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  • Topic: JMRI Wifi throttle

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    • January 18, 2019 8:49 AM EST
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      JMRI Wifi throttle

      Coming at it from a different direction, Geoff Bunza built a Wifi throttle for JMRI based on the ESP32 boards.  Just ordered a couple of the boards to play with.  Lots of possibilities.

       

      https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/35652

       

       

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    • January 18, 2019 11:49 AM EST
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      Nice idea, I read the thread but did not see anyone total up the parts cost.... wonder how much?

      Also, it would be nice to have a much larger display.

      Another question would be how long does a 9v battery run this? I would think that is a weak point, especially if you are running an OLED display, and for us, in sunlight, plus wi-fi...

       

      But definitely cool and shows how simple the blocks can be assembled.

       

      Greg

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    • January 18, 2019 6:10 PM EST
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      The ESP boards are ten bucks

       

      https://www.ezsbc.com/index.php/featured-products-list-home-page/wifi01-35.html#.XEJcaM9Ki1s

       

      I'm going to replace his buttons and switches with a keypad like my other throttles, and use the same 4 line display.  And probably a flat-pack rechargeable battery

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    • January 22, 2019 2:25 PM EST
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      ESP32 boards arrived today.  Here's a quick size comparison.  Left-to-right, the ESP32, Nucleo-32 L432KC, and an Arduino Uno clone

       

       

      A bit larger than the L432KC, which is the same size as an Arduino Nano.  Nice tidy package considering what it is capable of.

       

      Now to build out a throttle.

       

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    • January 22, 2019 8:55 PM EST
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      It freaks me out how much power we have in such small packages these days. For ten bucks. Pretty cool.

    • January 23, 2019 9:18 AM EST
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      Part of the niftiness of these things is the ease of programming.  It seems like a couple times a year I find some new board that has more features, costs ~$10, and is Arduino IDE compatible.

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    • January 23, 2019 9:28 AM EST
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      Is this going to be like how we end up with so many engines/cars etc....

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    • February 25, 2019 8:15 PM EST
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      A quick followup on the ESP32 boards (Ill probably make a new thread for this eventually).

       

      I found the painlessMesh library, which creates a self-assembling mesh network of nodes.

       

      https://gitlab.com/painlessMesh/painlessMesh

       

      It took me about fifteen minutes to get the Arduino IDE set up with the appropriate libraries, and within five minutes after that, I had a three-node wifi network running the StartHere sample program.

       

      Thats....amazing.

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    • February 25, 2019 8:45 PM EST
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      Will it check the wheel set back to back spacing and proper coupler height as well?

    • February 25, 2019 8:58 PM EST
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      That's pretty cool.  I find the mesh concept very interesting but I have never looked at a source implementation.

    • February 26, 2019 8:39 AM EST
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      Yea, I like the zero-configuration of this.  I've been playing with trying to hack together a mesh network using HC12 modules, but they're incredibly simple, and I havent got it working like I want it for my signaling.  I think the throughput and ease of setup for these will let me concentrate on getting the signaling right without spending most of my time figuring out the networking bits.

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    • February 26, 2019 1:52 PM EST
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      So, clearly the advantages of a mesh network is increased coverage / effective range, and also you are not forced to have a central locus of control.

       

      The idea of signals talking to each other, and effectively telling their "neighbors" what the status is appealing from a pure computer science viewpoint.

       

      But, this also has some drawbacks... clearly the signals need their own local intelligence (but it's getting cheaper), and also, the lack of a central control means if you want some overall status, you might have to poll the signals from another place.

       

      Interesting and fun to consider.

       

      Greg

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