What's New(s) At CTI ???

Train identification has become an important aspect of computer-controlled model railroading, particularly on DCC-operated layouts, where it is an essential prerequisite for automated operation.

An emerging new technology, Radio-Frequency Identification, provides an affordable, easy-to-use solution to the problem of train ID. Radio-frequency identification (or RFID, for short) uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic “tag”, attached to an object, to a reader, for the purpose of identifying and tracking the object. The RFID tag, which can be as small as a grain of rice, includes a tiny radio transmitter and receiver. An RFID reader transmits an encoded radio signal to interrogate the tag. The tag receives the message and responds with its identification information. RFID can be used in many applications. A tag can be affixed to any object to manage inventory, collect tolls, identify people, pets, etc. But for our immediate purposes, it can also be used to indentify trains.

RFID has a number of significant advantages when applied to train identification. All the complicated block wiring and decoder installation required for DCC transponding are eliminated. In fact, RFID requires no wiring at all ! Installation involves little more than placing the tag on the train. And because it has gained such widespread acceptance in the commerical marketplace, RFID's cost is remarkably low. RFID tags can now be purchased for under $1.

CTI has designed an RFID reader (CTI Part #TB017) especially well-suited to model railroad applications. Simply plug the RFID reader module into the CTI network, place an RFID tag on your train, and you're ready to roll. CTI's software will now be able to instantly identify any train that passes the reader. This opens up virtually unlimited operational possibilities for any DCC or conventional layout.

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