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Yavianice

TOMIX TNOS Layout with KATO Unitrack and non-Japanese trains

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

I was thinking I might as well make my own thread about my TNOS adventures instead of spamming the TNOS thread.

 

I'll post here all my adventures down the TNOS rabbit hole. While I explore the TNOS world, I'll have some questions which I post here. If anyone has more knowledge about TNOS or other related subjects, I'd be very interested to know! Don't hesitate to post answers, tips, hints etc.! If anyone has specific questions about TNOS that they want me to try out for them, just post a reply and i'll get back to you if I am able to do it.

 

My collection: I have european, japanese, chinese and taiwanese trains, from all common and sometimes rare brands. All analogue, all N gauge.

 

My track: I use KATO Unitrack and would like to keep using it. I bought some Finetrack for testing purposes. I exclusively use the 5567 Tomix Sensors because they are compatible with KATO unitrack.

 

Reason why I bought TNOS: I bought TNOS because I have a very diverse collection (brands, age of trains, interior lighting y/n etc.), and I refuse to solder all my trains since the vast majority is not DCC ready. Besides for my collection it would be too expensive. Another alternative could be the TOYTEC product (which is hella expensive) or some kind of block model with digital/analogue cross compatibility, but I first prefer to try this out. Because if it works, it would be the cheapest alternative (I did some comparison calculations beforehand for my specific layout plans).

 

Used resources: Trial and error, google translate with the manual, and the english manual translation/guide from trainweb, several japanese youtube video's in that link.

 

I am splitting this thread up in different sections

 

INDEX

 

 

DISCLAIMER: ALL instructions, information etc. is to be used at your own risk! I am not an expert in TNOS, and I am not a native japanese speaker. I do not take any responsibility if your gear or trains get damaged due to improper use or misconfiguration that might lead from using any of the information in these posts!

Edited by Yavianice
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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

General findings:

  • TNOS needs a PSU for the TNOS box and a PSU for each of the ND units. All the PSU's are world PSU's, so 100-240V. You will need flat american conversion plugs if you live outside Japan/US.
  • There are many buttons and ports on both the TNOS and ND units which suggest future additions to the system. TOMIX has touted signal adoption for years now, but they are still pending. Very curious what they will come up with.
  • On the SD card, only the TCL files can be opened and read using a normal text file. So you can only manually program trains using the TNOS box, not with a text editor (BOO).

 

Outstanding questions: 

Stuff that is unclear to me, or I things I have discovered which do not fit in any other category can be found here:

 

- Does the fact that some TNOS folders are in japanese, and show in nonsense in windows explorer, affect the operation of TNOS? How can I configure Windows to display folder names correctly?

 

Wishlist for TOMIX

- Individual PWM settings per train

- More than 10 slots for power settings

- Making power settings an editable text file in the SD card so I only have to program them in once.

 

How to UPDATE your TNOS box:

  1. On the SD card, put the LOCK switch to the unlocked position, and then insert the TNOS card into your computer
  2. Make a backup of your SD card before doing anything
  3. You can go to this website to download the updates. Unzip each update into a folder
  4. On Windows, download the TNOS updater application
  5. Launch the TNOS updater application. If the TNOS SD card is recognized correctly, the button will turn blue. Select the folder of the unzipped update, and click OK.
  6. Apply each update in order using the TNOS updater application. You need to eject the SD card after each update and reinsert it again and repeat the process.
  7. After all updates are applied, eject the SD card and put the LOCK switch back.
  8. Insert the SD card in your TNOS main box.
  9. Disconnect ALL cables from the TNOS main box, only leaving the power cable.
  10. Push the Settings/Cogwheel button at the same time as turning the TNOS box on.
  11. It will now say CNFG on the display.
  12. Push the Layout button on the left. It will now say the current software version of your TNOS box, e.g. 1.01.
  13. Using the dial button, move to the next version that is available, e.g. 1.03, 1.04 I recommend updating them sequentially.
  14. Once you have selected the update number of your choice, push the enter button
  15. The TNOS box will now update. A lot of numbers will appear, but eventually, your TNOS box will display the new version with a period behind it, e.g. 1.04.
  16. It is now safe to turn off the TNOS box, and turn it on again normally to start running your trains.

