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hello is there anyway of operating your model railway using your laptop, and conneting your laptop so you can run a train collecting mileage of your layout.

plus

are there any other ways of getting xtrkcad or any other layout design software

thankyou

bulldog
 

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You can use the Lenz software to run trains, if they have the Gold decoder and you're using the Set 90 or Set 100 (you won't get all the features with the Compact).

As for mileage, no idea!
 

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For the Lenz, you will have to purchase one of their two computer interfaces for the thick end of £100. I would go for the USB version on the grounds that serial ports are finally starting to disappear from new PCs. The interface ships with a piece of software which behaves as a controller. I don't know if there are "hooks" into the software that you can use to monitor what the controller is telling the loco to do so that you can record the mileage.

If you want greater control then you are looking at something like the "Train Controller" software from http://www.freiwald.com/ This is an all singing all dancing system. It ain't cheap either. One of our members The Volebender General has an unanswered query on this stuff, so there's not many of us here using this stuff - yet. One fan is Steve Jones of www.electricnose.co.uk. He has written some informative articles on it.

Lenz is not the only solution, but it is the one I have researched most fully.

The forthcoming Hornby system appears to have a PC interface built in as standard but when software for this will become available is anybody's guess. The fact that Hornby can build in the PC interface and sell the whole unit for little more than Lenz sell the PC interface on its own illustrate the cost benefits of using the latest integrated technology. The Lenz PC interface probably needs almost as many parts as the complete Hornby interface.

David
 
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