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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having a serious look at JMRI for controlling the trains. I have bought the bits to build the XnTCP interface and I am hoping to eventually control the layout using PDAs. But as a first step control from a laptop will do the trick using JMRI software.
Does anybody here use, or have used, the JMRI software? If so what has the experience been like? Is it worth the effort?
 

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Hi
I have used JMRI, but mainly for programming decoders. I've not tried to get my head round it for train control other than basic throttle control. I quite like the throttle interface, simple and easy to use, you can have as many throttles for trains open as your controller can manage. The decoder programmer is fab though. WYSIWYG programming, tick boxes, data entry fields, sliders for speed profiles, couldn't be easier

As with any new software with lots of features there is a lot to take in to begin with but there is a wiki http://www.editthis.info/JMRI/Main_Page

This may be of interest, a short video I did driving some trains with it and showing how easy it is to do a consist with a pair of 108s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo9dnQHg15U...re=channel_page

Cheers
Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Michael,
Thanks for that.
I will put it together and see how it goes. I currently have a Bachmann Dynamis, which I WILL be replacing with a Lenz system as the ProBox will have no PC interface, which is what I am after. So much for Bachmann promises.
My initial tests will be VERY limited as I have a Hornby Select lying around that I will do the first tests with.
I have now built the XnTCP interface and just have to knock up a cable to connect the ExpressNet and then we will see how it goes.
Cheers for that info.
Gerhard
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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I am exploring iTrain and it looks to be quite capable and there is a trial available too. Mainly becasue I am a Mac user though.

I will use decoder pro from JRMI when my PR3 interface arrives from the states.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JMRI runs on MAC as far as I can see. There are special downloads for MAC and Linux. You should also be able to use VNC to connect from a PDA and get wireless CABS that way as VNC is available for Linux and Mac.

I've been looking at the panels and they seem far superior to any commercial throttles/point controllers etc. The really nice thing is that you can open many throttles (one per loco it looks like - depends on desktop space). The same applies to points control panels etc.

I have had a play with the XnTCP interface and that seems quite capable. Needs a lot more testing tho.

Also tried JMRI through terminal services on a PDA and that looks like it will work. Now just have to wait for the RJ12 plugs to arrive so I can make a cable and test proper. The XnTCP adapter with JMRI turns the whole thing into a wireless solution and the nice thing about the throttle on JMRI is that it has buttons for 15 functions + horn + lights on the panel (no shift required for soundtraxx sound decoders). Also means I can hook the coach lights that use a FL-4 decoder onto the throttle for a loco - this has some drawbacks tho when you swap coaches/locos.

It also looks like you can define your own panels, but that is for MUCH later.

So far JMRI looks really promising - and like most open source projects it is likely to be reliable.
 

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My interests are primarily a realistic signalling VDU panel and interlocking but also it would be good to have automatic driving of some trains. I've taken a look at various products before deciding I would really have to fork out for RR&Co. In the case of JMRI I was put off by the lack of basic instructions on how to get it up and running and straightforward how-tos. I even found some words like "use the meta-key for this, it's called that on a Mac but don't know what it is on a PC".

Possibly the people who use it are too clever to worry about such simple things. Got the impression I wasn't one of them. I wrote my own software for signalling on the real railway a long time ago but I just didn't know where to start with this system!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you search for XnTCP it will show you how to build an easy interface from the LAN to ExpressNet (Lenz/Hornby etc). If you search for ExpressNet, you will find a full specification of commands and their parameters that can be fired at the controller. Unfortunately not all controllers support all commands, so some of it is a bit hit and miss. To get an idea of what is possible with your controller JMRI can be usefull.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just bought myself a Lenz Set90 on fleabay for a bargain and will now embark on JMRI big time as that seems to be the controller it likes the most (most feature support). Will let you know how I get on. Not looking forward to the LH90 but hopefully it will be replaced with PDAs soon.
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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I look forward to your progress with this project. I only plan to use JRMI for the Decoder Pro functionality as I already have a wireless Digitrax controller and it provides sufficient function buttons for my requirements.

Regarding automation, control and signalling I will be incorporating CML's LocoShuttle which by using sensors (I use Richard's from DCC Concepts) a 16 step sequence can be programmed which will take over control of a DCC fitted loco. More on this to come. Additionally the CML SIGM20 board is also very capable it would appear as a standalone signal logic controller coupled with the sensors and LocoNet point position indicators etc.
 

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JMRI works on Macs as well as Windows and Linux. The primary developer uses a Mac.

Getting one's head round the signalling, interlocking and turnout control takes a while. I think the best option is to set aside a lot of time following the tutorials "videos" which are available. Whilst they are for a US practise panel, it goes through the whole sequence of making a panel, linking to turnouts/signals, interlocking, etc..

Where some people seem to fall over is thinking that a quick track plan can be loaded and then automated. Yes there is a neat tool to import form XtrakCad, but that's only part of the process.

If the documentation is weak, then like any public domain project, those who think it could be improved can submit changes. They get incorporated. Just recently the entire DecoderPro component had its manual rewritten.

- Nigel
 

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QUOTE (Nigel2001 @ 24 Mar 2009, 12:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If the documentation is weak, then like any public domain project, those who think it could be improved can submit changes. They get incorporated.

True enough. I for one would have been very happy to contribute to the project by way of better documentation. However the entry-level documentation was such that I couldn't actually find a way in to using the software!
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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The Decoder Pro manual was revised last month as stated and I printed it and read it over a couple of days of train commutes and found it relatively easy to digest and quite a good non professional manual - I have read a lot, lot worse to be sure!

My Digitrax PR3 has been dispatched from the states and will be here soon. Test track with Locoshuttle automation on its way and JRMI Decoder Pro will be setting up my decoders from now on...
 

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I finally gave up on JMRI and decided to develop my own software, running on a PDA. This is now working great guns. It allows full controll of locos. You can draw your track layout through WYSIWYG, including points etc. You can assign decoder addresses to points, switch points, program routes and fire them and it has support for setting up all the CVs for a decoder with nice meaningful descriptions and programming them on main or program track. All the things that most people would want. I have reprogrammed the XnTCP interface to support up to 4 PDAs on a singe interface (limited by available memory on the SBC65EC). I use the whole lot through a normal wireless router, so it is all wireless. This beats any commercial stuff I have looked at. So I am a happy bunny and my grandson (that I did all this for) is even happier!
 
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