author
23CommentsNottingham UkJoined July 22nd, 2016

Tell us about yourself!

Complete Your Profile
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello BillI managed to shrink it down to “mini pro size” however when I used a 3.3v mini pro I could not get it it work? It uses a 8MHz crystal should that make a difference to the timers? Also I used a smaller nRF 24 which by “happy accident “ I discovered runs on 5v, just need to add the h-bridge to my adapter pcb and that should finish it off nicely.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello BillThank you for the update, it behaves very much like the 4th Oct Ver. See photo.Yes the motor is controlled but the F1+F2 outputs and the Fwd/Rev lights are not.Changing the message struct from 4 to 3 basically has the following effect.When it’s 3 the lights and a Functions work but not the motor.When it’s 4 the motor works but no Functions and lights.As you can see DD, 3,144,147,0 is the command for F0 ON this is not happening ? Is it possible that this command is failing to be converted via the H-Bridge, at best there are only 2 instances of this command in the serial monitor ? I see you have edited the DCC outputs pins 5+6 is there a timing issue.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello BillAs I am more hardware than software I cut off the IRQ pin and it’s now working, thank you for that I really thought I was going quite mad! It does show you must check every connection twiceIs it possible to get the F1,F2 ..... etc Functions working? Sorry to ask but my sound chipped locos are on my list to upgrade to battery/Wireless next.

    Hello BillThe forward/reverse lights do come on and do follow the correct input for direction, however you can not turn them On/Off with F0 it’s pot luck if they are on at power up (with F0 On). This is also the case for F1 and F2 outputs, toggling their switches does not make them work, on the Serial Monitor I have seen only one line change to DD,3,146,145,0, when I am pressing F1.I have switched my setup to JMRI/Sprog2v2.5 as my ESU ECoS setup produces identical results.

    Hello BillChecked the above code it is ok.Swapped the Rx back to 3 byte and the F1 and F2 worked, but the motor control was gone .So I swapped it back to 4 byte and it works the same as 3byte! ie no motor just working lights .... Ahhhh Wired the decoder direct to the command station and it works perfectly.In summary....The ECoS sends out nice blocks 15+ lines of the same command ie when the motor is at 0% power with the lights and functions off I get...3,63,128,188Then Forward 50%3,63,192,2523,128,131,03,160,163,03,176,179,0When F0/lights are turned ON3,144,147,0A large glass of red wine is now required. Thank you for helping me through this mine field.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    hello BillI followed your advice however no issues were found, I have attached a schematic of the IO shield (it’s got a few 10K resistors and a 100uF cap which is the only difference) it uses the same 3v3 regulator so there is 1A on tap?Should the Output have a blank line every other line? As I now see a couple of double lines creeping in. See pictureWeb link to schematic:ftp://imall.iteadstudio.com/IM120417016_Arduino_Nano

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello BillThank you for taking the time to point me in the right direction.I had not changed the idle msg to 4 only the 2nd line, but it’s now as you detailed above.The first picture is the Tx and the second one is the Rx.I have swapped out the nRF24 with 2 new units but the outcome is similar.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello BillYes the shield has one near the NRF24 socket ( I also added one directly to the pin header as a test) the end result was the same.I can see what is being sent from the Tx unit by adding a Serial.println of the “message” and that’s not what’s coming out at the Rx end.There is some data loss plus some almost random values.I did try to fix the channel to 108 and the speed to 250Mbps etc, but this did not improve things.The shield has caps/regulator and filter caps so I am struggling to pin this problem down, my next option is to buy in more NRF24/Nano’s units and try swapping?Motor control is as expected with very little lag between throttle and motor so those commands are all getting picked up? What I am I missing here?

    View Instructable »
  • Martinkirkby followed BillC354 months ago
      • Garden Train - Arduino Wireless NMRA DCC
      • Arduino - Adjustable & Smart Battery Charger
      • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    hello BillI redid your project using this Nano I/O board as my first attempt was mainly on Vero board and despite running the motor well I found the Functions were not reliable enough. I added a daughter (Vero) board with the optoisolator circuit to the Tx unit and a H-Bridge circuit board to the Rx unit loaded your Sept Ver and it worked straight away! However the Functions were still not reliable.Getting a variety of values on the Rx unit,see pic attached Any ideas ?

