Control Your Trains and Layout through JMRI

In my last post I showed how to connect your computer to your digital model railroad which honestly is one of the most imporatnt pasrts. Connection issues in a complex set-up can lead to many frutrations down the line and it is very important to get it right before moving on to the next step.

Now that your computer is well connected to your model railroad, let’s see what can we do to get started. In my last video I showed how to connect to your turnouts and add them in the turnout table, and also how to run your trains. Today we take it from there.

Now, everything in JMRI starts from a table – your tunrouts, block detectors, signals all goes in your table first before you can use any of them in a proper panel. IN our example here we kept things simple by keeping the table restricted to 3 turnouts. Now that the turnouts are in, next step is to start building a proper layout panel, and we start with Layout Editor.

Once you’re through with the basic layout, that’s when the fun begins and you realise the real power of computer control! First, I interlocked the crossover so that one turnout is always dependent on the position of the other, and then to take a step further I started created routes. It is real fun to play with your layout and trains once you get the hang of interlocking and routes even without any complicated hardware, block detection etc. You really start seeing the real benefit of a digital model railroad when you start controlling your layout using a computer. Complex subjects that took hours to program in conventional DCC and incredible hardware and wiring to make it work in old DC, gets done just in a few minutes!

But this is not the end! You can take this even further when you start controlling your layout using your smartphone – but that’s for the next time!


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