Well during the week one of my mates – PK – put an order in for some Raspberry Pi’s and associated kit. Well the gear turned up on Wednesday arvo and on Friday he brought mine to work. He gave me a quick overview on how it gets connected at work on Friday morning and a hint on some commands that were described on his blog on how he had set up his Pi. The Pi runs the JMRI freeware software and allows train drivers to use the Wi Throttle application and the Android version of that app to run trains via their smart phone or a tablet over wifi on a layout.
On Saturday morning I went to the Shed and the Pi was connected up to my layout, and to my USB keyboard, USB mouse and VGA CRT connected monitor. PK had already installed a base config along with root password, a wifi network name and a few other things in it and it auto started in Faceless mode, but it was set to default to a USB connection to an NCE layout. My connection is via a serial cable to my NCE Powerpro 5 Amp system. So after breaking into the system and creating a new profile in JMRI, I had it manually starting up via the serial cable and I was able to run a throttle from the Pi and control a train on my layout. I then commandeered my son’s iPod and downloaded the Wi Throttle lite application from the App Store and soon I was controlling that same train via wifi in the shed. Later on my son was also firing up the Wi Throttle application and running a train on the layout.
So I know the Pi now works as an alternate method of communication for visitors to control a train in the shed during a running session. It gives them an option instead of just using a Procab or a radio Procab (which is my preferred method of access). I have had a hell of a time trying to get my new configuration via the Serial cable to auto start in faceless mode. I wanted to keep the original USB connection as a valid connection option in case I decide to connect the Pi up to my NCE Powercab connected test track.
It has been about 17 years since I have been logging on to a Unix computer and doing Unix System Administration. It may have been even longer! But I still remember some of those commands and I now remember why I hated it. I have been able to fix a few issues with the base configuration that have been annoying me with the help of Mr Google. I will eventually overcome the issues I have and get it running automatically in faceless mode via the serial cable connection.
This giant step forward has been because of the great work that Greg and PK have been doing pioneering the use of the Pi at the Club as a method of access on our Club Exhibition layouts and our Clubroom Layouts, and on other member’s (and their own) home layouts. Thanks Guys.
A new era is about to unleash on Cassino as soon as I work out what to do to get my serial based faceless profile to work automagically.