This article introduces the third tab of the control window with everything you need to control the loading equipment of vehicles and there moving or movable parts.

Summary

Tab overview

The tab is divided into two parts:

  1. The left part contains the manual driving controls that you already know. As a reminder, these are the speed regulator, the brake controls and the direction of travel of the train or vehicle.
  2. The right part concerns models equipped with movable elements such as the pantographs of a locomotive, the bucket of a crane, the spoiler of a car, the wings of a mill, the movable plate of a ferry, etc. … It is this part which interests us here more particularly.

Selection and position of moving parts

To be able to work with moving parts, you must first select a vehicle from the drop-down list of vehicles (item 1).

When a model has movable elements, they are listed in the Movable elements drop-down list (mark 2).

In the example below, we have chosen the SNCF BB 26 014 locomotive. This has two moving parts: the rear and front pantographs.

To move an item, select it from the Movable Items drop-down list. Then we have two possibilities for the setting:

  1. Enter a value between 0 and 100% directly in the Set to input box (top),
  2. Move the Element Control slider to the desired position (bottom).

Here we have chosen the rear pantograph, the value of which has been set at 50%. You will notice the pantograph (circled in red) raised to half in line with the position of the cursor. This moves automatically when you enter a value in the Set to input box. The rear pantograph is completely lowered.

The principle remains the same for all models equipped with moving parts. Remember in the article Standard functions in the paragraph Position of moving parts, the sports car with the spoiler. Well, the procedure is identical for the pantograph of our locomotive.

You may have noticed the gripper button just below the Set to entry box. This is the Load button. We will now see in detail its function.

Load button

This button is activated when a model is equipped with a mobile element (or a tool) allowing an object to be gripped, such as the hook of a crane for example.

We will detail step by step the complete maneuver of a crane with the lifting of a crate but before starting, please read the text in the box below:

Note : Most of the moving parts for models are written in German. Indeed, originally, EEP was designed exclusively in this language. From now on (since EEP15), the publishing company Trend© requires creators to translate their new models in French and English. However, the moving parts of the crane presented in this article are written in German. Below, download the archive file to retrieve the English version and the detailed installation procedure to complete the replacement.

You can also download the complete project for your convenience.

Here is the representation of the scene, you can see a crane mounted on a wagon. For the moment, we wait for the arrival of the train in order to be able to load the crate.

While waiting for the train, we will focus only on the crane and examine the four functions offered in the list of moving parts.

In the following screens, the other two buttons will be deliberately blurred because we will study them later in this tutorial.

1st mobile element

This item relates to the main hook. It can be raised or lowered depending on the position of the cursor. Set the value to 75, the hook will thus be raised to 3/4 from the top of the boom.

2nd mobile element

This element concerns the position of the boom. It can be raised or lowered depending on the cursor position. Set the value to 100, the boom will be raised to the maximum.

3rd mobile element

This element concerns the right rotation of the fixed crane according to the position of the cursor. At 100% the crane will be positioned 360 ° from its initial position. At 50% the rotation would be 180 °, at 25% the rotation would be 90 ° and so on.

4th mobile element

This element concerns the left rotation of the fixed crane according to the position of the cursor. Set the value to approximately 25, so the crane will be positioned approximately 90 ° from its initial position. At 50%, the rotation would be 180 ° and so on.

The regulation of the control center has just informed us of the arrival of a freight train. We are therefore going to be able to start loading a crate.

Loading operations

We will choose the first item Lower / raise the top hook and set the slider to 30% to lower the hook to the desired height. As a reminder, you can also enter the value directly in the Set to edit box, which may be more practical to use.

At this point, you will notice the hook drop down and make contact with the crate, but it hasn’t gripped the crate yet.

To make the crate and the hook link, click the Load button (circled in red). This acts like a magnetic push button and indicates whether the function is active or not:

The Load function is activated because the button is pressed.

The Load function is disabled because the button is released.

After clicking the button, please enter the value 75 in the Set to input box or drag the slider to the desired position. The hook rises and the crate remains gripped to the crane hook.

Now we are going to put this crate on the wagon before the train leaves.

Please select the third item Rotate Right and enter the value 75 in the Set to input box or drag the slider to the desired position. The crane will turn to the right and position itself vertically over the wagon just below.

