System architecture is the most significant difference among the various train and layout control systems on the market today. Even though this is transparent to users, there is an EXTREMELY big difference in the technology, implementation and philosophy of LocoNet compared to the to other architectures. Many other digital command control and layout command control companies use a simple bus architecture that is inherently limited while others use extremely complicated architectures that are limited because of the relatively few devices available to set up a complete system.
It is important to choose a system architecture that is ready to provide everything you need to run both your trains AND your layout today and in the future as you decide to add new features.
LocoNet encompasses all aspects of train control and layout command control in a single integrated system without the need to wire and troubleshoot multiple control buses or maintain complex bus systems.
Other bus type systems currently in use by model railroad control companies:
LocoNet is designed with:
This architecture ensures that today’s LocoNet devices will always be able to parse and validate ANY future LocoNet message, even if it can't be decoded and executed by the older device. LocoNet provides a consistent upgrade path and syntax for current and future devices.
LocoNet Throttles and other input devices demand tasks from the Command Station. Effectively the LocoNet Command Station is a "slave" device. It does not "control" the throttles; instead, it serves them. This Peer to Peer architecture, does not use a master unit or control program, making it simple to upgrade the system's "distributed intelligence."
New devices can be added in the future; for example an Advanced Sound Processor linked via LocoNet to an application running in a PC, that may communicate on the LocoNet with new messages without disturbing or conflicting with established throttle and sensor messages. Existing capabilities never need to be "modified." This unique capability is only possible using true LAN technology and having the architecture that was designed for years of system expansion BEFORE any LocoNet product was ever developed or produced.
LocoNet's sophisticated networking technology is transparent to the user. It simply provides a fast, plug 'n play layout control system that is easy to wire and expand in number of devices and features.
LocoNet is a proprietary system. To maintain a system as complex as LocoNet someone has to be "in charge" so valuable system resources are not used unwisely. Digitrax maintains LocoNet professionally for the benefit of the hobby. Digitrax works with and licenses commercial developers so LocoNet can be used in their products. The non-disclosure agreements, licensing agreements & fees for LocoNet are not intended to prevent or discourage anyone from using LocoNet but to insure that system resources are used prudently & to cover our costs to maintain and expand LocoNet as needed for the benefit of all.
LocoNet Personal Edition is the basic definition of the communication protocol used by Digitrax products that communicate via LocoNet.
LocoNet Personal Use Edition information is provided to Digitrax users for their personal use and experimentation under the following terms and conditions:
1. The Personal Use Edition of the LocoNet Specification is publicly accessible from this website. Click on the link in the Related Links section on the right.
2. Personal Use Edition users may discuss the Specification, privately or publicly and in the various user forums, i.e. the Yahoo LocoNet Hackers group or the Yahoo Digitrax Users group. The information is for private use only and my not be used for products that are intended for distribution to others, with or without profit.
3. LocoNet Personal Edition is solely for non-commercial private use.
4. Distribution of products that incorporate LocoNet Personal Edition is prohibited if ANY fee or remuneration is charged for such products. You may share information included in LocoNet Personal Edition with other Digitrax users as long as no money is changing hands.
5. LocoNet is trade secret intellectual property of Digitrax, Inc. No rights are conveyed for the commercial use of this information.
6. Digitrax Inc. does not provide technical support for use of LocoNet Personal Edition.
7. Digitrax conveys no warranty for this information and incurs no obligations for its use or incorrect usage.
8. LocoNet is a registered trademark of Digitrax, Inc.
Possession and/or use of LocoNet Personal Use Edition constitutes acceptance of these terms and conditions.
A "Non Disclosure Agreement" is not required for use of LocoNet Personal Edition.
Free software tools for working with LocoNet
DigiMon is a LocoNet monitor program that allows monitoring of LocoNet message traffic and operations. This is very useful for debugging LocoNet issues. Download this software free by clicking the link in the Related Links box on this page. No warranties express or implied are offered for this software by Digitrax, Inc.
LocoNet Checker is another monitor program that assists in configuring LocoNet for your layout. It is available from a third party website. Click on the link in the Related Links box to be redirected to Stefan Tracshler's LocoNet Checker site for the latest version of this software. LocoNet Checker helps you manage your Digitrax devices connected to LocoNet and monitor their operation. It makes sure that all devices have the correct settings. Note: This is freeware provided courtesy of Stefan Trachsler. Digitrax provides this the link for the benefit of all Digitrax users. No warranties express or implied are offered for this software by Digitrax, Inc.
If you are planning to market your LocoNet Products commercially, please contact us in advance to arrange for LocoNet Licensing. The process is straightforward and is not expensive. Each license is customized for the product being marketed.
LocoNet Licensees are solely responsible for developing and engineering their products to work compatibly with LocoNet. They are also responsible for supporting their products for end users.
The LocoNet Developer's Edition is the commercial definition of the communication protocol used by Digitrax and other LocoNet compatible products produced and sold by licensed manufacturers. This information is only available to signatories of a Digitrax Non Disclosure Agreement regarding the LocoNet Developers Edition.
Access to LocoNet Developers Edition is restricted to parties who are actively developing LocoNet products that they intend to market commercially.
To qualify for the obtaining of a Digitrax LocoNet "Non Disclosure Agreement" the following criteria must be met: