C.M.R.I. system interface

I am just about ready to start work on a small (4X8) layout, but first I need info on merging my other hobby with this one.
I want to build the C.M.R.I. first described in MR Jan.-July 1985, but my computer is only a year newer than those articles.I was wondering if anyone here could tell me where I can get an interface board for a Tandy Color Computer 3. If not, then an Atari or Commodore interface will do (perfect excuse for a network...and another layout when I do find the other board.:)
(Yes, I still use it for everything. No, it's not an emulator. No, I don't own a PC/Mac. No, I'm not interested in dongrading.) The big stores don't sell these boards because they're run by stuck-up snobs who sneer down their nose and say "you need to upgrade". To what? A slower, unreliable version of what I already have? No thanks.
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puritan snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com, In a message on 4 Jan 2006 12:00:22 -0800, wrote :
p> I am just about ready to start work on a small (4X8) layout, but first p> I need info on merging my other hobby with this one. p> p> I want to build the C.M.R.I. first described in MR Jan.-July 1985, but p> my computer is only a year newer than those articles.I was wondering if p> anyone here could tell me where I can get an interface board for a p> Tandy Color Computer 3. If not, then an Atari or Commodore interface p> will do (perfect excuse for a network...and another layout when I do p> find the other board.:) p> p> (Yes, I still use it for everything. No, it's not an emulator. No, I p> don't own a PC/Mac. No, I'm not interested in dongrading.) The big p> stores don't sell these boards because they're run by stuck-up snobs p> who sneer down their nose and say "you need to upgrade". To what? A p> slower, unreliable version of what I already have? No thanks.
The current (modern) incarnation of the C/MRI system uses RS485 (a balanced serial interface) and there is a RS232 (standard (unbalanced) serial) <=> RS485 board also available. I believe a Tandy Color Computer 3 has at least one RS232 port (eg what you would connect an external modem to). This is all you need. Get a copy of the *current* interface documentation and PC boards from http://www.jlcenterprises.net/ (this is actually Bruce Chubb's web site) and kits / assembled boards from snipped-for-privacy@msn.com. There is much updated information in these books and on the web site -- much updated from 1985-ish -- many of the ICs for the old boards are hard to get and/or more costly than the more modern chips. The whole system works great and puts little or no real-time demand on the 'host' system. Your Tandy Color Computer 3 should work just fine with this sort of system, with no need of any special internal interface board.
I have used the Super Mini cards, driven by a '486/50 Laptop running RedHat Linux 6.2 and it worked great. The RS485-based system allows for virtually unlimited expansion and the use of remote control centers. Oh, 'old' PCs (eg '386, '486, early Pentiums, etc.) are dirt cheap, and can be cheaply upgraded with larger hard drives and an older Linux distro installed -- these machines can be easily used to control MRR layouts. And yes, software does exist to run a serial-port based C/MRI off them. See http://www.deepsoft.com/MRRSystem /. I also have an untested package of code that speaks to XPressNet (Lenz's DCC control network) and tested code to work with a Rail Driver cab control (needs a 2.4+ kernel and USB).
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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Robert Heller wrote:

