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Re: [jmriusers] Hardware

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  • John Plocher
    [Aargh, the difference between save and send is only a few pixels on the screen;;; ] ... In techno speak, the ability to read stuff back into the computer
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 8, 2012
      [Aargh, the difference between "save" and "send" is only a few pixels on
      the screen;;; ]


      On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM, John Plocher <john.plocher@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > On Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM, achselen <drupp68@...> wrote:
      >
      >> **
      >> How do I hook up motors or lights etc to be used by the J/MRI?
      >>
      >>
      > When you decide to take the step to "automate" or "animate" your layout,
      > the first hurdle you face is to figure out how to actually control the
      > motors, lights, sensors and devices that you want to use. The solution,
      > unfortunately, is complicated by several factors:
      >
      > 1) what is already in place on your layout?
      > 2) what level of expertise/interest/investment do you have and are willing
      > to make?
      > 3) what is "good enough"?
      >
      > If you have JMRI, you probably have a DCC system and a computer. The
      > complexity here is that every DCC system is different; some make it easy to
      > connect devices, control them and get information back from them, while,
      > with others, it is impossible. Even worse are those in the middle, which
      > may let you control things but not get any feedback (information) from
      > them. In other words, the "papa bear" systems make it easy to detect
      > whether a train is occupying a particular track, light up signal, control
      > turnouts and get told when the points are normal or diverging. At the
      > other extreme, the "mama bear" systems may not provide any way to hook any
      > of that stuff up and the "baby bear" ones may only let you turn on and off
      > lights or throw turnouts, but not tell where trains are or where the points
      > really are.
      >

      In techno speak, the ability to read stuff back into the computer requires
      some sort of "feedback" mechanism.

      If you have a system that includes a feedback bus, you are in luck - you
      can usually purchase or DIY your needed accessory decoders and related
      components to do whatever you want. If it can only "write" to things
      (signals, lights, turnouts...), *and that is enough* for you, you are still
      in luck. If, however, you need that feedback (where trains are *now*,
      whether or not a turnout has really thrown, if someone has pressed a button
      on a control panel...), and you have a system that doesn't support it, then
      you need to add feedback using some other mechanism. This sounds hard, but
      in practice isn't - JMRI supports pretty much everything that can be
      connected to your layout, so you can easily pick and choose among the
      alternatives and run both your current DCC system and an
      add-on-system-just-for-layout-control at the same time... Or, you can
      ditch your existing, limited system and "upgrade" to a more full featured
      one.

      Many people find it incredibly easy to add a C/MRI SMINI to their layout,
      others find that Digitrax's Loconet makes it easy for them to connect block
      detectors, device controllers, signal controllers and much more.

      As you are finding, there is no "one size fits all" system to recommend.
      Probably the "best" answer for someone who is unsure of their needs and
      skills is to look at what the people near you are using - nothing beats the
      ability to spend time kicking the tires and trying things out first hand.
      There's also nothing worse than being the only kid in town with an odd
      brand system that isn't working the way you want it to.

      If you are looking for a place to start:

      With a Digitrax system, you can add a stationary decoder (
      http://www.digitrax.com/products/stationary-decoders/ for a list) to your
      Loconet and be controlling things and getting feedback from them with JMRI
      in almost no time.

      With a NCE system, their stationary decoders (
      http://www.ncedcc.com/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.browse&category_id=7&vmcchk=1)
      are "write only", but they have block detectors (
      http://www.ncedcc.com/component/virtuemart/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=16&Itemid=1)
      and a mini panel (
      http://www.ncedcc.com/component/virtuemart/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=8&Itemid=1)
      that use the cab bus as a feedback channel

      EasyDCC is a "write only" type of system - it can controll things (
      http://www.cvpusa.com/easydcc_accessory_decoder.php) but not get feedback
      from them

      Lenz has a full range of sensors and devices (
      http://www.lenzusa.com/1newsite1/Modules.html) that add to your existing
      Xpressnet system

      Since you are posting on the JMRI list, I can't recommend MRC/Prodigy at
      all - it uses a proprietary interconnect that MRC has chosen not to
      document for use by JMRI.

      All these systems can easily use C/MRI as the interface to your layout - in
      which case, you can effectively ignore your current DCC system for
      everything except running trains and let C/MRI control and respond to the
      stuff on your layout. (http://www.jlcenterprises.net/) CMRI is based on
      Digital Input and Output devices that connect to your layout
      animation/automation; you program or configure software like JMRI to read
      and write the bits and perform actions based on what it sees. Look at
      the SMINI card (http://www.jlcenterprises.net/Products.htm#Serial) for a
      place to start.

