View Full Version : Testing Bill's Couplers
02-01-2007, 10:13 PM
Here are the results of my tests and their visuals.
I found that when using slack actions couplers the velocity of trains does not always ZERO, making it difficult to change cabs when they are stopped.
Driving forward from rear cabs there is no more jerking of wagons in consists, but the bunching and pulling apart of cushioned couplers is opposite to driving forward from the front cab, suggesting that George having had to alter some code so that MSTS accepts that a train is being driven from the rear cab and allows all cab controls and G to work in the opposite direction to the one they were designed for, has not investigated the consequences that this could have on the couplers source code or was not able to !
Slack action couplers also jerk violently on occasions, there apparently not being any damping effect to slow down their movements.
The front of the all non-rigid train starts and progressively the wagons at the front part of it move slowly forward, then stop and roll backward until the rest of the rear helpers assisted train starting to move forward kicks stationery wagons in the front part.
The last pair of pictures shows my single section RIGID couplers based on the rear couplers as used by Bill's Rigid Rail Car, which are performing the way I want them to on all my USA and European rolling stock, still showing a little slack in USA freight trains !
The NO stands for NOT RIGID and RIG means RIGID ! ;-)
The first part of forinstance RIG - NO indicates the rear coupler section is RIGID and the second as used by Bill's twin sections coupler files is NOT RIGID, also retaining their Buffer sections.
Take care, O t t o.
02-01-2007, 10:43 PM
I'm still not understanding this:
"Driving forward from rear cabs there is no more jerking of wagons in consists, but the bunching and pulling apart of cushioned couplers is opposite to driving forward from the front cab"
If the train is moving forward, why are you not in the lead unit? I'm lost as to why you are operating a North American train from a trailing unit?
02-01-2007, 10:43 PM
Interesting test Otto. I will have to look into some of this. One problem I have, though. Anytime, the r0 values are changed, for truest visual appearance, and to comparitively judge that visual appearance, the length of the car in question must be taken into account. Two identical cars at rest, with everything set to make the couplers visually "perfect", will change that positioning if you change the r0 numbers, so if your changes from one type of coupling to another changes anything but the "rigid" line(s) of those couplers, your visual results may not be exactly as they seem. Please post the values used for each set of experiments, as well as posting shots of the coupled cars at "rest". I do want to investigate your comments about driving from the "rear" locomotive. If true, this negates many of the benefits of Bin as far as North American operations are concerned, and also may affect "flipped" cars in consists running "normally". Please post some shots of the "backward" behavior when running "forward" ( for the locomotive? ) from a locomotive at the rear of a consist. Normally, this would only affect passenger operations, since having engines on the rear of a long freight is usually for helper operations. Even in Europe, freight doesn't usually travel a point to point and then "reverse" back with the engineer walking to the other end of the train. Freight cars are usually "dropped" somewhere. A more likely freight scenario is cars dropped along the way, with others "picked up" at areas along the way, either where some cars have been dropped, or areas where nothing is being left behind. Then, at the final yard destination, some of the cars will be dropped. Then the locomotive(s) ( either a group, most common in North America, or a double ended single locomotive as in some European operations ) would "run-around" the remaining cars to "go back" ( these would be cars picked up in the first half of the run ), and possibly some cars from the yard would be added to make up the final train. Now it would be necessary to "go to the other end" of the locomotive ( or locomotives ) to drive from the new "front". This where my concern lies ( since passenger trains which have a driving position at both ends should have double rigid, or maybe even single coupler sections with the "rigid" line set, and they won't have any problems with slack action ) about what the couplers do when switching ends. And it makes me wonder what "flipped" cars in a consist will do. Sometimes you will get "flipped" cars when picking up cars during an activity, depending on how the activity author "placed" them during the creation of the activity. It used to be possible to tell which ones were "flipped" because the trucks ( bogies ) turned the wrong way in curves, and wheel rotation was wrong. What you seem to be implying is that the cars extend on braking and compress on acceleration, or am I not understanding what you are saying?
