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Interface between Humans and Controllers

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  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Pa.
  • 3,153 posts
Posted by DigitalGriffin on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 5:13 PM

I'm working on something that might even be better than decoder pro.  But sadly my modeling and work has kept me from working on it for the last 6 months.

 

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: New Hampshire
  • 459 posts
Posted by ChrisNH on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 9:30 AM
 MisterBeasley wrote:

CV's are to GUI's as Scratchbuilding is to RTR.

I am not sure the comparison is apt. The CVs provide a finite amount of useful combinations. A good GUI will expose them all to you and bypass a lot of frustration. On the other hand, a scratch built kit can produce a result completely outside those availble as RTR kit. 

However, there is something to be said for playing around directly with the decoder as a learning experience if that is of interest to the modeler. 

Personally, I am surprised that we have not seen a controller with a nicely back-lit embedded 2.5-3.5" TFT touch display rather then then the junk we had to deal with. One can use a PDA with some systems, but it doesnt seem like it would work as well as a true controller with a built in screen.

Chris 

  • Member since
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  • From: Wisconsin
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Posted by Trynn_Allen2 on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 9:13 AM
 MisterBeasley wrote:

CV's are to GUI's as Scratchbuilding is to RTR.

Why, I can remember when there wasn't any such thing as Hexidecimal arithmetic.  Young man, I resisted that new-fangled Hex stuff for years, being far more comfortable in Octal, reading core dumps and breaking down the subfields and function codes.  Yeah, those were the days...

If you choose to learn and understand CV's and how they work, you will be expanding your knowledge, not just of the somewhat limited field of DCC, but of computer interfaces in general.  It's a valuable and saleable skill these days.

For our younger members, if you learn this stuff now, you will be way ahead of the rest of the class when you start taking courses in Computer Engineering.  My own engineering career started with Lionels.

 

If one learns and understands how CV's work you do learn about computer interfaces.  You learn that GUI's are sooo much better than CV's, because quite honestly I want a system that isn't as user arrogant as command line Arc/INFO or AutoCAD, which is exactly what the majority of the systems out there are.  The ONLY time they get better is when you have a PC interface.  It would be nice to take the functionality and size of say a DT400R and marry that with a Blackberry or some other PDA.

My own career started with a drafting table/triangles/T-squares and paper with maybe a Leroy lettering set, but you don't see me saying to the youngns' that this is the place to start.  Start with AutoCAD and Arc/INFO if you can drafting/cartography is hard enough without making it more work than it needs to be.

  • Member since
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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 18,566 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 6:58 AM

CV's are to GUI's as Scratchbuilding is to RTR.

Why, I can remember when there wasn't any such thing as Hexidecimal arithmetic.  Young man, I resisted that new-fangled Hex stuff for years, being far more comfortable in Octal, reading core dumps and breaking down the subfields and function codes.  Yeah, those were the days...

If you choose to learn and understand CV's and how they work, you will be expanding your knowledge, not just of the somewhat limited field of DCC, but of computer interfaces in general.  It's a valuable and saleable skill these days.

For our younger members, if you learn this stuff now, you will be way ahead of the rest of the class when you start taking courses in Computer Engineering.  My own engineering career started with Lionels.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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  • From: Portland, OR
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Posted by jfugate on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 4:07 AM
 tetonjack wrote:

I would like to know if there will be any DCC manufactures do away from 'CV's'? To have simple GUI's to run the controls. I don't want to have to memerize this information, nor do I want to walk around with a manual in my pocket. It seems to me that the manufactures have taken the short cut and put all the work on us, their customers. As I read a few posting, a person has to do alot of finding to do a task. I understand that LCD screens aren't cheap, but buttons with simbols of the function would be nice...

Thanks for reading.

Teton:

Have you tried out DecoderPro and a computer interface? It does just what you are looking for. Point and click decoder programming. You want to increase the volume on a sound decoder? Drag a slider. You want to turn on a given setting? Click a check box.

Forget the fact that check box actually sets bit 7 of CV61 ... All you need to know is you click a check box with your mouse.

I almost never program decoders using CVs any longer. DecoderPro is just too easy. And did I say DecoderPro is free open source software? Google for JMRI (Java Model Railroad Interface).

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • 327 posts
Posted by locoworks on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 1:38 AM
on the pictures on buttons for functions point, digitrax do this for lights, whistle, and they have but a coupler picture on function button too, probably intending this to be used for an uncoupling function. BUT, most better decoders can have the functions remapped to whatever button you want. and not all manufacturers use the same function number for the same things.  bachmann can't even use the same function numbers for the same sound functions on their own loco's.  it would be nice if all manufacturers standardised out the box what each function should do, but when you are adding your own lights or smoke etc, what goes where is upto you.
  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Christchurch New Zealand
  • 1,525 posts
Posted by NZRMac on Monday, February 4, 2008 10:15 PM

My Lenz system has made it easier, they have ACC for acceleration adjustment DCC for deceleration (cv 3 and 4) MAX for max voltage....etc,

Ken.

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Metro East St. Louis
  • 5,743 posts
Posted by simon1966 on Monday, February 4, 2008 10:43 AM

Tetonjack,

You make a good point and to a lesser or greater degree there is some movement in this direction already.  In the US, MRC has certainly made some strides to make this process easier.  Some of the European DCC makers have developed larger LCD displayed models which use symbols and images to better indicate what is happening.  The downside for some of these larger displays is that the throttle becomes large, in some cases becomes a console and often requires 2 handed operation.  I like to be able to run my throttle with one hand, so this would be an issue for me.

Perhaps the best innovation of the lot IMO is the Decoder Pro software application which interfaces to most DCC systems (at least those that offer a PC interface).  This application is a huge step forward in improving programming of decoders.

I suspect that we will see a great deal of effort from manufacturers as they try and out do each other with the throttles that offer the simplest of programming.  This will be a bit of a challenge as the decoders get more and more complex with many more programmable features.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

  • Member since
    March 2006
  • 31 posts
Interface between Humans and Controllers
Posted by tetonjack on Monday, February 4, 2008 10:14 AM

I would like to know if there will be any DCC manufactures do away from 'CV's'? To have simple GUI's to run the controls. I don't want to have to memerize this information, nor do I want to walk around with a manual in my pocket. It seems to me that the manufactures have taken the short cut and put all the work on us, their customers. As I read a few posting, a person has to do alot of finding to do a task. I understand that LCD screens aren't cheap, but buttons with simbols of the function would be nice...

Thanks for reading.

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