Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fail vs Technology!

It wasn't that long ago (ok it was about twentyfive years ago!) that I was connecting up my EDA Throttle Power Pack #222 to my 4mx2m layout. Two wires, one to each rail, plug it into the power point, slide the slider and my newly acquired Lima 42213 started on it's journey, slide the slider back and it stopped, pretty simple really.

Fast forward to today, and things are not quite so simple. Sure I manages to hook up my NCE Power Cab to my little test track complete with a couple of points, and have set the four digit adresses on the loco's I have, but today I have bitten off more than I can chew for now.

Armed with a new Mac laptop and an NCE USB adapter which turned up today at my P.O. box after ordering it from the Model Railway Craftsman yesterday (outstanding service I must say) I downloaded the JMRI Decoder Pro and attempted to get it to all work together.

I followed the instructions to the letter, and whilst the installation of the software seemed to go ok, and I got the USB adapter all hooked up without any drama's, do you think I could get it to talk to the Power Cab? I have a feeling it has something to do with choosing the "port" (Microsoft term really) or USB output, all of which have rather complicated names and I can't seem to find any references to them anywhere for now.

I'm sure given a few more hours, some Google searching, and randomly trying every option available it will work fine in the end.

Apart from the obvious advantages of using Decoder Pro for programming the loco's as opposed to the Power Cab throttle, one of the main reasons for all of this is so I can use the iPhone as a wireless throttle using the WiThrottle application. I had an opportunity to use this at Marcus Ammann's layout last weekend and it works very well on the whole and if you've already got a laptop and iPhone it's a lot cheaper than buying a designated wireless throttle and the transmitter receiver.

I'll be making plenty of notes and when I get this working I will attempt to put up what setting work which may help someone else using the same bits and pieces as me.


Geoff said...

Darren, if you haven't already joined, there is a yahoo group for JMRI that is worth joining. I did when I had similar issues setting up the usb interface, but mine was with a windows computer. There was a download from the group that I used for assigning the port number that worked perfectly. Also in regards to the powering up of the interface, it can effect how the computer recognises the hardware. I was told to always plug in the usb to the faceplate only after the power light has come on the faceplate and your nce handset is powered up. Once that is done then connect the usb cord to your computer.

The JMRI system is a real hoot for adjusting your setup of decoders, and for sound it's fantastic.

At the Armidale convention next month there are a few sessions just on using the powerpro system (JMRI), I don't know if you were already going but it should be a great weekend.

The NMRA Australasian arm has some great links to some you tube gear on Gerry's work on sound decoders, worth a look also, Geoff.

Darren said...

Hi Geoff,

Yep, already joined up on the JMRI group, so I'll try searching through there to see if I can find exactly what I'm looking for. The search function wasn't working last night so that was a bit of a dead end.

I think you are right about the order in which things are connected and powered up as well, that was something I will try to find out for sure.

Doing these things straight after getting home in the afternoon from work and being in somewhat of a hurry never makes for the perfect scenario with these things either.

So, hopefully I will get some time over the weekend to have a good play in a methodical way and get it all going.