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  • Topic: Making the jump to Airwire

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    • April 24, 2017 2:33 AM EDT

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      Greg, what's the street price cost of the wireless throttle add-on to the Pro-Cab? Most folks looking to go battery R/C (of whatever flavor) are looking for some kind of wireless walk-around control, so a wireless link between handheld controller and command station is almost a mandatory added cost.

       

      If only NCE would make their G-wire handheld again, updated for all 17 Airwire channels. I like that interface. It didn't quite do everything for all decoders, though. The macros like one-button momentum adjustment didn't work with Airwire's throttles, and if I recall, neither did the Emergency Stop button. My NCE controller is now living back east, so I can't try it with the latest 6-amp Convertr. Unless NCE updates it for all 17 Airwire channels, you cannot control the Tam Valley Depot receivers with it.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • May 21, 2017 7:45 PM EDT
      • Shalimar, Florida
         
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      I'm glad I've found this thread as I'm in the thought process of changing from track power to battery and R/C. Here's the scenario...

      My Digitrax rail power but with radio control keeps getting fried by our frequent thunder storms. Track cleaning is also a pain with sandy soil (actually all sand), irrigation systems and summer heavy rain.

      I have few locos - 6 in total, but only use 4 mostly. All have Zimo DCC boards. They are all U.K. Prototype narrow gauge locos, so small with limited space inside. I may have to design battery tenders.

      I tend to wander around my railroad following a loco. The line is about 500' total with two return loops and a branch. No point of the track is further than about 30' from my beer chair.

      I want something that will use my DCC decoders, but be relatively easy to install.

      So, will AirWire do this? That seems the simplest way. Other systems may do it, but I get a bit baffled by the technology jargon.

      I'm really open to suggestions for the simplest and most cost effective solution.

      The starter signal is off......so to speak!
      This post was edited by Martin Owen at May 21, 2017 11:49 PM EDT
    • May 22, 2017 12:15 PM EDT
      • Milpitas, California
         
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      Martin, I strongly believe that you should consider going in the direction of the Airwire system. After consulting with Airwire users on this board and with members of my club (BAGRS) who actively use this system, I think Airwire is the way to go. My advice is to thoroughly read the posts on this very thread, the CVP Products web site, and especially share the thoughts of long time Airwire users Kevin Strong and Paul Burch. I have been advised to purchase a T5000 throttle (transmitter), G3x decoders, and Phoenix P8 sound cards for my installations. Some feel the "Drop-in" decoders are adequate - others swear by the G3x boards for their versatility. The T5000 transmitter, G3x decoders, Phoenix P8 sound boards, and Tenergy batteries work together seamlessly for a complete walk-around system.

      http://www.cvpusa.com/airwire_g3.php

    • May 22, 2017 12:17 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      Martin, (also on GscaleCentral.)  Same answer - Mr K likes the Airwire Convrtr boards for driving your DCC locos via r/c.

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • May 22, 2017 12:27 PM EDT
      • Shalimar, Florida
         
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      Thank you Michael and Pete.

      The advice I'm being given seems to mirror what you say. I'm very grateful.

      Martin
    • May 22, 2017 3:27 PM EDT

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      Yep, the GWire throttle was a nice idea, in that it gave you an additional option for your AirWire system. Some AirWire features did not work, and I won't comment on whether those changes were intentional by CVP to eliminate competition or not.

       

      But my thinking was the GWire throttle, modded to all 17 channels and used with DeadRail, which should allow ALL features of ANY DCC decoder.

       

      Maybe NCE could be encouraged to do this, since the DeadRail concept is supported by a number of manufacturers, and finally it meets the "pure DCC" spec, in terms of commands.

       

      Greg

      Kevin Strong said:

      Greg, what's the street price cost of the wireless throttle add-on to the Pro-Cab? Most folks looking to go battery R/C (of whatever flavor) are looking for some kind of wireless walk-around control, so a wireless link between handheld controller and command station is almost a mandatory added cost.

       

      If only NCE would make their G-wire handheld again, updated for all 17 Airwire channels. I like that interface. It didn't quite do everything for all decoders, though. The macros like one-button momentum adjustment didn't work with Airwire's throttles, and if I recall, neither did the Emergency Stop button. My NCE controller is now living back east, so I can't try it with the latest 6-amp Convertr. Unless NCE updates it for all 17 Airwire channels, you cannot control the Tam Valley Depot receivers with it.

