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KI Computer Systems that create the KI Best Day

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Hi Everyone,

I'm writing a paper about the computer systems and IT that run Kings Island.  Not the ride computers but admissions, tickets, networked menu boards, park lighting systems (like all the new lighting for winterfest), etc., and am having a hard time finding information on these things.  I have been scouring through google and KICentral and can't seem to find anything on the subject.  Any info you may be able to give me or direction you could point me in would be helpful.

Thanks

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They use Micros systems for the admissions/food/etc. registers.  The other items, you more than likely would have to talk with someone who works with those systems as they aren't accessible to the public. 

As for lighting, they more than likely are using theatrical lighting, different brands can be found here: https://www.stagelightingstore.com/4-Shop-By-Brand but specifically what KI has for Winterfest I couldn't tell you off hand.

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I know the rides have computer systems that control their electrical components (sensors and the like) but I don’t know very many details. I want to, though!

-BFF, who has geeked out over getting to see Vortex’s “brain” this summer. :) 

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Thanks for that info.  I've been thinking about sending an email to see if there is someone at the park I can talk with about all of it but haven't had a chance yet.  I might even make a call just to see who to talk to that might have more details.

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25 minutes ago, fyrfyter said:

Most of the rides probably just use a PLC type system. Keeps them independent and functional.

I can confirm that most of the rides and coasters, at least prior to the addition of Diamondback, use some sort of PLC system mostly ladder logic type stuff.

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I can confirm that most of the rides and coasters, at least prior to the addition of Diamondback, use some sort of PLC system mostly ladder logic type stuff.


It only makes sense. Most of that stuff would be programmed for local control and being off network, preventing things like hacking from being an issue.

The logic is also the easiest to use, with the ability to easily change.

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AFAIK, Monster is the only ride that doesn't use a PLC. That would be because it's the last manually-driven ride in the park.


I️ noticed that the last time we rode it. The operator actually has to manually feather the hydraulic controls to make the ride move to load it.

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I'd assume that Kings Island would consider this type of information proprietary. At minimum it seems like something they wouldn't freely share with their competitors... So I'd be surprised if they openly share it via email. Good luck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


I️ doubt they’ll give specific proprietary information, but many POS systems are relatively generic for off the shelf hardware. It’s the OS that seems to be customized as needed.

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9 minutes ago, fyrfyter said:

 


I️ noticed that the last time we rode it. The operator actually has to manually feather the hydraulic controls to make the ride move to load it.

 

Yep! The ride operators control every movement on the ride (except the individual pods spinning). We have to have a minimum of 8 hours training to drive it, as opposed to 2 hours for a coaster. It's quite the machine.

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Yep! The ride operators control every movement on the ride (except the individual pods spinning). We have to have a minimum of 8 hours training to drive it, as opposed to 2 hours for a coaster. It's quite the machine.


It equates to operating the ladder truck at work. Lots of knowledge on how to set it up and then how it can be used and what it can do while understanding how hydraulic systems work.

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For info about ride controls and such, get in touch with the folks from Irvine Ondrey Engineering (http://www.irvineondrey.com and https://www.facebook.com/IrvineOndreyEngineering). Their website even says that "your questions about attractions controls are more than welcome" on their FB page. I don't know how much they do in the way of controls for flat rides but they do a lot with coasters, including Mystic Timbers.

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I will state my observation again, when it comes to CF IT:  it amazes me that they have a POS system that seems bulky and complicated to the user (I'm looking at you, food service); yet they can report chainwide results just a few days after a quarter/season ends.

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On 11/9/2017 at 11:02 AM, VortexBFForever said:

I know the rides have computer systems that control their electrical components (sensors and the like) but I don’t know very many details. I want to, though!

-BFF, who has geeked out over getting to see Vortex’s “brain” this summer. :) 

Vortex has a Brain? I thought it was consuming ours with all the head banging.

JK.

Actually, Vortex’s PLC is the most complex due to the fact the initial stop on the transfer track doesn’t make the entire car sit on the transfer section. 

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The POS system is micros. It comes in two variations throughout the park. Touchscreen and keypad. Most food and photo stands run on the keypad variation which is a lot more clunky and harder to learn for most people. The touchscreen ones are the ones you will find in most merchandise shops and have a screen that will dynamically change based on the buttons the operator touches. 

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The POS system is micros. It comes in two variations throughout the park. Touchscreen and keypad. Most food and photo stands run on the keypad variation which is a lot more clunky and harder to learn for most people. The touchscreen ones are the ones you will find in most merchandise shops and have a screen that will dynamically change based on the buttons the operator touches. 