02-02-2007, 10:08 AM
Can't say I've seen anything like this. After reading this thread last night, I fired up MSTS and ran a couple of quick tests. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to play recently, so I'm not quite up to speed, and had yet to really play with changing cabs. I'm still on Bin 1.612990 (or whatever it is in there). I haven't gotten many cars updated beyond a few for testing, so my quickee test didn't have any cars with the new couplers, except for a caboose, but the two engines I was using did have the newer couplers. Coupled onto some cars, uncoupled, ran around and coupled back on. Changed locomotives, etc. All slack action appeared realatively normal to me.
02-02-2007, 10:54 AM
Last night I ran some slack tests using my "test car" from Mr. Cowen. It is still set up with my original slack values, but they are not different enough to change the action other than the amount of movement of the slack. With two GP's on the front and one on the back, the slack action performed as it should. There was slightly less "stretch" of the couplers under acceleration when the two locos were pushing vs. when one was pushing and two were pulling. This would be expected. There was even some compression of the couplers of the last few cars when the two locos were pushing from the rear, again as expected. Results were also as they should be under braking, and on my systems, reaching zero velocity was complete as long as the train brakes were applied ( level ground ). Locomotive switching was no problem. I therefore don't understand what Otto is referring to when he says action was not as expected. I hope that he will attempt to explain further, since I am afraid I am misunderstanding what he is saying.
02-02-2007, 12:25 PM
If I read the pictures right then my couplers are doing exactly as I wanted them to do. The cushioned no rigid couplers having more slack movement then the rigid ones similating the drawbars shoving into the spring pockets in the drawbar pocket. You'll notice that Otto's single coupler region item does not compress as far as the double coupler versions do and we STILL have the rigidline issue. You got to have two coupler regions for those to work right and prevent problems trailing thru switches. That's the last time I'll mention that. My couplers are staying as I built them as they do what I wanted to get realistic slack, they probably have more lines and Buffer sections that are not needed but they work and their done and those extra lines add up to nothing compared to other wastes out there and in your TRAINSET folder on MSTS resources like unpathed sound and cvf files, AI units with 15 to 20 light sections that aren't used by them that waste a ton of resources.
02-02-2007, 01:39 PM
There is no dispute regarding the functionality of any of these couplers, all of them apparently doing what their creators want then to do !
My single section RIGID and NON-RIGID couplers, using one of Bill's rear couplers, also do not flip the train in trailing crossover switches, starting from a short player path .
As far as Joe's coupler are concerned they are the ultimate as far as prototypical spring and damping actions are concerned, but would not want to go that far, having to take physics of individual cars into account.
I am not that much of a perfectionist ! ;-)
Take care, O t t o.
02-02-2007, 01:43 PM
Exactly Bill. I am seeing correct compression and extension, no matter which end I drive from, and as I said, no freight train anywhere is going to run a point to point and then reverse. As my original work proved, and your work has confirmed and expanded, you MUST use double sections to get things to work right. It may be true that all the values in the second ( front ) coupler section are not read by MSTS, but there is a definite difference when one section has a rigid statement and the other does not. And the negative velocity also seems to make a difference. These "observed results" indicate that MSTS is "reading" the second coupler section in some way. I cannot understand why Otto seems intent on trying to prove otherwise. I am sorry, but many of his apparent testing methods do not follow "scientific method" for experiments. For instance, look at the test using a steamer and tender with several different values substituted. All that test proved is that MSTS will work with a large range of values, and we already knew that from the great number of different coupler values present in older equipment. Scientific method requires that you alter as few variables as possible for testing, changing only one thing at a time if possible. As an example, my testing showed that the only "break" value that really matters in MSTS is the first ( compression ) one of the first ( rear ) coupler section. You can lower that value below what is set in my original settings, and you will break couplers at the infamous Cutbank node. Increasing any of the others, even to high values will not prevent breaking couplers there. If you raise the one to a level that will not break at the node, then you can lower the others to unbelievably low values and the couplers will still not break, though they may uncouple under loads. These results required testing by changing one value only at a time, then making sure that the results were completely repeatable over many "runs" of the experiment, then rechecking previous experiments to make sure that the changes did not affect other desired properties. From our "talks" about your team's work, I am sure that you understand this process. Changes in even a single value can produce significant, but often "hard to notice" changes. Extensive testing that is thoroughly repeatable is necessary to achieve the desired realistic operation. Often the performance differences are extremely subtle, and sometimes make subtle changes in something else that may not be noticed with a low number of test runs. It is tedious, but necessary for valid results. Even though not all of the values in the break sections seem to be necessary, I left them in for the sake of clarity. I knew that double sections with a single rigid statement "set" were necessary to "break up" the "big spring" that happens with no rigid statements in the couplers. It was easiest for editing, understanding, and possibly even the development of automated software to make mass coupler changes, to have the two sections "look" similar, even if all the lines were not read by MSTS.
