Author Topic: New member interested in RailPro  (Read 741 times)

StNick

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New member interested in RailPro
« on: October 25, 2019, 10:02:00 AM »
I am in the planning stage of a medium/small layout (around 6ft by 10ft) and am really interested in RailPro. My ultimate goal is, as a former computer geek,is  to have the layout computer controlled. My questions concern the fact that RailPro is a sole-sourced system and in my former career, this was potentially a problem. The one question I have for you folks is this - If Ring Engr were to shut down, would you still be happy with the system as it exists as of today? Any and all opinions are welcome and would help me decide which way to go.

atsfguy

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 11:03:04 AM »
St Nick,
No question about it. Railpro is the best control system out there and if Ring Engineering were to go under, it would still be best and I would run it forever.
Welcome to the group.
Cheers, Cecil
Cecil
ATSF-Eastern Division

nodcc4me

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 11:26:13 AM »
I agree with Ian, 100%. I wouldn't worry about it. Tim Ring is fairly young and has put plenty of time and money into his business. Barring an unforeseen incident, I can't imagine him giving it up. Even then, I'm sure a buyer would be found. The system is that good.  ;)
Al

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Alan

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 02:29:12 PM »
I am in the planning stage of a medium/small layout (around 6ft by 10ft) and am really interested in RailPro. My ultimate goal is, as a former computer geek,is  to have the layout computer controlled. My questions concern the fact that RailPro is a sole-sourced system and in my former career, this was potentially a problem. The one question I have for you folks is this - If Ring Engr were to shut down, would you still be happy with the system as it exists as of today? Any and all opinions are welcome and would help me decide which way to go.

RP is a great control system when used as intended. Beyond that, it is a totally sealed ecosystem. Replacing the control function of an HC (or multiple HCs) with a computer is, to the best of my knowledge, not possible.
Alan

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When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

nodcc4me

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 02:45:36 PM »
Actually, by using the CI-1 interface I am able to run trains with the HC Simulator on my laptop. This is very similar to using an HC controller, although I don't think you can use multiple CI-1's and HC Sims at the same time.
Al

Run your train, not your brain. Get RailPro. It's a no-brainer.

Alan

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 02:53:17 PM »
Actually, by using the CI-1 interface I am able to run trains with the HC Simulator on my laptop. This is very similar to using an HC controller, although I don't think you can use multiple CI-1's and HC Sims at the same time.

You are still within the RP ecosystem. I don't believe that is what the OP means by computer control. CI and HC Simulator just turns your computer into a big HC, it doesn't permit programmatic control of the HC.
Alan

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When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

nodcc4me

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 03:12:14 PM »
That's true. If he wants to run the layout hands-off it won't work. I haven't seen a system that can do that.
Al

Run your train, not your brain. Get RailPro. It's a no-brainer.

KPack

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 04:30:17 PM »
Echoing others above, I'm not concerned about the single-source for Railpro.  If something were to happen to Tim there would be a buyer to pick it up.  Heck, a couple of us here would probably jump in and keep it going.  We all like the system that much. 

Railpro cannot be used to control the layout via computer programming.  I've seen that done with a couple of DCC systems in conjunction with some other software.  Railpro is somewhat closed in that way. 

-Kevin

G8B4Life

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Re: New member interested in RailPro
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 08:48:36 PM »
Yep, I've no real problem with RP being single source, despite what others in the hobby say it's not really different to other systems (including DCC) in that regard.

As to computer control, it depends on what you want to do with that. We have the ability to write programs for select RP hardware so rudimentary automation could be done now for accessories based on the hardware inputs received by the accessory module (there is no reason the hardware inputs couldn't be driven by another microcontroller device such an an Arduino either). Can't do that for locomotives yet though there shouldn't be any reason why it couldn't be done in the future. It might require new hardware like a detector that you write a program for that transmits commands to an LM that passes over it etc. The possibilities is there I'm sure it's just if TR want's to go down that road or not.

As to just using you computer as a controller, all you need is the CI-1 and to install HC Simulator onto the computer.


I don't think you can use multiple CI-1's and HC Sims at the same time.

You could, just as long as they have a computer each. HC Sim won't load more than one copy of itself into memory, and plugging two or more CI-1's into a single PC might confuse HC Sim if TR hasn't preempted someone doing that.

- Tim