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jbiltcliffe

Sprog and JMRI not working

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This is my first post here, but hoping that someone might be able to point out what I'm missing.

 

I'm just starting building a new layout after nearly 20 years away from modelling, and looking to use DCC for control as it appears to be a much for versatile control setup.  Being new to this and looking for a low cost way to get started I've bought a Sprog 3 and was planning to use JMRI to get started.  I've also got a Hornby loco which came DCC fitted - I plan to fit my own decoders to some of my older stock in the future, but thought I'd start with something already done.

 

The issue I'm having is that I don't seem to be able to get any interaction between Decoder Pro and the actual train.  All I keep getting are timeouts talking to the command station (error 306).  I've been doing various googling and trying different things without much luck, hence hoping to get some advice from people more familiar with this than I am.

 

The laptop I'm controlling the Sprog from is running Windows 10.  I've been through the hoops to get the driver installed, so in device manager I'm seeing it listed as SPROG III.  In JMRI I've set up the connection for the Sprog Command Centre and pointed it to the right com port.  When I try and create a new loco and read from the decoder the red DCC LED on the Sprog flashes, so it looks like the laptop is talking to the Sprog, however it eventually comes back with the timeout.  

 

From everything I've read it sounds like this setup should work, so leads me to wonder if the train is faulty, however I would have hoped to get a more intelligent message about not train found, not timeouts to the control station.

 

Any help would be appreciated as I'm running out of things to try but really want to get DCC control working.

 

John

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To program decoders using Decoder Pro you must set the Sprog connection as Decoder Programmer. In this mode you can still open a throttle window and test a loco. (There is an off/on button to enable the throttle - puts the output in full power rather than low power program mode output). The command station connection is just for actually running a layout and brings up different options. To change connection you must make the change in preferences and then shut down and re-open JMRI/Decoder Pro

 

Izzy

Edited by Izzy

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I know nothing about Sprog operation and I am sure you will get experienced advice on that. But before delving further, may I suggest you try the operation without using Windows 10 (if you access to another laptop/PC using Windows 7 or XP or whatever). I have found W10 to be incompatible with so many programmes that were perfectly happy on XP, and having spent many hours trying to sort this out, have found that it is simply that. Either the said software has not yet been updated to work with W10, or W10 will simply not recognise it. Your mention of timing out is common to many of the same problems I had.

 

This may not be the problem of course, but I suggest it as a first step in case it is, which could save you the many, many hours of frustration I had.

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As Izzy said, there are two settings for Sprog, and it depends what you are trying to achieve. 

 

Sprog Command Station is to run a layout.  With this, there are multiple throttles (can control several trains at once) and Operations Mode programming (write-only to the selected train).  BUT, you cannot read a decoder with this setting.

 

The alternative "Sprog programmer" mode is to operate as a Programming Device, which supports decoder reading/writing, and the test-running of a single loco.   To read in decoder settings, you need to operate in this mode, with only one loco on the connected piece of track. 

 

You can change the settings, but will need to restart JMRI between changes, and it may be sensible to power-cycle the Sprog during those changes as well to ensure that any old settings are fully cleared from computer and Sprog. 

 

 

 

 

Other matters which arise:

 

If this is a cheap Hornby DCC factory-fitted loco, then its possible it doesn't support decoder readback.    Which may be why you see the error.

 

There are instances with some versions of JMRI not setting preferences correctly.  Open up the Preferences dialogue, and then the "Defaults" tab.  Make sure the relevant outputs are set to your Sprog and not "internal". 

 

Windows 10 is irrelevant, JMRI and Sprog work fine on Windows 10 (if anything the current Sprog versions are easier on 10 than anything else as the driver files don't need loading separately). 

 

 

 

 

- Nigel

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I use a Sprog and JMRI on Win 10 with no problems.

John

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Hi All

 

Thank you for the feedback.  In the preferences settings I have two options - "Sprog" and "Sprog Command Station", and currently I'm set to the first.  The defaults also look like they are set to sensible options as far as I can tell.  A couple of images that might help showing the device manager and Decoder Pro preferences....

 

sprog_device_manager.png

sprog_jmri_%20preferences.png

 

sprog_jmri_defaults.png

 

sprog_read_decoder.png

 

 

On the Windows 10 question, I have two laptops available, however both are running W10.  However as I mentioned previously, when requesting the Sprog to read the decoder the power LED on the unit flashes, so it appears to be getting a level of communication.

 

The train I'm testing with is a Hornby R3297X LMS 0-6-0 Class 3F.  It was supplied with an R8249 loco decoder fitted in it.  The leaflet with it said that as supplied the default address should be 3, however even if I select the decoder and set the address manually I'm not getting any success.

 

Thoughts would be appreciated.

