IntelliBox-I 'Classic'

ContentCommand StationsUhlenbrock



Setup for the Intellibox-I 'Classic', 65000, and other Intelliboxes with RS232 interface

ib.jpg


Protocol

The Intellibox can be used with the original Märklin p50, the extended p50x or the LocoNet protocol via the RS232 connection or with the LocoNet protocol via the LocoNet connector by using a separate LocoNet adaptor.
The p50 protocol is not advised because of the very limited set of instructions.


General Set-Up

By default the Intellibox (IB) is connected to the computer using a RS232 cable. If the computer is not equipped with a serial port an USB-to-serial adaptor can be used. See also Cable Assembly at the end of this page.

Tip: Alternatively, the IB can be connected to a computer using the LocoNet connector and a separate LocoNet adaptor. This connection offers some advantages over the RS232 connection. See Spontaneous Resets for more information on this matter.

In order to display loco velocity changes by means of the IB throttles correctly in Rocview option Allow Zero Throttle ID has to be activated.

After completing the set-up special attention should be paid to the paragraphs Fine Tuning and Switch Times.


Set-Up for p50x

Setting up the IB

Interface

In basic setup go to “Interface” and then select:

  • Baudrate: 19200
Protocol

In basic setup go to “Interface” and then select:

  • Syntax: 6050 & IB

:!: “IB only” does not work!


Setting up Rocrail

From the menu File → Rocrail properties… is selected and in the following dialogue tab Controller is selected. If the Intellibox should be the only command station other command stations possibly listed have to be deleted first. Afterwards from the drop down field New the command station p50x is selected and subsequently added by pressing Add. The command station NEW - p50x is highlighted and Properties is pressed. The dialogue Intellibox (Extended P50) opens:

IID

The Interface ID “NEW” is overwritten by an appropriate name, e. g. IB in the example. The computer interface determined beforehand is entered into the field Device, e. g. “com1” in the example.

Baudrate

The IB supports baud rates of 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200 and (using special options) 38400. 19200 is most commonly used and the recommended baud rate.

Timeout

This value is used as timeout on serial communication like waiting for the CTS line.

Handshake

Hardware Flow has to be CTS

Sensors

The Number of connected sensors is entered into the accordant field. The value is the number of the connected 8-port sensor modules. If 16 port sensor module are used their number has to be multiplied by two.

Poll

The poll checkbox should be left unchecked for better performance. This is a work around for Tams Easy Control.
The Poll option starts reading sensors in the p50 way, Märklin 6050/6051, which is not needed for the IB because it provides 'events' for this.

Overrule throttle

Force if set, then the XLok command is 'forced' even in case of a Lok already controlled by a non-PC device.


Set-Up for LocoNet via RS232

Note:
This section applies to a LocoNet connection via the RS232 serial connector only! See Spontaneous Resets for the set-up required using the LocoNet connector!

The IB can be set up for LocoNet via the RS232 (serial) port. The IB then behaves like a LocoBuffer.

Note:
LocoNet packets can be lost due to the small buffer between the LocoNet and the RS232 interface.
A separate LocoNet adaptor is recommended to circumvent this issue. See section Spontaneous Resets for details.


Setting up the IB

  1. Put the interface into mode “LocoNet”:
    • Basic settings → interface → syntax → LocoNet
  2. Set baud rate to 19200 Baud:
    • Basic settings → interface → bit per second → 19200 bit/s
  3. Set the UART of the interface to 1 stop bits: (default 2)
    • Basic settings → special option → SO 5 → 1
  4. CTS flow → SO 6: (default 254)
    • Basic settings → special option → SO 6 → 255


Setting up Rocrail

From the menu File → Rocrail properties… is selected and in the following dialogue tab Controller is selected. If the Intellibox should be the only command station other command stations possibly listed have to be deleted first. Afterwards from the drop down field New the command station loconet is selected and subsequently added by pressing Add. The command station NEW - loconet is highlighted and Properties is pressed. The dialogue LocoNet Interface opens:


On tab Interface the ID NEW is overwritten by an appropriate name, e. g. IB in the example. The computer interface determined beforehand is entered into the field Device, e. g. com1 in the example. The baud rate is set to 19200. The Type has to be LocoBuffer and CTS Flow has to be enabled.

On tab Options there are no adjustments available for the Intellibox.

