What is a ringing simulator?

What is a ringing simulator?

In its simplest form a ringing simulator consists of two things:

  • A physical component (hardware) for the student to ring, along with a sensor to convert the motion into an electrical signal.
  • An electronic component (software) that turns the student's action into sound.

The student can either ring a bell that has been silenced or a dumbbell specially constructed for training purposes. In either case, sensors are attached to the wheel in order to convert the movement of the bell into an electronic signal. The software converts these electronic signals into sound, mixing the sound of the bell rung by the student with other simulated bells. The student can then adjust the sound of their bell to fit in with the "perfect" timing of the computer.

Students can also practise at home by pressing a key on the keyboard to make a sound.

When someone is new to ringing there are a number of skills that they need to master in order to successfully progress to call changes and method ringing. The latest simulator software is a useful tool to help develop skills such as listening; an understanding of place in a row; an ability to control a bell sufficiently well to be able to ring it to any of the three speeds of ringing on any stroke; leading and ropesight.

What a little simulation can do

Simulators can save time and manpower whilst benefiting students at the early stages of their ringing careers. They allow the student to practise listening and bell control without the necessity of the whole band being present. In summary, simulators allow:

  • Unlimited practice which won't disturb the neighbours.
  • Unlimited practice at rounds and beyond without needing the help of other ringers.
  • Non-judgemental feedback on striking.
  • Practise ringing on higher numbers and methods unsupported by the local tower/band.

All in all, a very powerful training tool for both new and experienced ringers.

With simulators, people seem more relaxed about trying things that could go wrong – because they know they are keeping their mistakes to themselves in the tower. With open bells, some ringers are uneasy about trying something ambitious as they are worried about making a racket or a fool of themselves – a simulator liberates them from that.

How much does a ringing simulator cost?

For the basic installation, not too much. To get started on one bell:

  • Cost of bell silencing with a rope = zero
  • Single sensor and DIY installation = £150
  • Laptop or PC (donated) = zero
  • Simulator software = £20

A reconditioned Windows 10 PC with screen, keyboard and mouse can be bought for as little as £90 and a reconditioned 14” Windows 7 laptop from £120 (Amazon). If you're not confident then installation can be part of the sensor package.

Remember you can start small and build up your capability over time.

A student learning to cover

Worcester Teaching Centre

Pop-up Simulation

Wireless sensors that are simple and straight forward to set-up, give the possibility of easily portable, "pop-up” silent ringing in any tower. Find out more and see if it could work for you.

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