AboutATCSMonitorForWindows

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About ATCS Monitor for Windows

Introduction

ATCS Monitor allows you to graphically monitor train traffic on railroads that use the Association of American Railroad's Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) Specification 200 protocol, Wabtec (ex-Rockwell Collins) Advanced Railroad Electronics System (ARES) protocol, Union Switch and Signal Genisys protocol, and Safetran Supervisory Control System (SCS-128) protocol.

Throughout documentation, you will see ATCS Monitor shortened up as "ATCSMon" in many places, including the file name on the application, atcsmon.exe.

Our Mission

"To seek out new worlds and new lifeforms; to boldly go..." Well that might be a bit overstated...and sounds somehow familiar...  ;-)

ATCS Monitor provides something of a hobby on it's own, in that you can watch train routing and progress in real-time. Perhaps this is in conjunction with listening to railroad on a scanner. In reality, ATCS Monitor does just that, listens to the railroad via a scanner...it just does so by listening to the chirps and burps of the data channels.

For some, this is a railfanning resource. It helps you get into position to get the photo at just the right time, rather than just patiently waiting for a train to appear.

For others, it's the puzzle fitting that trips their trigger. Some enjoy building the layouts, then analyzing the data bits as they come in, to try to figure out which bits should change the display in what way. When you get that bit to correctly light something up, it's an experience somewhat like dropping a puzzle piece into place!

For a few, it's a network analysis tool for real-world railroading. Signal maintainers have been known to carry it about to check that the data they think is moving around, is doing so as expected.

System Requirements

  • Windows PC (running 98SE, ME, NT 4.0, 2000 or XP)
  • To use this program to receive traffic over-the-air, you'll need a scanner with DiscriminatorTap, and a sound card (not required if you'll be GettingStartedOverview via the Internet).

Obtaining ATCSMon

You can obtain ATCSMon by joining the ATCS Monitor Yahoo Group. The install package is in the Files section, under Application.  Jump to InstallingATCSMon for direction on how to install.

Release History

The release notes for ATCSMon are located here, on the ATCSMon web site. Up until the Wiki is fully up-to-date, this is the best source for finding detailed information on the application usage and behavior.  Please become familiar with what it contains, as this will be the place to watch for new functionality as it is incorporated.

Even numbered versions (e.g. 3.5.2) are fully supported releases of the software, while odd numbered versions (e.g. 3.5.3) are betas. The final 3.5.3 will become release 3.5.4.  Beta cycles tend to be long, so be prepared to employ your skills at installing a beta if you want to experience new functionality.  In fact in some cases, layouts start to be built for beta versions without backward support for full release versions, forcing the need to update. 

Software Registration, Upgrades and Support

The software is free for all to use and enjoy. Support is provided by a dedicated user community, and you are requested to give that support back to other new users as you become more familar with the software. If you can't find the answers to your question(s) within this Wiki, or in the Files > Tutorials section of the Yahoo Group ATCSMon site you are invited to ask a question to the mailing list.

Other Programs Available (EOTMonitoring, ATCS Tracker, ProtocolMon)

EOTmon monitors End Of Train devices for brake pressure, motion, etc. This functionality is wrapped into ATCS Monitor beginning with version 3.5.3 and will function better there, as ATCS Monitor includes DSP filtering support.  Obtain this in the same place as noted above.  Documentation for this functionality will be found here in the Wiki as part of the core ATCS Monitor functionality. 

ATCS Tracker is an application which marries to ATCS Monitor via DDE.  It's primary intent is to count events, which may provide traffic trending data if configured properly, for those interested in statistics.  Documentation for this functionality will be found here in the Wiki as separate from the ATCS Monitor functionality. 

ProtocolMon is an application which provides functionality for more obscure RF Codeline types.  For most people it won't be of interest, as the most common protocols are handled natively in ATCS Monitor.  If you're sure your local railroad is using something RF, but not supported by ATCS Monitor, describe the system and ask the group for assistance.  ProtocolMon is not available in the downloads section.

Our Yahoo Group

The ATCS Monitor Yahoo Group is located here. Join us to download software, share user files, and participate in the user forum.]

Please introduce yourself to the group when you join! You could save lots of time and effort if someone in your area is already working on things nearby. Sometimes the layout or server for your area is a work in progress and has not been posted yet (much to this writer's chagrin). You may be able to piggyback efforts and get things completed to the benefit of both of you, and others, in less time.

Please note that most common users questions are answered either here, or in the Tutorials section as discussed above. Please make sure you've checked both of those places before asking your question!

-- BrianSwan - 29 Oct 2006