It just seems that Otto makes one or two runs of an experiment, takes some pictures and posts the results. Combining the low number of tests with changing multiple variables, and I don't feel that these tests can have actual validity. And, I still haven't grasped what is "opposite" from expected in the results Otto posted in this thread. Finally, your work ( and mine for that matter ) is also contingent on updated physics, friction, and braking values in the rolling stock. My original work created a great degree of realism, and your work has taken it to "another level" as far as I am concerned. Otto, I don't mean to be overly critical, but I don't understand why you are trying to "reinvent" Bill's work. The coupler values are at a functional point, and what is needed is using them and reporting any problems, not changing them to something entirely different. If there is a problem during their use, those of us who have painstakingly done hundreds of hours of scientific testing of how these values work together will have the best chance to "fix" problems without major changes. What you are doing as reported in this thread is NOT testing Bill's couplers, but trying to "remake" them in some way or other. If you want to develop "Otto couplers", just do that, but don't call it "testing" of Bill's values. Testing would be using them, finding a significant problem, and then working ( together? ) to fix the problem. It seems that all you have been doing is trying to prove that double coupler sections are not necessary. I can assure you that unless MSTS and Bin are significantly changed from what they are now that double sections are absolutely necessary for realistic coupler operation. No, they are not necessary for simply operating MSTS, but neither is Plainsman's physics, Joe Realmuto's FCalc 2.0 friction values, or Jean-Louis's braking values. No, they are not perfect either, but they represent extreme effort in attempting to achieve as much realism as possible from MSTS. To constantly denigrate those efforts by trying to prove that double sections are "worthless", is essentially an insult to those who have done an unbelievable amount of work. Otto, I think I know you well enough to know that you are not intending any insult with what you are doing, but it can "come across" that way.
02-02-2007, 01:45 PM
Hi Rich !
You may have noticed that the 2 DASH-9 at the rear of the 2 DASH + 100 freight + 2 DASH consist are "flipped" so that the train can be driven back to where it came from without having to run it through a reverse loop or a WYE to turn it around.
Switching to the cab of the last Dash the train can then be driven forward in the opposite direction, a common practice with most modern multi-cars passenger trains like DMU, EMU, ICE, TGV, INTERCITY, EUROSTAR and many other European passenger trains.
O t t o
02-02-2007, 02:16 PM
RE: Joe's post . . .
I shouldn't try to speak for Otto, but I see some of the reason for what is going on . . . These are extreme examples, but:
Bill and Joe are trying to achieve the most realistic coupler and train operation, whatever it takes - if that means you test Car A and increase each value 0.1 at a time, and then back it down until it is optimum, then release the car to your RailRoad or VR. That is great if you only have 20 or 30 cars or you have a team each respsonsible for maintaining 20 or 30 of the VR's cars.
What I and (from what I am hearing Otto say) Otto want are (as much as possible) universal coupler settings that I can open Route-Riter and say "Apply these to all my freight cars" and then forget about it and go back to playing MSTS.
Now there has to be some meeting point here. Last I checked Bill had two different sets of Diesel engine couplers, three sets of wagon couplers, and this was just for American Diesel stock, and he still said some cars needed to be evaluated individually.
