A New DCC

If there were to be a new British DCC controller, with the intention of sweeping away the competition, what facilities would you seek?
Eg, reference to engines by name, although internally there would still be binary addresses?
Track circuiting and Train Describer that keeps track of which engine is in which berth?
Running an automatic timetable?
Emulation of the GWR AWS, so that if an engine approaches any signal, a bell or hooter sounds on the control panel requiring cancellation by the driver?
I'm a retired electronics and software expert, with a 16mm loop in the garden and an "N" gauge layout packed away in the loft, and otherwise looking for a project to while away the hours!
The H-Bridge that actually drives the power to the track being controlled by BlueTooth from an iPad, or similar?
What I'd like to do is to draw up a spec for discussion in this NG.
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On 2014-01-23 10:42 AM, gareth wrote:

And/or engine type? IMO, you should still have engine numbers, though.

Do you mean train name and/or number?

H'mm. Takes a lot of fun out of running trains, but would be nice for a "background" train or two when there aren't enough operators available.

Automatic Train Control over here. Nice!

Ie, augment existing radio/IR control systems? Nice. Would have to included a multi-platform GUI. IMO this could be a killer app, since it would allow (limited?) operation of an engine by any guest with a smartphone etc, would make development of computerised Central Train Control systems relatively easy, too.
Nice wishlist. ;-)

Whatever you do, the technical specs would have to conform to the de facto international standard, NMRA. There are loads of CVs available to hold the parameters needed for what you envisage.
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On Thu, 23 Jan 2014 13:15:15 -0500, Wolf Kirchmeir
Remote uncoupling anywhere would be far more useful. Or sliding doors on modern stock, lights turned on before a passenger train enters a tunnel in steam age models, etc.
But this would require the cost of accessory modules to come right down - you would need one for each end of every vehicle for uncoupling anywhere.
Much of what he describes can be done using DC, using existing occupation detectors like those from Dallee Electronics. Or even the old technology of reed relays.
What he wants would require a completely new form of DCC unless the NMRA standard includes transmission of signals back to the panel.
If not, you would still need DC for eg the AWS bell or hooter to do this.

I used to have the ultimate DC controller - it was called Realroad, and used an add-on card in a PC. It generated the optimum wave-form for any engine, from flat voltage regulated DC for modern motors and gears to time interval spikes for old open framed motors and worms, with transition once the lococomotive had reached a desired speed. As soon as you cranked the knob, voltage would go from zero to marginally less than the starting value so you had the entire rotation of the knob for fine control.
I put it in an ancient Compaq "suitcase portable" that was lying around unused.
You could also simulate weight and inertia for any train weight but I never bothered with these.
It lost out to DCC because it couldn't provide all the extras you get with that.
A German friend used radio control DC on his 16mm garden layout, and when DCC was becoming popular built his own modules using single-chip programmable control hardware with a simple program in the EPROM part and used these wireless as well.
We've been out of touch for a long time so I don't know whether he went over to commercial DCC products.

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wrote:

Those are things that would have to exist of themselves befire being candidates for remote control.
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On Thu, 23 Jan 2014 19:14:06 -0000, "gareth"

The technology is there.
I believe ROCO have sliding doors, and I read an article in MRJ(?) about somebody doing this themselves.
And shape memory wire would be one way to do uncoupling anywhere, even with Triang/Hornby tension lock style couplers - all that would be needed would be to pull up the hook instead of stopping on the ramp.
You could do it with most of the specialist couplers apart from 3-link and Alex Jackson.
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You might want to look at http://www.merg.org.uk/ in respect of some of your ideas (if you haven't already)
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