Or take a look at the free JMRI software. It will run C/MRI as well as most if not all of the popular DCC systems. There are at least a few folks who use JMRI to integrate both (eg, use C/MRI for detection, signalling, and turnout control while using DCC for locomotive control).
http://jmri.sourceforge.net/index.html
Around here even some not-so-old PC's can be had for free. Cruise the neighborhood the evening before our town has it's annual "Spring Cleanup" trash pickup. You'd be amazed at the stuff some folks just throw out...
Stevert
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In a message on Thu, 05 Jan 2006 05:56:05 GMT, wrote :
JE>
JE> > In a message on Thu, 05 Jan 2006 03:54:06 GMT, wrote : JE> > JE> > S> Robert Heller wrote: JE> > S> JE> > S> > Oh, 'old' PCs (eg '386, '486, early Pentiums, etc.) are dirt JE> > S> > cheap, and can be cheaply upgraded with larger hard drives and an older JE> > S> > Linux distro installed -- these machines can be easily used to control JE> > S> > MRR layouts. And yes, software does exist to run a serial-port based JE> > S> > C/MRI off them. See http://www.deepsoft.com/MRRSystem /. JE> > S> JE> > S> Or take a look at the free JMRI software. It will run C/MRI as well as JE> > S> most if not all of the popular DCC systems. There are at least a few JE> > S> folks who use JMRI to integrate both (eg, use C/MRI for detection, JE> > S> signalling, and turnout control while using DCC for locomotive control). JE> > JE> > One of the problems with JMRI is that it uses Java, which is notorious JE> > slow / bloated, and is thus problematical on older / slower / JE> > less-well-endowed (eg memory / disk space) machines. The Deepwoods JE> > Software system, which is also 'free' (GPL), is far less memory and CPU JE> > cycle intensive (being in C/C++ and Tcl/Tk. JE> JE> Does it run on Mac Classic and OSX, Windows, AND Linux?
Except for the low-level serial I/O code, it should compile on any modern system. And the low-level serial I/O is 'isolated' -- these modules can have an O/S specific code chunk swapped in easily.
JE> JE> JMRI does.
Yes, I know. It is just slow. JE> JE> > JE> > S> JE> > S> http://jmri.sourceforge.net/index.html JE> > S> JE> > S> Around here even some not-so-old PC's can be had for free. Cruise the JE> > S> neighborhood the evening before our town has it's annual "Spring JE> > S> Cleanup" trash pickup. You'd be amazed at the stuff some folks just JE> > S> throw out... JE> > S> JE> > S> Stevert JE> > S> JE> > JE> > \/
JE> > http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 JE> > http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\ JE>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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A man after my own heart! I love you man!!1
(but you still can't have my beer)
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I am so sick of hearing that. Some people seem to think the only reason other people don't downgrade to new pee seas is that they can't afford it. Never mind that the late 80's classics are more reliable, often easier to use, and, beleive it or not, just as fast if not faster. Old pee seas belong in the trash. I get the free ones at yard sales for the hard drives and throw the rest away. Even 386, 486 and early pentiums.
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I am so sick of hearing that. Some people seem to think the only reason other people don't downgrade to new pee seas is that they can't afford it. Never mind that the late 80's classics are more reliable, often easier to use, and, beleive it or not, just as fast if not faster. Old pee seas belong in the trash. I get the free ones at yard sales for the hard drives and throw the rest away. Even 386, 486 and early pentiums.
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puritan snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com spake thus:

Faster? Sure, so long as you're running DOS (or CP/M, or some flavor of Unix, or that real-time OS you wrote in assembly language--took you 5 years, and it works *almost* as well as Unix). So if all you do is word processing, primitive graphics, or custom-made apps, no problemo. Windows? fuggedaboutit.
I still say the 80286 is one of the most underutilized machines ever made by man. No software, so far as I know, ever fully exploited its power (hey, it was one of the first CPUs to implement true memory protection, making multi-computing possible).
So more power to ya.
--
The only reason corrupt Republicans rule the roost in Washington
is because the corrupt Democrats can't muster any viable opposition.
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 23:42:07 -0800, David Nebenzahl wrote:

Ubuntu.
--
Steve

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Esperanto
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Clock speed isn't an acurate way to measure performance. If two programs do the same thing and one takes 64k, the other takes 640k, the smaller one will be faster, even at half the clock speed. Today's computers are supposed to be over 1000 times as fast as mine, but the buss speed is 1/4-1/2 the CPU speed, and most apps take 2000 times the memory.

Databases, spreadseets, custom apps, etc, too.

I can have up to 16 windows, 23 with the right drivers, and that doesn't count an optional second monitor. It has true multitasking, something pee seas still aren't very good at. It will also support up to 5 users at one time. How many terminals can you hook up to your '286?

The CoCo 3 does all that. Look it up. Also look up the Commodore 128. It can do 16 windows with G.E.O.S., a Mac-OS like OS. I don't know if it has multitasking. The Atari 130XE does, with a similar GUI.