 

Possible errors while updating:

  • E.60 means that the update did not execute correctly. Please repeat the process.
  • E.61 means the update was not located on the SD card. Please verify that you updated the SD card correctly

 

DISCLAIMER: ALL instructions, information etc. is to be used at your own risk! I am not an expert in TNOS, and I am not a native japanese speaker. I do not take any responsibility if your gear or trains get damaged due to improper use or misconfiguration that might lead from using any of the information in these posts!

 

Edited by Yavianice
added procedure for updating TNOS

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

Test Layout / General Setup

Before converting my current layout, I am using Layout 1 (simple oval with 1 siding, 4 blocks, 2 switches) to test everything out. Here are some discoveries I made:

 

  • There are some errors in the manual. Be sure to download the revisions. For example for Layout 1 the position of the switches is incorrect
  • In a normal analogue track, all feeders should have the same orientation. That's not the case with TNOS, because it is dependent on how it is programmed. Even in Layout 1, the feeders change orientation. So be mindful when setting it up.
  • Sensor 5567 has two sensor ports. Only 1 should be used. The other cannot be used. (I think this might be for a future expansion to incorporate signals in the TNOS track. Not sure)
  • Sensor 5567 should be carefully placed in the track so the non-moving part always makes a connection with the track, or it won't work.
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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

Train settings

I have many different trains of many different brands. Here are some discoveries/tips from testing the different brands out on the test layout.

 

Train power configuration settings table can be found here

 

  • TNOS has 10 slots for different power and configuration settings. NOT MORE. So you will need a table keeping track of all the power settings for your trains. Link above.
  • TNOS comes with different PWM settings, 25 Hz, 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 800 Hz, 2 KHz and 20KHz. This is FIXED, so you cannot have different PWM settings per train (as far as I can tell)
  • For all trains, I am using the 20KHz PWM setting as default. For some reason TOMIX decides that 200 is default, but in my experience, all trains (tomix ones included) buzz terribly. I think this might be a safety issue because you have to be very vigilant that there are no derailments when using higher frequencies, something that KATO and TOMIX repeatedly warn about.
  • All my trains, except for the Minitrix stock, are analogue out of the box.
  • All tests below are performed using the 0 voltage setting for stationary trains (i.e., no power, no lights when the train is stationary). I've read that some trains behave badly when this setting is higher than 0, but I still need to test it.

 

Train "categories" tested successfully (Japan)

  • TOMIX electric locomotives modern: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking the power configuration settings
  • KATO electric locomotives modern: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking the power configuration settings
  • KATO steam locomotives modern: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz with default power settings (parameter 0). Though light locomotives such as the C11 sometimes fail to trip sensor 5567. Recommend using with rolling stock only.
  • Micro Ace: Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • Green Max: Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings

 

Train "categories" tested successfully (Other)

  • Fleischmann "old" electric locomotives: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking the power configuration settings.
  • Fleischmann "new" electric locomotives: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • Fleischmann "new" DCC+Sound: Works, sound included, at any frequency, but even at top speed it is quite slow.
  • Hobbytrain new electric locomotives: Work perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • KATO TGV Stock (old PCB): Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings
  • KATO European Stock (no RHB or Glacier): Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • Kunter: Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • KUHN: Needs very powerful configuration settings, but works.
  • Real Steel: Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings.
  • Revolution/Rapidotrains perfectly working using the default power settings. Might even be too fast.
  • LIMA (Old) works great when you use a high speed (75 and up)
  • Liliput: works great and silently with 20KHz and tweaking the power settings.

 

Train categories which ARE NOT TNOS compatible out of the box:

  • Minitrix Modern Stock: Must be made analogue with a dummy! Works perfectly and silently with 20KHz and tweaking power configuration settings
  • KATO TGV Stock (new PCB): Suffers from Narcolepsy and stops working at 20KHz. Works with lower PWM settings, but buzzes.

 

DISCLAIMER: ALL instructions, information etc. is to be used at your own risk! I am not an expert in TNOS, and I am not a native japanese speaker. I do not take any responsibility if your gear or trains get damaged due to improper use or misconfiguration that might lead from using any of the information in these posts!