 

John

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I use a Sprog and JMRI on Win 10 with no problems.

John

You are not alone.......

 

Yes - getting JMRI/DecoderPro to install properly in Win 10 can be a problem - it's not insurmountable.

 

John - Can I ask if you have followed the Help section for DecoderPro?

 

So many of the problems encountered with the software are gone through in it that it should be a 'must read' before trying to do anything.

 

Thanks

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Hi Phil

 

Thank you for the pointer - I'd done various googling, but not actually tried the help files as I've got used to most help tending to push you to manuals on the website anyway.

 

One thing they suggested was using the command monitor to test the Sprog connection and it looks like I'm not getting a response back.  So while I was getting flashing LEDs it appears there is still not bi-directional communication going on between the Sprog and the laptop.  

 

Time for yet another read through the Win10 install instructions and try and work out what is going on.

 

John

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Yes, you can see from device manager that you have issues. The sprog is listed under ports as being com4. But under other devices there are exclamations against all listed, which I believe refer to the sprogs drivers and connections.

 

Izzy

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Hi Phil

 

Thank you for the pointer - I'd done various googling, but not actually tried the help files as I've got used to most help tending to push you to manuals on the website anyway.

 

One thing they suggested was using the command monitor to test the Sprog connection and it looks like I'm not getting a response back.  So while I was getting flashing LEDs it appears there is still not bi-directional communication going on between the Sprog and the laptop.  

 

Time for yet another read through the Win10 install instructions and try and work out what is going on.

 

John

Hi John,

 

Most of the problems I had were covered in the Help File.

 

What wasn't covered was making sure that you install everything using Run as Admin, not automatically installing.

 

I still have occasional Win 10 problems- mostly due to the constant Win 10 Update situation battle ie when the drivers already installed are no longer recognised!

 

As Izzy says - there are visible problems in the screen shots/information you have posted.

 

Thanks

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HI Izzy

 

I was discounting the other errored devices as they are present whether the Sprog is connected or not.  Unfortunately the Dell laptop I've been using as my development machine doesn't have a complete set of Windows 10 drivers.  As previously mentioned since I was seeing what I thought was communication in one direction then I was assuming it was a Sprog or Sprog <> train issue, however since I now know it's a laptop <> Sprog issue then that changes where I'm looking.

 

I think I might need to try on the newer main Dell laptop that has full driver support or failing that see if I can literally dust off my old XP desktop that hasn't been out in a couple of years.

 

John

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Hello John

 

As far as I can see from all your screen shots your SPROG and laptop are talking fine.

 

I would be more interested in knowing if you have tested the locomotive on DC analogue.  Does it work - with or without the chip?

 

You don't say whether it was bought new and whether the DC Chip was factory fitted, or even what sort.  The time out error might simply be that the SPROG/JMRI cannot find the loco/chip?  For example do you know that the pickups on the engine are working or that the chip is fully plugged in?

 

I have a SPROG II and no other digital controller.  It was bought and connected to a latop running Win 7.  The laptop was upgraded to Win 10 without hitch and next time I attached the SPROG it worked perfectly without any additional  work.  There is a video on Youtube with Hornby George 1 on a programming track next to the laptop.

 

Perhaps you need a second known to be working digital loco to test?

 

Ray

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Your setup looks to be correct, so something odd is happening.  Error 306 usually means communication to device (ie. computer to Sprog), though sometimes error messages can mis-report situations.  

There is a Sprog debugging window (Sprog menu, then Sprog Console) available which might reveal a few details, and also allows specific commands to be pushed into the Sprog.  But, you may find it quicker to deal with those by contacting the makers by email (who are on holiday at present according to their website).  

 

 

The Hornby decoder (R8249) is known to be unreliable in whether it can be read on any systems (see numerous threads if searched).  It would be a lot simpler to debug this with a known reliable decoder in a loco.  Decoders by ESU, Lenz, TCS, Zimo (and there are others) are known to be reliable. 

 

 

- Nigel

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HI Izzy

 

I was discounting the other errored devices as they are present whether the Sprog is connected or not.  Unfortunately the Dell laptop I've been using as my development machine doesn't have a complete set of Windows 10 drivers.  As previously mentioned since I was seeing what I thought was communication in one direction then I was assuming it was a Sprog or Sprog <> train issue, however since I now know it's a laptop <> Sprog issue then that changes where I'm looking.

 

I think I might need to try on the newer main Dell laptop that has full driver support or failing that see if I can literally dust off my old XP desktop that hasn't been out in a couple of years.

 

John

 

Ah, sorry. I have similar problems in that a Sprog 2 will no longer play with a reinstalled Win 7 laptop although it did so previously and still does with an old XP and Mac Pro Book and though that maybe you have hit similar unknown issues to me. Hope you sort it out anyway.