We are now going to place our crate smoothly on the wagon.

Please re-select the first item Lower / raise upper hook and set the value to 50% to lower the hook just to the height of the flat of the wagon.

Once the box is placed on the wagon, click on the Load button to release the crate and set the value to 75% to raise the hook.

The last operation consists in raising the hook of the crane, checking if the crate is in place and giving the starting signal for the train!

We have seen how to perform loading operations with the crane. After reflection, you can ask yourself the following question: “The ideal would be to record in a procedure, all the loading operations in order to avoid having to start the operation again manually each time”.

Fortunately, this procedure exists! You have the possibility to save the various settings of the movable elements for a model in groups.

Automation of operations

Each model has its own space made up of 16 available groups. Each group can contain one setting so we have the possibility of memorizing a maximum of 16 different settings. If we go back to our example, the decomposition of the work to be performed could result in:

  1. Raise the hook to 75%,
  2. Raise the boom to 100%,
  3. Turn to the right at 25%,
  4. Lower the hook to 30%,
  5. Click on the Load button to hook up the crate,
  6. Raise the hook to 75%,
  7. Turn to the right at 75%,
  8. Lower the hook to 50%,
  9. Click on the load button to release the crate,
  10. Raise the hook to 75%.

The image below shows the recording of the first 6 steps in the first 6 groups:

Here’s how to do it:

Once the first adjustment has been made (raise the hook to 75%), click on the 1st top button (circled in red) to switch to the insertion tab and right click on the model to select it. Choose the Save movable element position command from the context menu and save the current setting in one of the 16 available groups. Then go back to the middle tab to show the movable elements panel again, go to the next setting, and go back to the insert editor.

To erase an erroneous setting in a group, choose as usual the Save the position of movable elements command while holding down one of the two Ctrl keys. Then click on the group to delete.

As long as there are one or two adjustments to be made, it is quite easy. On the other hand, in our example with the 10 settings, it must be recognized that switching between the two panels quickly becomes tedious.

Fortunately, there is another faster and more efficient possibility already explained in the article Toolbars in the paragraphes List and positions of moving elements and which consists in directly using the commands of the secondary toolbar in the 3D view:

To access the 3 controls, select tab 1 in insert mode.

In our example all the operations are carried out in the insertion tab (circled in red in the second to last image above). Using controls 1, 2, 3, you make the settings one by one. Once the correct setting has been made, right click on the model to open the contextual menu and choose a group in the sub-menu among the 16 available group slots and so on for the following settings.

Once all the necessary groups have been configured for loading the crate, the animation can be started by using contact points in order to perform the entire procedure. Indeed, even if it is pleasant to perform certain operations manually, the main attraction, let’s face it, is to let the program manage all these operations automatically. This is made possible by the contacts often associated with the flexibility of a Lua script. For now, just retain the manual management of mobile elements. We will see the automation of all these operations later in other tutorials so as not to complicate and weigh down this article. Everything in its time !

To give more dynamism to the loading / unloading operations, you can add animations with models simulating the loading of coal, ballast, sand or other bulk goods which generate dust. The animations produced by different structures and rolling stock can also be triggered manually with the moving element control cursor or automatically via contacts.

For more information about moving parts, see chapter 5.5.5 Vehicle loading systems with moving parts on page 165 of the EEP pdf manual.

Hold Loads button

This button appeared from plugin 1 for EEP14. His function ? as the name suggests is to … maintain or hold the loads! So what’s the difference with the load button?

The Hold or Maintain loads button (here, disabled).

The difference lies in the type of models used for handling loads. In our previous example, if you try to lift tree trunks with the crane hook, it is obvious that this is not the right tool for the job at all. You can click the Load button as many times as you want, the hook will not be able to grab the logs.

We will now return to the example above with the presentation of other models more suitable for loading wood logs, which this time are located in the category for road vehicles.

Before you can use the models in question, you must activate the PhysX (c) option in the Layout Information window.

To display it, go to the File menu and select the command of the same name.

Once this window is displayed, select the option Physic for new PhysX models only and click on OK to validate and close the window.

Now we are going to look for the models in question which are located in the category Rolling stock -> Roads (or streets depending on eep version) -> Trucks (here circled in red as in the image below):

For the occasion, a forest path has been drawn. A truck comes to collect logs and a skidder also loads a train.

