EX-CommandStation

Test Your Setup

Conductor Hat

This page is specifically written for someone who has installed just the recommended hardware (including WiFi). However it will generally be suitable for testing most other configuration options.

Testing control of a loco

You need to test with a locomotive equipped with a DCC decoder (either a standard or sound decoder). Ideally, it should be a loco already proven to work on DCC. Otherwise, if you have a problem, you may not be able to tell if the problem is the decoder or the EX‑CommandStation.

There are two simple options for testing your setup described below:

  • Using our EX‑WebThrottle (recommended)

  • using the Engine Driver app installed on an Android device,
    or the wiThrottle app installed on an iOS device

Using EX-WebThrottle

EX-WebThrottle

Connect Everything:

  • Disconnect the EX‑CommandStation from the computer (that you used to load the software)

  • Connect wires from the MAIN Terminals of the motor shield (output A) to your MAIN track

  • Plug in the power supply for the motor shield only

  • Reconnect the EX‑CommandStation to the computer

  • wait for about 30 seconds

Note

The programming track is for programming only. Make sure you are on the MAIN track if you expect your loco to move or respond to light or sound commands.

EX-WebThrottle

Figure 23 EX-WebThrottle

  • Click this link and it will load a web page from our server that will run the web throttle on your PC

  • Click on the “Serial” dropdown button and select “Serial”

  • Click on the Connect DCC++ EX button

  • If the program finds a compatible device,

    • It will open a popup a window showing you a selection.
      It may show a line at the top such as “Arduino Mega 2560 (COM3)”. (The COM port will vary)

    • Click on your board to select it

    • Then click the Connect DCC++ EX button

  • You should then be connected to the EX‑CommandStation and should see the response from the Command Station in the log textbox of the debug console at the bottom of the throttle window.
    Make sure your debug console is open. If it isn’t, use the slider button in the lower left to open it. You can also open the DevTools window in your browser to see more developer logging

  • Once you are connected, you can:

    • Enter the <s> command in the “direct command” textbox to get status information from your Command Station. To do this just enter s (without the quotes) and press the SEND button.

    • You should see <iDCC++…> returned in the log window with your version, type of Arduino, type of motor shield, and some other information

  • Now you are ready to run trains!

  • Place your loco on the MAIN track, a loco will NOT run on a programming track

  • Click the Power Slider button to turn on power to your track

  • You should see lights on your Arduino Motor Shield and an indication that your loco has power

  • Next go to the Locomotive ID textbox

  • Enter the DCC address of your loco

  • Then press the Acquire button

  • You should now have full control over your loco

  • The circular control or vertical slider (chosen by the throttle select slider) can be moved by clicking and holding down the mouse button and dragging, clicking at a spot where you want the throttle to move, or clicking the + and - buttons

Click this link: EX-WebThrottle to run EX‑WebThrottle hosted on our site, or visit GitHub to get the latest version to run on your computer.

Using Engine Driver or WiThrottle - Requires WiFi

Note

The programming track is for programming only. Make sure you are on the MAIN track if you expect your loco to move or respond to light or sound commands.

Connect Everything:

  • Disconnect the EX‑CommandStation from the computer (that you used to load the software)

  • Connect the wires from the ‘MAIN’ terminals of the motor shield (output A) to your MAIN track

  • Plug in the two power supplies (The one for the Arduino and the the one for the motor shield)

  • wait for about 30 seconds for the Arduino to run through the initial startup sequence

WiFi Throttle Direct to CS

Using Engine Driver (Android)

Engine Driver

Figure 24 Engine Driver

You will need to install Engine Driver on your mobile device and then connect to the EX‑CommandStation, either directly with AP mode or through your router with Station Mode. You can then use your phone to control your trains.

