All posts by Michael Petersen

Using MRGui on Mac OSX

MRGui is our configuration utility for MRBus based devices.  It simplifies the process of setting the various EEPROM configuration options for each node, using a user-friendly GUI that runs on Windows, Mac, or Linux.  In addition to setting EEPROM configuration options, MRGui can also be used for general purpose programming of AVR microcontrollers.  The instructions below take you through the steps to get up and running with MRGui on the Mac OSX platform.

Continue reading

Automatic Interchange

Iowa Scaled Engineering products were recently mentioned  in one of the Model Railroader Video Plus episodes, featuring Tony Koester’s Nickel Plate Road.

In this video (subscribers only) you’ll see our CKT-IRSENSE and ACC-RELAY1 products used in an automatic interchange.  Each time a cut of cars is picked up, a new cut of cars is automatically pushed forward.  For those wanting more details, Tony has written an article about automated interchanges that appears in the December 2016 issue of Model Railroader.

Continue reading

DCC Auto-Reverser

We were recently asked to build a module that could automatically reverse a locomotive between two end points for use on a small point-to-point switching layout. The idea was to provide a means for continuous running of a train while working on the layout or to break in new locomotives without user intervention.  The end result is described here, with instructions for building your own.  At the current time, this is a mostly a DIY project, but if you want help building one, please let us know.

Continue reading

Controlling an SDX-1 with DCC

This is very much a “because I could” project, so keep that in mind…  I built the SDX-1 soon after it appeared in Model Railroader in 1991.   It served its purpose, both on my home layout and at several NTrak layouts with which I was involved.  However, it has sat dormant for many years.  A few months ago, I started to wonder what it would take to DCC enable it (it was originally intended to be used with DC throttles). So, with an Arduino and a little code, I now have a sound system that can make an N-scale diesel shake the room (literally!).

Keep in mind that the sound on the recording doesn’t do justice to the low frequency components. It’s much better to hear (and feel) in person.  And yes, there are many other ways (maybe even more practical) to do this.  This, however, was intended more as a fun application and test of the DCC Arduino Decoder Shield than any practical application.

As for the equipment seen in the video, from left to right, there is the SDX-1, an Arduino + DCC shield, a very crude level-shifting PWM DAC (i.e. a single transistor), and the Lenz DCC base station. The SDX-1 is driving the speaker itself (out of view below, sitting on the floor).

Using MRGui on Windows

MRGui is our configuration utility for MRBus based devices.  It simplifies the process of setting the various EEPROM configuration options for each node, using a user-friendly GUI that runs on Windows, Mac, or Linux.  In addition to setting EEPROM configuration options, MRGui can also be used for general purpose programming of AVR microcontrollers.  The instructions below take you through the steps to get up and running with MRGui on a Windows platform.

Continue reading