On tab Details the only option relevant is Slot Purge time: Locomotives not in use will be purged after a time specified in the Intellibox. The option Slot Ping can be used to inhibit purging. The value entered into the field Slot Purge time should be equal or slightly lower than the purge time of the Intellibox.

:!: A value of zero, the CS is supposed not to purge, will lead to unpredictable situations: Rocrail will not check with the CS if the known slot is purged. Very small purge time values will cause unnecessary traffic for checking the slots.

Note: Locos that were controlled by Rocrail and were afterwards parked remain active if the option Slot Ping is active. If such a loco is selected on the Intellibox a warning will be shown telling the loco is already under control.


:!: Important: The Slot Server must not be enabled! This will conflict with the IB and could lead to a Rocrail server crash.

S88

Set the number of connected S88 modules to get the sensor status at StartOfDay.


Fine Tuning

If FIFO and other problems occur in auto-mode it should be considered to use the following special options of the IB.

:!: Keep in mind, to change only one setting at a time, test and validate, before changing another.


SO1

To access the highest transfer rate (38400bps) of the IB, which is not available in the options' menu, change SO#1=4.

SO25 / SO907 Data Format

SO#25 and SO#907 define the idle signal sent if no loco is active or in the refresh cycle. The factory settings are (depending on the country where the IB was purchased): SO#25=0 and SO#907=1.

Data Format SO25
DCC / Motorola as needed 0
DCC permanently 1
Motorola permanently 2
DCC and Motorola permanently 3


Idle Signal SO907
Motorola 1
DCC 4
Motorola and DCC 5


A combination of SO#25=3 and SO#907=5 may cause problems with certain mobile and / or accessory decoders under certain conditions: Sometimes commands are received delayed or not at all. Generally sending both DCC and Motorola idle signals is not necessary even in a mixed DCC/Motorola environment.
In a mixed environment normally a combination of e. g. SO#25=2 and SO#907=1 can be used.

Note: If, from the IB menu, a protocol different from the standard protocol is assigned to a single loco the special options may be set automatically to SO#25=3 and SO#907=5!

SO26 BPS Fallback

To increase stability on Rocrail connecting with IB, esp. when using the actual release, consider to change Special Option 26 from 1 to 0.
SO#26=1 forces Long RS-232 break to result in fallback to initial 2400bps, this may happen during p50x-module startup, resulting in a potential loss of communication, while SO#26=0 results in remaining speed unchanged.

SO33 Disable Echo

If no I²C devices, like Märklin keyboards or so, are connected to the IB, changing SO#33=0 will reduce internal overhead of IB.
SO#33=1 default echo of turn out commands on the I²C-bus.

Spontaneous Resets

The old IB is known to sometimes performing spontaneous unwanted resets under certain circumstances in certain environments. Even though this matter was widely discussed for many years on various forums on the internet a clear reason was never detected. The only point clear is the IB almost never performs unwanted resets while no connection to a computer is established.

To minimize the occurrence of unwanted resets a good (and continuous!) shielding of the interface cable from the computer to the IB should be ensured. Further on, transformers, monitors and other sources of interference should be kept away from the IB. Another aspect is to avoid an overstress of the IB due to many commands being sent within a short period of time.

An elegant alternative to avoid unwanted resets totally is not to use the serial (RS232) connection of the IB at all. Of course this does not mean to stay without Rocrail!

Since the IB is a LocoNet device it can be controlled in total via the LocoNet. Commands from the computer or Rocrail, respectively, have to be transferred to the LocoNet first and from the LocoNet to the IB in a second step. Several adapters are available for this purpose: These are, among others, the GCA85 (RS232), the GCA101 (Ethernet), the LocoBuffer, the LocoBuffer from RR-Cirkits and the USB-LocoNet-Interface by Uhlenbrock.

Wiring


The IB, the USB-LocoNet adapter and the computer can be connected according to the above scheme. The serial (RS232) interface cable is not needed anymore and should be removed. Moreover, the serial interface can be switched off from the IB menu.

Tip: LocoNet cables can be assembled easily, well-priced and in the desired length by oneself: LocoNet Wiring

Set-Up

The IB itself does not need to be configured. Configuring the Special Options mentioned in section Set-Up for LocoNet via RS232 is not required, too.

