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signal-setup-en

Signals: How to set up

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How to set up signals



1.0 Introduction

Setting up signals is sometimes found to be a challenging task as there are many options to consider and some obstacles to overcome.

This guide will show how to address signals, explain how some of the control types work, give configuration examples and finish with a step-by-step instruction.

2.0 Addressing

Addressing of signals should be done in the same way as for switches, that is either MADA, PADA or FADA is used.

:!: Consult the Practical Guide on how to address signals.

It depends on the command station which addressing scheme(s) must be used. If possible, it is recommended to use the PADA type of addressing.

2.1 Comparison Table of Addressing Schemes

The following table is repeated for reference, cf. the Practical Guide for details.

MADA PADA Flat (e.g. BiDiB)
Signal Number Address Port Address Port Address Port
1 1 1 0 1 1 0
2 1 2 0 2 2 0
3 1 3 0 3 3 0
4 1 4 0 4 4 0
5 2 1 0 5 5 0
6 2 2 0 6 6 0
2 2 3 0 7 7 0
8 2 4 0 8 8 0
9 3 1 0 9 9 0


3.0 Control

The control type has influence on the type and sequence of commands being sent to the command station.

The standard control type is "Default" using addresses and gates for each aspect. Alternatively type "Patterns" can be used if a special sequence of commands is needed. In many cases type "Linear" is the easiest and most convenient way to control signals.

Note that

  • addressing in the examples is done in PADA notation. See table in 2.1 on how to convert to other addressing types.
  • options Switch and Invert can be used for 2-aspects signals with default control only.


3.1 Default

Default control uses the address and / or port fields and the gates (red or green) for each aspect. Multiple commands are issued for each aspect1). Choose patterns or the linear control type if this is not wanted or causes unwanted behaviour.

Addressing and gates as shown in the examples2). All aspects not in use should be left at address 0, port 0.

2-aspects signal, simple setup using switch commands with default control
Addressing Gates Options
Field address port switch invert
RED 0 1 not used ✔ / ✘

Use Invert option in case the aspects are interchanged.

2-aspects signal standard setup with default control
Addressing Gate
Field address port
RED 0 1 red
GREEN 0 1 green

Options Switch and Invert must not be used.
Change both gates in case the aspects are interchanged.

3-aspects signal with default control
Addressing Gate
Field address port
RED 0 1 red
GREEN 0 1 green
YELLOW 0 2 green

Change gates for both RED and GREEN in case red and green aspects are interchanged. Change gate for YELLOW in case the yellow aspect does not work.

4-aspects signal with default control
Addressing Gate
Field address port
RED 0 1 red
GREEN 0 1 green
YELLOW 0 2 green
WHITE 0 2 red

Change gates for both RED and GREEN in case red and green aspects are interchanged. Change gates for both YELLOW and WHITE in case the yellow and white aspect are interchanged.

3.2 Patterns

Patterns are often used with dedicated signal decoders generally affording only one command per aspect. Patters can also be used to generate custom command sequences, which are sometimes needed for mechanical signals and light signals connected to switching decoders (continuous current / relays), respectively.

On the interface tab only the addresses for RED and GREEN can be set. Other fields and the gates are not available. The gates are set on tab Details using the radio buttons of the patterns table. Generally each aspect is set by activating one gate. With the two addresses (equivalent to four gates) up to four aspects can be handled by patterns.

It is good practice to disable all gates that are not needed for the signal by activating button N.

Addressing and gates pattern as shown in the examples3).

2-aspects signal with patterns

Addressing (Interface tab):

Addressing
Field address port
RED 0 1
GREEN 0 0

Patterns (Details tab):

Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
BLANK

Change gates for both green and red in case the aspects are interchanged.

3-aspects signal with patterns

Addressing (Interface tab):

Addressing
Field address port
RED 0 1
GREEN 0 2

Patterns (Details tab):

Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
BLANK

Change gates for both green and red under RED address in case the aspects are interchanged. Change gate for yellow under GREEN address in case the yellow aspect does not work.

3-aspects signal, special sequence with patterns

Addressing (Interface tab): Same as in above example.

Patterns (Details tab):

Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
BLANK

In some cases a signal cannot be switched from green to yellow for example but has to follow a sequence like, e.g., green - red - yellow which the above example takes care for. Note the extra G1 for the yellow aspect.

3-aspects signal, sequence for switching decoders

Addressing (Interface tab): Same as in above example.

Patterns (Details tab):

Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
BLANK

If light signals are connected to switching decoders the yellow light has to be switched off (by switching over to the not connected output of the second relays) for both red and green aspects. For the yellow aspect (green + yellow lights) green and yellow have to be switched on. This example applies to German railroad signals (red or green or green + yellow) and may be adapted for other requirements by exchanging / deselecting gates.

4-aspects signal with patterns

Addressing (Interface tab):

Addressing
Field address port
RED 0 1
GREEN 0 2

Patterns (Details tab):

Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
BLANK

Change gates for both green and red under RED address in case the red and green aspects are interchanged. Change gates for both yellow and white under GREEN address in case the yellow and white aspects are interchanged.