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    hello SimonYes I have x2 of the DRS1 Rx loco chips fitted, I was not aware that they could be controlled directly with a handset? Mine are connected to the DCC bus via their Tx unit. It was a fit and forget experiment due to the cost of each Rx pcb also it was one way comms so a bit of a dead end for RailComm etcBills Tx and Rx/H-Bridge Arduino’s work out much cheaper per loco and I like the way he has stayed with DCC as the command system, little chance of that disappearing any time soon!Just got to get it all “slimmed down” to SMD size ;)

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    Hello SimonI see Bill and I are not alone ;) yes I follow the site you have linked, always looking for inspiration!The rise of Arduino has offered one possible alternative to RC/battery Locos, we use them mainly as DCC Accessory decoders (for servos LEDs etc) also for S88n 0V detectors but if like Bill I can fit one in a loco along with a DCC Decoder I get a DCC WiFi/battery Loco.Geoff Bunza has done many great Arduino/DCC projects and I will continue to develop them hopefully using Bills DCC WiFi code.As for Bluetooth it’s looking expensive and without a DCC bridge it’s a dead end, most users like their “hand set” it’s usually the thing that decides which system they buy, like most tech they only use 20% of the features and here in the UK I really do not s...

    see more »

    Hello SimonI see Bill and I are not alone ;) yes I follow the site you have linked, always looking for inspiration!The rise of Arduino has offered one possible alternative to RC/battery Locos, we use them mainly as DCC Accessory decoders (for servos LEDs etc) also for S88n 0V detectors but if like Bill I can fit one in a loco along with a DCC Decoder I get a DCC WiFi/battery Loco.Geoff Bunza has done many great Arduino/DCC projects and I will continue to develop them hopefully using Bills DCC WiFi code.As for Bluetooth it’s looking expensive and without a DCC bridge it’s a dead end, most users like their “hand set” it’s usually the thing that decides which system they buy, like most tech they only use 20% of the features and here in the UK I really do not see the other 50% of the users ever moving to DCC at all! So the manufacturers are not looking to the UK for inspiration.Thanks again for taking the time to post.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    hello BillYou are going to have to help me out here, are you transmitting all the NMRA DCC or just the speed values?I have loaded your latest receiver version which is comparable with your new DCC command station according to your latest post but I can not get the F1 etc to function and also the motor control is still slowing above 60/70% power ? Does the loco decoder need its speed table programming i.e. CV 5 +6 and a Start Voltage CV2? As I am writing this I now feel a little foolish to have not tried it!As I have Geoffs Mobile Decoder on test I understand it does not have a "speed Table" function as it's really just an Accessory Decoder with Servo/Motor control added, so I might just focus my effort on getting a "off the shelf" loco decoder working.Thanks in advan...

    see more »

    hello BillYou are going to have to help me out here, are you transmitting all the NMRA DCC or just the speed values?I have loaded your latest receiver version which is comparable with your new DCC command station according to your latest post but I can not get the F1 etc to function and also the motor control is still slowing above 60/70% power ? Does the loco decoder need its speed table programming i.e. CV 5 +6 and a Start Voltage CV2? As I am writing this I now feel a little foolish to have not tried it!As I have Geoffs Mobile Decoder on test I understand it does not have a "speed Table" function as it's really just an Accessory Decoder with Servo/Motor control added, so I might just focus my effort on getting a "off the shelf" loco decoder working.Thanks in advanceMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Garden Train - Arduino Wireless NMRA DCC

    Hi BillThis is great work, I was quite happy with your DCC to nrf24 transmitter! But now I see you have the whole system wrapped up with the Arduino.So and I know it's asking ;) but does this mean the final item is an (Arduino mini pro/nrf24/stepper motor IC) loco decoder is in the works? I will making good use of your efforts, thanks again and keep up this great work.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino Wireless Commands on a Dead Rail System

    hello BillI hope you have enjoyed the garden layout this year, I have your project back on the bench and have it connected via pin 6 to Geoffs mobile decoder (also to a standard DCC loco decoder for comparison via the motor driver IC) the wire link between Arduino mini's needs to be < 20mm (pin6 to pin 2) to work.All works as expected if the decoder address is set in the code, however the speed steps above 60% do reduce instead of increase? but only on Geoffs decoder.Have you any progress on the code to make any more of the DCC commands available ie F1 F2 etc or being able to pass the decoder address via the nrf24 instead of hard coding it for each loco/Arduino?

    View Instructable »
  • Garden Train - Arduino / Wireless DCC

    hello GavinThank you for sharing your project, it's great to hear from a fellow wireless/battery user it really is a fantastic solution, it's a shame a major manufacturer does not bring out a product (thus saving us many hours of work!) but then there would be no fun in that would there!Have you posted your IOT project? I would like to take a look at it as I am currently working on an iPad app for layout/loco control using various manufacturers TCP Socket connections, it would not be a big job to add your command instruction set as you have with the Android platform.I have the "open sourced " DDC++ on the bench with a view to using it to talk to all the industry's standard DCC decoders.

