The Liverpool Ringing Simulator Project

The ART Award for Effective Use of Technology – 2020 Winner

The use of simulators has great potential in the training of new ringers and the improvement of established bands, and therefore the Liverpool Ringing Simulator Project seeks to promote the installation and take-up of simulators in towers as a teaching aid. The project was originally based on work undertaken at Liverpool Cathedral to provide a 12-bell simulator for demonstration and training purposes. From that beginning, the scope of the project has grown, with the aim of producing and publishing designs, software and documentation to enable other towers to build and install their own simulators at relatively low cost.

The project’s objective is straightforward: More simulators in more towers means more time and opportunities for teaching and practice. Learners can spend more time on the end of a rope, leading to faster learning and better engagement. Established bands can extend and improve their capabilities with more opportunities to ring, including extended ringing such as quarter peals. In addition, the project makes all aspects of the design of the simulator available under Open Source licences, making it the first fully Open Source Hardware simulator, freely available for re-use, adaptation and improvement by other ringers.

Type 2 Simulator

The Type 2 simulator has been completely redesigned and updated.

Expanded Capacity

  • The Type 2 Simulator now supports up to 16 sensors on a single interface.
  • These can be real tower bells, practice dumb bells, or any combination.
  • The Type 2 Simulator now supports up to 16 concurrent Simulator PCs.

Redesigned PCBs

  • The Simulator Interface Module and Sensor Module PCBs have all been redesigned for easier construction.
  • The Interface PCB is larger, less crowded and has improved heatsinking for the voltage regulator – an additional heatsink will rarely be required.
  • A new Power Module PCB simplifies connections between the PC, Interface and power supply in the ringing room.
  • PCB header pins are replaced with RJ45 connectors, which are much easier to assemble.
  • CAM files for PCB “panels” of Sensor and Power PCBs, reducing costs.

Simplified Enclosures

  • Replaced the enclosures with readily available Really Useful™ boxes.
  • Enclosure drilling and cutting are simplified.
  • Printable drilling templates are available.
  • Enclosure lids simply clip on, eliminating tiny screws.

Simplified Cabling

  • Uses off the shelf RJ45 network cables, eliminating making and soldering custom cables, greatly simplifying installation.
  • Together with the redesigned PCBs and enclosures, this eliminates the need for very many wire-to-connector solder joints and pin crimp joints.
  • Simplified cabling in the belfry, with “daisy chains” of sensors.

New Guides

  • The documentation has been re-written and reorganised into a series of Guides.
  • The main Build & Installation Guide is easier to follow, with more supplier part numbers and sources, and focused more on assembly and installation.
  • Separate guides for basic setup of Abel, Beltower and Virtual Belfry.
  • A Multi-PC Guide covers the Second PC and the Basic Serial Splitter modules.
  • A comprehensive Technical Reference Guide covering theory and design, and less frequently used technical details.

All the documentation, designs and code are hosted in repositories on GitHub.

All original manuals and other documentation (including schematics, and PCB layout CAD and manufacturing files ) released as part of the Liverpool Ringing Simulator project are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA). All original software released as part of the Liverpool Ringing Simulator project is released under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL), Version 3.

Simulator Interface PCB

Simulator Interface Module PCB

Magneto-Resistive Sensor

Magneto-Resistive Sensor Module

Basic Serial Splitter Module