Existing Roller Coaster Apollo's Chariot

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b.mac

Wild Mouse Nerd
May 14, 2011
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That is certainly very likely. The park does some work every year upgrading portions of their infrastructure.

My understanding of the phone lines is that if they are the 3xxx are the lines that are the newer VOIP/fiber lines. Someone else might find this interesting but the real difference between the two is that 3xxx numbers in park can all receive calls from an external call. While 4xxx numbers can only be reached through an in park phone call/being transferred from a different number.
This is the same system GAdv has, however they are 2xxx and 3xxx.
 
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That is certainly very likely. The park does some work every year upgrading portions of their infrastructure.

My understanding of the phone lines is that if they are the 3xxx are the lines that are the newer VOIP/fiber lines. Someone else might find this interesting but the real difference between the two is that 3xxx numbers in park can all receive calls from an external call. While 4xxx numbers can only be reached through an in park phone call/being transferred from a different number.
This is correct.
Both 3xxx and 4xxx can be VOIP or copper/analog, too.

Unrelated to the thread though, so back on topic.
 

GrandpaD

Curve Flattener.
Aug 3, 2017
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Oops, got the 3xxx and the 4xxx reversed. And that 4xxx is a pain for the ops supervisors using the company cells as they have to call dispatch or ops to get connected to some rides. They used to have an access number they could dial to reach any extension. But, as always, the access number leaked and TMs were calling their friends from off site, etc.
 

ControlsEE

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Oct 2, 2018
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Not true, actually. Orion is not being programmed by Consign. My understanding is B&M recommends Consign but the parks are free to choose the lowest bidder make their own call.
My info on that is from 2016, so it's possible that its changed. Heard from former Consign employee and current industry professional directly. Also, as of 2015, BGW maintenance (more specifically, the BGW PLC programmer at the time) was under the impression that any major changes had to go through consign before they were made. That's all I know. Maybe it different for new systems than changing old systems. Who is doing Orion? All the other recent CF B&Ms have been them.
 
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Out of curiosity, if the old ride system works just fine even if it was built over 20 years ago, what is the benefit to updating/replacing it?

Edit: if it didn't work just fine, what was/were the issues?
 

ControlsEE

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Would have been built with parts going out of production/already out of production and newer systems could be more efficient. Just two examples from the top of my head. My company's main business is taking control systems from the 80s and 90s and bringing them up to modern technology. Also, electrical parts break over time too. A lot of time, customers want new features that we can integrate now that were not available back then. Think about why you would get a new laptop or cell phone after buying one years prior. Same basic reasons apply.
 
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While in general that makes sense, I'd think that roller coaster controls are built with a singular overall purpose (safely transport guests on the ride) and not like consumer electronics that fluctuate based on market demands. Yes, I know that not all parts of the controls systems deal with transporting guests, but I'm thinking of what the overall purpose of the ride is.

Therefore, that begs the question of if any irreplaceable parts wore out to where the only way new parts would work is with a new controls system?

And more to the point - what kind of parts would AC have that couldn't be replaced? I'm pretty sure if it's old DOS based computer systems that there's a way to rebuild those cheaply and easily.


But, I'm also ok with modernizing - if it makes TM jobs easier, increases capacity, and continues ensuring safety without reducing guest expectations, then why not. It's great to see a park continue to put an investment in what's becoming an older ride, especially with their brand new ride approximately next door.
 
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ControlsEE

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While in general that makes sense, I'd think that roller coaster controls are built with a singular overall purpose (safely transport guests on the ride) and not like consumer electronics that fluctuate based on market demands. Yes, I know that not all parts of the controls systems deal with transporting guests, but I'm thinking of what the overall purpose of the ride is.

Therefore, that begs the question of if any irreplaceable parts wore out to where the only way new parts would work is with a new controls system?

And more to the point - what kind of parts would AC have that couldn't be replaced? I'm pretty sure if it's old DOS based computer systems that there's a way to rebuild those cheaply and easily.


