EX-CommandStation

Install the Software

Conductor Hat

This page is specifically intended for a Conductor who has installed just the recommended hardware (including WiFi). If you are a Tinkerer or Engineer or have installed some of the additional, or different, hardware from that recommended for a Conductor then we suggest that you look at the EX-Installer page for the full instructions.


Once you have assembled your EX‑CommandStation hardware you need to load our software onto it make is usable.
To make it as simple as possible we have created the EX‑Installer app.

Requirements (for installing)

  • a Windows, Linux or MacOS X Computer

  • a EX‑CommandStation (Arduino Mega/Uno + Motor shield and optional WiFi shield)

  • a USB cable to connect your computer to the Microcontroller

1. Getting Ready

Instruction for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (including the Raspberry Pi)

Warning

Antivirus Software
You may need to turn off your antivirus software before you try to install.
Sometimes our software gets blocked by antivirus apps. If you see any errors on the install screen, this is usually the issue.

  • Connect your EX‑CommandStation to your computer

  • Determine which COM Port the EX‑CommandStation is plugged into

    • for Microsoft Windows:

      • open (run) the ‘Device Manager’ app and look at the ‘Ports (COM & LPT)’ as you plug or unplug the EX‑CommandStation

      • take note of the COM number (in brackets after the name of the device)

    • for Mac OS or Linux:

      • open a terminal screen and run the command ls /dev/tty.usbmodem*

      • this should result in displaying a device name such as /dev/tty.usbmodem12033

      • if multiple devices are listed, you may need to unplug your EX‑CommandStation, re-run the command to see which device is left, then plug it in again to note the difference

2. Download and Run EX-Installer

  • Download the EX-Installer app
    depending on your computer’s operating system it will automatically determine the version you need and download it

  • Extract the downloaded Installer into its own folder with your favorite unzip program

  • For Microsoft Windows:

    • Open File Manager

    • Run exInstaller.exe

  • For Mac OS or Linux:

    • Open a terminal window and navigate to that folder

    • Run the installer with the following command: ./exInstaller

  • You will be presented with the following screen…

3. The EX-Installer Window

Warning

Wait!

The EX‑Installer takes a little while to load everything it needs, so wait till you have seen about a dozen lines of text appear in the right pane before you try to select anything in the drop down menus.

EX-Installer

Figure 20 Installer Window

There will be a lot of information appearing in the log window, which can help us debug things if anything goes wrong. The installer needs to connect online to download the latest packages to support your hardware. It will take a few seconds to complete; this is normal. If you have a very slow internet connection it will take longer.

Choose your options

In the left side options pane, use the dropdown selector boxes to choose the following options:

Options Pane

Figure 21 Options Pane

  1. Select your Command Station (Base Station) Type
    If you are Conductor following our recommended instructions, choose Command Station EX

  2. Select your Arduino Board Type
    If you are Conductor following our recommended instructions, choose Mega

  3. Select your Motor Shield
    If you are Conductor following our recommended instructions, choose Arduino Motor Shield

  4. Select your COM Port
    The installer will usually find it for you but check against the COM port your took not of earlier

  5. If you have installed an optional a WiFi Shield you MUST check the WiFi box
    If you are a Conductor following our recommended instructions, check this box regardless (see below)

  6. Press the Compile and Upload button

Station Mode VS Access Point Mode

The instructions on this page are specifically for setting up your EX‑CommandStation to have its own, completely isolated, WiFi Network. This is referred to as Access Point Mode. (Most useful if your layout is away from the house, or you transport your layout frequently.)

The EX‑CommandStation can be setup so that it connects to your existing home WiFi Network. This is referred to as Station Mode. See the sidebar on this page or the EX-Installer page for the full instructions if you are interested in this option.

Access Point Mode

WiFi Checkbox

Check the WiFi box. That’s it, there is nothing more to do here.

WiFi Options

Figure 22 Wifi Options

Even if you didn’t install a WiFi shield, we recommend that this box be checked. If left checked and later you add a WiFi Shield, you won’t have to upload the sketch again. The WiFi check only takes a few seconds, after which it will report no WiFi was found and start the Command Station. (If you aren’t using WiFi and want to save a few seconds of boot time, you can uncheck the box.)

Note

If you have any difficulties check the EX-CommandStation FAQ and Troubleshooting page for assistance.

Compile and Upload

Compile and Upload Button

Once you have configured your options, press this button to upload the software to your EX‑CommandStation.


Next Steps - Selecting a Throttle (Controller)

Click here or click the “next” button to learn how to select a throttle (controller) suitable to test and use your EX‑CommandStation.


Todo

LOW - need to update installer screenshots