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The Control Panel Enthusiast Thread

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Here's a few control board pictures I've collected and found over the years. More to come.



dipperBoard.jpg.5108a66224cddf9d16fddfc71aaed616.jpgThis is the control board belonging to Giant Dipper at Belmont Park. It is based on technology from the 1970s, with manually-controlled brakes, and has no PLC (ride computer). Although the picture is blurry, the six black buttons on the bottom-right control the skid brakes. There are three brake sections. As the train of riders comes into the station, the operator opens the spring-loaded brakes by holding/pulsing the buttons sequentially until the train is lined up correctly. When the train is ready to dispatch, the operator sounds the warning bell (big black button) and holds brake section #6, which releases the brakes so the train can roll out of the station. The ride does have a simple block system with limit switches, so if there are two trains on the track they will not be allowed to occupy the same block. There is no mid-course brake run. I believe block 1 begins at the loading area (brake area #6) and ends near the top of the lift hill. Block 2 is the entire ride portion up until the first brake area (#1).

Picture from: http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/October-2011/The-Art-of-Coastal-Coaster-Maintenance/




1-IMG_5582.thumb.JPG.740461036958edcb092b1d98a7f22702.JPGControl board of Octotron, Belmont Park




3-IMG_2309.thumb.JPG.ce1ddc3a1e01e5a099c3c34195ea1e4b.JPGControl board of Maliboomer, California Adventure (defunct). To operate, the operator locks and checks restraints, and then presses the green weigh button, which lifts the carriage on hydraulic posts to weigh the riders, which tells the system how much air to fill the tank with. Shortly after, the air tank will fill with air and the ride will begin the launch cycle. In automatic mode, all the operator has to do is press the weight button, and the system will cycle through the program automatically. In manual mode, each button must be pressed in sequence. If the down button needs to be pressed, it should be done so during the weigh cycle, for least consequence. The ride program will then promptly halt and return to the ground. If down is pressed during fill cycle, the carriage will descend, but the rider's restraints will be kept locked until all air is out of the shot tank. If the ride is already in the launch cycle and the down button is pressed, the carriage will descend very, very slowly (much slower than normal). For that reason, I can't think of any good reason to use the down button during the launch cycle.




2-IMG_5577.thumb.JPG.6f2b1022de97d33dd4264dd82cff9f30.JPGControl board of Control Freak, Belmont Park




4-IMG_3780.thumb.JPG.67f6cd3cd78033250aa8a95f716ae282.JPGControl panel of Sky Tower, Six Flags Magic Mountain

Edited by sfmman2000
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Wow! I love this post I was secretely hoping that one day somebody would start this thread and there it is!


Thanks for the pictures and the explanations! Keep these pictures coming because some of them (especially B&M and Intamin) are quite hard to get...


Oriol "Control panel enthusiast are even nerdier than lift hill enthusiast" Monroig

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I was curious to see how long it would take a topic like this to appear.


Something I always wondered was about the complexity (the amount of knobs and gadgets) of individual ride panels. As I have yet to get a job at a theme park and operate any rides, I was wondering what types of rides had very complicated panels with controls for anything imaginable and which types of rides required a fairly clean and simple panel.


I can imagine coasters way back in the day that required the manual handbrake didn't have very complex control panels, if any at all.

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I discovered some great pictures of Top Thrill Dragster's control board. Pictures are property of: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/just-how-quick-are-roller-coasters


ttd4.thumb.jpg.655ccb9d1822dfed1885aeb2b72ba2c6.jpgMain control board shots.






ttd2.thumb.jpg.094e526517cd4737fe0abf7311473e0e.jpg I believe LAUNCH BOOST ENABLE is used in early morning test runs to send empty trains out at a faster speed (140 mph+) for a better chance of clearing the tower.



ttd1.thumb.jpg.11ec7a972ae3ba79fd162dab7f19dc44.jpg This position is responsible for launching the train.





See archived version of Cedar Point's On Point blog for more pictures and explanation of how TTD works.