Otto (I think) ended up with one set of passenger car and ICE style loco couplers and another set for standard locos and freight cars.
And I'm pretty much on the fence between the two extremes - I'm running some variation of Bill's/Otto's couplers with dual coupler sections and dual rigid lines on passenger/ICE/Steam engines and alternating rigid lines on Steam tenders/Diesel locos/freight wagons.
But, as Joe stated, the SIM is happy with a variety of values, and I can't really tell enough to say one works better than any other. . .
02-02-2007, 03:12 PM
I see said the blind man :) Basically you are running the train from the helper engines. The only bad thing about MSTS is you cannot independently control the helpers. I hate to sound like a defeatist and I do appreciate all that you and Bill are doing to improve coupler performance, but without the ability to independently control the helpers, the front of the train is constantly going to run-in and run-out depending on the grade. From my understanding of push-pull operations on passenger railroads, if you have a engine at each end, only one is working. The engine is either pulling the train or pushing it. In MSTS we cannot do this, when you operate your train from the helper engines, you are also controlling the lead units. This is going to give you run-in and run-out somewhere in the middle of the train and I think this is what you are finding. Just for laughs, when you switch to the helpers units to run your train back to it's starting point, tie on the hand brakes of the first couple of cars in the train and then see how the train performs?
02-02-2007, 06:25 PM
Hi Rich !
Yes, there are many permutations of how to run trains.
Modern European multi-locos/engine trains are controlled by the active cab and all it's engines run according to how the driver/engineer drives and brakes the train. A 16 cars electric ICE forstance has 8 cars with electric motors in their bogies, being synchronized with each other and others have diesel-electric ones slung underneath the floor boards. A UK high-speed train has huge Maybach diesel-electric motors in dedicated cab cars at the front and rear of their trains.
I thought that modern day USA diesels in a train are now also controlled by the driver in the front loco's cab, all other locos driven synchronized with each other and not like in the old days where there was at least one engineer in each helper loco, taking instructions from the driver in the front cab ?
If I were to switch driving from the cab of the flipped rear loco of such a modern train then activating it's control would apply all it does to all the other locos in the train.
O t t o
02-02-2007, 07:09 PM
Hi Joe !
I agree that in order to scientifically test a theory you have to consider all possible angles of all the individual components changes. Also being a qualified Druggist and Analytical Chemist I know a little about that, but don't think that Science has anything to with how the MSTS code uses coupler parameters ! ;-)
What I did to test whether there is a response from invalid front coupler parameters I Applied "Shock Tactics" by zeroing all their values, finding that the performance of couplers then using only the rear coupler values was the same ! That being so I can not see there being any effect after having changed individual lines values of front couplers. Perhaps you could do some tests to double-check on that ? Not that this concerns me but it might you ?
I am not modifying Bill's couplers which use the same values for rear and front couplers with the exception of the reversed Velocity and some RIGID lines, but just use their rear couplers RIGID or not and nothing else.
What is "opposite", not shown in my tests, are couplers bunching when driving trains forward from the rear loco's cab, but when doing the same from the front loco's cab they pull apart !
I am not intent on proving anything, already having done that when releasing my first version of 100% reliably working couplers with my Default.dat, confirmed to be perfect by many, which Bill then started modifying to create his virtual ones.
I am only trying to prove that my single coupler sections, either RIGID or not, do their job without problems or odd visual effects and do not care whether their couplers show virtual slack action or not. I have other things to look at when driving with outside views and most of the time have no sight of them ! ;-)
I think Marshall testing them has confirmed that they work perfectly in driving and coupling tests, the latter being what this was all about to start with !
Take care, O t t o.
02-02-2007, 07:51 PM
Even though the engineer has control over all loco's in a North American train, the engineer can control the helpers (engines not directly connected to the lead loco by MU cables) independently of the lead loco's. There is a separate console that is mounted above the main control stand that allows independent control of the helper engines. From my understanding, you can actually have the lead units in dynamic braking, while the helper engines are still applying power to the rails. These helper engines can be mid-train helpers or helper engines attached to the rear of the train. I've seen one example where a loaded hopper train had mid-train helpers that were just idling as the train moved along, because the train was on level terrain.