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC Arduino wireless commands on a dead rail system

    hello BillLooks like it's just you and me getting excited about DCC over wireless, once again thanks for making it happen for me.I think there is a fear of the small LiPo battery's etc, my "on track " charging circuit means that the battery becomes a "fit and forget" part of the equation when running with other locos on a DCC powered track and with over 2hours of running time with a converted Hornby OO gauge steam loco with no track power at all.Yes it's day to day job is pulling the track cleaning unit, that's until we can get the other 50+ locos converted.Still on the bench with Geoffs loco decoder, pin 6 to 2 showed no sign of life? I hope you still think it was a good idea ;)Thank you againMartinK

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC wireless commands on a dead rail system

    hello BillYou have been very busy! It has been quite the learning curve on this one! Thank you for the library link, I looked at that one but it was quite old and there were a few more recent folks to it (newer is not always better it seems).So my SPROG2 is 4 Bytes, not a problem setting that one, probably low on the "features list" to fix in software. As users give feedback you could create a list of command stations.I have added a fixed wifi address of 108 (above most domestic wifi etc) also reduced the speed to 250kbps to help with data reliability and set the power to Low (as it's on a bench!) they can go back up once it's in a loco.With the fixed decoder address 3 hard coded my set up is quite reliable forward/reverse and stop are all ok (just the odd time when at full sp...

    see more »

    hello BillYou have been very busy! It has been quite the learning curve on this one! Thank you for the library link, I looked at that one but it was quite old and there were a few more recent folks to it (newer is not always better it seems).So my SPROG2 is 4 Bytes, not a problem setting that one, probably low on the "features list" to fix in software. As users give feedback you could create a list of command stations.I have added a fixed wifi address of 108 (above most domestic wifi etc) also reduced the speed to 250kbps to help with data reliability and set the power to Low (as it's on a bench!) they can go back up once it's in a loco.With the fixed decoder address 3 hard coded my set up is quite reliable forward/reverse and stop are all ok (just the odd time when at full speed it fails to respond to a slower speed? Serial monitor reset the Arduino so I am not sure why it stopped). The forward/reverse LEDs were working but have now stopped, not sure why yet? I am still on "training wheels" when it comes to software so please forgive me if I say something inappropriate ;) but I am enjoying learning.Good to hear the speed has improved, I have also seen the use of millis() to improve code speed? I read about it and had to have a lie down afterwards! :)Thanks againMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC wireless commands on a dead rail system

    hello BillThank you for the help with this as I assume the problem is with my setup!Arduino is 1.6.12RF24 library is TMRh20 Ver 1.1.7My guess is this library is the problem,whilst up to date it is not the one you used? If I remove the done= from line 182 it builds and receives the DCC command but only once i.e the loop is stopped after the first run. Probably due to the Bool done test?I am using the SPROG 2 as a bench test unit in service mode. (Have not tried it in Opps mode yet)I also have ESU Ecos and Roco command stations.(no tested it yet with these)Re the 3/4 Byte my understanding was that the Basic Packet Format (NMRA) is 4 Bytes, preamble (1byte) and 3 command Bytes.The Extended Packet Format is upto 6 Bytes.I see Geoff uses Alex Sheppards library NmraDcc.h to handle the Packe...

    see more »

    hello BillThank you for the help with this as I assume the problem is with my setup!Arduino is 1.6.12RF24 library is TMRh20 Ver 1.1.7My guess is this library is the problem,whilst up to date it is not the one you used? If I remove the done= from line 182 it builds and receives the DCC command but only once i.e the loop is stopped after the first run. Probably due to the Bool done test?I am using the SPROG 2 as a bench test unit in service mode. (Have not tried it in Opps mode yet)I also have ESU Ecos and Roco command stations.(no tested it yet with these)Re the 3/4 Byte my understanding was that the Basic Packet Format (NMRA) is 4 Bytes, preamble (1byte) and 3 command Bytes.The Extended Packet Format is upto 6 Bytes.I see Geoff uses Alex Sheppards library NmraDcc.h to handle the Packet formats.Re the speed of the RF24. Is it possible that the serial.println is slowwing thing up? I have seen others comment them out once they have their projects debugged.RegardsMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC wireless commands on a dead rail system

    hello BillFinally got a couple of hours spare, put it all together with only one problem so far! The Reciver code throws the error "void value not ignored as it ought to be" on line 182 .... done = radio.read(inmsg, 1);I have // it out to get it to upload, the serial monitor shows the rNF24 info but no received commands (the Transmitter does show commands in serial monitor) ?Hope it's just a typo ?RegardsMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Model Railway DCC wireless commands on a dead rail system

    hello BillI will have to read this twice! But I think you have "nailed it" really can not wait to upload the code and give it a try.Great idea to make it a DCC to DCC end to end wireless solution with the H-Bridge at the receiver end, if I want to use Geoffs "mobile decoder" can I just connect pin 06 PWM from the Arduino to pin 02 on the mobile decoder to give it a try? In the long term the plan would be to incorporate your code with Geoffs to give a single Arduino /nRF24 (basic wireless DCC Decoder) not sure if the clock/timings and I/O are compatible :(Buts that's in the future, this gives me a great stepping stone to my Battery/wifi loco project and I can keep my very expensive sound decoders working :) without having to clean the wheels and track every few weeks...

