The Rules feature of ATCSMon can be made to do a number of useful things while it is "watching" routes as trains chug along. For example, suppose you'd rather not have to check the screen all the time to know when a train arrives at a certain point in your area. That's what Rules are for. You can create a Rule to play God Bless America when the train hits a certain point on your line.
What Rules can Do
The basic idea is that a rule can make something happen on your computer when a particular event comes up on ATCS. For example, suppose you have a favorite place to get pictures of trains and you know a particular train is coming your way. You'd like your computer to play Chattanooga Choo Choo when the train is approaching. You figure out what ATCS message indicates a train's approach to your favorite way point. Then you create a rule to play the .wav file when the train is coming.
There are seven different actions that you can ask ATCS to do when a particular message arrives:
- Display a pop-up message
- Log the message in the Messages window
- Log the message to a file
- Log the message to the default printer
- Play a sound ( .wav file)
- Beep through the computer speaker
- Do nothing
If you are clever with electrical stuff, you can use the printer port to do something "electrical."
Example of a Rule
This example is provided by Bill Foster, President of the Haley Tower Historical & Technical Society, at the request of a member. Bill wanted a bell to ring when a northbound train was lined through Belt Jct. His goal was to make ATCS sound much like Haley Tower did when it was in operation. Here's what he did:
- Before you start, be sure the .wav file is in the ATCS directory/folder
- In the ATCS Monitor window, select Configure -> Rules...
- In the Configure Rules window should be one rule, DataGrams, which should be checked--leave it alone
- Click New Rule
- Name of rule: =Northbound bell=, which is what Bill wants to do
- Address matches: =71255560260202=, which is the address of Belt Jct.
- Mnemonic matches: =1NAK&1NGK=, which are the indicates for the movement Bill wants to catch
- Leave the Packet type and Message type blocks empty
- In Perform these actions: click the Play sound box (you could do more than one action)
- Click Filename, navigate to the .wav file, and open it
- Click Play to check the file
- Close and you have a new rule
Not that hard, right? But there are a few stumbling places:
- Be sure the .wav file is in the ATCS directory/folder or ATCS won't find it to play next time
- The mnemonics you are using as your trigger must be exactly right
- When you exit from ATCSMon, be sure to save the current settings
Thanks, Bill Foster!
-- Main.BillTheOther - 2012-04-01