Sunday, October 26, 2014


I have decided I should keep this blog up to date a bit more than one a year or so. So I'll roll all N scale activities at the club into the blog. By the way, the new N scale clubroom layout is sort of on hold while we play with helping out on the new HO clubroom layout being built (and learn from the process at the same time). So let's get rolling and skip the last 12 months and come to the month of September. Here is what we've been up to on the N Scale Exhibition Layout "Pine Rivers".

The N Scalers are now pretty much complete with their radio control installation for their exhibition layout.

We have now after a number of years of using some laptops to drive our system, cut over to using a Raspberry Pi to drive the wireless for the layout with the use of JMRI software. The setup we are using is:

    Raspberry Pi computer "Model B+" (from Element 14)
    5V 2A power supply for Raspberry Pi (from Element 14)
    Case for Raspberry Pi (from Element 14)
    8 GB Sandisk Micro SDHC Card (From OfficeWorks)
    Digitech Nano N150 USB Wireless Adapter (from Jaycar)
    Belkin 4 port Powered USB Hub (From OfficeWorks)
    Digitech USB to RS232 DB9 Serial Cable (from Jaycar)

The all up cost for the bits was roughly 160 bucks and it all plugs into the layouts’ NCE Powerhouse Pro DCC system we use.

We have used the latest stable release of JMRI software, version 3.8, and have used the September release of the Raspbian operating system for the Raspberry Pi.

We have decided to keep it really simple and therefore there is no keyboard, monitor or mouse attached to the system, yet you can add them whenever you want. Instead, we do any of the rare modifications to it via remote control to the Raspberry Pi by using “VNC” or “Putty” software from our phones or tablet/laptop computers. As we turn on the layout for a run, we turn the power on for the Hub and the Raspberry Pi and wait about 3-5 minutes and we’re good to go. When it is time to shutdown it can be done the quick and dirty way of just turning off the power or if we want to be clean and neat computer peoples, we can remote into the unit and do a clean shutdown – either way works.

So we can now hook into this system to drive our trains via any smartphone or tablet/laptop with the appropriate from software out there – Engine Driver for Android devices and WiThrottle for the Apple type devices such as iPhone or iPad. The picture below gives you the idea of all up size. Not very large heh?

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