The Iowa Scaled Engineering ProtoThrottle has many ardent users who typically use the throttle to control locomotives with track-powered DCC. This post shows you how to implement using this throttle for Dead Rail (battery power, radio control) with ProMiniAir, Airwire, Tam Valley Depot DRS-1, S-Cab, and Gwire Receivers that can receive commands from ProMiniAir Transmitter integrated with a WiFi-equipped CommandStation (available on eBay by using the “ProMiniAir” search string).
My thanks to Colin Camarillo for the idea.
Implementation is straightforward and smooth. You will need the following components:
- ProtoThrottle: available here.
- ProtoThrottle Receiver (ProtoThrottle Receiver for ESU CabControl, JMRI WiFi Throttle, and Digitrax LNWI): available here.
- ProMiniAir Transmitter/WCS (ProMiniAir Receiver integrated with a WiFi-equipped EX-CommandStation): available here.
- Compatible Receivers are:
- Airwire CONVRTR, G-3, and G-4
- Tam Valley Depot DRS-1
First, power up the ProtoThrottle and set the locomotive’s address, e.g., 1648, along with the illustrated functions. See the ProtoThrottle’s User Manual for detailed operation and configuration details.
The PrototThrottle Receiver has a
config.txt file that is available on a file system once connected to a PC. You edit this file with your favorite text editor, modifying the following entries for operation with a DCCEX system:
ssid = DCCEX_123456
password = PASS_123456
mode = dccex
serverIP = 192.168.4.1
serverPort = 2560
123456“is replaced by the actual value shown on the CommandStation’s OLED display. Save the file. Disconnect the USB cable from the PC and plug it into the USB power block.
The photo below shows that the ProtoThrottle Receiver is connected to the EX-CommandStation after the USB power is connected.
The photo below shows that the EX-CommandStation is successfully sending DCC commands to the ProMiniAir Transmitter (note the “Msg Ad: 1648”) on the small OLED display connected to the ProMiniAir Transmitter).
The video below is a demonstration of the following arrangement: [ProtoThrottle] ===Xbee===> [ProtoThrottle Receiver] ===WiFi===> [WiFi-equipped EX-CommandStation] —wired—> [ProMiniAir Transmitter] ===Airwire Channels===> [ProMiniAir, Airwire, Tam Valley Depot, S-Cab, Gwire Receivers] —wired—> [DCC decoder].
The setup of the ProtoThrottle and its Receiver was simple, and it took just a few seconds to edit the ProtoThrottle’s
config.txt file so the ProtoThrottle Receiver could communicate with the WiFi-equipped EX-CommandStation. Communication among all of the components was immediately established when power was applied.
So, there you have it: the ProtoThrottle can be used for Dead Rail control with ProMiniAir, Airwire, Tam Valley Depot DRS-1, S-Cab, and Gwire Receivers by using the ProtoThrottle Receiver in conjunction with a ProMiniAir Transmitter integrated with a WiFi-equipped EX-CommandStation.