From the menu File → Rocrail properties… is selected and in the following dialogue tab Controller is selected. The original configuration of the IB - if existent - is deleted. Afterwards from the drop down field New the command station loconet is selected and subsequently added by pressing Add. The command station NEW - loconet is highlighted and Properties is pressed. The dialogue LocoNet Interface opens. The name (Interface ID) should be exactly the same as the one used before, if applicable. This ensures the Interface ID does not need to be exchanged in all locos, switches, signals and so on if the ID was entered there.

The further procedure depends on the adapter applied. If, for instance, the Uhlenbrock USB-LocoNet-Interface 63120 is used the same configuration as explained in chapter Set-UP on the wiki page of the USB-LocoNet-Interface takes place. Other adapters are set up as explained on the relevant wiki page.

Note: Only the interface (the adapter) is configured. The IB becomes part of the LocoNet and thus does not need any special configuration.

Programming track

If the IB is configured as described above, the PT button in Rocrail doesn't work anymore. The programming track is switched on automatically during the first programming operation (read/write).


Addressing and Timing

Addressing Accessory Decoders

Addressing accessory decoders is preferably done using PADA-Addressing as in this case the switch (or signal etc.) address matches with the address on the Intellibox without the need to convert.
The IB-Address of, e.g., a switch is entered into the port field, while the address field stays at 0 (zero). See above link for details on addressing schemes.

Switch Times

The switch times of switches and other accessories can be set up from the IB menu:

  • Basic Settings → Access. Setting → Switch Times
Note: This setting has no effect for Intellibox II (internal switch times of the Intellibox II are ignored). The following thus applies to the Intellibox 1 only. However, the table at the end of the chapter may be an indication for the switch times values in Rocrail.

The effective switch times depend on these settings of the IB, not on the settings in the Rocrail Configuration: To a single switch command the maximum switch time applies, if multiple commands are sent in series the minimum switch times applies. The IB executes the commands one after the other; too many commands within a short period of time can overcharge the IB and the accessory decoders, respectively. An overcharge may result in dropped commands, not detected sensor activation and so on.

Example 1:

  • Switch times of the IB were set to min. 200 ms and max. 500 ms
  • The switch time in Rocrail was set to 100 ms, the route switch time to 10ms

If a single switch is controlled the actual switch time will be 500 ms.
If a route containing several switches is activated the switch time will be 200 ms for each switch.

Example 2:

  • Switch times of the IB were set to min. 200 ms and max. 200 ms
  • The switch time in Rocrail was set to 250 ms, the route switch time to 300ms

If a single switch is controlled the actual switch time will be 200 ms.
If a route containing several switches is activated the switch time will be 200 ms for each switch. Between the consecutive activation of the switches is a pause of 100 ms (300ms - 200ms).

Setting up the switch times therefore has to be done with care. The minimum and the maximum switch time of the IB should be equal. A Route switch time significantly shorter than the minimum switch time of the IB may result in trains starting too early, i. e. before all switches were set. Therefore the Route switch time should be equal or higher than the switch time of the IB.
The Init field pause should be set to at least double the value of the minimum switch time (two commands are sent to each switch during initialisation!).

A practical example could look like this (IB min. Minimum switch time of the IB; IB max. Maximum switch time of the IB):

Example
Value
Remark / Alternative Setting Minimum
Value1)
IB min.2) 300 the shortest time found to be sufficient for reliable operation3)
plus 50 to 100ms for safety
200
IB max.4) 300 equal to IB min. 200
Rocrail Switch time 300 equal to IB min. 1x IB min.
Route switch time 300 equal to IB min. or higher 1x IB min.
Init field pause 600 two times IB min. or higher 2x IB min.
Block init pause 300 equal to IB min. or less for a layouts with only a few signals 0


Reducing Number of Commands

Many commands within a short period of time may lead to complications resulting in error messages or sometimes “fifo buffer full”. The latter is often caused by accessory decoders not able to handle multiple commands in a sequence.

It is therefore generally recommended to reduce the number of commands and to icrease the interval of outgoing commands. The following settings in Rocrail can be used to acchieve this:


Fleischmann Twin-Center Settings

Special settings of the Twin-Center, namely some special options, are described on the Wiki page of the Twin-Center.


Cable Assembly



Known issues

Loconet

Throttle speed is ignored

1) Empiric values. Shorter times may be used if found to be reliable. If switches and other accessories are sometimes not set correctly in auto mode the minimum values should be regarded or even extended.
2) , 4) for Intellibox 1 only
3) Has to be checked with IB max. = IB min. (Intellibox 1 only)

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