Step being greater than 1. We were able to handle, single direction and dual direction trains with separate data eg DMU on the Up and Down with different headcodes and train information.

It's first outing was at the Great Electric Train Show at Gaydon as part of the Mostyn layout in early October this year, having been kept under wraps for a few weeks.

It's first outing went well, we had a memory leak on the Saturday which was fixed pretty quickly and due to the amount of data it was storing (everything) we decided to ignore anything where the Speed Step was at 0 for the time being.

Over a 2 day exhibition, we we're storing 70k+ movement records where 7k were where the Speed Step > 0.

I have a document covering the entire system, which I can grab and publish here if anybody is interested. It's a work in progress but anybody interested in knowing how it's been built or anything, just get in touch.

If you saw it working on Mostyn at the GETS, I'd love to know what you thought. We had plenty of people talk and ask questions about it over the weekend.

Thanks
Gareth
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iak
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby iak » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:46 pm

I sense the "Snooze" editor is calling soon Gareth.
That and MRJ etc...... :D
Mind, it does look smashing. :thumb
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ChrisMitchell
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby ChrisMitchell » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:06 pm

Saw Mostyn at Gaydon. The screens and the reporting system definitely added a new dimension to watching the trains go by, giving everything a sense of purpose. For a layout such as Mostyn, absolutely worthwhile. One thing I noted was that with the screens to one side close to the fiddleyard exits definitely gave a sense of anticipation.

Chris

garethevans1986
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:48 pm

Chris,

Thanks for your feedback.

We're looking to build on the current solution and expand what the system can do, we have a few ideas already and once the club layout Mauch Chunk is up and everything is plugged in we can see what additional data we can pull off the wire :D .

Thank you
Gareth
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John Palmer
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby John Palmer » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:27 pm

DCC is not my thing, but evidently your display is linked to timetable information on which I assume Mostyn's operation is based, and that does interest me because I perpetrated the software that displays information about the timetable sequence upon which we operate our model of Burnham-on-Sea. This began life as a script written for display on a 48k ZX Spectrum (we started nearly forty years ago!) but has evolved into something that can be run on a laptop.

Our display aims to convey to punters rudimentary details of each train's identity (e.g. “0945 Down Passenger to Evercreech Junction”), the locomotive working the train and the rolling stock from which it is formed. This is derived from the 1950 working timetable and our understanding/assumptions/guesswork about the applicable loco duties and carriage working diagrams. For added interest we have introduced a couple of excursion workings for which we have done our best to find appropriate paths, but on occasion I have toyed with the idea of adding further spice to operations by using the computer to simulate random incidents that have occurred elsewhere on the network but which have impacts on our operating sequence such as the need to substitute a different locomotive for that booked. “Seventeen minutes late, water seeping through the cables at Effingham Junction - there was a lot of Effingham and a good deal of Blindingham!” is the kind of thing I have in mind.

May be no overlap whatsoever with your system, but if there is then I'd like to hear a bit more about it.

garethevans1986
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:00 pm

DCCTrainInfoSystem_v0.1.pdf
(274.38 KiB) Downloaded 69 times


Attached is the document covering what the system does, how it works, solution architecture etc.
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kelly
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby kelly » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:11 am

It was quite impressive when I saw it at the Gaydon show.

It is also something that I expect members of MERG would be interested if one of your group is a member to submit it.
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garethevans1986
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:07 pm

kelly wrote:It was quite impressive when I saw it at the Gaydon show.

It is also something that I expect members of MERG would be interested if one of your group is a member to submit it.


Thank you Kelly :)

I popped to the MERG stand at Gaydon and told them about it, explained how it worked and if they wanted more info or to see a demo to pop over and ask for me - unfortunately nobody did.

Gareth
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garethevans1986
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:24 pm

John Palmer wrote:DCC is not my thing, but evidently your display is linked to timetable information on which I assume Mostyn's operation is based, and that does interest me because I perpetrated the software that displays information about the timetable sequence upon which we operate our model of Burnham-on-Sea. This began life as a script written for display on a 48k ZX Spectrum (we started nearly forty years ago!) but has evolved into something that can be run on a laptop.

Our display aims to convey to punters rudimentary details of each train's identity (e.g. “0945 Down Passenger to Evercreech Junction”), the locomotive working the train and the rolling stock from which it is formed. This is derived from the 1950 working timetable and our understanding/assumptions/guesswork about the applicable loco duties and carriage working diagrams. For added interest we have introduced a couple of excursion workings for which we have done our best to find appropriate paths, but on occasion I have toyed with the idea of adding further spice to operations by using the computer to simulate random incidents that have occurred elsewhere on the network but which have impacts on our operating sequence such as the need to substitute a different locomotive for that booked. “Seventeen minutes late, water seeping through the cables at Effingham Junction - there was a lot of Effingham and a good deal of Blindingham!” is the kind of thing I have in mind.

May be no overlap whatsoever with your system, but if there is then I'd like to hear a bit more about it.


Hi John,

We dont have a timetable per say, it's more of a train data list, eg Train Id 98 moving in the Forward direction is "2D53 Llandudno to Liverpool" but 98 in the Reverse direction is "2F45 Liverpool to Llandudno". As operators of Mostyn we dont run to a timetable to run to, it's free choice (without causing a crash!) and the trigger that displays the data on the screens is the detection of the loco moving from the DCC system.

Thanks
Gareth
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kelly
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby kelly » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:26 pm

garethevans1986 wrote:
kelly wrote:It was quite impressive when I saw it at the Gaydon show.

It is also something that I expect members of MERG would be interested if one of your group is a member to submit it.


Thank you Kelly :)

I popped to the MERG stand at Gaydon and told them about it, explained how it worked and if they wanted more info or to see a demo to pop over and ask for me - unfortunately nobody did.

Gareth


I suspect that they simply didn't find the time as there wasn't many people manning the merg stand and those who were were also lwmrs members so were likely dealing with the lwmrs stand stuff too.

Emailing the merg journal editor might be best option really.
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garethevans1986
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Re: DCC Train Information System

Postby garethevans1986 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:36 pm

OK Ill look into it.

Gareth
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