I hope this is something that will be incorporated into MSTS 2?
02-03-2007, 11:06 AM
Thanks Rich, very interesting !
If a train sim could be created which can control individual locos in a consist from the front loco's cab then we would need a new RAILDRIVER to help us drive it. ! :7
But this I think would get MSTS-X close to real railroad practises as used by commercial simulators for them ?
Take care, O t t o.
02-03-2007, 11:25 AM
What Richard said is correct, I asked somewhere when we were discussing RCV's and LHF operations the same question and was told the same thing. In the old days, there was an engineer in the rear engine in radio contact with the lead engine engineer and he would apply power or reduce as necessary. Now modern helpers are radio-controlled and the lead engineer can apply or reduce power remotely.
But they definitely can have different power settings on the front and rear locos.
>I think Marshall testing them has confirmed that they work
>perfectly in driving and coupling tests, the latter being what
>this was all about to start with !
Perfectly but differently. I noticed something last night: With your single coupler sections, MSTS behaved like it did "out of the box" (except that the front coupler now works and they don't break as much). I.e. you start the train and apply throttle and the Projected Speed is 5 mph higher than current, gradually getting closer to current, current speed constantly increasing. This tells me that the slack action is not affecting the train. With the dual couplers with one line commented, the projected speed may jump from 5 to 60 to 11 to 45, and even the current speed may increase, then briefly slow, then increase again (both situations with 100-plus car trains), telling me that slack IS affecting the train operation.
Which is better depends if you want an accurate simulation or an arcade game "impression" of driving a train, and I suspect the camps may be equally divided, but the effects are different.
(And what I just posted is from memory, so if I said something different earlier, that is probably more accurate). :+
02-03-2007, 12:11 PM
Thanks Joe for that post. Finally another voice stating dual coupler regions are read. Marshall is correct in his analogy of the two camps. Otto is gearing for the 'let me run my trains' camp and I and Joe have worked exhuastively to bring a set of couplers to the "as real as you can get it" crowd. Neither is wrong in that sense of looking at it, but we must remember that Otto and I are after two completely different goals. His is working couplers with no muss or fuss and my mine are RW style couplers that take some work to implement. It's up to the end user to decide. But don't go out of your way to prove that my couplers don't need a second section. They do, that has been proven by me and the best in the MSTS physics camp. Proven with tests that do reveal these second sections are being read regardless of what Bin George and others are saying. They may not have their whole sections read but they are being read. Someday George may have MSTS read the whole thing, then great, the coupler region is there in whole and can be read without us having to scramble and rebuild a whole new coupler program. He may make it so MSTS only reads one from now on. I hope not, but we'll see which way he goes on this.
My take on everything I see released in the FL is to improve the look and feel of MSTS. From locomotives with high detail, to routes with high detail, to Mike sinclar's trees with friggin' alligatore. All done to make MSTS more real and we all scramble for the real looking items that make our immerstion in railroading more real. All Joe and Jean-Louis, bob boudoin, me and others have tried to do is bring more realism into how the trains run and act in the sim. And yes even look. You go to a yard and watch a train start out, you see that hogger start it one car at a time and use kinetic physics to start that train. We brought you that with new couplers that not only visually give you that look when you are watching your train start but the physical reaction to teh engine as well is there.
If someone doesn't desire realism in physics then why bother with any coupler changes or the bin patch period. Load up the original MSTS braking and coupler physics and run. You don't need any more. It's an argument that will go until MSTS dies or is replaced and then will continue with the new sim.
02-03-2007, 12:35 PM
A couple of points here.
>Otto is gearing for the 'let me run my
>trains' camp and I and Joe have worked exhuastively to bring a
>set of couplers to the "as real as you can get it" crowd. Neither is wrong in that sense of looking at it, but we must
>remember that Otto and I are after two completely different
>goals. His is working couplers with no muss or fuss and my
>mine are RW style couplers that take some work to implement.
