It’s a Small World

Naturally, you probably thought I was referring to the small world of my simulated HO model-railroad.  Actually, I am referring to the full-sized small world in this post.  More on that in a minute.

Isn’t it simply amazing how the “turning on” of a small icon representing a sensor on your dispatcher control panel can cause such elation in a grown man?  Come on, admit it.  You’ve been there.  You work for hours trying to get something in our new-fangled electronic world of model railroading sensors, modules, networks, control panels, diplexers, encoders, and decoders to work.  Of course it doesn’t always go as planned sometimes.  But then, all of a sudden, the planets align, your neurons start to fire, the electrons begin to flow, and by golly works!

Master Card might sum it up this way:  Sensor Module, $70; Network Cables, $12; Tortoise Machine, $10.  Getting it all to work ..priceless!

Let’s get back to my original thought though, and the real reason for the title of this blog.  For the past several evenings I’ve been on the TrainController forum.  TrainController is the name of the program that I use for computer control of my model railroad.  The creator of the program lives in Germany, and that’s where the forum for his great product is hosted.  Now add a kind fellow model railroader residing in New Zealand.  Known to me only as Bob, this guy has responded to each of my posts with enough information to talk me through the difficulty I was having not getting that damned little icon on my control panel to light up like it was supposed to.  I had invested the $92, but had yet to reach priceless nirvana.

Well, tonight, thanks to Bob’s patience and experience, that damn little icon did light up just like it was supposed to!  The feeling was a little like plugging the lights in on your Christmas tree for the first time of the season.  A New Zealand model railroader who happens to use the same combination of hardware and software to operate his railroad as a guy in Missouri were able to put their heads together to solve a problem using a forum hosted in Egmating, Germany.  Small world, indeed.

And Bob’s help? Priceless.

(The problem involved an issue with interfacing a CTI Sentry module with the network of other modules and using this to sense turnout position within the TrainController software.  CTI Electronics is located in Baltimore, Maryland.)


Mike enjoys family, music, computers, photography, travel, trains and most all facets of model railroading, especially ops.

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