Signal decoders with own matrix

In some signal decoders, the states of two accessory addresses are used to define one signal aspect. The decoder manual then usually uses a matrix to show which combination yields which aspect. For example first address red and second address red results in signal red (Stop, Hp0, …); first address green and second address red result in signal green (Go, Hp1, …) etc. The first address corresponds to the "RED address", the second address corresponds to the "GREEN address" in the pattern configuration.

Such decoders are also easy to control with patterns. The matrix specified in the decoder instructions must be transferred to the pattern configuration.

Addressing (Interface tab):

Addressing Remark
Field Address Port
RED 0 1 1st Address
GREEN 0 2 2nd Address

Patterns (Details tab):

(1st Address) (2nd Address)
Aspects RED address GREEN address
R1 G1 N R2 G2 N
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
WHITE
EMPTY

This example configuration has resulted from the instructions of a decoder. The information given there among other things was:

  • First address red and second address red corresponds to signal red.
  • First address green and second address green corresponds to signal yellow.

For the table above, this would mean in the simplest case: Activate R1 and R2 in line red. In line Yellow activate G1 and G2. In fact, the signal aspects were then reversed, so that in line red G1 and G2 had to be activated and in line yellow R1 and R2. In some cases, the exact configuration can therefore be determined only by trial and error.


3.3 Linear

The linear control type is the easiest way to control signals. Only one base address is set. For signals with two aspects only this address is used. Signals with three and four aspects are controlled by two addresses, the second one is base address + 1. The more aspects are used, the more addresses will automatically be employed. In this way up to 32 aspects can be controlled using up to 16 consecutive addresses.

Standard signals with up to four aspects use the aspect number to assign aspects to gates. Multi aspect signals have a fixed correlation between aspects and gates.

Aspect numbers are between 0 and 3 where 0 is the first aspect and 3 is the fourth. Usually aspect 0 is red and aspect 1 is green. Yellow is either 2 or 3 depending on the decoder configuration. If yellow is aspect number 2 then white has aspect number 3 and vice versa. The aspect number for aspects not used can be left at 0 (zero).

Addressing and aspect numbers as shown in the examples4).

Addressing (Interface tab):

Addressing
Field Address Port
RED 0 1

Only the base address is set in the RED field for any number of aspects between 2 to 32.

Note: Further addresses are assigned automatically depending on the number of aspects. These addresses have to be available and must not be used any other device.
2-aspects signal with linear control

Aspect numbers (Details tab):

Aspect Aspect Number
green 1
red 0

Exchange aspect numbers with each other in case the aspects are interchanged.

3-aspects signal with linear control

Aspect numbers (Details tab):

Aspect Aspect Number
green 1
red 0
yellow 3

Exchange aspect numbers for red and green with each other in case the red and green aspects are interchanged. Use 2 instead of three in case the yellow aspect does not work.

4-aspects signal with linear control

Aspect numbers (Details tab):

Aspect Aspect Number
green 1
red 0
yellow 3
white 2

Exchange aspect numbers for red and green with each other in case the red and green aspects are interchanged. Exchange aspect numbers for yellow and white with each other in case the yellow and white aspects are interchanged.

4.0 Setup Step by Step

Setting up a signal requires some configuration work and should be done in the order described here.

4.1 Adding a Signal

Setting up a signal obviously always starts with adding the signal to the track plan:

  1. Rocrail is started up showing the track plan
  2. from the Track Plan menu Edit Panel is selected
  3. clicking on Signal in the pop up window Add item a list of available signals is presented
  4. clicking on the second symbol shows the type of signal selected at the bottom of the window: Main Signal
  5. the symbol is drag&dropped to the desired position
  6. in the pop up window Input Text the ID of the new signal is entered. IDs should be short like, e.g., S_01
  7. with Alt-R the symbol can be rotated to the desired orientation

4.2 Signal Properties

The general type of signal was already selected when adding the symbol to the track plan. Further characteristics are selected from the signal properties.

  1. a right click on the signal symbol opens the context menu of this object
  2. selecting Properties… from menu opens the signal properties
  3. selecting tab Details offers a few options for the signal
    1. Signal Type: Choice between Semaphore Signal or Light Signal
    2. Signification: Choice between Distant Signal, Main Signal or Shunting Signal (Block State is not a railway signal)
    3. Aspects: The number of aspects the signal can display: 2 if only red or green, 3 if red, green and yellow, 4 if red, green, yellow and white
    4. all other options can be ignored for the moment and should stay with their default values, i.e. unchecked or left empty, respectively
  4. changes have to be saved by clicking on Apply

4.3 Addressing and Control

The Interface tab has to be selected which offers options for control and addressing.

  1. Interface ID is left empty in most cases. Only to be used if more than one command station is connected.
  2. Bus left at 0 (zero) unless other values are required by the command station
  3. UID Name used by BiDiB and RocNet, otherwise to be left empty
  4. the Protocol used to address the signal decoder is selected from the drop down list or may stay at Default if the protocol is defined by the command station
  5. selecting the control type of either Default, Patterns, Linear, Aspect Numbers or Binary. Refer to chapter 3.0 for more info on the first three of these. Which type can be used depends on the command station and the signal decoder.
  6. next steps are described for linear control in the chapter below. For other control types refer to the examples in chapters 3.1ff.

