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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK supporters and lurkers both, there seem to be quite a few Z21 and a few z21 operators out there, now the Z21 uses a tablet to provide the graphics because of this it is infinitely flexible and updateable that said mine has had nothing since installation back about 2013 except a switch from Android to Apple ipad which at 12GB holds 200 locos with room for about another 50 or so.

First off set up a switch centre


here you see left the mains feeds, keep them close by, then the router and then the black Z21 box, this has the stop/emergency button which you may need on occasion, my layout with 8 main roundy lines needs this from time to time to stop the action instanto whilst a derailment is sorted out. If you need to code it is on the back of the router.


You can see here a wire and switch section, in order to isolate trouble I can switch out each section and see which is the one with a short, so I have 4 track lower level, 2 track upper and the 2 track uppydowny, plus the setup for the prog track and ESU tester, you can also see the the points feed but this was very slow so I went back to Peco push buttons.

Now you can go and plug in the tablet
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Z21 post number 2.

Once loaded up the tablet will allow you to add locos and you get this screen

You then have 8 fields to choose from, so top left push the button on the screen and load details of your loco, it will ask for your number (I use 4 digit numbers) when of course the loco has BR steam 5 digits except the Great Way Round locos, so say 45156 may come out as 4556 I usually take out any zeros, then add in the max scale speed and other useful details, all mine are set at 128 steps.


A bit exposed but you can see the lowest number loco is 2810 and this becomes the loco address, set the number of steps and other bits, take a photo using the tablet then you need to code the loco

By pressing the middle left CV Programming button you get this screen, I go to the bottom right and open up the CV numbers

So here you type in the prog number 2810 in this case


The loco should respond with a stutter or two and then the CV's will be shown CV17 and CV 18 set the 4 digit number and it gives you also CV3 which can remain as 3 as I have no further use for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Z21 post number 3

I prog on the prog track and this needs little track, I also use this for wheel cleaning running it against the wooden upright to the left


The ESU tester is shown left as well getting in the way of the DC trams, I use black and red for the DCC tracks and brown and orange for the DC trams - never mix them up!

I missed a slide when loaded on the ipad you get an icon such as this top left


and you get 10 fields not 8 on the intro page - whoops.

Finally the German manual tells you the easy stuff, says how wonderful it all is and then skips to you enjoying the model - who wrote this rubbish! anyway I hope this helps someone thanks for getting this far!
 

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I control my Z21 from the Z21 app on my Android phone.
I have set up the supplied WiFi router to be an extension of our home WiFi network rather than being just being a network on its own. Roco don't recommend this and having done it, I can see why.
I have a couple of Roco camera locos. The Z21 + phone can really only handle one at a time and it's a bit random as to which one will get connected. The display is also rather small on the phone. I am hoping it will be better on iPad once I get round to buying one. There is a very old iPad knocking the house but it's only 32 bit so the current Z21 app won't run on it.

David
 

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o_O

Can I clarify: the manual switching is simply to cut power to designated track-sections of the layout?
 

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I control my Z21 from the Z21 app on my Android phone.
I have set up the supplied WiFi router to be an extension of our home WiFi network rather than being just being a network on its own. Roco don't recommend this and having done it, I can see why.
I have a couple of Roco camera locos. The Z21 + phone can really only handle one at a time and it's a bit random as to which one will get connected. The display is also rather small on the phone. I am hoping it will be better on iPad once I get round to buying one. There is a very old iPad knocking the house but it's only 32 bit so the current Z21 app won't run on it.

David
RE: The separate network: Most routers have two frequencies - are you using the Z21 on the other frequency? Or is the home network and Z21 all on the same frequency?

RE: the cameras: Is this an inherent flaw with no way of correcting? Or is it a limitation of your particular implementation?

thanks!
 

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RE: The separate network: Most routers have two frequencies - are you using the Z21 on the other frequency? Or is the home network and Z21 all on the same frequency?
Ok - this is going to get technical.
By separate network, I meant different subnets - or groups of IP addresses. My BT home hub defaulted to having a subnet with 256 addresses. The Z21 is configured at the factory with a fixed IP address which matches the default settings of the mini hub which comes with the Z21 /but/ it's in a different subnet to my BT home hub and there is no gateway set up on the Z21 so it's completely cut off.
Roco advise strongly against changing the address of the Z21 because recovering a lost IP address is a right pain.
Whilst setting up networks is not a primary role at work, I have picked up enough knowledge to be 'dangerous' and after some experimentation, I got it working.
There is one small problem - but not with running the Z21. The layout is in the study where I WFH. If I have the Z21 hub switched on, my work laptop connects to the Z21 hub and I only get the 2.4G connection which is a bit stretched for Teams group video calls ... so I only switch the Z21 hub on when I need it. I really should get an extender for the main hub but haven't got round to that yet.

