Hornby DCC and PC Interface

Hi
I am brand new to railroad modelling.
I am looking for a system to control a model railroad from my own PC and write my own software to do this (say in C#).
The safe route I have found at the moment is the LENZ Set 90 a TR150 transformer and the LENZ usb or serial port interface via xpressnet. I feel confident that this setup will work however the cost is rather expensive for what really is a little project that I want to play with.
Another option that I have come across (although not confident it will work) is to purchase a Hornby DCC select unit and connect its xpressnet port to the LENZ usb or serial adapter. Do you know of anyone that has attempted this or know if it will work?
Regards
J Lewis
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JLEWIS wrote:

No idea. Assume it won't work unless proved otherwise.
But, if your layout power requirements are modest, you might get away with controlling things through a SPROG unit. The JMRI Decoder-Pro PC software for DCC supports the Sprog (and I believe is all public domain source, so you can hack away at whatever bits you'd like to do yourself). Budget around 50 for a Sprog.
Double check all I've said above with various suppliers, I think its correct, but I've not actually tried to connect a Sprog to a computer to control a layout. There are comments on the Sprog site about using it as a command station for an external booster, or to control a larger current unit. This may be needed if building a big layout, or running things which need a lot of current.
- Nigel
--
Nigel Cliffe,
Webmaster at http://www.2mm.org.uk/
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I agree with Nigel, it's far too early to see if Hornby will work as you want. Lenz architecture is safe though

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Yep also agree with Nigel. Using Sprog looks good idea but it depends on how much the power unit costs. Theres also the Hornby Elite which has a USB connection already - due out any day (week ?) now. advertised discounted at 90. Not sure how the software will interface - no mention on hornby site. Have got an elite on order, but not going to use fancy C#, will stick to proper programming with C++. So if youre not in a hurry...
Cheers, Simon
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simon wrote:

Proper programming is C, much more expressive.
Chris
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Considering some of the code i've seen theres not much difference to some people.
Simon
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Chris wrote:

Real men use FORTRAN
Robin
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<snip 60 odd lines of quoted quotes and sig' lines>

Real men edit their replies...
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"Jerry" wrote

Nice one Jerry! ;-)
John.
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R.C. Payne wrote:

Real men use machine code none of this high level programming language stuff.
Chris
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Nah too much paper punching, so scan it when looking for bugs.
Cheers, Simon
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There's a serial SPROG for sale on Ebay at the moment.
Andy Sollis can vouch that I had a SPROG controlling two locos on a test track at the CVMRD exhibition.
It's always been possible to control a single loco with SPROG using JMRI/DecoderPro but I now have some enhancements in beta form that allow multiple loco control. There's a Java .jar in the files area of the SPROG Yahoo group and a few comments in the message archive from people who have tried it out. I can supply the source (it's not in the JMRI CVSchive yet) to anyone who wants to use it as a basis for their own thing. E-mail me via the contact link on the SPROG II homepage or join the SPROG Yahoo group. For a larger layout you will still need a higher current booster. Connecting a SPROG to a Lenz booster definitely works.
Even when your layout outgrows the SPROG as a controller it's still very useful as a programmer, but then I would say that, wouldn't I ;-)
Andrew Crosland
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JLEWIS wrote:

You could also try looking at Digitrax (www.digitrax.com) route as well, plenty of applications both paid for and free as well as a full loconet spec for writing your own software if you prefer.
Chris
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