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JMRI was used to create the dispatcher control panel for Nick Kulp's Cornwall RR. This page briefly describes how to run that so you can take a look at that. Links to other pages with more detail are included, but many of those pages do not exist yet or are still under construction.
The layout has 45 signal heads controlled by the C/MRI system. Most have red, yellow and green aspects; there are a couple that also indicate diverging routes with flashing yellow. The signals respond to occupancy to provide an automatic interlocking system.
Originally, the dispatcher worked via applications on two computers. One ran the C/MRI system that showed block occupancy and drove the signals, while another application on a different laptop was used to throw turnouts.
The most recent version of Nick's program is included as an example in each JMRI download. You can install and run it yourself if you'd like to see what it really looks like and play with the signals, etc.
You can leave the rest of the settings at their default values. Click "Save", and when prompted if you want to quit the program say "yes". Restart the program. From now on, it should successfully run Nick's dispatcher panel in a layout-independent mode.
The occupancy indicators look like if the section is occupied, and if it's not. If you click on one of these, it will flip the state. If you "hover" the mouse pointer over it, a tooltip will pop up that tells you it's exact name in Nick's terms (a human-readable "user name"), and in the programs naming convention (a "System Name").
You can also click on many of the turnouts in the black and white schematic section to flip their state. (Some of them are not connected to the C/MRI system yet, and so are inert on the panel). In some cases, there are several turnouts connected together to form a crossing, so flipping one will cause the others to follow.
Note that the indicators by the levers in the green part of the panel follow the turnouts in the schematic; this is because they are both responding to C/MRI readback from the layout, and your clicks are fooling that into thinking the input has changed (in the absence of a C/MRI system responding on the serial port).
If you click on a lever, the lever will flip to the other position and a DCC command to change the turnout will be sent. If you're running this without Nick's layout, however, this command won't actually move a turnout and send feedback via C/MRI, so the turnout indicator in the schematic won't change.
Notice that the signals change in response to the position of turnouts and occupancy on the schematic. The program is doing this automatically by following logic that was copied from Nick's previous programs. This logic was translated by hand from QBASIC to Java, and embedded in the Cornwall program. We're working on more general approaches to this to make it easier for other people to create their own logic.
JMRI provides tools for creating custom control panels for a model railroad. It's flexible enough to do whatever you want, or at least whatever you're willing to spend the time to create. For more information on JMRI see the main web page. For links to download and install instructions for various computer types, see the download pages. Note that you have to have JMRI version 1.1.13 (or later) to run Nick's program; the most recent one (as long as it is compatible with your hardware) is preferred.
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