Edited by Yavianice
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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

KATO Unitrack compatibility

TNOS is a TOMIX product. And the sensors it offers are meant for Finetrack. But I want to use KATO Unitrack. Here are my discoveries from using TNOS Unitrack:

 

  • To use Sensor 5567 with KATO Unitrack, simply cut out a hole the size of 5567 in between the KATO track, and place the sensor in the track. It will work then. Be sure that the static pickup is connected to the track. For a permanent solution it is recommended to glue it.
  • PENDING TO TEST: KATO switch operation with TNOS box.

 

IMG_0630.thumb.jpg.a9a35c81a14670cc8974d59f12dab3b3.jpg

Tomix Sensor 5567 embedded in KATO Unitrack. The small bit of aluminum tape connects the static connection to the track because I didn't file the track bed correctly. It's temporary, before permanent glueing/soldering.

 

DISCLAIMER: ALL instructions, information etc. is to be used at your own risk! I am not an expert in TNOS, and I am not a native japanese speaker. I do not take any responsibility if your gear or trains get damaged due to improper use or misconfiguration that might lead from using any of the information in these posts!

Edited by Yavianice

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

TCL TNOS Command Language

 

You can't design your own layout with TNOS, the blocks and general layout configuration is always locked. But I am not sure. If anyone knows more about how to design a new layout from scratch, or to rearrange or reconfigure blocks, or to alter the .ttf file, please leave a reply!

 

However with TNOS Command Language you can tinker with individual train operations, and layout iterations. You can also add as many sensors as you'd like for as many sidings as you want in any location that you want.

 

Maybe TOMIX will later add custom layout designs to TNOS.

 

TNOS Command Language (TCL) list of commands and parameters translated in English (under construction) click here!

 

Update 18.04.2020: Apparently TCL also has commands for points which I have not seen before and I didn't see in the manual yet either. The list of commands is updated respectively.

 

DISCLAIMER: ALL instructions, information etc. is to be used at your own risk! I am not an expert in TNOS, and I am not a native japanese speaker. I do not take any responsibility if your gear or trains get damaged due to improper use or misconfiguration that might lead from using any of the information in these posts!

Edited by Yavianice
Updated with commands for points

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brill27mcb
8 hours ago, Yavianice said:

TCL / Custom layout design

With TCL, you can custom design your own layouts. How I do it, will be discussed here.

 

Will be updated later when testing phase is complete

I am very interested in seeing this!

 

Rich K.

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Yavianice

@brill27mcb

 

Hey rich! Thanks for your TNOS introduction video and translation booklet. It's been very helpful. Have you experimented further with your TNOS layout?

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brill27mcb
Posted (edited)

Yes, but I stopped doing the videos for a while and need to restart. I use the TNOS system with trams from many manufacturers worldwide, so defining "parameter sets" for each manufacturer type is essential. Doing this, I can run speedy Tomytec powered trams at the same time as slow Arnold Duwag trams, Kato motor-trailer German prototype trams, etc., which would be impossible to do otherwise. You might say "Why not DCC?" but I want automatic operation of multiple trams and this gives it to me.

 

From my experience playing with TNOS, I have learned that the "yellow signal" speed is the most important, because trains or trams ultimately end up following ones ahead under a yellow signal. So I set the "yellow signal speed" to be a reasonable running speed, and then set the "green signal" speed to be just a little faster, so that a tram will try to catch up a little to the one ahead if it has fallen behind. I set fairly rapid acceleration and deceleration rates, since trams tend to perform that way, to keep up with traffic. I set any dwell times or delay times to a minimum, because I want to see a lot of running, not a lot of stopping. I count on the variability of the operation to make the trams start and stop enroute. Realistic speeds and responsive starts/accel/decel rates are the key.

 

Right now I am using TNOS layout plan #8, a big simple loop with eight blocks, and I set it to operate with four trams using the endlessly repeating program. Under imaginary ideal conditions, each tram would hit an empty block ahead, just as the tram ahead has left that block, so the trams would all cruise around the loop at "yellow signal" speed. Of course, the trams vary, the block lengths vary, and the sensor locations vary. That adds enough starts and stops for my taste. I learned from my East Penn Traction Club experience with automatically operating modules that having a ratio higher than 1 tram per 2 blocks starts to bog down the operations.

