DCC-EX Roadmap

2021

Software

DCC++ EX Command Station

  • Develop Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) to allow for snap-in modules for different hardware and accessories. We will be both processor and input/output agnostic. Switches, lights, servos,etc. will all go through the same interface

  • Add support for an ESP-32 or Equivalent to get rid of resource limitations

  • Remove need to have any conditional compilation of features. This means the binary can be built and downloaded directly without a compiler or IDE. Customisation can take place through the command language API and mySetup.h

  • Program the WiFi solution with our own code that implements a “true” network connection, still has the AT command set, and can handle at least 12 sockets.

  • Upgrade the WiFi option with possible ESP32 containing custom AT firmware with possible Ethernet upgrade and Web Interface for configuration and/or control

  • OpenMRN on a co-processor?

  • Multiple simultaneous Motor Driver support (beyond the 2 we currently support)

  • Add EX-RAIL “Extended Railroad Automation Interface for Layouts”. Automate your layout with a simple script.

DCCInspector-EX

  • Add other report formatting options

WebThrottle-EX

  • Add Turnout support

  • Add capability to use as an installer/updater/configurer for DCC++ EX

Hardware

New Motor shield

New all-in-one DCC-EX Command Station

  • Provide a self-contained, yet expandable custom developed Command Station Features (perhaps revive FireBox)

  • Based on a powerful processor to be chosen from ESP32, Teensy, Xtensa, SAMC21, etc.

  • At least 20 GPIO Pins

  • More efficient, higher current capacity Motor Driver chip or independent MOSFETS

  • Dual H-Bridge with sustained current of 5A, peaks to 10.

  • Processor should have at least 2 - 12bit ADCs for current sense

  • High-Side current sense with amplifier for measurements down to 10mA on the service track.

  • Track voltage reading from a resistor voltage divider

  • One USB with 3 or more additional UARTS (hardware serial ports)

  • Computer Interface using the USB port (USB-C or B. Micro too flimsy)

  • 5V Operation through a 5V regulator, 1A output

  • 3.3V Operation through a 3.3V regulator, 800 mA output

  • Manufactured in different countries with partners

  • WiFi, Bluetooth onboard

  • Use ESP32 as WiFi and optional Ethernet bridge using AT commands

  • I2C, CAN and SPI onboard

  • Add RailCom support - Combine main and prog RX signals

  • Add Layout Bus support for LCC

  • Work with Smart Hobby to release LCN (layout control nodes)

  • Define footprint or header(s) for options/add-ons/FireBits

  • Accessible reset button

  • Standard interconnect for pluggable expansion options

  • Display?

  • SDCard?

  • Snap on Raspberry Pi to run JMRI?

Firebit Modules

Based on standard interconnect created for the CS, examples would be separate co-processors, boosters, motor controllers, etc.

Outreach/Partnering/Evangelizing

Work with other manufacturers to get their hardware, accessories, motor shields, etc. to market and to gain support for DCC++ EX. Add more throttles to the list that support DCC++ directly or through JMRI.