In this video, modeler Martin Tarnrot will be talking about model railroad control systems, often referred to as computer control. He has drawn a simplified sketch of his view of a digitally controlled model railroad. On the lowest level are the engines, turnouts, and the signals. These devices are more or less just receivers of information. For example, Martin shows how he easily increases locomotive 42 to a speed of 36 from his smartphone. This will increase the speed, but the locomotive will have no idea of what engine 14 is doing, or where it is.
On the next level is the command station. There are tons of different command stations for DCC. This device receives commands from Martin, meaning his speed control sends information to the receivers, like engines, switches, and signals. In most cases, it also powers the layout. The next level is the traffic control system, which most often is referred to as a computer control. This device uses the information from the command station. This information could be direction, status, speed, and position of all of the devices in order to plan the traffic control on a layout. Martin goes on to show what model railroad control systems can do for operators and their layouts. For more on controlling signals and block occupancy detection or a model railroading introduction to digital command control, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.