Listserver   (The Yahoo Group)

This page describes a new Yahoo discussion group for automatic controls

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Contents below on this page:

A. Introduction-New Yahoo Group For Automatic Controls [below]

B. Subscribing & Unsubscribing

C. Separate Mailbox Recommended [below]
D. Type of Controls Included & Excluded [below]
E. Group Restrictions & Settings [below]
F. Video Overview of Yahoo Groups [below]

Links To RELATED Pages:
(are repeated in below discussion)
Link 1 - New Member's Message - automatically sent when you join the Yahoo Group
Link 2 - The AutoControls Yahoo Groups Listserver Home Page & Message Archives
~~~~~~~~ Help Pages ~~~~~~~~
Links 3 & 4 - Setting Up Mail Rule To Automatically Sort Messages
Outlook Express ] . [ Apple Mail ]
Link 5 - About Listservers, Ingram's Comments
Link 6 -, Ingram's YouTube Video About Listservers (general)
Link 7 - Yahoo Help Pages For Listservers

added 1/6/09: Link 8 - Videos for the [AutoControls] Yahoo Group
Vimeo Pt 1/2, 14 min . . Vimeo Pt 2/2, 10 min . . YouTube Pt 1 - Truncated at 10 min

A. Introduction - New Yahoo Group For Automatic Controls


    We are trying to start a new Yahoo discussion Group named "AutoControls".
    ( )
    for people interested in AUTOMATIC CONTROLS --
    mainly SIMPLIFIED automatic control of multiple trains on the same track.


    If you're not famililiar with Yahoo Groups, the key things to know are (a) your address is safe and hidden, (2) you can 'unsubscribe' and leave the group anytime you like.
    For more information, see
    Ingram's Comments About Listservers or Yahoo Help Pages For Listservers or Ingram's YouTube Video About Listservers .


    We've created this Group with the hope that people belonging to different Yahoo groups for different scales, can be persuaded to CROSS-POST (send a copy) to this new group, when they send a message containing information about automatic controls.

    This automatic controls information already exists to some degree in several Yahoo groups.
    But the problem is, that you have to dig through hundreds of messages in several groups to find it.
    The hope of this Group, is to accumulate a copy (via cross posting) of as much of this information as we can, in ONE PLACE, which will be the AutoControls Message Archives, which can thus function as sort of a "LIBRARY".

  4. SCALES:

    We're hoping we can attract members from multiple scales . . . S gauge, LargeScale, and maybe a few HO and N scalers and any interested persons of the other gauges. (The 3-rail O scale people tend to have radically different control systems that depend on the 3rd rail for signaling purposes, so we don't expect much interest on their part.)

    The CHALLENGE will be finding enough interested people to keep this group going, as this Automatic Train Controls activity seems to be a niche-specialty, of interest to only a very small minority.

    B. Subscribing & UNsubscribing


    This AutoControls group is a typical Yahoo group, so you can 'subscribe' and 'unsubscribe' yourself using the usual methods:

    * Subscribe: (A) Send a blank email (no subject, no body)

    (B) then REPLY to the "request for confirmation" message

    * Unsubscribe:
    (A) Send a blank email (no subject, no body)

    (B) then REPLY to the "request for confirmation" message

    C. Separate Mailbox Recommended


    In my humble opinion, this is one of the most important steps anyone should take, when joining a Yahoo discussion group.

    I recommend subscribers:
    (a) create a separate mailbox, and then
    (b) create a "RULE" to automatically SORT Group messages into that mailbox, so the
    incoming messages don't clutter your inbox and irritate you.

  7. CREATING THE RULE: Apple's Mail program on my Macintosh, and most other email programs, support these 'rules'.

    If like most of the general public, you are using the Outlook Express email application with Windows XP operating system, you can use the commands 'File > New > Folder' to create a mailbox named 'AutoControls'. Next, to create the 'Rule', use 'Tools > Message Rules > Mail'. Then select the 'Mail' tab, and then click the 'New' tab on right. Configure the rule to look for the "subject tag" of '[autocontrols]' in the subject line.))

    The following web pages also contain additional information about setting up Rules:
    Create Rule in Outlook Express ] . [ Create Rule in Apple Mail ]

    ## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    D. Types of Controls Included and Excluded


    This group is specifically dedicated to "Simplified Automatic Train Controls on 2-Rail Systems -- that is, automatic control of model trains that the "Average Joe" like myself can set up in a short time, even on a TEMPORARY display layout, without being an electrical engineer or a computer genius.