       

      Later,

       

      K

       

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at May 22, 2017 3:27 PM EDT
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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.


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    • May 22, 2017 4:02 PM EDT

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      Another thought, Raspberry Pi running Linux, and thus running JMRI, connect to the $160 NCE PowerCab system, you might need a $30 wifi router. Hook the deadrail transmitter to the NCE system.

       

      Now you have a full wireless DCC system running wirelessly to the battery powered locos with any number of smart phones as throttles and really any number of locos.

       

      Greg 

      This post was edited by Greg Elmassian at May 22, 2017 4:09 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

      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

    • May 23, 2017 1:49 AM EDT

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      Greg Elmassian said:

      Another thought, Raspberry Pi running Linux, and thus running JMRI, connect to the $160 NCE PowerCab system, you might need a $30 wifi router. Hook the deadrail transmitter to the NCE system.

      I like it. I've been contemplating a similar set-up using my PC and Sprog Nano set-up I recently built for programming decoders with JMRI. I use the WiThrottle app on my phone with that so I don't need to continually toggle screens for programming versus testing. No reason in the world why I can't just tap a transmitter on the output of the Nano and use my phone to run the trains. I'll have to play around with that this Summer to see what kind of range I can get. My laptop usually lives in my family room, so I can easily open the window and put the transmitter right there over the railroad. My existing WiFi router covers my entire back yard, so that range wouldn't be an issue.

       

      Later,

       

      K

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    • May 23, 2017 9:49 AM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      my PC and Sprog Nano set-up I recently built for programming decoders with JMRI. I use the WiThrottle app

      Greg, Kevin,

      That short discourse could almost be a comedy sketch about incomprehensible jargon.  Raspberry Pi ? Deadrail ? WiThrottle ?

       

       

      This post was edited by Pete Thornton at May 23, 2017 9:49 AM EDT
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        Pete

    • May 23, 2017 11:42 AM EDT
      • Shalimar, Florida
         
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      I agree Pete. Those posts went so far over my head, they had vapor trains!
    • May 23, 2017 12:23 PM EDT

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      What? You mean to tell me you don't know that if you combine the output of the cryo-coupled xenon capacitor with the heliotropic power modulator that you can run your trains on solarisometric fusion power?

       

      Sorry 'bout that. Here's a glossary to help folks follow along. Links will take you to on-line references for more information.

       

      Raspberry Pi = a series of very simple, inexpensive computers (little more than a PC board with USB and HDMI ports built in for keyboards, monitors, and other accessories) originally designed to teach computer science, but latched onto by developers for their simplicity and flexibility.

       

      JMRI = Java Model Railroad Interface--software (Java-based) which allows you to interface your computer with your model railroad. It's got various components, including operations and car forwarding software which is sometimes discussed elsewhere on this forum. In this instance, it's the DCC controller/programmer that's of interest. The DCC programmer is a graphic user interface for programming DCC decoders, which eliminates the need to remember CVs (control or command variables) which tell the decoder how to behave. The controller is a throttle "window" on your screen you use to run your trains. More to the point, though, it has the capability of connecting to phones which are on the same WiFi network so you can use your phone instead of the window on the PC to run your train.

       

      Sprog = A line of USB interfaces which act as the physical connection between your PC and model railroad. The "Nano" is the smallest of the bunch, and needs a booster (essentially an amplifier for DCC) to combine the DCC signal with an external power supply to feed the decoder. Other Sprogs are more stand-alone and have more features. Some DCC command stations allow you to interface your computer with them via a built-in or proprietary add-on USB connection.

       

      WiThrottle = a phone app which allows you to run your DCC-based railroad from your phone or tablet, provided you've got the hardware and software to interface. WiThrottle Lite is free, the full version is $10. This app interfaces seamlessly with JRMI running on a computer.

       

      Deadrail = battery power. It's a term increasingly used by the small scale crowd that doesn't have the long history of calling it "battery R/C" that we do in large scale. 

       

      (The technobabble in my first sentence? Haven't a clue. It would make an interesting Google session, though, just to see where it leads.)

       

      Later,

       

      K

      This post was edited by Kevin Strong at May 23, 2017 3:18 PM EDT
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