P19345: Model Railroad Control Panel
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Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

During the Problem Definition phase, our team had the goal of completing all assigned tasks and deliverables. To track our progress, we created a Work Breakdown Structure which is accessible here. A challenge we faced early on in this phase was identifying a direct customer apart from the entire RIT Model Railroad organization.

Mr. Charles Rothbard, an alumni of RIT and member of the RIT Model Railroad Club, agreed to be our customer during Week 2 of the Problem Definition Phase. With his agreement to work with our MSD team, we were able to complete the customer interview, understand the RIT Model Railroad club's current systems, and better define our problem statement. Further understanding of the project was able to be completed via team member Derek Schwartz attending RIT Model Railroad Club meetings.

Project Summary

Operation of a model railroad, like the operation of its real life counterpart, is a complex system. The RIT Model Railroad club currently uses a Digital Command Control (DCC) system and a Command Station to power and control their locomotives and switches. These systems also utilize a serial interface to connect with an external computer for their open source layout control program. In order for the RIT Model Railroad club to dispatch and control their layout, members must interface with the layout via the existing cab bus or via the dispatch software on a local computer.

The goal of this project is to expand on the existing control system by including two devices performing different tasks. One device is to be designed for operations of control panels while communicating with the main control system, or the "layout brain". The other device will be designed to communicate with both the brain and the other new device, providing information about the system's current state. This device will essentially be an additional brain decoupling undesirable dependencies in the existing system. The additional brain will interface with the existing system, provide a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) / Internet Protocol (IP) interface for a Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Programming Interface (API)/ PC dispatch panel and interface with locally installed, physical control panels. Constraints include installing the ‘brain’ with the existing layout electronics in a small footprint, high availability package to ensure a full-featured, low-cost model railroad control and indication system.

Link to one page Project Summary


General Overview of Existing, Partial, and New Systems

General Overview of Existing, Partial, and New Systems

Project Objectives, Goals, and Key Deliverables

The objective of the Model Railroad Control Panel project is to design and implement a control system that can be connected to any layout of tracks / system of a model railroad, and successfully control different components of the system. These components include, and are not limited to, the below listed project goals and deliverables:

Project Goals:

Key Deliverables:

Use Cases

Use Case: Control Panel Switch Control

Use Case: Control Panel Switch Control

Use Case: PC Or Remote Dispatch With Complications

Use Case: PC Or Remote Dispatch With Complications

Use Case: The train needs to switch tracks to get to a certain path

Use Case: The train needs to switch tracks to get to a certain path

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements

Customer Requirements

A working version of the customer requirements can be found here

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements

Engineering Requirements

A working version of the engineering requirements can be found here

House of Quality

Customer vs. Engineering Requirements

Customer vs. Engineering Requirements

A working version of the Customer vs. Engineering Requirements can be found here

Constraints

Constraints include:

Risk Register

Risk Register

Risk Register

A working version of the Risk Register can be found here

Design Review Materials

The Problem Definition Phase presentation can be accessed here

Plans for next phase

Systems Design Required Tasks and Deliverables

Systems Design Required Tasks and Deliverables

A working WBS and Gantt chart document can be found here

Individual Plans for next phase


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