While you've got your search engine warmed up, look up the Constitution Party.
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On 11 Jan 2006 11:16:52 -0800, puritan snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Unh hunh. And what resolution are the graphics cards available, or are you stuck with what Radio Shack put on the mother board?
You can buy an relatively fast and high resolution computer for well under $500, and run Ubuntu or some other Linux on it. But sheesh, Tandy? Worse than being stuck with Mickeysoft running on an IBM PS-2 with the world's slowest and most expensive 20MB hard disk!!
Nothing wrong with running, even using, antique computing machines for fun and even minor uses. But the attractions are a lot like a 3 week trip to Albania in 1964.
--
Steve

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Clock speed isn't an acurate way to measure performance. If two programs do the same thing and one takes 64k, the other takes 640k, the smaller one will be faster, even at half the clock speed. Today's computers are supposed to be over 1000 times as fast as mine, but the buss speed is 1/4-1/2 the CPU speed, and most apps take 2000 times the memory.

Databases, spreadseets, custom apps, etc, too.

I can have up to 16 windows, 23 with the right drivers, and that doesn't count an optional second monitor. It has true multitasking, something pee seas still aren't very good at. It will also support up to 5 users at one time. How many terminals can you hook up to your '286?

The CoCo 3 does all that. Look it up. Also look up the Commodore 128. It can do 16 windows with G.E.O.S., a Mac-OS like OS. I don't know if it has multitasking. The Atari 130XE does, with a similar GUI.

While you've got your search engine warmed up, look up the Constitution Party.
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puritan snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You need to close one of those windows, or log off one of those users, or *something*, because your last two replies have been posted twice, a minute apart each time.
Stevert
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That's actualy a good thing. I'm already one slot short, but I can expand to 16 serial ports wint an old network gadget.

Does this include detailed information on how to program it?

So what? I already have a computer.
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In a message on Thu, 05 Jan 2006 03:54:06 GMT, wrote :
S> Robert Heller wrote: S> S> > Oh, 'old' PCs (eg '386, '486, early Pentiums, etc.) are dirt S> > cheap, and can be cheaply upgraded with larger hard drives and an older S> > Linux distro installed -- these machines can be easily used to control S> > MRR layouts. And yes, software does exist to run a serial-port based S> > C/MRI off them. See http://www.deepsoft.com/MRRSystem /. S> S> Or take a look at the free JMRI software. It will run C/MRI as well as S> most if not all of the popular DCC systems. There are at least a few S> folks who use JMRI to integrate both (eg, use C/MRI for detection, S> signalling, and turnout control while using DCC for locomotive control).
One of the problems with JMRI is that it uses Java, which is notorious slow / bloated, and is thus problematical on older / slower / less-well-endowed (eg memory / disk space) machines. The Deepwoods Software system, which is also 'free' (GPL), is far less memory and CPU cycle intensive (being in C/C++ and Tcl/Tk.
S> S> http://jmri.sourceforge.net/index.html S> S> Around here even some not-so-old PC's can be had for free. Cruise the S> neighborhood the evening before our town has it's annual "Spring S> Cleanup" trash pickup. You'd be amazed at the stuff some folks just S> throw out... S> S> Stevert S>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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Does it run on Mac Classic and OSX, Windows, AND Linux?
JMRI does.

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Do you really need that much speed / memory / disk space to operate a CMRI? What happens if a PC is slow in this particular application -- you'll just get delayed reactions in responding to commands?
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I really doubt that's the reason.
It probably has to do with inventory and profit mark-up -- and the people who run the "big stores" are certainly not the ones you'd actually run into at the stores.
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Mark Mathu wrote:

The OP's computers are orphans, and he should be glad that some of the plain-vanilla hardware that works with them is still available at all, instead of whinging that his decidedly minority market is not served by his local 'lectronics pusher. IMO, he should lay in a stock of the stuff, since it won't be around much longer. Even secondhand stores are beginning to toss that old hardware - it's just gathering dust....
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