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    • December 14, 2018 12:34 AM EST
    • Thanks for the link Del.  I found a really cool Christmas player piano collection on iTunes...purchased and threw it in my digital audio workstation and created a long loop that runs about 4 hours.  I loaded that on the micro SD Chip that goes in the Bluetooth speaker.  At our open house I discovered the little Office Max speakers ran for 3 hours on a charge.  I have a two backups fully charged in case we run longer than 3 ours.  Lot's of fun and really adds the layout.


    • December 13, 2018 6:59 PM EST
    • G-Scale Graphics now offers a Sound Clip Module with a library of sounds to choose from or we can program it for any mp3 file of your choice. Trigger it once, or play in a continuous loop.

    • December 13, 2018 2:47 PM EST
    • If you want to make your DCC++ command station wireless, here is a good possibility.

      I have used these EPS-01 units and they are fast and have good range. You can pick them up for at:

      Be aware there are some ESP-01 modules from other vendors that have the small IC chip with "PUYA" stamped on it. This chip is not in the esp2866 library yet officially. The above vendor has been confirmed to have the good working chips installed on the ESP-01.

      Problem is the manufacturers code is not in the library to adjust the timing on how to program the chip (Spiffs).

      Symptoms is it will work upon programming, but remove power and restart the ESP-01 and the program is gone.





    • December 12, 2018 11:30 AM EST
    • If you need color outdoors, OLED is a good way to go... this one is also touchscreen, you can throw switches, control speed, do functions with either screen, buttons or both.

      one configuration I use is screen for functions, buttons for switches, and either screen or slider for speed... usually slider..


    • December 12, 2018 9:28 AM EST
    • Played around a bit more last night.  Got the 4x4 keypad wired and working, and started to flesh out the controller code based on Dave Bodnar's.  Changing things slightly, but all in all its a good base to start from since it accounts for everything.  


      I also fiddled around with one of the OLED displays.  Theyre a bit pricey, so I probably wont use it for the controllers, but a 1.5" full color screen is enticing.

    • December 10, 2018 2:00 PM EST
    • Yea, I have a 4x4 keypad with real rubber buttons that I want to play with, too.  I do like the "Yea, this is a button" feel of them.  I'm hoping I can dig up one that has a few more buttons than just the phone keypad numbers and A-D. The other option is to use the standard 3x4 layout, and then have a separate single-line keypad for the other buttons.

    • December 10, 2018 10:49 AM EST
    • I like the tactile feel and travel of the "chiclets" type keyboards vs. the "dome style" / "snap" switches. From a human perspective, you can tell your finger has moved, and that it is held down on the chiclets type, the dome types have so little travel that if you miss the slight transition, it's harder to tell. Been a number of studies on this. Of course any of them has more feedback than a touchscreen.




    • December 10, 2018 10:01 AM EST
    • Played a bit this weekend with some of the new hardware (Still waiting for the LCDs to show up).  So I grabbed the code from Dave Bodnar's site, and started the learning curve.  First I played with the various keypads.  I think either the 4x4 or 5x4 will be a good one.  I like the arrows on the 5x4 from a controller standpoint, so I think Im gonna start there.  Its pretty easy to get the Arduino and keypad talking to each other, only needs a dozen lines of configuration, and a simple read statement.  The docs for the keypad library says that they have a getKeys() function (which, if Im reading correctly, means it will do some flavor of NKRO), but I couldnt get it to work with the time I had.  Probably play with it some more tonight. 

    • December 7, 2018 9:59 PM EST
    • Thanks Graeme, but you might have missed my statement earlier that I already have a 4 channel Tek.


      Yes, Tek is my choice too, and funny story, quite a few years ago I worked for Hewlett Packard, during it's heyday. Naturally we had all HP instruments in our lab. We were having an issue in some hardware, and the HP scope was really hard to get to trigger on the signal we were looking at (it was somewhat erratic). So we attempted to buy a Tek scope. Even though we were a top R&D facility, Bill Hewlett himself had to approve the purchase, and we were really grilled over the reason an HP scope would not work.


      We got it and solved the problem. Tek still triggers better all these years later in my opinion.



    • December 11, 2018 9:48 PM EST
    • Since it does not have the socket for sound, definitely early

    • December 11, 2018 9:56 AM EST
    • Matt Hutson said:

      Thanks Bob. I will look into getting a transmitter.


      Navin at Precision RC will know. He does all the repairs for Revolution.

      Send the photo to :

      Precision RC
      attn: Navin
      16 Chestnut St. Ste 201e3
      Emerson, NJ 07630

    • December 11, 2018 3:46 PM EST
    • The Digimesh looks neat, Im gonna have to play with some.

    • December 11, 2018 3:35 PM EST
    • I'm seriously considering buying a Protothrottle and I'm in the process of trying to save my hobby money up to buy one. I have no idea on the coding side, but I'd be willing to work something out with you, so we could make it work. 

    • December 11, 2018 9:16 AM EST
    • Craig,  short answer, yes.  The problem with the Protothrottle is well, it's half a grand and I can't quite justify that now.  However, it has one thing going for it, it's all open source so the code is available, I've already converted it to an Atmel Studio project and spent some time looking through it. I don't think it would too hard to convert it to Digimesh.


    • December 10, 2018 11:36 PM EST
    • So does this mean you're one step closer to figuring out the Protothrottle Zigbee langauge, and combining it with your other stuff?


      Way over my head, but interesting.

    • December 10, 2018 4:25 PM EST
    • Yes, Airwire just streams out constantly.  Eric demonstrated this with his circuit some time ago.  I'm not sure if I'm using the exact same device as he did but it's a generic cc1101 off of Amazon for $10. I didn't use his code but I pilfered his initialization values for the radio and it came up first time. Nice. It's basically DCC over the air.  You can hook the output of the modem directly into a DCC amp and it will drive a decoder. (you can stop right there if you want a cheap Airwire receiver)  But I take that stream and (de?) construct the DCC data packets (as bytes) on the fly.  I then send them over the Xbee network only if they have changed since the last one.  The exception is if  nothing changes from the Airwire input, I send out the last packet every 100ms or so to keep the watchdog at the destination alive.  Also, technically, this is Digimesh, not Zigbee.  Same principle, mesh, but different implementation (cheaper too).

    • December 10, 2018 3:44 PM EST
    • OK, to perhaps oversimplify one aspect, you filter out the redundant messages to single ones and then send them via a Zigbee mesh with guaranteed delivery.


      This "redundant" message issue is because the AirWire was not using a transport protocol with no acks... in fact really no protocol at all, just the raw DCC commands?



    • December 10, 2018 12:17 PM EST
    • I've been messing with some new network thingies to deliver DCC (and other stuff) to my trains and such, thought perhaps some might be interested-




    • December 8, 2018 11:36 PM EST
    • I did not know that Bachmann cloned the LGB screw on power connectors.


      Has anyone experience with the Bachmann ones? I know how the LGB ones last I have several... only interested in the construction and quality of the Bachmann ones.