      -John


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • achselen
      Sorry to take to long to reply. Here are the answers to the questions. 1 - I use the Digitrax Zephyr 2 - I want to drive building lights and animation
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 13, 2012
        Sorry to take to long to reply. Here are the answers to the questions. 1 - I use the Digitrax Zephyr 2 - I want to drive building lights and animation projects. 3 - I would need inputs as welll as outputs. I am also considering using Andrinos to drive things as well.




        hb

        --- In jmriusers@yahoogroups.com, Paul Bender <paul.bender@...> wrote:
        >
        > On Apr 7, 2012, at 10:45 PM, "achselen" <drupp68@...> wrote:
        > > I have to ask a very basic question here. I understand how you hook up the computer to the DCC sytem. How do I hook up motors or lights etc to be used by the J/MRI? Is it simply using decoders or are there I/O cards to buy too. I understand programing I do not know anything about electronics. Thank You!!!!!
        >
        > There is more than one answer to your question above.
        >
        > Generally speaking, any DCC system can drive lights and motors using accessory decoders. Motors are typically used for turnouts, but they could be used to drive other things as well. The application may determine the type of decoder you buy.
        >
        > You also have the option of using I/O cards that are not connected to the DCC system. JMRI currently supports several systems ( such as C/MRI ) which can provide outputs ( and in most cases inputs as well ).
        >
        > Now, the questions we really need to know the answer to:
        > 1) what DCC system are you using?
        > 2) what do you want to drive with the outputs?
        > 3) do you need inputs as well, and what do you want those used for?
        >
        > Paul
        >
      • ncliffe2001
        There are a lot of designs for LocoNet (the Digitrax networking protocol) based boards for input/output which could be a starting point. They come in a variety
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 14, 2012
          There are a lot of designs for LocoNet (the Digitrax networking protocol) based boards for input/output which could be a starting point. They come in a variety of forms, from "finished ready to use", through "kit of parts" to "a drawing/design".

          Suggested places for more details;

          Maker of finished boards: RR Cirkits, CML Electronics.

          Designs for "kit of parts": The "classic" here is the LocoIO, which is available as a kit of parts (or PCB and list of components) from Hans De Loof in Belgium and in a slightly different variant through the RocRail project. As well as LocoIO (sixteen channels which can be either inputs or outputs), there is the LocoServo (eight servo drives plus four input/outputs). The hardware for these is usually PIC based.


          Places for "designs to implement yourself". There is a Yahoo group called "loconet_hackers", this has a variety of designs in the files area and the message archive, plus links to various projects. Some of these will be Arduino



          - Nigel


          --- In jmriusers@yahoogroups.com, "achselen" <drupp68@...> wrote:
          >
          > Sorry to take to long to reply. Here are the answers to the questions. 1 - I use the Digitrax Zephyr 2 - I want to drive building lights and animation projects. 3 - I would need inputs as welll as outputs. I am also considering using Andrinos to drive things as well.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > hb
          >
          > --- In jmriusers@yahoogroups.com, Paul Bender <paul.bender@> wrote:
          > >
          > > On Apr 7, 2012, at 10:45 PM, "achselen" <drupp68@> wrote:
          > > > I have to ask a very basic question here. I understand how you hook up the computer to the DCC sytem. How do I hook up motors or lights etc to be used by the J/MRI? Is it simply using decoders or are there I/O cards to buy too. I understand programing I do not know anything about electronics. Thank You!!!!!
          > >
          > > There is more than one answer to your question above.
          > >
          > > Generally speaking, any DCC system can drive lights and motors using accessory decoders. Motors are typically used for turnouts, but they could be used to drive other things as well. The application may determine the type of decoder you buy.
          > >
          > > You also have the option of using I/O cards that are not connected to the DCC system. JMRI currently supports several systems ( such as C/MRI ) which can provide outputs ( and in most cases inputs as well ).
          > >
          > > Now, the questions we really need to know the answer to:
          > > 1) what DCC system are you using?
          > > 2) what do you want to drive with the outputs?
          > > 3) do you need inputs as well, and what do you want those used for?
          > >
          > > Paul
          > >
          >
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