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Thread: New member w/ buttons and switches

  1. #1

    Default New member w/ buttons and switches

    Not sure this is the right place but I consider it good etiquette to introduce yourself.

    Older guy returning to train stuff as I approach retirement. Want to say thanks to the powers that be.
    I've already had many question answered just browsing around. You folks are great. Thanks.

    So, I'm wondering. Do folks step beyond using a RailDriver? Doing things with arduino, teensy, bla, bla, bla.
    Having built flight and race car sims I've found that dumping a computer keyboard can really add to the experience.
    Not necessarily building a model of x. Just doing as much touch, feel, knobs and switches as you can.

    That said hello to everyone.

    How about a small oil lamp? Add some scent to the room.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    SW MO


    "How about a small oil lamp? Add some scent to the room".
    I have an old RIP track switch lamp that I like to fire up occasionally for the sights and smells.
    Be careful of the kind of oil you get. Kerosene is too much.
    I think a haptic feedback chair would do the most. There's a lot of motion in a locomotive cab.
    A good sound system that you can feel helps.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    New York, USA.


    Hi Stephen,

    One of my most championed causes - I'm not buying a Rail Driver as my interest vary - I do have a high quality HOTAS setup that I use for Flight Sim - ArmA - DCS - and whatever else I decide to mess with... I've made the request many times asking for true Direct X joystick support for ORTS... That said - just now realizing this is posted for a different sim - but it's still applicable... I fully agree with your immersion assessment - Joysticks and Button Boxes can be used with sims that don't have true joystick support - there's a product called "Pinnacle Game Controller" which effectively turns even the cheapest basic joystick into a programmable one - it can also emulate keystrokes - it works quite well if you take the time to figure it out and I've been using it the Train Sim genre for many years... Worth a gander if your chosen sim doesn't offer joystick support... I never use the keyboard for any train controls - they're all mapped to my HOTAS (joystick and throttle with many buttons) setup...

    Best of luck...


  4. #4


    Did some searching. For real. You can get incense, racing fuel with a hint of burnt rubber. Two cycle engine too. My wife sort of likes me so no. Not going there. Might try leather or some kind of outdoors something. I'm a noob so I'm Open Rails, BNSF scenic. I'm so sorry but I do think I killed one of the deer.

    Before I go farther a phrase I try to never use. "You just" First time it is never you just.

    Let me toss out a place to start.
    Amazon, .062 aluminum sheet. Great for control panels.
    My sims are all desktop machines but I don't want to see it. Watched a lot of YouTube train cabs. Never saw a Lenovo logo.
    A PC power switch is just a normally open momentary switch. I splice in and run it to an audio jack added to the rear panel. Get one of those trigger cover type switches. You will have to swap out for a momentary switch. Now I can standard audio cable tie the switch to the computer. Remote start and stop.

    Maybe use a keyed switch. Think of it as opening the locomotive house.

  5. #5


    Welcome aboard Stephen.

    For me the sound does make a big difference. Big screen helps too.


  6. #6


    Someone mentioned vibrations, force feedback. There is something called SimVibe. It is quite cool but they don't support any rail packages. Basically ButtKickers and software. I have one. Like to add the hardware to a rail sim but that is a ways off. 100 other things first.

    Oh yes, sound is super important. Kind of hate headphones. Using semi good 2.1 speakers. I could see adding something in a rear channel. Fill the brain with sound.

    Seems rail software interfaces are pretty much keyboard interfaces. I need to experiment some. There can be a Catch-22. Sometimes software is happy when many keyboards are installed. Sometimes not so much.

    What I would really like to do is a very manual start a locomotive. Bunch of reading. Bunch of YouTube. Quite a few steps I would love to turn into switches and buttons. Go through the motions. Please anyone comment on is this a reasonable list. I suppose I should say I don't seem to have an interest in steam.

    3 or 4 circuit breakers, 2 or 3 switches on the cab panel.
    A 3 way, guessing one position is priming the fuel system and starting.
    A lever you hold at start. Advancing the timing a bit just for starting I'm guessing.
    A set of petcocks, drain water out of the cylinders.
    Engine and air compressor oil checks. Water check.
    A 4 or more way switch, setting lights I think. Is the loco head end, back end, bla, bla.

    and a bypass switch in case I get lazy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    carmel valley, ca, us.


    I like the total immersion proposals.....I'm only part way there....with a nice Logitech speaker system, which produces good sound. I'm a Raildriver advocate...have had mine for 15 or so years....still works!! Not bad for an electronic device, eh? Thing is, RD does seem to interfere with certain MSTS functions.....but I simply will not use keyboard controls, so endure the problems. I'm absent the big screen, and the other amenities, but what I have works for me.

  8. #8


    Got another idea. Radio chatter using online scanners. In my case I'm going to re-purpose a Raspberry Pi w/ touchscreen. Could be bad too? Must admit I enjoy listening. Need to remember I'm going to be driving now.

    Got some summer break time coming. Rev 1... I'm hoping:
    Never see or touch a computer.
    Never see or touch a keyboard.
    Bought a RailDriver. Semi busted the budget but OK.
    Missing a few parts to do a loco startup but I can get a jump on it. I'm thinking a successful engine start would turn on the RailDriver.

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