I'll Let The Computer Drive Today

Designing the circuits was easy compared to writing the Windows program that operates the railroad.  I wrote the C++ program with windows API code, the low level language of Microsoft's MFC.  There are about 3 thousand instructions to choose from and finding the right one for the job is pretty tough for the amateur programmer.   

The Train.exe program provides point and click controls for railroad operation.  The main screen is a bitmap picture representing the track layout.  Switch tracks can be switched by moving the cursor over the desired fork and clicking.




The program uses voltage and current readings, delivered 5 times per second from the Sensor Array Board, to calculate the location of engines.  The accuracy is approximately 2 inches.  It then draws a red dot that moves along the track images to indicate the current position of the active engines.

Click on picture for full sized image.


A Scan Display window shows which section of track an engine is on, how many inches it has progressed on the track, and the scale speed in miles per hour.



Speed and direction are controlled by another small window with windows scroll bars for throttles and small pushbuttons for setting the direction.  The current speed for each throttle is displayed at the top of the scroll bar.  Either the user or computer controlled scripts may set these controls.



Right clicking in the main program window opens a set of menus to open throttle or scan windows, run computer controlled scripts, or play selected sound effects.







Finally, a status window displays current step being executed in the chosen script.  All four of these windows fit on the system display when in 800x600 resolution.







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