    see more »

    hello BillI will have to read this twice! But I think you have "nailed it" really can not wait to upload the code and give it a try.Great idea to make it a DCC to DCC end to end wireless solution with the H-Bridge at the receiver end, if I want to use Geoffs "mobile decoder" can I just connect pin 06 PWM from the Arduino to pin 02 on the mobile decoder to give it a try? In the long term the plan would be to incorporate your code with Geoffs to give a single Arduino /nRF24 (basic wireless DCC Decoder) not sure if the clock/timings and I/O are compatible :(Buts that's in the future, this gives me a great stepping stone to my Battery/wifi loco project and I can keep my very expensive sound decoders working :) without having to clean the wheels and track every few weeks.Best RegardsMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Garden Train - Arduino / Wireless DCC

    Hello BillYou are a genius! I will keep an eye out for that post.RegardsMartin

    View Instructable »
  • Garden Train - Arduino / Wireless DCC

    hello BillThank you for your positive support, I have used LiPo 1 cell (with step up) and 3 cell LiPo battery with great success on my "dead rail" loco's, also with "ON track charging" powered track in stations etc . I see you are familiar with Geoff Bunza's projects, as I have his "mobile decoder" up and running (2 motors, 1 servo and several LED outputs) I assumed getting the DCC packet in (via pin 2) would be a just a binary input? Not needing the optoisolator circuit? I have found a couple of Arduino programs on line that read the DCC track and out put to the serial window the Binary packets and also convert them the "human readable" form, it was one of these that I was trying to use with the nRF24 to transmit the DCC packet to the Arduino lo...

    see more »

    hello BillThank you for your positive support, I have used LiPo 1 cell (with step up) and 3 cell LiPo battery with great success on my "dead rail" loco's, also with "ON track charging" powered track in stations etc . I see you are familiar with Geoff Bunza's projects, as I have his "mobile decoder" up and running (2 motors, 1 servo and several LED outputs) I assumed getting the DCC packet in (via pin 2) would be a just a binary input? Not needing the optoisolator circuit? I have found a couple of Arduino programs on line that read the DCC track and out put to the serial window the Binary packets and also convert them the "human readable" form, it was one of these that I was trying to use with the nRF24 to transmit the DCC packet to the Arduino loco decoder.RegardsMartinK

    View Instructable »
  • Garden Train - Arduino / Wireless DCC

    hello BillC35Thanks for posting this great idea, I also have a lot of trouble with power/track and have tried various "Deadrail" solutions but have yet to find the ideal solution for my HO/OO locos ( not much space inside for battery/radio/cpu etc. ) I have a bench project that uses Arduino MiniPro with H-bridge, battery powered via wired DCC. My aim is to use nRF24 (2.4Ghz) to replace the wired DCC and make it wireless. However Iam no software engineer and it's slow progress.Basically I need a DCC track signal sniffer to transmit DCC and my Arduino loco decoder to receive it! I have been using the excellent DCCNMRA library for Arduino by Alex Shepard and also Geoff Bunza's DCC decoders but the DCC packet via wifi is giving me a headache ?. Maybe this is a project you might li...

    see more »

    hello BillC35Thanks for posting this great idea, I also have a lot of trouble with power/track and have tried various "Deadrail" solutions but have yet to find the ideal solution for my HO/OO locos ( not much space inside for battery/radio/cpu etc. ) I have a bench project that uses Arduino MiniPro with H-bridge, battery powered via wired DCC. My aim is to use nRF24 (2.4Ghz) to replace the wired DCC and make it wireless. However Iam no software engineer and it's slow progress.Basically I need a DCC track signal sniffer to transmit DCC and my Arduino loco decoder to receive it! I have been using the excellent DCCNMRA library for Arduino by Alex Shepard and also Geoff Bunza's DCC decoders but the DCC packet via wifi is giving me a headache ?. Maybe this is a project you might like to fix with me? I have asked many rail modlers and they all say "why can you wiz kids not fix this track/wheel power problem" I see Bluetooth solutions but none with DCC "bridge" or just their own RF handsets!I will follow your progress, good luckMartinK

    View Instructable »
  • Martinkirkby followed BillC351 year ago