4.3.1 Finish Setup for Linear Control

  1. The base address has to be filled in the field RED. Refer to chapter 2.0 on how addressing is done.
  2. clicking on Apply saves the changes made so far
  3. on tab Details the aspect numbers have to be specified:
    • in line green the aspect number for the green aspect: Mostly 1
    • in line red the aspect number for the red aspect: Mostly 0
    • setting up a 2-aspects signal is complete now, jump to No. 4 of the list
    • in line yellow the aspect number for the yellow aspect: Likely either 3 or 2
    • setting up a 3-aspects signal is complete now, jump to No. 4 of the list
    • in line white the aspect number for the white aspect: Likely either 2 or 3
  4. clicking on Apply and then on OK finishes the settings of the signal


4.4 Check for proper operation

With the command station powered on and Operate chosen from the Track Plan menu the settings are tested:

  • from the context menu of the signal symbol in the track plan Command and then
    • all of the available commands (red, green, yellow, white), one after the other, are selected
      • for each command it is checked whether the model signal shows the selected aspect.
  • If some aspects are interchanged refer to the examples in chapters 3.1ff on how to correct this.
  • If the signal shows no reaction at all either the addressing is not correct or the signal cannot be controlled with the selected control type and the given command station.


4.5 Linking of Signals with Blocks

For automatic operation signals are mostly linked with blocks as described on page Block: Signals.

Signals linked with blocks are handled by the Rocrail block automatic in auto mode. The underlying logic can be customised by the following settings in the Rocrail server Automode settings (File → Rocrail Properties… → Automatic tab):

  • Reserve second next block With this feature enabled Rocrail tries to reserve one block ahead of the following block. In some cases this feature has to be enabled in order to show the signal aspects in a correct way. This, for instance, holds true for German railway signaling: Only with this feature enabled a distant signal mounted on the same mast as the main signal and indicating the state of the main signal of the following block will show the correct aspect.
  • No speed change for switches: Generally this feature has to stay deactivated as reducing the speed is required for showing the slow speed indication.
  • Green aspect if next is red: With this option enabled the signal will show green instead of yellow, if the next block's main signal is on red. Usage of this option depends on the represented country's signaling rules.
  • Default signal aspect: In any case has to be red because in Rocrail a block signal always falls back to the safe position.


4.6 Linking of Signals with Routes

In some cases it is favourable to link signals with routes instead of blocks. For multi aspect signals (i.e. signals with more than four aspects) it is mandatory.

If a signal is to be switched by a route command, the signal has to be added to the list of commands of that route.

This is done by opening Tables → Routes… and selecting the relevant route from the Index tab.
On tab Commands the commands executed on activating the route are listed. If the route contains switches, some switch commands should be in the list already. Now, from the drop-down field ID the wanted signal is selected by it's ID. Afterwards the command that should be executed for the signal when the train departs (for instance "green") has to be selected. For standard signals the commands red, green, yellow and white are available. If the signal is a multi aspect signal, the radio button Aspect has to be selected instead and afterwards the aspect number has to be entered in the field Track number (this field is otherwise used to specify a track of a turntable, hence the name).
Once the signal and the command have been selected in this way, the command is added to the list by pressing Add.

It is recommended to move signal commands to the end of the list using the Down button since they should be executed after the switches have been set.

In order to switch the signal back when the route is cleared, a second command is necessary.
The steps on tab Commands described above have to be repeated. This time the command to be executed for the signal when the train arrives the next block has to be selected (for instance "red"). In the last step the check box At free has to be activated. Now the command can be added using the Add button. Afterwards the changes are saved by pressing Apply and the dialogue can be closed by pressing OK.

Tips and Remarks
  • It should be ensured that a signal linked with a route is not at the same time linked with a block. This would cause unnecessary commands and could result in unwanted behaviour. Therefore it has to be checked whether the signal is not listed under block signals of the starting block.
  • In special cases a signal can be linked with a block and be used in this way for one or more routes, while in addition it is linked with a different route from this block. Should this found to be necessary, only in the route the signal is linked with on tab General the From/ To signal pairs both have to be set to None.
    This ensures the signal handling of the block for this particular route is deactivated while it remains active for the other route(s).
  • Signals linked with a route are set when the route is locked.
    The command "At free" is issued when the route is cleared (unlocked). This usually happens when the in event of the following block occurs. That is, signals linked with routes, in contrast with signals linked with blocks, are not switched back at enter but at in.
    If this behaviour is not desired the command "At free" may be removed from the list and instead the signal may be reset by an action linked with the enter event of the following block.



1)
does not apply if the switch option is used for 2-aspect signals
2) , 3) , 4)
as determined in test environment, may differ in other environments
signal-setup-en.txt · Last modified: 2019/02/01 10:56 by besra