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Old 11-16-2019, 01:08 PM   #1
MechE-83
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DCC Computer Control

Hey all, looking for a little advice.

Just getting started in the hobby, and trying to not spend too much money.

Towards that end, I know I'm going to want to be able to program my trains to run automatically at some point. So I'd rather head in that direction from the start.

Was hoping that people might weigh in on what computer throttles have worked for them, and what hardware pairs well. (Power supplies, boosters, sensors, ect)


Thanks All!!!
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:22 PM   #2
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Running trains automatically requires computer control. I'm unaware of any DCC system that allows automatic operation of trains.

Major layouts mostly all use computer control. Smaller layouts can take advantage of it, but for me it's not worth it.
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:42 PM   #3
JerryH
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Planning on PC control should be done with research and planning before spending any money. How much is automated from a little to anything goes, will dictate what would be required in hardware and software. Wasted money on buying things only to replace it later when it doesn't work as envisioned is the pits. You might want to look this long thread over as it will cover from planning to a fully automated and many issues in between.

https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=14852
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Old 11-16-2019, 02:03 PM   #4
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A start would he dcc++ and jmri. In fact if you just want to automate you probably can just go straight to the dcc++ interface which is a simple text protocol. But jmri will help with familiarization, basic operations and programmings CVs and all that.
You might want to check out mark divechios web page for related work but for mth dcs

http://www.silogic.com/trains/RTC_Running.html

https://github.com/DccPlusPlus/BaseS...DCC--Plus-Plus

https://www.jmri.org/
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:15 PM   #5
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if it matters , jmri is free and the DCC++ system [in it' 2 amp state] can be built for roughly 60-80 dollars..

So a low cost entry level system ... block control and signalling will add quite a bit more , both in cost and control ..
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:46 PM   #6
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I used the pololu motor driver combination, an option for dcc++. the pololu web entry for it says it "can" deliver 3 amps continuous per channel (2). well that's good for many scales maybe but larger scale stuff maybe not so much. now pololu has many similar drivers for higher amp needs. but you'd of course have to get the original code ported or retrofitted yourself to new hardware. so that's a possibility if you need it but probably way more effort than anyone would have the interested in at the get go.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:12 PM   #7
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Obviously an irrelevant post. Removed...
Admin welcome to delete this...

Last edited by telltale; 11-19-2019 at 08:47 PM.. Reason: post unappreciated
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MechE-83 View Post
Towards that end, I know I'm going to want to be able to program my trains to run automatically at some point. So I'd rather head in that direction from the start.
while having software able to control a train is certainly needed, detecting the location of trains is also required.

on the layout i'm familiar with, there might be a detector for a block, but a separate detector near the end(s) where a train may need to stop. Software would stop the train when it enters those end blocks.

of course, the controller needs to know either turnout position or signal indication at junctions which require a train to be stopped.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:54 AM   #9
MechE-83
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Thanks all!!
For my first layout I'm just looking to do a small loop around my Christmas tree. My hope was that I could set it up to run around the loop a couple times then sit either at a station, or in a tunnel. then repeat the process, maybe have it run once or twice an hour type of thing.

I had come across JMRI, as well as CTI trainbrain, and traincontroller by Freiwald.

CTI seems to be pretty much a whole package, PS, sensors, and freeware computer software, but the others are just the software, and I'd have to figure out what hardware works best with it.
I was sort of hoping that someone with experience may be able to point me towards a good program/hardware set.

Thanks again!!!
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wvgca View Post
... the DCC++ system [in it' 2 amp state] can be built for roughly 60-80 dollars.
That is only if you're using the expensive arduino and shields. I built the ESP32 version (which includes wifi control) and a 43amp bridge for less than $30, but everything is hand-wired.


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Originally Posted by gregc View Post
while having software able to control a train is certainly needed, detecting the location of trains is also required.
My understanding is that DCC++ can also read an S88 bus and show those values on the telnet port along with the DCC commands. The ESP32 version of this code is currently working on adding LCC functionality into the code, but LCC can also be set up separately with an arduino acting as a repeater to put the information out on telnet. Once you have access to that information, you can write your own script to manage the layout.
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