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  • Topic: DCC++ An inexpensive, open-source DCC system

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    • February 13, 2016 6:52 AM EST

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      DCC++ An inexpensive, open-source DCC system

      Good day - for the last few months I have been experimenting with an open-source DCC system of hardware and software that shows great promise.
       
      It is called DCC++ (because the software is written in C++) and runs on an inexpensive Arduino processor and motor driver.  The hardware can be purchased on eBay for well under $20 and connected directly to a computer (PC, Mac or Linux) running JMRI, a free, open-source model railroad control program.

      While the hardware mentioned above will only supply an amp or so of power I have done a good bit of work on higher power options and have a 5 to 10 (or more!) amp system up and running that added all of $15 to the total cost - not bad!

      If you have any interest in DCC (for G scale or smaller) I will be worth your time to explore what DCC++ has to offer.

      The links below are to articles on my web page and much more can be found by following the links in the articles.

      Enjoy!

      dave

      NEW! DCC++ Open Source DCC Project

      NEW! DCC++ Infrared Throttle & Point-to-Point Controller

      NEW! High Power DCC Booster

      NEW! Current Sensors and DCC

    • February 13, 2016 11:28 AM EST

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      Dave, is there a page that shows the commands implemented? A simple list?

       

      Thanks, Greg

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    • February 13, 2016 11:37 AM EST

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      Greg - the basic Arduino Uno and motor shield that make up a simple DCC++ unit can be controlled from a serial port with simple commands.

      Here is a list of them:  https://github.com/DccPlusPlus/BaseStation/wiki/Commands-for-DCCpp-BaseStation

      For example, to send loco #1234 forward at a speed of 67 send <t1 1234 67 1>

      In my throttle I use the same capability to communicate via a serial port - nice!

      Most folks connect the DCC++ unit to a computer running JMRI and use their throttle on a laptop - some use the wireless throttle that can be installed on phones - the DCC++ group is also working on a wireless throttle.

      I hope that covers it ! 

      dave

    • February 13, 2016 12:40 PM EST

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      Yes, you actually answered that and more.

      1. command set seems full featured enough

      2. question, does JMRI have complete support for this?

      3. interesting that it is set up to remember turnouts defined, but it does make sense for throttles. Any news if the throttles will be updated to wi-fi or Zigbee? 

       

      Thank you for bringing this alternative to us.

       

      Greg

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      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • February 13, 2016 2:08 PM EST

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      Greg - I believe that the integration into JMRI is pretty far along.  I have used it to program engines, read CV's, do multiple throttles, etc.

      Not sure that the wireless has been decided upon yet - a few folks are working on that end right now -

      It is remarkable that you can have this much functionality for such a small investment!

       

      dave

    • February 13, 2016 2:19 PM EST

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      purpose built hardware for a small market means high cost.

       

      commodity equipment programmed to work means low cost.

       

      remember when you had to buy an entire word processor system, hardware and software as a package?

      now a cheap program on a universal computer makes it free effectively.

       

      so most of the functionality has moved to either commodity priced hardware or free software.

       

      makes sense.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • February 13, 2016 2:26 PM EST
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      This is pretty nifty.  I have a bunch of Arduinos around, I need to get this going on one of them.

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    • February 13, 2016 7:31 PM EST
      • YYC, CANADA
         
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      "..P*St*...A friend is working on a large "garden" railroad.  He asked me to help with the roundhouse electronics.  I am 74 and have long wanted to work with micro-controllers.  We are now well into an Arduino controller design for the operator interface and servo drive.  I am learning to program in C.  Who knew?  My granddaughters are indifferent to trains, but like to help with the soldering and wiring. "

       

      Comment excerpt from this article; http://www.wsj.com/articles/end-of-the-line-for-model-trains-aging-hobbyists-trundle-on-1455157546?mod=e2fb

       

      The link to the article came from this thread on USATGscaleGroup forum;

      http://www.usatgscalegroup.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=4257&start=20

       

      doug c

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    • February 14, 2016 5:47 AM EST

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      Bob McCown said:

      This is pretty nifty.  I have a bunch of Arduinos around, I need to get this going on one of them.

      Bob - if you already have an Arduino Uno or Mega all you need is a motor shield - you can get the official Arduino version or one of the clones that are sold on eBay or Amazon.   If you order from China the price can be under $5.00 delivered.....

      Let me know if you need any help getting things running

      dave

    • February 14, 2016 9:06 AM EST
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      David Bodnar said:
      Bob McCown said:

      This is pretty nifty.  I have a bunch of Arduinos around, I need to get this going on one of them.

      Bob - if you already have an Arduino Uno or Mega all you need is a motor shield - you can get the official Arduino version or one of the clones that are sold on eBay or Amazon.   If you order from China the price can be under $5.00 delivered.....

      Let me know if you need any help getting things running

      dave

      Yea, I bought a bunch of Uno clones a year or so ago, have a couple Megas, and a bunch of Micro Pros (those are neat).  I also have a couple io:duinos from Railstars, since Im playing with OpenLCB as well.  http://railstars.com/

       

      Ill have to order a motor shield now!  Too many projects, no time!

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    • February 14, 2016 9:19 AM EST
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Too many projects, no time!

      Ah, yea. With all of the technological advances society has made, you would think someone would have figured out how to bottle up some time. They could sell it, along with some bottled motivation, and a few other things we could use.

       

      Edit fur da spell chequer

      This post was edited by David Maynard at February 14, 2016 9:20 AM EST
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