 

I "squeeze" the track loop down flat, so physically it looks like a double-track operation (in-street and also private right-of-way) with a return loop at each end, and the trams parade around. I'd like to have even more blocks, to run more than 4 trams. However, the information released about the programming looks to me to be insufficient to actually program a layout and an operating pattern. I also have not done the update to my TNOS memory card from a year or so ago, because I'm nervous about doing it (not being in Japan and having factory or dealer support). I don't want to possibly turn my system into a "brick." I also do not have any need for the few pre-programmed layouts that they added in the update. I am hoping to learn more about the programming possibilities.

 

If I had my preferences, I would prefer a modular control system, instead of the centralized TNOS design. There would be a logic unit for each block, and they would cable together. That's how we run our East Penn modules. Each module has its control logic built in (based on a standard), and we simply build the layout in any pattern with any number and configuration of modules, cable the modules together, and it runs. No need to define a layout program and an operating program. That would be great with something like T-Trak.

 

Rich K.

Edited by brill27mcb

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MtlHobby

Hi guys.

 

I am new in the Train Hobby world and on this forum.

I have three important questions for you related to the TNOS System:

1. Do you have any idea how or from where I can get/buy a backup TNOS SD card?

    I tried cloning mine, but it is not recognized by the system.

    I do not need one right now (the original one I have is working fine), but I really want to have a backup one.

2. Do you have any idea how or from where I can buy a backup data cable (the cable between the T-CU01 and T-ND100)?

3. Do you have any idea how or from where I can buy an extension for the data cable (the cable between the T-CU01 and T-ND100)?

 

I was looking everywhere for Part Numbers for these parts, but could not find anything.

It is true, I do not understand Japanese, and all documents are in Japanese... 

I use my phone's Google translate to understand the documents, but it's difficult to stay all time with the phone in your hands, in front of your computer...

 

Also, another question: somebody was saying here that the txt files part of the March and December 2019 updates to the TNOS system contain useful comments and explanations.

unfortunately my computer does not have the Japanese language installed, so the txt file does not show japanese characters, so I can't translate the comments...

Can anybody help the community by posting an English translation of at least one example file, so we could start learning how to program TNOS system?

 

If I could be of any help, please let me know how I can help.

 

Thanks,

 

Victor

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Yavianice
1 hour ago, MtlHobby said:

1. Do you have any idea how or from where I can get/buy a backup TNOS SD card?

    I tried cloning mine, but it is not recognized by the system.

    I do not need one right now (the original one I have is working fine), but I really want to have a backup one.

Maybe your SD card is not the same spec? I know that some systems can't handle SD cards which are very large, or are not formatted properly. I would double check that first. But I cannot help you further, but the retailer you got it from, or MTP/RG Rokko will probably be able to help you.

 

1 hour ago, MtlHobby said:

2. Do you have any idea how or from where I can buy a backup data cable (the cable between the T-CU01 and T-ND100)?

3. Do you have any idea how or from where I can buy an extension for the data cable (the cable between the T-CU01 and T-ND100)?

Same, probably your retailer can help you order these parts.

 

1 hour ago, MtlHobby said:

I use my phone's Google translate to understand the documents, but it's difficult to stay all time with the phone in your hands, in front of your computer...

I'm doing that all the time and managed so far?

 

1 hour ago, MtlHobby said:

Also, another question: somebody was saying here that the txt files part of the March and December 2019 updates to the TNOS system contain useful comments and explanations.

unfortunately my computer does not have the Japanese language installed, so the txt file does not show japanese characters, so I can't translate the comments...

Can anybody help the community by posting an English translation of at least one example file, so we could start learning how to program TNOS system?

The comments are very basic, and are just verbatim comments of what the command does. Look at my TNOS/TCL Command list google sheet to figure out what each command does.

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MtlHobby

Yavianice, thanks for the quick reply.

Since the commends are very basic, I'll try to translate them myself, using your google sheet.

 

One thing I discovered today is that the sensors can be electrically cascaded.

I am not sure how useful is this, but definitely you can connect one sensor to another sensor to another sensor to the T-ND100 unit. 

The middle wire of the sensor cable is the common, while the other two wires will short to the common when the train will make the contact going in one direction (one of the wires) or the other direction (the other wire). 

 

Regarding the other questions, I buy almost every part on Amazon, so it is difficult to ask my retailer...

And retailers usually work with Part Numbers.... 