 

Izzy

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Hi All

 

Following on from the advice and comments on here and the discovery last night that it was the laptop communicating to the Sprog that looked to be the issue tonight I gave up on the laptop and pulled the old XP desktop out of the computer graveyard and then had the most sucessful evening I've had so far with DCC!

 

Under Windows XP the Sprog and JMRI installed fine (a bit of a run getting the right versions of Java for XP to run the latest version of JMRI).  On running JMRI and trying to identify a decoder on an empty track I got an error saying no train detected - more than I'd ever achieved on the previous laptop.  It appears that the manufacturer code in the decoder is not recognised by JMRI properly, however selecting the decoder manually I was then able to read in all the values and populate JMRI.  Firing up a throttle I finally managed to make a DCC train move.  I even got to the point of getting the laptop out and controlling the loco using a throttle on there.

 

The actual loco doesn't appear to be wonderfully happy going in reverse.  Forward is fine, and I can see in the Sprog console the instructions being sent to go backwards, but the loco seems very hesitant to actually decide to move.  

 

As a long term setup I'm going to have to decide what I actually use as the main machine to run JMRI on.  The current machine is probably getting on for 8 years old (last really used in 2014), so is not ideal, however looks like it should be usable for getting to grips with the basics.  It looks like there are people using Raspberry PIs for this, so might be worth a test at some point.

 

In the mean time I've got a couple of locos - a class 150/2 and a Windhoff - that are both DCC capable and have the decoders ready and waiting for, so it might be time to try and fit those and see what I can get working.

 

Thank you to all those that answered - it gave me enough to find the problem and at least a short term solution!

 

John

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I have a slightly different issue which is driving me crazy although I suspect there may be something basic that I am doing wrong. 

 

I have used a Sprog II (original version) and Decoder pro for some years without any significant problems. I have a rolling road set up on my workbench connected to the Sprog and a netbook.

 

The netbook has run Windows 10 since it was released and, again, no real issues until now. As far as possible all software is updated as soon as available and yesterday the netbook upgraded itself to Windows 10 version 1607. I also noted an upgrade for Java to V1.8 121.

 

Yesterday I used the rig several times to adjust CVs on several different locos without any problems and I believe that this was after the two upgrades above happened (with subsequent restarts).

 

However today I am unable to use the rig at all and I cannot get to the reason for it.

 

The Decoder Pro shows the full roster of locos with all details. At the bottom of the page it states that "Service Mode Programmer Sprog is online" - "No Operations Mode programmer Available".

 

I am unable to command any locos that are in the current roster.

 

If I ask it to identify a loco on the test road it returns "Timeout talking to command station". (Different locos produce the same result - all the locos work prefectly on the layout). The USB LED flashes briefly as the "interogate" commands are repeatedly sent until no response is recorded (visible in the command monitor of JMRI also). It appears that no voltage is produced from the "Track" outpouts of the Sprog but the power light does not light or flash. (I have checked that 12v is going into the Sprog). I am unable to turn the power button on or off - it is permanently yellow (layout state unknown) - in the Roster page of JMRI. 

 

I have performed many reboots of both Sprog and PC. System Manager on the PC shows the Sprog working correctly on Port 3 which is the same as the setting in Sprog.

 

My first assumption was that Java had possibly caused a problem and I went into settings and enabled the previous version (and unenabled the current) but that made no difference.

 

Any suggestions would be gratefully received please. Thank you.

Edited by highpeakman

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I have found sometimes that when problems like this ocurr rolling back a driver, software version, or Windows update doesn't always work, but using system restore to roll back to an earlier time does. Could you try this to see if the latest changes are causing the issues? Always assuming you can roll back with Win 10. I'm afraid I don't have anything using it so don't know if this feature still exists.

 

Izzy

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I have found sometimes that when problems like this ocurr rolling back a driver, software version, or Windows update doesn't always work, but using system restore to roll back to an earlier time does. Could you try this to see if the latest changes are causing the issues? Always assuming you can roll back with Win 10. I'm afraid I don't have anything using it so don't know if this feature still exists.

 

Izzy

Thanks. Worth a try. Will have a go tomorrow.

 

Edit: Have tried system restore and, annoyingly, the PC won't restore to any previous points. I will now try to reinstall drivers, JMRI, etc to see what happens.

 

It is the fact that I cannot turn the power output on of the Sprog that makes me wonder if there is a device problem. However as it is controlled by JMRI then that could also be the reason.

Edited by highpeakman

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I had my Sprig set up to check cos at our show. The programme locked ..i restarted it and got an error message "your app will not run" or similar.

 

Tried to load the software on another win10 laptop...exactly the same. Is there a fix Please?

 

Baz

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