Vehicle # 1 is selected and yet the Hold Loads button is still grayed out and inactive. Why ? The reason is simple: this button is only active with machines which are not equipped with tools such as grapples, hooks, pliers, etc … (which is also the case for vehicle n ° 2) . On the other hand, these two machines are perfectly suited for gripping tree trunks, unlike the crane in the previous example. Conversely, if we had a truck with a lifting arm equipped with an electric magnet, the button to maintain the loads would be active! and quite precisely, we have this type of truck at benchmark n ° 3. We are therefore going to take an interest in this one without further delay:

Here is our truck, this time we can notice the activation of the Maintain  or hold loads button. We will therefore be able to proceed with the loading of the tubes and metal drums which are on the docks.

As you can see, a pipe is magnetized to the electromagnet and ready to be loaded into the truck. You will find in the image below, the details of the moving parts to carry out the loading operations.

Details of the moving parts available for the crane on this truck.

Now you have all the elements in hand to load the truck. The operations are exactly the same as for the crane example. When we discuss contact points and LUA scripting, automating all these manipulations will create the dynamic in a project.

Gamepad / joystick Button

This functionality has been implemented with Plugin 1 for EEP14. It is now possible to implement a model-specific assignment via the joystick buttons for each rolling stock. The command configured by the user for a mobile element is stored in the model’s ini file and therefore remains available also for different EEP projects; which is particularly interesting to find the same assignments of orders from one project to another.

But before you can use your controller, you need to declare it in the EEP settings as shown in the image below:

To display this window, go to the File menu and select the Program Setting command. Select your controller and click OK to validate and close the window.

Now that the controller is declared, it becomes possible to load logs onto the train for shipment to the local sawmill.

We will be using the Ponsse Buffalo 8W to do this job. Here are all the moving parts at our disposal :

But before continuing, you will notice the load button still inactive. With this model, this is not a problem in itself since we have a mobile element (circled in red) designed to replace the function of the load button.

Once you click on the button representing a controller, the following window will appear:

In this window, you must first click on the Movable elements drop-down list (marker n ° 2) and choose an element to control with the joystick. Compared to the list of elements (marker n ° 1), the minimum and maximum values ​​in the drop-down list are separated in two (+ or -). Indeed, a single key can not manage these two values ​​at the same time.

To start, you will assign to the left directional key, the mobile element n ° 4: Extension arm [+]:

And now, assign to the right directional key, mobile element n ° 4: Extension arm [-]:

Let’s watch the result in video when these two keys are pressed:

Let’s continue, but this time with another element. Assign to the lower directional key, moving element no.5: Grapples – rotation [+]:

And finally, assign to the top directional key, moving element no.5: Grapples – rotation [-]:

Let’s watch the result in video when these two keys are pressed:

We can also combine the functions with each other :

  1. By pressing the up and left keys simultaneously, for example, or any other combination between the left, right, up and down keys, this solution turns out to be the least practical,
  2. By assigning two functions to the same key, it is this solution that we will discover below:

In the previous example, we had assigned to the left and right keys the extension of the arm of our machine. You will add the opening and closing of the grapple.

We return to our window of setting. Select moving element no. 6 Grapples – open / closed [+] and assign the left key to this element. Then, do the same with the mobile element n ° 6 Grapples – open / closed [-] and assign the right key (See the 2 images below):

Let’s look at the result in video when two moving elements are assigned to the same key:

As we can see, the cumulative functions for extending the arm and opening / closing the grapple are done with just one touch.

Naturally, some models support a greater number of commands with the joystick. This is the case with our truck with the electromagnet:

Five screenshots of the drop-down list are required to illustrate all of the supported commands. With this model, you are spoiled by choices!

Conclusion

We have just seen the moving parts of some models. The diversity is such that the number of moving parts vary from one model to another, are more or less numerous and fulfill various and varied functions.

In earlier versions of EEP, moving parts were called Axes.

This article is now complete. If you have any questions or suggestions, please give us your feedback in the leave a reply input box below.

Thank you for your helpful comments. Have fun reading an other article. 

eep-world.com team

This article was translated by Pierre for the English side of the EEP-World from the article written by Domi for the French side of the EEP-World.

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