Originally Posted by NySwat
2) Do anyone have a Railroad system that is Automatic and use something else besides CTI ?
I'm not familiar with CTI. Bruce Chub developed Computer Model Railroad Interface
(C/MRI) in 1985. JLC Enterprises
in general, such systems control turnouts and signals, and input occupancy detection and turnout position using nodes that communicate with a PC using an RS-422/485 bus. A serial interface is essential to minimizing the wiring and interface to a PC.
A C/MRI node would have some number of input and outputs. It is not designed to drive heavy loads. Separate driver hardware would be used to control switch machines and signals. Block occupancy detectors would provide input, as well as switch machines with built in switches such as Tortoise.
while custom hardware was required in the past for nodes in such systems, Arduinos are more than capable of doing so. I/O can easily be expanded using devices such an the MCP23017.
The NMRA is proposing Layout Command Control
using a can bus which I think if over kill for even large layouts. LCC nodes directly communicate with one another.
neither C/MRI or LCC is intended to control locomotives (although LCC includes a loco control protocol).
they can be integrated with DCC interface to control trains using block occupancy detection and signals. When a train enters a relatively short block preceding a stop signal, control SW can slow/stop a train and restart it once the signal clears.
I believe there are more complete systems that can control trains. I don't know what is involved to schedule the running of trains over such systems.
As a software engineer, i've always found it almost as time consuming to learn to use a commercial piece of software as it is to simply develop my own that does exactly what I want, and one thing I want is the ability diagnose what the system is doing.