Fitting a USB charger to your layout?
PLUS WiFi THROTTLES – using old iPhones!
- they are handy for charging a lot of “devices” these days – phones; tablets; pads; cameras etc.
- or in my case it has a specific purpose – to charge my WiFi throttles.
I have become a convert to using mobile phones as throttles. I first tried Android phones but lately I have become convinced that old iPhone 4s models are the go!
This post is supposed to be about USB chargers so here we go:… wait a moment!
The setup below is out of date now!
A bit disappointing I suppose. But on the right is a little 2 port USB outlet powered by the 12V DC bus which runs around my layout. It is a something I picked up from a marine supplier.
It now looks like this:
and the charger is a more powerful model by Jackson and purchased from Jaycar Electronics. It still only just does the job, rated at a total 3.1Amps. If you can find a higher output unit, go for it.
On the shelf there are still 3 very old iPhone 4S mobile phones and my old Android phone which has … “carked it!”
The iPhones are ancient in the modern world of devices and each phone above was donated by friends and family who had them stuck away in drawers and cupboards. They have the old 30 pin connector and nothing uses them these days. I did my research first and discovered that I could buy the USB to 30 pin cable for peanuts on the web. Get this:
On eBay of course and the cost? ……. $5 for 5 complete cables including postage!!
If you don’t believe me look at the eBay site. Back to the phones.
You need to get them to Erase All Content and Settings. This can done by:
- Going to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
- Then remove the SIM card as it has no use in a Throttle.
- Or best of all – look at the explanation on this site.
Android: Look at the explanation on this site.
THROTTLES: you need to load an app into the phones:
Wi Throttle Lite on the iPhone
Engine Driver on the Android
(this will still be possible via WiFi using your App Store or Play Store.
This is what they
look like used to look like when running on the device:
The people who kindly develop
Wi Throttle for iDevices have made a couple of significant improvements.
iPhone 4S – Wi Throttle Lite – this is what the “Address” screen looks like.
It is showing the Roster obtained from JMRI Decoder Pro which must be running in the layout room. The phone connects to this by WiFi and displays several screens. This the one shown as “Address” (lower middle).
I have scrolled down the list and selected 4201 then “Set” that selection. Next I will select Throttle circled in RED.
You can now select from 4 sub menus:
- Recent selections
- Keypad entry if you know the engine number
- Roster of entries for selection
- A list of Consists (ie previously coupled together locos)
It now looks like this – this one being the “Recent” list.
And this one – the Roster list.
The next Throttle screen looks like this:
This is the major improvement: in this version, to see multiple control (Function) buttons, you had to swipe sideways which was a little awkward.
NOW, the function buttons now scroll UP and DOWN which seems more intuitive
The selected loco is shown with a green background.
The throttle is a slider on the right.
Direction can be predicted by the arrow pointer at “Idle”
The BEST BENEFIT – you don’t have to remember F numbers and what they do!
The Functions are in text on the buttons (albeit abbreviated) and you can put them where you like.
The next screen is now revealed by a swipe UP and shows more Functions. As below.
This is the second page of Functions.
You can have more if you like, on another screen!
To be quite honest, I now rarely use the command station throttles on my NCE system.
Android Option called Engine Driver.
Once WiFi has been established, this is the next screen.
When you press “Select” a Roster list appears and you select the loco.
This screen lists the locos in the roster obtained by WiFi from JMRI.
Touch the loco to select it.
Previous locos are retained in a “Recent” list for convenience.
The loco is now selected and the window shows the loco number, directions with the current selection in green.
This throttle is a horizontal slider.
Both throttles have a few options in preferences.
Speed steps shown at top right.
The Plain language buttons are a feature and there is room for plenty of them .
I have only lightly covered the interface between JMRI and Wi throttles. Perhaps another blog post?? (if there is any interest)
Regards – Rick