  • If you have set up your EX‑CommandStation in Access Point Mode (The Recommended approach)

    • Open the network settings on you phone

    • Disconnect from your normal network and change to the network of the EX‑CommandStation

      • SSID (Network name): DCCEX_xxxxxx
        where the x’s are the last 6 digits of your device’ MAC address (unique to each device)

      • Password: PASS_xxxxxx
        where the x’s are the last 6 digits of your device’ MAC address (same as above)

  • If you have set up your EX‑CommandStation in Station Mode (The alternate approach)

    • open the network settings on you phone

    • change to your home network

      • Use your normal home SSID (Network name) and Password to connect to the network

Note

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

  • Start the Engine Driver App

  • Go through the initial startup pages to set some basic configuration items

  • On the ‘Connection screen’

    • You should see DCCEX_xxxxxx (as above) in the discovered servers list

    • Click on this.
      (As long as you did not change the IP address of the EX‑CommandStation when you ran EX‑Installer then this should connect

  • You should now be on the the ‘Throttle screen’

  • Turn on the power to the track via the Menu

    • (The three dots or bars) then ‘Power’. Then click the Power button till it goes green. (may require more than one click)

    • The four red LEDs on the Motor board will turn on

    • Click Back

  • Back on the ‘Throttle screen’

    • Click one of the Select buttons

  • This will have taken you to the ‘Select Loco screen’

    • Enter the DCC Address of the loco you put on the track

    • Select Short or Long (normally if the address is less than 127, it will automatically assume it is short)

    • Click Aquire

  • Back on the ‘Throttle screen’ you can now use the sliders to move your train on the MAIN track.

See Engine Driver Page for details on how to install and run Engine Driver.

Using wiThrottle (Apple iOS)

Note

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

  • If you have set up your EX‑CommandStation in Access Point Mode (The Recommended approach)

    • Open the network settings on you phone

    • Change to the network of the EX‑CommandStation

      • SSID (Network name) : ‘DCCEX_xxxxxx’
        where the x’s are the last 6 digits of your device’ MAC address (unique to each device)

      • Password: ‘PASS_xxxxxx’
        where the x’s are the last 6 digits of your device’ MAC address (same as above)

  • If you have set up your EX‑CommandStation in Station Mode (The alternate approach)

    • Open the network settings on you phone

    • Change to your home network

      • Use your normal home SSID (Network name) and Password to connect to the network

  • Start the wiThrottle App

  • wiThrottle will try to find the wiThrottle Server on the EX‑CommandStation

  • If you are using Access Point Mode

  • If you are using Station Mode

    • It will not find the wiThrottle Server automatically

    • Enter:

      • The IP Address: 192.168.4.1

      • The Port: 2560

    • wiThrottle should then connect

Warning

wiThrottle Lite (the free version) does not have the Track Power function. You will either need to purchase the full version, or you can add a startup command.

  • You should then see the ‘Address Screen’

  • Turn the track power on by selecting the ‘settings’ tab and clicking on the Track Power

    • The four red LEDs on the Motor board will turn on

  • Go back to the ‘Address’ tab

  • Enter the DCC Address of the loco you put on the track in the Keypad field

  • Select Long or Short (normally if the address is less than 127, it should be a ‘Short’ address.)

  • Click the Set button

  • The address should appear in the green box at the top left.

  • Select the ‘Throttle’ tab

  • You can now use the sliders to move your train on the MAIN track

See WiThrottle Page for details on how to install and run wiThrottle.

Warning

Locos Can’t Respond to Throttle Commands on the Programming Track!

We have repeated this in several places on the Website because it is such a common issue. The MAIN track is for running trains, the PROG (service track) is for programming your loco. THE LOCO CANNOT RESPOND TO THROTTLE OR FUNCTION COMMANDS WHILE ON THE PROG TRACK This is by design and part of the NMRA specification.


Next Steps - Run Your Trains

You now should have everything you need to run your trains.

We suggest that you look at the The Big Picture to get some additional guidance on running trains and the additional capabilities of DCC-EX that you may prove of interest.

You might also like to look at the other Throttles (Controllers) that are available.

If you are still having difficulties click Next.