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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

thought I would get opinions from people in the know on this one


we are currently running a homegrown DCC system (using a combination of decoders, mostly TCS) and are looking to upgrade the handheld throttles. The throttles we use at the moment are a simple affair that we put together, we are now looking at using something more "comprehensive".

I've been looking at expressnet controllers, such as the LH100. Now you can probably see the glaring issue here, we don't have expressnet. One option is to upgrade the whole system to Lenz, giving us access to expressnet. This will mean a lot of changes to our current software. the other option is to add expressnet support to our software.

So, here is the question. Is it possible, using the LI-USB to setup a PC to act as a basestation for expressnet? The PC is already doing all the work of a basestation, maintaining Loco registers etc, as you would expect.

Thanks for any info or advice anyone can give


Tim
 

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basically, yes. I realise just adding the LI-USB will not give us this, but it will give the computer the ability to talk to any other expressnet device.

The LI-USB allows you to set it's expressnet address, so in theory, you should be able to set this to 0 (base station) and then have the PC respond (with custom code we will write) to expressnet commands etc.

I don't expect this to be a "plug in and go" kind of job


/edit: i should point out, the computer is already effectively the base station
 

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QUOTE (kanonfodda @ 23 Apr 2008, 08:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi guys,

thought I would get opinions from people in the know on this one


we are currently running a homegrown DCC system (using a combination of decoders, mostly TCS) and are looking to upgrade the handheld throttles. The throttles we use at the moment are a simple affair that we put together, we are now looking at using something more "comprehensive".

I've been looking at expressnet controllers, such as the LH100. Now you can probably see the glaring issue here, we don't have expressnet. One option is to upgrade the whole system to Lenz, giving us access to expressnet. This will mean a lot of changes to our current software. the other option is to add expressnet support to our software.

So, here is the question. Is it possible, using the LI-USB to setup a PC to act as a basestation for expressnet? The PC is already doing all the work of a basestation, maintaining Loco registers etc, as you would expect.

Thanks for any info or advice anyone can give


Tim

Have you looked at the MERG (Model Electronic Railway Group) DCC System.? There is a handheld controller kit there that might meet your needs. www.merg.org.uk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see it uses the MERG bus, so chances are we would have to try and integrate that in to our system. So probably just as much work as the expressnet interface.

I'll definately do some digging though, may be able to use it


cheers for that
 

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QUOTE (kanonfodda @ 23 Apr 2008, 08:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>basically, yes. I realise just adding the LI-USB will not give us this, but it will give the computer the ability to talk to any other expressnet device.

Interesting question.

XpressNet is a polled bus and the LI-USB will only be able to access the bus when it is polled by the command station. As far as I am aware, there is no facility for the LI-USB to be the XpressNet master. I would ask this question on the jmri-users Yahoo groups. You'll find the people who wrote the JMRI modules for Lenz support.

You could try using a simple XpressNet command station such as a Hornby Elite and access XpressNet through its computer interface. I don't know what kind of XpressNet connectivity the Elite gives you.

QUOTE The LI-USB allows you to set it's expressnet address, so in theory, you should be able to set this to 0 (base station) and then have the PC respond (with custom code we will write) to expressnet commands etc.

That really depends if the LI-USB firmware includes XpressNet master functionality.

A number of MERG members are working on a new CANbus layout control bus (CBUS) which will also allow throttles to be connected. That will definitely give you complete visibility of the bus traffic on a PC via a simple RS-232 CAN adapter. I'm working on a USB CAN adapter and the JMRI support for CBUS. There's a Yahoo group - mergcbus. You do not have to be a MERG member to join.

Andrew Crosland
 
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