Which is now owned by Oracle. I guarantee once those licensing fees start rising CF will switch to something better. I would guess and say something AWS based.


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2 hours ago, Oldschool75 said:

 


Which is now owned by Oracle. I guarantee once those licensing fees start rising CF will switch to something better. I would guess and say something AWS based.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I hope for any future merchandise employees they do update their POS system. It can get buggy, confusing, and slow at times. Not to mention they still aren’t using any sort of pin pad or chip reader. You still have to hand over the card to the cashier to swipe causing some security risks. Micros is a very common POS in the industry for gift shops and restaurants that aren’t huge chains. I know when I worked in merchandise in photo there were like 5 different steps just to activate a funpix bought online and if you did a season pass upgrade (barcode to QR code) and messed up the passes would be deactivated and the guest would have to go to guest services but their FunPix would be tied to the new QR based season pass. There was no confirmation on the POS if it even worked or a way to check if it worked when I worked there in 2016. Now if they had the touchscreen POS system in photo it may have been easier and caused less confusion as I almost never had issues with the touchscreens except that the cash and credit buttons were rigt next to each other and if you hit cash it would immediately open the drawer for exact change and a supervisor would have to go back in and do a return which got complicated if they used a gold pass discount. 

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...
Actually, Vortex’s PLC is the most complex due to the fact the initial stop on the transfer track doesn’t make the entire car sit on the transfer section. 


I’d be surprised if this was really true. They can stop it on the transfer track, they just choose to bring it forward after its full stop. If I remember correctly, we used to sit on the final run fully on the transfer track and they didn’t bring us forward, until it was time to head into the station.

I spent a few years building industrial machines. They used the same type of PLC systems as coasters. They also used proxes and reverse proxes for sensors, just like the prox sensors you can see near the brakes on the tracks.

Those are fun things to play with once you understand the logic they use and how they determine on vs off.

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^Ghost trains are always interesting. I was at Vortex one morning when it rained so hard it made the sensors at the MCBR think a train was there -- all while the three real trains were parked in the station and on the two brake runs. This happened twice!

My supervisor was there on a day where it was so humid we apparently had 5 trains for a moment. :blink:

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^Ghost trains are always interesting. I was at Vortex one morning when it rained so hard it made the sensors at the MCBR think a train was there -- all while the three real trains were parked in the station and on the two brake runs. This happened twice!
My supervisor was there on a day where it was so humid we apparently had 5 trains for a moment. :blink:
I remember that from when I worked Vortex, we had to shut down in heavy rains for that reason.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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23 hours ago, PKIVortex said:

I remember that from when I worked Vortex, we had to shut down in heavy rains for that reason.

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AFAIK they just run two trains instead of three during rain. Heavy rain will shut any coaster down (except indoor ones), but not for ghost trains - just because there's a risk of the trains overshooting or blowing through the breaks.

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^You would be correct! Brakes that rely on friction to slow/stop trains can only do so much (but enough, thankfully) when it rains, unless it is downpouring, in which then we would close Vortex. But when we do operate in the rain, two-train operation keeps the trains far enough apart that running in the rain won't pose a hazard, at least in terms of where a train hits the brakes at a high speed (at the end of the ride).

There was a day this season, though, when it was drizzling but only in the slightest, and we were able to still run all three trains! Occasions like this are rare, though, at least to my knowledge.

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On 11/9/2017 at 9:35 PM, PKIVortex said:

I still think it's cool that the admission system that Paramount Parks came up with got interfaced into all of the Cedar Fair Parks. It's called Gate Central.

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Although Gate Central generally sucks. See past events with visiting other parks Terpy style.

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13 hours ago, chugh43 said:

Although Gate Central generally sucks. See past events with visiting other parks Terpy style.

Boo!  I was involved in the creation of Gate Central.  I didn't do any of the coding or anything like that, but I was involved as far as making sure it was user friendly.  My manager and I gave a lot of input to the creators of the program as far as what we needed it to do and how we wanted the displays.  They would come out with a version, we would play around with it and we would suggest tweaks that we would like to see made.  Of course, that was back when Gate Central was only at PKI as a test before it was to be rolled out to the other Paramount parks and visitors from other parks still had to take their season passes to GR to get in, so I wasn't involved in helping resolve the issue that Terpy had at Carowinds (which happened after my original 16 year stretch of tenure at the park).  I always loved Gate Central and the possibilities it brought to the Admissions department, so many things that were not possible with the system we had before it, so I still feel a sense of ownership when it comes to that program and am glad to see it still used and rolled out to the Cedar Fair parks when they purchased the chain.

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