But, I'm also ok with modernizing - if it makes TM jobs easier, increases capacity, and continues ensuring safety without reducing guest expectations, then why not. It's great to see a park continue to put an investment in what's becoming an older ride, especially with their brand new ride approximately next door.
To get specific, AC is built with Allen Bradley SLC500 controllers. These were great when they came out in the early 90s, but by the early 2000s, Allen Bradley came out with the Logix series controllers. There were (and still are) far superior in performance and user friendliness than the 500s. Biggest advantage is that it switches from memory based tags (ie you have a dedicated "address" in the memory that you have to use, it was in octal, not decimal numbers, so 10=8) to name based tags (ie you give each variable a name that you can easily remember). The ControLogix series (and its little sibling the CompactLogix) are just leaps and bounds ahead of the 500 series. After almost 20 years, this line is fantastic (the most common PLC on the market today). This to say that Allen bradley is phasing out the SLC500 line to get everyone on the Logix line. Hence the reason my company has so much business. If a part of that system breaks, you don't necessarily want to have only ebay to turn to in order to get your ride running again. It is certainly possible that BGW is phasing out all of the SLC (or the even older PLC5 series) run rides with contrologix. CP has been doing that over the past few years, using at least Consign and IOE, maybe others too. As to the point about my comparison to consumer devices, it is true that they don't fluctuate with the market like cell phones do. They run a lot longer than consumer electronics, but at the end of the day, they still wear out, just much slower. 20 years of use wears any computer, so it's not unreasonable to upgrade it.
 
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To get specific, AC is built with Allen Bradley SLC500 controllers. These were great when they came out in the early 90s, but by the early 2000s, Allen Bradley came out with the Logix series controllers. There were (and still are) far superior in performance and user friendliness than the 500s. Biggest advantage is that it switches from memory based tags (ie you have a dedicated "address" in the memory that you have to use, it was in octal, not decimal numbers, so 10=8) to name based tags (ie you give each variable a name that you can easily remember). The ControLogix series (and its little sibling the CompactLogix) are just leaps and bounds ahead of the 500 series. After almost 20 years, this line is fantastic (the most common PLC on the market today). This to say that Allen bradley is phasing out the SLC500 line to get everyone on the Logix line. Hence the reason my company has so much business. If a part of that system breaks, you don't necessarily want to have only ebay to turn to in order to get your ride running again. It is certainly possible that BGW is phasing out all of the SLC (or the even older PLC5 series) run rides with contrologix. CP has been doing that over the past few years, using at least Consign and IOE, maybe others too. As to the point about my comparison to consumer devices, it is true that they don't fluctuate with the market like cell phones do. They run a lot longer than consumer electronics, but at the end of the day, they still wear out, just much slower. 20 years of use wears any computer, so it's not unreasonable to upgrade it.
That... Makes a lot of sense.

It sounds like the difference between using a domain address (quad octets) vs. a URL.

Seems kind of normal that planned (or possibly unplanned) obsolescence is at play here - curious if Allen Bradley systems are the only ones that can be used, or is this one of those things that to switch to a competitor would require a whole lot more time, effort, money, and possibly equipment than it's worth?
 
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ControlsEE

I probably should be working...
Oct 2, 2018
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That... Makes a lot of sense.

It sounds like the difference between using a domain address (quad octets) vs. a URL.

Seems kind of normal that planned (or possibly unplanned) obsolescence is at play here - curious if Allen Bradley systems are the only ones that can be used, or is this one of those things that to switch to a competitor would require a whole lot more time, effort, money, and possibly equipment than it's worth?
If you are a networking guru, it would be like trying to use the internet without a DNS, using an excel spreadsheet with every website's IP address that ever existed. Not easy!

They are not the only manufacturer. AB is the king in America, but Siemens is the main PLC found in Europe. Busch uses both, usually getting whatever the manufacturer normally installs. I personally like AB's software way better, but I haven't used that much Siemens. AutomationDirect is an up and coming PLC manufacturer that focuses on the more budget conscious company (reducing a $5k allen bradley processor to a slightly simpler automationdirect model for less than $500. )
 
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AutomationDirect is an up and coming PLC manufacturer that focuses on the more budget conscious company (reducing a $5k allen bradley processor to a slightly simpler automationdirect model for less than $500. )
Backyard coaster builders, take note!

A more expensive but still achievable and authentic alternative to an old Raspberry Pi.
 

ControlsEE

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Backyard coaster builders, take note!

A more expensive but still achievable and authentic alternative to an old Raspberry Pi.
Exactly. Sure beats the 1756-L81S controller at almost $7k MSRP! I have already started coding a too be designed backyard coaster using the Productivity 2000 controller. Much easier to program for someone who doesn't know traditional programming languages, though they just came out with an Arduino based model for $50.
 
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Screenshot_20200311-063559_Busch Gardens.jpg
Screenshot_20200311-063620_Busch Gardens.jpg

According to these two quick queue blocks, looks like the park might anticipate Apollo going up in 2 weeks. Not hard evidence of course.
 
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