Programmed my First Consist!

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KB02

Well-Known Member
Last night I finally sat down (well, stood up, really...) and programmed my first consist!

Speed matching my Speed Demon Athearn GP38-2 to my Slow Poke Bachmann GP40 was certainly an interesting experience. Top voltage on the GP40 is 240 while the 38-2 is set to 138! Setting the mid voltage was the trick to make it all come together in the end without a bunch of bucking. Now I need some more cars to make it look like I NEED at least two engines to pull the train. ;) Unless I steal the passenger coaches from my Hudson, I only have 14 cars to pull. :rolleyes:
 

Renegade1c

Member
KB02,

Congrats, I'm still battling with damn Digitrax and programming engine CV's :(
JMRI is very much worth it when trying to program decoders (especially when speed matching locomotives). I use a locobuffer USB to interface with my DCS 100. I gave up trying to program from a throttle years ago. I think the $60 for the computer interface and Free JMRI is worth the investment. It makes programming decoders point and click.

Speed matching somewhat of an art. I have been tackling how to do it to all the locomotives in the fleet. Finally, I built a test stand with roller bearing wheels to hold the locomotive) and a speedometer (Bachrus found here) so that I could get an accurate of the locomotive speed at each speed step (well almost every speed step). I have attached a copy of my sheet that I use. I have a set speed range for all of my locomotives. They all conform to speeds listed below. I adjust the CV's in JMRI to so that the speed matches that particular speed step. This way all my locomotives match pretty closely. I can take any two or three locomotives on the layout and run them together. The exception to this is switchers. I have a different speed curve for those locomotives.

I use service mode programming to set the address (which also creates a roster file for the locomotive) and OPS mode programming to make on-the-fly changes. This means while my locomotive is running on the test stand I can adjust the speed in real time and get it match up to the speed step listed in my curve but adjusting its power value. I do this for each speed step highlighted in green. The ones in white are interpolated by JMRI between the values I set in green. The other nice part about JMRI is that it stores these values in a Roster File. This means if the decoder gets reset or heaven forbid replaced, all that needs to be done is to open the roster file and re-download it to the decoder.
Speed curve table.JPG

I hope this helps y'all (wow, I have been in Texas too long). the forum wouldn't let me post the actual spreadsheet but if you want a copy please PM me.

One note on speedometers. I have two different ones that I tried. I have the one that has a bridge which the locomotive passes thru in order to measure speed and I have one that uses an encoder wheel to measure speed. I find the encoder wheel speedometer much easier to use for speed matching.
 

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wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Renegade,

Not wanting to get of topic but can JMRI be used with any system? Does it work with NCE as well as Digitrax for example? If it does, it may well be worth both KB02 and I getting.
 

Renegade1c

Member
Yes. It will work for both NCE and digitrax as well as many others. The difference is computer interface you have to use. The NCE system interface is different than the digitrax interface. The software part, JMRI can program any brand of decoder, digitrax, nce, soundtraxx,loksound,etc.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
It's worth noting that while programming decoders is one of the most useful capabilities of JMRI, it is only a tiny part of what JMRI can do. With JMRI, you can also build computerized control panels, organize operations, create "live" diagrams of your layout that display turnout positions and block occupancy, set up smart phones as wireless throttles, and much, much more.

Most JMRI users start with decoder programming and some gradually move into the other areas. But since the JMRI software is free (though donations are encouraged), many find it well worth the cost of an inexpensive computer interface even if they never use JMRI for anything other than decoder programming.

- Jeff
 

Renegade1c

Member
Jeff is correct. I also use JMRI to run the signalling system on my layout.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 

jdetray

Well-Known Member
Join the JMRI group on Yahoo. If you are anything like me, the discussion will be largely baffling at first! Gradually, knowledge will sink in, and you'll find yourself downloading the JMRI software to play around with it. It includes a "simulator" mode, so you can experience some features (but not decoder programming) even without interfacing your DCC system to your computer.

JMRI Web Site:
http://www.jmri.org/

Yahoo JMRI Group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jmriusers/

And by the way, the "J" in JMRI stands for "Java." You must have the latest version of Java installed on your computer in order to run the latest version of JMRI.

- Jeff
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thanks guys, I actually have JMRI as well as the PR3 for digitrax, but who knows where at the moment :( I'll definitely look at it for programming my loco's if nothing else.
 

vikramgoel

Member
Thanks guys, I actually have JMRI as well as the PR3 for digitrax, but who knows where at the moment :( I'll definitely look at it for programming my loco's if nothing else.
Tony,

I use SPROG III with JMRI on a test track at my desk and it is great. The SPROG works as advertised and is very easy to read and change CV's as well as speed matching. As it is independent of any DCC manufacturers system, once set the loco executes with all types of vendors.

Regards,

Vik.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Thanks guys, I actually have JMRI as well as the PR3 for digitrax, but who knows where at the moment :( I'll definitely look at it for programming my loco's if nothing else.
Tony,

I have a small wal wart power supply connected to mine. I also have a PTB-100 connected as well, and it too has it's own power supply. What this means is I have a 3' piece of flex track connected to these and its located under the layout on a board simply out of the way. To program a loco with the basic "stuff", I never have to turn on the entire layout. To speed match locos etc, I first turn on the layout, I connect the PR3 to the layout, with a small loconet cable, and now I can do the speed matching etc very easily.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Really don't think JMRI is an option for me at this stage in the game. The lack of a computer I could connect to the layout is one reason. I can justify spending $50 to $100.00 at a time for supplies for the layout, but buying a whole new computer just to run the trains would be a tough sell to the family CFO (especially with a kid starting Kindergarten next month).

...Future plans...
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Tony,

I have a small wal wart power supply connected to mine. I also have a PTB-100 connected as well, and it too has it's own power supply. What this means is I have a 3' piece of flex track connected to these and its located under the layout on a board simply out of the way. To program a loco with the basic "stuff", I never have to turn on the entire layout. To speed match locos etc, I first turn on the layout, I connect the PR3 to the layout, with a small loconet cable, and now I can do the speed matching etc very easily.
Carey,

Found my PR3 with everything that came with it - power supply and usb cable. I plugged it all in and be darned if it worked! Was kinda proud of myself for that :)

All I have to do now is get JMRI to work on my computer without it "crashing every other time I run it" THEN, figure out how to use it to simply change the engine address from the factory default 03 to the number on the loco. After that, it should be all downhill :)

Really don't think JMRI is an option for me at this stage in the game. The lack of a computer I could connect to the layout is one reason. I can justify spending $50 to $100.00 at a time for supplies for the layout, but buying a whole new computer just to run the trains would be a tough sell to the family CFO (especially with a kid starting Kindergarten next month).

...Future plans...
Have to admit KB02, buying a computer just for JMRI doesn't sound like a good deal to me either. Good to see that you have your priorities sorted out though :)
 




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