And I was not able to find out the Part Numbers for these parts.

 

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

Ok, in that case I recommend getting in touch with MTP or RGRokko about replacement parts.

 

I think one of the uses of the cascading sensors are maybe running on multiple tracks at the same time without having to spend more money on ND units? I’m not sure. But I am pretty sure that in the end, the sensor will be able to connect to a signal, which in turn is connected to an ND unit (or other unit) somehow. But signals are not yet implemented in TNOS.

 

great to see another TNOS enthusiast on here. If you discover more that I have not mentioned, do share!

Edited by Yavianice

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brill27mcb

No, you can't save on ND Units that way. Daisy-chaining sensors simply lets any of the daisy-chained sensors provide the same expected input signal interchangably. For example, you could add a second parallel passing siding where a TNOS layout plan already has one, and feed both of these sidings from one track feeder ahead of the manual track switch into the added siding. Then, you can swap trains by letting one come into its siding and reaching its sensor, then quickly throwing the track switches manually to remove power from the first siding and instead power the added second siding. The second train would then depart, taking the place of the first train. When you want to swap back to the first train, the second train would activate the sensor on its track, and you can manually throw the track switches back again. The automation unit, and the TNOS processor too, will treat the two daisy-chained sensors as the same sensor for input purposes. I hope that's clear.

 

Years ago, Doug Coster in Australia did a similar trick with these sensors and the older Tomix Automatic Operation Unit (#5563?). Back behind the scenery backdrop board, where his passing sidings were used to stage trains, he had a second passing siding (third track: main, passing and second passing) with manually thrown track switches. At train shows, when he saw a spectator out front closely watching the trains and figuring out the automation sequence (2 trains taking turns), he would throw the manual track switches and send out a Doctor Yellow (a third train) instead of a regular shinkansen. He enjoyed confusing studious spectators by doing this.

 

Rich K.

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MtlHobby

Hi guys,

 

After some more study of the TNOS manual update from December 2019, I found two more commands (see the bottom right side of page 1) related to the brightness of the display (SB n - where n=1 to 20) and respective of the signal (SE n - where n=1 to 20).

Yavianice, can you please update the file?

 

Same update shows also the cascading of the sensors, on the bottom left side of page 2.

The cascading of sensors may be used in the yards (see layout 11, sensor 3-7 at the middle of the left side of page 2 in the same manual update from December 2019).

 

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

@MtlHobby Hi, thanks for the update. I saw those commands but I didn't think they were urgent enough to add right away, will do that though when I have a bit more time.

 

In the meantime

 

TOMIX has pushed a new update on the 30th of April 2020. Included is a new layout (number 14). I really wish instead they would push a double track oval layout sometime, but they seem to be betting on people purchasing two TNOS main stations rather than just one.

 

However, in the new update they also included "Power Unit" mode, which makes the whole layout work like a usual power unit with switch control. This will make it redundant to get more storage tracks (you can manually select if all or some of the blocks are powered) since you can now also drive them manually by selecting the train in question, and switching points manually, all within the TNOS main unit. 

 

https://www.tomytec.co.jp/tomix/necst/5701tnos/images/update/tnosupdatamanual202005.pdf for the japanese manual, and 

 

https://www.tomytec.co.jp/tomix/necst/5701tnos/tnos-update.html for the update page.

 

I am quite busy IRL so I do not have much time to spend on model trains right now. Will probably have some time in a month in case the current COVID-19 situation forces me to cancel my prebooked Japan holiday. When I have a bit more time then I will update the TNOS translation files also.

Edited by Yavianice

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brill27mcb

Yavianice, I have put a link to this thread on my Tomix TNOS webpage on trainweb.org/tomix today. I think there are probably a number of people out there that wonder about the feasibility of adapting the Tomix TNOS system to Kato Unitrack. This is a good resource for that.

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Yavianice

Thanks. I have had some questions sent to TOMIX about TNOS. Also I have not done anything about it because the current mail crisis means I can’t get the parts I need.

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brill27mcb

I'll be interested in hearing what they say!

 

Rich K.

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Yavianice

Just a heads up: RG-Rokko has told me that the TCS sensor 5567 from Tomix has been discontinued and can no longer be purchased for now until it is re-released; so if you see it in stock at a store somewhere, better get them quick.

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