Consisting with Roco z21

Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:22 am

I finally figured out how to do consisting properly using the the Roco z21. :dance:

It's pretty slick, as is everything with this system. The feature is not well documented or, at least, I wasn't smart enough to find good info on the web.

Anyways, my two CN switchers are running together now. :thumbup:

IMG_0719.JPG
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:46 am

In essence the z21 does the speed matching for you. Each locomotive in the library has a Tranction Settings feature. To work with this feature you need an arbitrary length of track, a stop watch and some patience. The only constraint is to use the same track section for all your locos.

In the Tranction Settings you need to enter the time it takes your loco to travel the set length of track at various regulation steps of the throttle.

I cleaned the track and the loco wheels and warmed up the locos by letting them run for a few minutes.

After that I ran them over a length of track equivalent to two standard TT-Tracks modules. I used a rolling start to eliminate the effect of momentum settings. I timed the travel with an old mechanical stop watch I found at the bottom of a drawer, since that is way cooler than an ordinary iPhone stopwatch. Since all my decoders use 128 steps, I did this in 8 regulations steps in 16-step increments.
IMG_0724.JPG

While timing, I entered the times in Excel for future reference. To go with the stopwatch, I should have used a no.2 pencil in a leather-boud notebook, but Excel will do for now. Hipsterism can go only so far...
TractionSettings.jpg
Last edited by CFRiad on Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:10 am

[This described working with the Z21 app on an iPhone. The app may look differently on a tablet or an Android phone.]

After that I entered the data in the Z21 app (Settings > Railed Vehicles). I picked the loco I wanted to edit and tapped on Traction Settings at the bottom of the screen.
IMG_0722.PNG

In the table I entered the data from Excel. This was a bit tedious on a small phone. At the top of the screen there is a setting for the direction of travel. I changed the default for the loco that runs backwards in the consist.
IMG_0721.PNG

Once this was done for all locos in the library, I started putting the consist together. In the Railed Vehicle settings I tapped "Add New" and then "Train". On that screen, I typed in a name for the consist and added the locos by tapping the "+" sign and selecting from a list. A photo is nice to have too.
IMG_0723.PNG

Back to Control Panel, selected the consist from the library and pushed the throttle. They started rolling smoothly together.
Last edited by CFRiad on Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby dileTTante » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:59 am

If I understand it correctly, Traction Settings for a locomotive are stored in the app on the phone and not in the Z21 unit. Will simply using the loco address from another phone or tablet result in a consist run? Or do the settings have to be copied into other phones and tablets which are used at a show? In that case it might be better to do the speed matching in the decoders.

-Terry C
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:48 am

You are correct, all settings are contained in the app. A simple export from one device and import on another will replicate the settings.

It is a good idea anyway to share the setttings on all devices before shows.

I started building up a library of all locos we use at shows and I will start sharing this with all participants as I make updates.


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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby dileTTante » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:39 pm

How do you combine locomotive settings from other participants into your shared file?

-Terry C
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:02 pm

dileTTante wrote:How do you combine locomotive settings from other participants into your shared file?

Two ways:
  1. by typing :wink: -- tested, easy, laborious
  2. with an XML editor -- untested, I will have to look into this further
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby CFRiad » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:11 pm

CFRiad wrote:2. with an XML editor -- untested, I will have to look into this further


The be more clear:
When exporting a layout from the app, it creates a ".z21" file. This is actually an XML file that can be edited with a dedicated XML/HTML editor or with a simple text editor. Theoretically, copying from one file and pasting into another should merge them. Practically it's never this simple: merging needs a bit of care and thinking. Anyways, it should be possible.
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Re: Consisting with Roco z21

Postby dileTTante » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:19 am

The Z21 method is good for a single operator on his own layout or for controlling only his locomotives. I am questioning from the view of operating as a group as we do for TT Tracks. I will try to make up a file for the locomotives I have. I know there was already a problem at the last event with one control showing lots of useless function buttons because I hadn't changed that tablet's settings

In most cases it seems that finely tuned settings are not critical in group operation, and I'm not clear about the extent that Z21 settings dominate programed decoder settings. For example, is maximum speed for a locomotive programed into the decoder or is it what is set in the Z21 app?

If Z21 loco settings prove to be more important, then whenever we change the performance settings of a loco, that would have to be distributed to the other controllers. We'll have to combine and share files before every train show.

Also, the speed matching and consisting of your two locomotives probably will not work if we tried running them with Digitrax or some other power system.

-Terry C
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