    This group would tentatively include the following types of controls:
    • Automatic control using LGB's EPL components (LargeScale)
    • Automatic control using other combinations of reed switches and relays
    • Automatic control using the,,, or similar "hook them up and use them" electronic controls.

      TOPICS -- Topics would include the use of the above components to create the following types of 'automation scenes':

    • Automatic passing sidings
    • Automatic blocks for multiple train operation on the same loop
    • "Automatic switching blocks" combining the automatic block & passing siding
    • Automated station stops
    • Automated route selection (trains alternate 2 different routes)
    • Automatic point-to-point reversing systems, and similar topics.

    Some of these 'automation scenes' I have attempted to demonstrate on the Video Page, so far using S gauge and LargeScale.

  10. RELIABILITY -- The "turd in the punchbowl" here, especially in the smaller scales, is the challenge of finding RELIABLE-ENOUGH turnouts and engines to reliably accomplish this multi-train operation -- without having derailments, uncouplings, stalling on upgrades, or excessive speed on downgrades, etc.


    The group would EXCLUDE the following types of controls:
    • Digital Command Control (DCC) issues.
      REASON: There are already many groups dedicated to DCC. {{Except where applicable to using DCC engines for automatic controls operation. Decoder-equipped engines that are "dual mode" can be operated (I believe) on all these automatic control systems when using DC current, and can be operated on most (but not-all) systems when using DCC current.}}

    • Computer Control. REASON: This tends to be included with the DCC stuff, and the complexity is way beyond most of our capabilities.

    • Automatic Control on 3-rail systems. REASON: The 3-rail control systems tend to be totally different, since they usually incorporate the 3rd rail for detection.

    E. Group Restrictions & Settings


    *Members who repeatedly post off-topic or impolite messages may have their posting privileges revoked.
    * Members are requested to try to keep "chat-type" messages to a minimum. The goal would be have a Group, that for someone browsing the message archives, every message they browse would contain useful information.


    I been moderating several Yahoo groups since 2001.
    Based on my observations, I propose that the following policies are the most useful way to configure the group.


    * Membership: Membership by approval only. REASON: To keep spammers out.
    * New members: New members posts are moderated. REASON: To make sure posts are "on topic" and not spam.


    Archives will be "open" (viewable by anyone who wishes to browse them). REASON: We want as many people as possible to use this information, so we want to make it as easy as possible to view it. ((Currently, this group, G_Gauge, has its archives set to be "open" to anyone. Some groups have their archives "closed", so you have to login in with a Yahoo ID to view the messages.))

    You can view previous messages by going to the
    The AutoControls Listserver Home Page,
    and using the "Messages" link, which should be the 2nd link from the top in the left menu bar.


    I'm sort of "sitting on the fence" with regard to this setting.
    Attachments tentatively will be allowed (the "allow html" setting). This means you can use formatted text and attach photos. Members using DIAL-UP are encouraged to get a Yahoo or AOL address where the downloading the attachments is optional, so you don't "choke your modem" with large attachments..

    REASON: I think the group will be more useful if people can attach diagrams and photos. ((Unfortunately since about 2001, the Yahoo groups do not store the attachments in the archives. Thus only the text will be stored in the Yahoo archives.))

    ... or maybe not ...

    HOWEVER . . . if a majority of people prefer the "no html" setting, which means no formatting and no attachments, then we can configure the group that way.


    Also, from time to time, I attempt to "capture" some of this controls information that I see "flying by" in the emails, by putting it on the website.

    F. Video Overview Of Yahoo Groups

  19. If you are not yet familiar with how Yahoo groups work,
    and can tolerate listening to me for a few minutes,
    I made an amateur YouTube video that tells about Yahoo groups in general:
    Yahoo Groups for Email Announcements .

  20. Added 1/6/09: Videos specifically describing the [AutoControls] Yahoo group;
    essentially reviews the information on this page:
    Vimeo Pt 1/2, 14 min . . Vimeo Pt 2/2, 10 min . . YouTube Pt 1 - Truncated at 10 min

{old March 2007 version this page}

This page originated Feb 2007, modified 9/32009. by (bottom include) , Williamsport Pa, Voice Mail 570-322-7597