Basic Hookup

Basic Hookup

Above is the general hook up for the Receiver when using a DCC decoder. The gray boxes on the right are what goes inside of the locomotive, the boxes on the left represent the Protothrottle and the Programmer. The red and black wires at the upper right of the Amp provide the full DCC signal to the decoder. The two wires from the 5v converter to the Receiver supply 5v power. The red and black wires on the right between…

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Building the DCC Amplifier

This device takes any logic level DCC signal stream and converts it to ‘real’ DCC. The output voltage swing is whatever is fed into the power inputs. Typically, in both O and G scale implementations, I use a 11.1v (3 cell) or a 14.8v (4 cells) lipo. Note: My original device is now obsolete, all new installs should be done with this driver, which is commercially available from Amazon Cytron 13A Driver Using the Cytron driver module does require a…

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Protothrottle Receiver

Protothrottle, Receiver with DCC driver and the Programmer. The Protothrottle receiver is an Xbee device that listens for signals directly from the Protothrottle. It is designed to drive Large Scale DCC decoders, Electronic Speed Controls and Servos in a ‘dead rail’ battery powered environment. No other translators or devices are needed, the Protothrottle talks directly to this device. To drive the DCC decoder, there are two components that reside in the locomotive, the Receiver and the DCC power driver. The…

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Gwire to 5A DCC modifications

The following instructions show how to convert a GWire receiver to an Airwire Compatible 5A Battery powered DCC driver. This essentially lets you have the equivalent of a CONVRTR 60 for about half the cost. Well, not quite, you still need a source of 5V DC (Pololu has them). Above is the standard gwire receiver. These are not being made anymore (to my knowledge) but they are available on Ebay and from other retailers. By connecting the power and rx…

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Building the Receiver Board

This is a very minimalistic board- it has been reduced down to the absolute simplest construction and design possible. With one exception, all components are ‘thru-hole’ so they are very easy to solder. One surface mount component, a voltage regulator is required, but with the help of an alligator clip, it’s also quite easy to solder. Building the Receiver Board All the components for the Control Board. Microcontroller, connectors, PCB, voltage regulator, crystal and caps, sockets and headers. Hardest part…

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Universal App Details

The latest app works on all versions of Android. It can be downloaded HERE. This screen is used to select the bluetooth device (locomotive) to pair with. Pressing the plus or minus buttons cycles through all of the devices currently paired with this phone. To get back to this screen from the following screens, tap the name at the top. Main Control Screen. Slider on the left advances the throttle. Each button is assigned to standard function codes. This is…

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DCC basics

DCC stands for Digital Command Control. This is a very popular way to control model trains in the smaller scales. It is used less often in G scale.  DCC is a somewhat quirky control method as it provides both power and communication to a locomotive via the track pickups.  In this regard, DCC is both power and a network communications protocol.  It works by modulating a digital signal over the track power. The ‘decoder’ inside of the locomotive separates the…

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Firmware Updates

The firmware in this device can be updated using a USB connected programmer. Here are two I have tested with: Pololu AVR USB Programmer. ($20) USBasp from Amazon ($10) To upgrade: Get the Latest Firmware from Here Unzip all the files into a folder. Plug your programmer into the board using the 6 pin connector: Click for Picture In the folder are two .bat files. Depending on the programmer you have, you can either run them or look at the…

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Change Bluetooth Device Name

You can change the device name of the Bluetooth receiver so it matches the locomotive or device it is installed in. I would like to make this easier but there is sort of a ‘catch22’ when you have the unit installed in the receiver. So here is a method to rename your device so your locomotives are uniquely identified. Using this method, when you pair the receiver and then select it with one of the apps, you will see this…

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Software Interface

The interface spec for this module is available, just ask and I’ll post up specifics. I am particularly interested in RaspberryPi3W experiments in Python, let me know what you need. The latest version of hardware now allows you to interface to the board using a simple TTL level serial cable at 9600 baud. This means you could control this board directly from many sorts of computer boards and setups. I am also open to sharing the firmware of the board…

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