Hi there everyone let me first start by introducing myself and what I can do and or know. My name is Nathan James I am an 18 Year Old Male from the "Sunny" United Kingdom :P I have always been interested in electronics and programming since I got my first computer aged 5. Of course at that age I had no idea what it was or how it worked I just liked messing around on paint and eventually went on to learn how to install onto a computer. Yes this is simple but I was 5 :) Ever since I got a computer it sparked my passion for everything computers I was learning all I could as I grew up about computers and by 8 years old I was scripting for games and making mods for the very popular GTA San Andreas. After many years passed however I got out of the epidemic of computers for a year as my cousin was always Xbox mad and never had a newer PC of my own. Following from that however I got my very own gaming pc from my uncle and at the time it was the dogsbo***x to me and you now days however it is absolute rubbish anyway how did I get into an Arduino and wanting to program my own stuff ? Well that is simple once I was hooked I couldn't stop I wrote basic scripts at the time for games to make trainers or other simple stuff which now I wouldn't know where to start because following learning there became a family issue my uncle developed cancer so for the following past 2-3 years from age 12 I was always around him helping out and just hanging out because we didn't know when he was going to pass. Anyway this set me back from learning because he is way more important to me that free time hobbies etc so I forgot everything I had learnt and had to start a fresh this was when I got into hacking. Now hacking you might look down on huh ? well I actually wanted to learn to hack for a reason and that is I aspire to get a job in pen testing industries testing for governments and large companies. Aged 16 I left school as you do in the UK and went to college to learn a few main areas of key interest. 1 was to learn networking the modern day standard of it anyway. 2 Was programming such as the 4 key areas been hardware and software development and hardware and software programming. In college during networking we learned alot to do with hacking and pen testing and also how to re program server stations or program CPU's to perform different functions. Another key area of mine was Game design and dev I wanted to take out level design etc. So leading this where did Arduino come in ? well I have always know about Arduino and lately Raspberry PI came out but the color of the PCB funny enough put me off the green PCB reminded me of the old el cheapo PC motherboards. So here it comes I went to Maplins hoping to find a Logic IC with I/O and a programming board to program them. Why do I want this ? Well I also have a model railway and it is controlled by DCC if you dont know DCC just google it, in basics each train has a decoder in which you can program a custom Address to it and other Control Variables. Say I give my first train Address #0001 then in the dcc system I would push Loco select then key in the address of the loco I want to control and so forth pressing enter on the system allows me to control that locomotive only. The pros of dcc are that you can run multiple trains on one piece of track or one layout without been limited to one train per track and one controller per track. So what do I want to achieve from all of this ? Well JMRI (JavaModelRailroadInterface) Is a free piece of software for controlling DCC equipped trains from your computer but you need an interface to convert the signals to correct DCC signals for the trains to understand. So my main question is if anyone has done this before how can I do it ? I want to select my locomotive in JMRI e.g: loco 0001 and then set it to go forward. The JMRI would send data out the usb on the correct com for the Arduino UNO and the Arduino UNO would be the interface between the PC and the actual Layout itself basically converting the signals from the pc to the correct DCC signals for the trains. Power is not an issue as I know you can use a ready made DCC booster from the signal outputs of the Arduino to amplify it to enough Volts and Amps to run the trains.
So hey everyone sorry for the long ramblings and all DCC ideas welcome I would love to get my layout controlled by a PC and Arduino and I know there are cheap easy alternatives such as a Sprog 3 its a DCC interface for use with JMRI but I want to make my own with Arduino and plus Sprog 3 is £60 where as Arduino is £24 giving me 2 DCC systems if I can get it working for the price of one :)