>It's up to the end user to decide.
Well stated and agreed on all counts!
>But don't go out of your
>way to prove that my couplers don't need a second section.
>They do, that has been proven by me and the best in the MSTS
>physics camp. Proven with tests that do reveal these second
>sections are being read regardless of what Bin George and
>others are saying.
At this point, I'm about to conclude that the second coupler section is only required so MSTS can read the CouplerHasRigidConnection and possibly the negative velocity line, and that only if you want RW coupler action. The Spring, Damping, and Break sections don't seem to be used, although like the buffers section, if leaving them in does not harm, I see little point getting overly excited about less than 100 extra text characters in each .eng and .wag file.
>They may not have their whole sections
>read but they are being read. Someday George may have MSTS
>read the whole thing, then great, the coupler region is there
>in whole and can be read without us having to scramble and
>rebuild a whole new coupler program. He may make it so MSTS
>only reads one from now on. I hope not, but we'll see which
>way he goes on this.
Personally, we now have working coupler values for both the "As real as it gets camps" and the "Let me run my trains" camps, along with a well-developed base of empirical knowledge of what effects the different parameters have, so I would rather see George concentrate on some of the other remaining issues plaguing MSTS.
>My take on everything I see released in the FL is to improve
>the look and feel of MSTS. From locomotives with high detail,
>to routes with high detail, to Mike sinclar's trees with
>friggin' alligatore. All done to make MSTS more real and we
>all scramble for the real looking items that make our
>immerstion in railroading more real.
Not willing to go here completely either. Well, I agree with your first sentence, but sometimes improving the "feel" of MSTS involves going with lower detail, such as GaryG's work with reducing number of polygons on distant views for rolling stock, low-polygon cars for static consists in yards, and items like Hack's Pokey retexturing to improve frame rates. Sometimes the desired effect is "less detail" and "less real-looking" to result in less stuttering and a more realistic experience. So the goal is the same, but the methods are sometimes different.
>If someone doesn't desire realism in physics then why bother
>with any coupler changes or the bin patch period. Load up the
>original MSTS braking and coupler physics and run. You don't
>need any more.
You need BIN if you want to use the front coupler or cab switching or ??? or ??? or ???, even if you are happy with the default physics and couplers.
>It's an argument that will go until MSTS dies
>or is replaced and then will continue with the new sim.
Yep, that's what keeps T-S active!!!!
02-03-2007, 01:16 PM
My changes (the way I did the changes here) actually added detail at distance by removing the lower poly, more distant LOD's and extended the display distance of the higher detail LOD's. All the changes did was lower the quantity of Levels Of Detail rather than lower the displayed polys; they, overall, were higher in most cases.
02-03-2007, 01:26 PM
I stand corrected. It looked like too much work for me anyway, but thanks for clarifying that.
02-03-2007, 01:40 PM
Yep, that's what keeps T-S active!!!!
Absolutely, Marshall ! :7
If there were no discussions on the pros and cons of doing things in different ways in MSTS, a lot of points would never be raised for somebody to look into and I would be bored to death ! :-(
It was my first MSTSBin couplers and Default.dat which made using front couplers reliable and it was Bill's couplers, parts of which I am using, which eliminated the jumping of trains to the other track at trailing switches of crossovers and also eliminated the oscillations of wagons and cars when driving trains forward from their rear locos cabs.
So we have achieved something for both of our needs and others have a choice of which they would prefer !
So what can we do with ourselves next ? Depends on what George will come up with ! ;-)
Take care, O t t o.
02-03-2007, 06:53 PM
I'm going to take a long nap and relax and run trains with my new RailDriver and write some more Activities for the C&NW. I just love throwing curves at our hoggers on the main.
02-03-2007, 07:40 PM
Yes Bill, relax for a while, you have done enough to please the virtual railroaders and in the process me too ! :7
Have a few of your favourite beverages while you are playing with the RAILDRIVER and then some time later resume, firing on all 8 cylinders ! ;-)
Take care, O t t o.
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