Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Re: Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:49 pm

Memory hog is not a good thing with the Pi. Neither is a lot of processing....
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Postby dileTTante » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:58 am

This discussion prompted me to research more about the Raspberry Pi. I've learned more about it but I still don't understand the effort to improve the set-up just for running trains with JMRI on Java. Doesn't the Pi-Sprog combination work well enough?

Comments on various forum discussions suggest that some SD cards are speedier than the Raspberry Pi bus, which has a set limit.
Devuan OS, which is Debian without system D, offers a version for Raspberry Pi. A commenter on the Devuan forum says it should be faster than Debian or most other Linux distros because system D slows things down. Probably the writer is biased. I use Devuan on my computers, which is why I learned about the Pi version.
This web page (https://www.tomshardware.com/news/raspberry-pi-4-ssd-test,39811.html) shows that an SSD drive can increase performance on Raspberry Pi but not in all instances. And I don't see how it benefits running trains or programming decoders with JMRI on Java.

I can understand the fun of using the Sprog with a Raspberry Pi and setting it up and everything, so I'm not questioning that. It's the quest for better performance which suggests that the Raspberry Pi isn't good enough. Then I would think that a cheap second-hand laptop would be a better choice.

Hoping to be enlightened about this.

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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:13 am

Yeah a cheap laptop would probably be better. I went with the Pi because it's by far the cheapest (if I'm going to spend "real" money I'd just get the Z21 and be done with it). The speed is not an issue when running or programming trains (at least for me) - it was more of an issue just to get everything set up.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Postby sacto-tt » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:38 pm

Terry (et al),
I was using my laptop to run JMRI and program my decoders. I thought it was OK, but I didn't like using my laptop because that meant moving it back and forth to my test track. I know laptops are portable, but it was inconvenient and I'm lazy.

I'm a Computer Scientist by profession and am always interested in new computer projects, so the RPi seemed like an fun thing to mess around with. Like any new thing, there were aspects I didn't like - such as Raspbian, the SD Card's limited performance and the disk configuration. So, naturally I wanted to change it up. Hence this thread.

As for controlling my layout with it, I won't be doing that. I have a Digitrax DCC system and will be using that to manage my combo HO/TT layout. The two scales are connected together so it will be one big layout. The SPROG doesn't have enough umph to do it. Eventually the RPi will be connected to the Digitrax via a Loco-Buffer and will be my decoder programmer and test throttle. I will also have all my railroad related spreadsheets/databases on it. I can always connect to it via VNC if I want to do stuff remotely.

As for my project, I've made a lot more progress. I was able to connect the SSD to the RPi as a data disk and verify that they were talking. I did manage to burn up a USB hub that only had a 1 amp P/S - guess the dual USB SSD enclosure was a little too power hungry. I modified the enclosure to use an external 5v P/S and bought a new hub. After installing the CentOS7 image on the SSD, I repartitioned it using another Linux system I have and now have my RPi booting from the SSD and running CentOS7. Overall things are working pretty well. Obviously my solution is not for everyone, but it was a combination of fun and can I figure it out.
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Re: Using a Raspberry Pi with JMRI on the layout

Postby dileTTante » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:10 pm

Thanks for that. Consider me enlightened.
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