Part 1: http://goo.gl/6k6uz

Part 2: http://goo.gl/6jKxK

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Here are some pictures I have. All are pictures I have taken except for the Intimidator picture, which was sent to me by a former co-worker that later worked for Carowinds.


Raven at Holiday World


Intimidator at Carowinds


StratosFear Screamer at Alabama Adventure- main control panel


StratosFear Screamer secondary panel.


Buzzsaw Falls at Alabama Adventure


Rampage at Alabama Adventure- main control panel.


Rampage- panel on the transfer table (sorry it's blurry)

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I wonder if anyone has ever ridden Dragster with "launch boost" enabled? I don't have a picture, but the panel on Volcano at Kings Dominion is pretty cool. The on-ride computer displays a graphic of the ride, which looks like a blueprint, and shows what position/block segment the train is in. I believe the track in the segment being used turns red. Does anyone have a picture of a Top Spin or Top Scan panel? I'd like to see how you operate those in manual mode.

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Can't speak for all Top Spins but the Huss Floorless TopSpin that I operated didn't have any physical "manual mode" buttons on the panel. All manual mode operations were done inside of a maintenance mode on the Allen-Bradley touch panel. There was a "key switch" on the panel that had an auto mode which was for operations and a manual mode which was for maintenance only. (They were the only ones with the key that was needed for maintenance mode)


Once the maintenance mode is selected a whole new set of options will appear on the touch panel allowing maintenance to raise and lower the platform and manually jog the gondola and swing arms along with other maintenance functions.

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Here are the "big" rides I got to operate while working at Linnanmäki (during two summers). Sorry for the low quality, these were taken with my cell phone.


Pikajuna (MACK Powered). Very easy to learn, but difficult to master. The manual speed control (the big black one) makes this one fun to operate :)


Hurjakuru (Intamin rapids). The first one of its kind and the only one not to have a rotating disk -station. Operates actually from the platform and not from the booth when the ride is open. Most of the buttons control water features, only the ones on the lower right control the conveyers.


Kirnu (Intamin ZacSpin). My favourite :) I studied how to operate this beast manually, although only mechanics are allowed to do that :p

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In what way is it hard to master? You can't just keep it on full speed the whole circuit?

Well, the accelerating is easy: just throw the knob to 100 (percent) and just leave it there. The train will go on endlessly, but I've been told it faults after ten laps or so. The recommended is 3 laps, though. The tricky part is the braking: you have to start gradually slowing the train down during the last lap and slowly make it crawl the last parts to the station. When you finally want to stop the train, you have to be careful about the position: there are markings in the first car and in the platform. If they don't align within 1 meter, the lapbars won't open.


It's the braking that makes this fun to operate and it can't be learned any other way than just through trial and error. It took me a few hours to finally be able to breathe and brake at the same time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's something rather old: GAdv's Runaway Minetrain


This is the main operator panel, a lot simpler than all those new B&M's posted. Sorry the buttons can't be read, they are:


Auto Mode Light/Trouble Light/Ride Stop

Control Power Key/Lap Bar Release/Lift Start

Advance Train/Air Gates/Dispatch Train


The panel is a bit interesting as it has changed over the years. The labels suggest that only one button was originally needed for advance/dispatch, but now both must be pressed for either.

The release lap bar button works the lap bars that replaced the originals, but it had some quirks as well. The button HAD to be pressed every cycle to release the lap bars- if it was not pressed, the train would not dispatch. Additionally, it could be used only once per cycle, so after the lap bars automatically relocked after a timer, attendants had to use the pedals to release any bars.


The rest of the controls for maintenance are on the panel behind the operator:


These buttons include the block indicator lights, brake releases, maintenance mode keys, and the E-Stop.


I've got another panel unlike any posted so far, but before I post that, I'd like to get some donations for Coasting for Kids. Please consider contributing using the banner in my signature, and once I get a total of $25 from TPR I'll post another set.

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