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JMRI + Hornby Elite = Not much really. How do I improve matters ?

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I'm not sure if this is a DCC question or topic - mods please move it it makes sense to do so.


I've recently dabbled in wireless control of locos, with JMRI + Elite + Engine Driver on android. It worked very well but I have a couple of locos that were inexplicably dead. No matter I thought, I'l check it out on the prgramming track later on and tweak a few cv's on other locos with JMRI.


Sadly, its not been straightforward. The stock tried so far has a mixture of Hornby 8249 chips, Bachmann 36552 and 36553, and even a TCS d2px-uk. The first loco refused to read - trying to read make and model mostly meant getting code 255 for manufacturer not known. It read one Hornby 8249 chip without trouble, but the other 5 or so were uinreadable, the Bachmann decoders were a similar mystery.


The most worrying thing happened with the TCS chip. The loco ran fine at first, but after trying to alter some CV's - seemingly successfully as the loco moved -  it wouldn't respond at all. I had to reprogramme the address  using the elite alone.


I've had a lot of problems with the connection timing out as well. Is the elite USB connection a bit "slow" ?


I'm wondering itf the problem lies with the software (doubtful, but you never know) or the elite. If so, where do I go from here ? I have an NCE power can so could buy the USB interface for it. Or I could buy a Sprog 2, now £45 quid. Would this be more reliable and faster ? I also have a tam valley booster so could use the sprog to control a layout too if sprog and booster are connected together.


And as an aside, I trust the tam valley booster can be used to tame the output of an ez command to ensure any stay alive units don't fry ?


Have the experts got any thoughts on this ?

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You could get the Sprog 2 as a test/programer to see if it resolves issues i guess? check also to see if theres a newer JMRI or Elite firmware version. It could also be a software problem in relation to your computer if it fairly old perhaps.

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The Elite's Xpressnet interface doesn't quite behave in accordance with the Lenz documentation for Xpressnet (and there isn't any Hornby specific documentation).  So, JMRI developers have to do the best they can with something which mis-behaves. One of several compromises the JMRI software has for the Elite is the speed of sending program track commands; they could go a lot faster, but the Elite will silently drop lots of them (and thus fails!), or it could go a lot slower and the Elite will drop fewer of them (but you'd be hours making simple programming changes).   You could discuss this problem with JMRI developers and another tweak to the timing in the software could be made, but from my experience the problems will still exist, just at a different rate.


There is a trade-off between Sprog or NCE USB interface.   The Sprog is probably the slightly better programming device (both reading difficult decoders, and quicker at reading loco data), but to run a layout a Sprog is computer only (or computer plus smartphone).   A PowerCab plus USB gives option of computer or NCE handset control.       For layout control, unless totally certain about computer interfaces then I'd go with the NCE USB from where you start.


I can't answer on the voltage output of the Tam Valley booster;  consult the maker or documentation.   In general, I'd expect the booster's output to be determined either by internal booster settings, or the power-supply to the booster. 




- Nigel

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The Tam Valley booster output voltage is determined by the power supply used.


It works with a SPROG :-)


For £60 (plus power supply) a SPROG 3 wil allow a larger layout to be controlled (2.5Amps) than a SPROG II but, as Nigel has pointed out, you are stuck with computer control.


Andrew Crosland


Edited by Crosland
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