Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:41 am

ConducTTor wrote:Will do. I've used the Lenz commander for simple programming and I have an ESU LokProgrammer as well which is controlled from a PC.


I'm not familiar with the ESU Lokprogrammer, is it compatible with JMRI's DecoderPro, or does it strictly use it's own software? Also, is it the same programmer for loading or changing sound files on their sound decoders?

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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:49 am

It's ESU specific software and yes - it will do sound files.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:06 pm

Hi Alex,

On the JMRI webpage, it states that DecoderPro will work with an ESU system, Whether this means it will work work with the ESU programmer, I don't know, but I suspect it might, since it does work with the Digitrax PR3 which also has it's own proprietary software. Actually, that software is a PITA, I never was able to get it to function properly, even with help from a friend who knows a lot more about computers than I (he's the IT guy at a local High school, and teaches computer science as well). Even though the Digitrax software would not work on my PC Netbook, the PR3 itself worked nicely (and easily) with DecoderPro when I tried it on my Mac both of which (Macs and DecoderPro) were unsupported by Digitrax (but then, they couldn't support their own software for the PC either). Unfortunately, by that point, I was so disgusted with the total lack of computer support by Digitrax that I ordered the SPROG when its US distributor promised full telephone and email support, plus a full refund if we couldn't make it work on my Netbook. That seemed like a good deal, since I had just been forced to eat the cost of the PR3 and it's power supply due to Digitrax' lack of support.

Bottom line is you might try the ESU programmer with the DecoderPro, it may well work. If it does, you can then tell us how DecoderPro stacks up against the ESU factory software for programming. DecoderPro may not be able to do much sound manipulation, since much of that seems to be proprietary to the sound decoder manufacturers, but I see JMRI is still working on a program called SoundPro, but at this point, I don't know much about it...

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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:34 am

Had some time to play with the Sprog/JMRI combo tonight. First impressions:

Installation and setup is a bit more time consuming than I'd like but, it's straight forward.

The interface leaves a lot to be desired - at any time, there may be 4 or 5 JMRI windows open for different things. It's a total hassle to have to find the one you actually want. This could be solved by having tabs within one big JMRI app screen.

Specifically for programming, the ESU LokSound programmer is a bit better. The ESU unit is much faster to read and write CV values from/to a decoder. The ESU also has throttle available right there so you can check your changes immediately - this is particularly helpful when playing with the motor settings.

Once the interface is set aside, the combo is huge bang for the buck. The highlight for me is the one thing that LokSound Programmer is missing - making changes to non ESU decoders. And, making them in an easy way as opposed to fumbling between LEDs and a few buttons like the Lenz Compact does. No need to enter CV addresses, or numerical values - just a simple intuitive display of what's what.

The second highlight is the throttle control. Took about 2 minutes to set up control from my iPhone with the WiThrottle app. The "lite" version is free (it's what I'm testing).

That's it until I have more time to play with it and learn all the other stuff it does.

Overall, I'll say the following:

Setup and use can be a bit annoying. But, for $100, you have a decoder programmer for virtually any decoder you're using, you have throttle control, you have switch control and, if you have a smart phone, you have a wireless throttle. Can't beat that. I'm happily keeping the Sprog :thumbup:

Now it's just a matter of adding a big power unit but that's the case regardless of the controller.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby dileTTante » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:33 am

ConducTTor wrote:The interface leaves a lot to be desired -

The method of opening new windows is something to get used to. It's standard procedure on Mac OSX and Haiku operating systems. Eventually you won't need to call up everything at once, such as programmer and then throttle to test results. When you want only the throttle, for example, it'll be just the second item to appear. Maybe you're already aware that the throttle can be configured and saved. The window can be resized and the elements can be moved around, that is, the throttle, the function buttons, and address areas can be moved and re-sized. Then the configuration can be saved.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:41 am

There's still a lot for me to learn about what the software can do - I'm sure I'll get used to it as I play around with it.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:57 am

ConducTTor wrote:Installation and setup is a bit more time consuming than I'd like but, it's straight forward.


Hi Alex,

Surprising that you say this, I found installation easy - just a matter of downloading software from either the included CD or off the web, opening the installer and dragging the DecoderPro icon into the applications folder. Of course, my HP 1000 Netbook is now a Mac, but I don't recall the installation when it was running WinXP being too much different. I did have to get the USB drivers from the disc and install them separately, though, since DecoderPro is still looking for a serial port connection. I don't see how it could be much easier, unless the drivers were built in. Why the USB drivers couldn't just be built into the installer I don't know, since so few computers nowadays even have serial connections. Maybe this is done to allow people to use old & otherwise useless computers (that still have serial ports) with their layouts in an effort to keep equipment costs down. Probably in the early days of JMRI development, only the newest, most expensive computers even had USB ports.

I agree that switching from window to window is a bit of a PITA, but most things in the main programmer (once it is opened) are done with tabs, so at least programming isn't to bad in that respect. Besides, a tab is just another way to open a new window. Like most things computer, I guess it takes some getting used to in order to adapt to the process. You were already using the ESU, so you may just have already been accustomed to it's operation without even realizing it.

Too bad the ESU software won't recognize other brands of decoders, but I guess it's too much work for them to research and load definitions and preferences for anything other than their own decoders. Let us know if you try the USB hardware with the DecoderPro software, or if you look into the JMRI SoundPro which is included with the newest version of DecoderPro (v2.12).

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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby ConducTTor » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:33 am

railtwister wrote:
ConducTTor wrote:Installation and setup is a bit more time consuming than I'd like but, it's straight forward.


Surprising that you say this, I found installation easy


It IS easy - note I said it's straight forward. It just takes a little too long to get everything up and running - too much stuff to download and set. I'm being a bit anal about this....I guess I'm at the point where I expect technology to just do everything automagically.

railtwister wrote:I agree that switching from window to window is a bit of a PITA, but most things in the main programmer (once it is opened) are done with tabs, so at least programming isn't to bad in that respect. Besides, a tab is just another way to open a new window. Like most things computer, I guess it takes some getting used to in order to adapt to the process. You were already using the ESU, so you may just have already been accustomed to it's operation without even realizing it.


The programmer itself is actually very similar to the ESU version. It's all the other stuff that I need to get used to I guess. I'll have to check out JMRI SoundPro - if it does the job, I may sell my LokSoundProgrammer.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby dileTTante » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:50 pm

railtwister wrote:Why the USB drivers couldn't just be built into the installer I don't know, since so few computers nowadays even have serial connections.

USB drivers are loaded as part of the operating system. JMRI software runs on Java which is an environment separate from the operating system. The program libraries are separate and that's how it can be copied into windows, OSX or Linux directly, while the drivers have to be installed into the system.

For a different experience try Rocrail. It's free but they ask for donations. The wireless throttle for Rocrail which works on my touchpad was not free of charge so I've stayed with JMRI. The display is nice. I think Rocrail also has images for locomotive roster, but am not sure.
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Re: Sprog 2 Instead of Navigator

Postby railtwister » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:24 pm

ConducTTor wrote:The programmer itself is actually very similar to the ESU version. It's all the other stuff that I need to get used to I guess. I'll have to check out JMRI SoundPro - if it does the job, I may sell my LokSoundProgrammer.


Even if SoundPro doesn't do everything you would like it to today, it just might by tomorrow, next week, or next month, since JMRI is a continually ongoing process of development and refinement, as are most other computer programs (provided it doesn't get bought up by some individual manufacturer).

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