With regard to WiFi hub frequencies - I think the Z21 mini hub is the 'original' 2.4GHz only. I left the channel selections alone. The BT hub is a lot newer and supports 5GHz as well but that's no good for the Z21. I have a rather useful WiFi analyser app on my phone.

RE: the cameras: Is this an inherent flaw with no way of correcting? Or is it a limitation of your particular implementation?
I think it's a flaw/restriction in Rpco's Android Z21 app. I suspect I will find the same problem with the iPad app when I finally get round to trying it. The Z21 camera app on Windows can also only connect to one camera lok and you can't run two at the same time on the same Windows PC.
When I first got the camera lok I sneaked a look at the traffic using Wireshark. The protocol looks very simple, it's just that the Roco app writers didn't expect anyone to have more than one camera lok - clearly they aren't grandparents ;).

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Adrian, sorry to be slow to reply, yes I decided to assist fault finding by being able to switch out each group pf lines, now I could have gone for 8 switches one for each line but settled for 3 because I wanted to sort it fast, so given a problem I switch out all 3 then switch them back in as I look for the problem, this is normally a derailment and almost inevitably at a point because the track has shuffled or something of the sort as I try to keep track pins to the minimum as they tend to work out of the hole they are knocked into due to the slight pressure from a passing loco and then havoc ensues - that said I am not a gluer as this sort of makes adjustments difficult.

I think there are 128 points on the layout so the chances of a problem is quite high, the low level fiddle yard has 19 lines (the 20th is the prog track) so that is a 5, 5, 5, 4 so it needs 8,8,8,6 points alone.

The fiddle yard has a central access so here looking down into the hole again the height is 132mm set by the Metcalfe viaduct but any less than this and your hand will not be able to sneak in and fix a minor issue.
 

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Ok - this is going to get technical.
By separate network, I meant different subnets - or groups of IP addresses. My BT home hub defaulted to having a subnet with 256 addresses. The Z21 is configured at the factory with a fixed IP address which matches the default settings of the mini hub which comes with the Z21 /but/ it's in a different subnet to my BT home hub and there is no gateway set up on the Z21 so it's completely cut off.
Roco advise strongly against changing the address of the Z21 because recovering a lost IP address is a right pain.
Whilst setting up networks is not a primary role at work, I have picked up enough knowledge to be 'dangerous' and after some experimentation, I got it working.
There is one small problem - but not with running the Z21. The layout is in the study where I WFH. If I have the Z21 hub switched on, my work laptop connects to the Z21 hub and I only get the 2.4G connection which is a bit stretched for Teams group video calls ... so I only switch the Z21 hub on when I need it. I really should get an extender for the main hub but haven't got round to that yet.

With regard to WiFi hub frequencies - I think the Z21 mini hub is the 'original' 2.4GHz only. I left the channel selections alone. The BT hub is a lot newer and supports 5GHz as well but that's no good for the Z21. I have a rather useful WiFi analyser app on my phone.


I think it's a flaw/restriction in Rpco's Android Z21 app. I suspect I will find the same problem with the iPad app when I finally get round to trying it. The Z21 camera app on Windows can also only connect to one camera lok and you can't run two at the same time on the same Windows PC.
When I first got the camera lok I sneaked a look at the traffic using Wireshark. The protocol looks very simple, it's just that the Roco app writers didn't expect anyone to have more than one camera lok - clearly they aren't grandparents ;).

David
Thanks,
I understand subnets. I think I was suggesting that running home on one frequency and the rail on the other, might solve the problem. Might.
Camera thing is Ok (for me). As you say, no-one thinks ahead. Ill continue with researching wireless, mini-spycams instead.
 

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Adrian, sorry to be slow to reply, yes I decided to assist fault finding by being able to switch out each group pf lines, now I could have gone for 8 switches one for each line but settled for 3 because I wanted to sort it fast, so given a problem I switch out all 3 then switch them back in as I look for the problem, this is normally a derailment and almost inevitably at a point because the track has shuffled or something of the sort as I try to keep track pins to the minimum as they tend to work out of the hole they are knocked into due to the slight pressure from a passing loco and then havoc ensues - that said I am not a gluer as this sort of makes adjustments difficult.

I think there are 128 points on the layout so the chances of a problem is quite high, the low level fiddle yard has 19 lines (the 20th is the prog track) so that is a 5, 5, 5, 4 so it needs 8,8,8,6 points alone.

The fiddle yard has a central access so here looking down into the hole again the height is 132mm set by the Metcalfe viaduct but any less than this and your hand will not be able to sneak in and fix a minor issue.
Thanks,
It's something I hadn't considered, but makes sense now that I have.
 
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