Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Slice of Pi

Today being a public holiday in Brisbane, I took off early from home and headed out to the club to play trains. Well, actually, to play with some Pi.

I took down my carton of Raspberry Pi components and NCE bits and such, to setup a small test track for a bit of a show and tell for a couple of blokes who are also now going to play with their own Raspberry Pi's. So once at the club, I dragged over a table and sprawled all my parts across it - it was still very crowded! But I was able to quickly cable it all up, go get a couple of cups of strong coffee, and get the Raspberry Pi up and running with my Raspberry Pi model B+, Powered USB Hub and such. I of course already had it set for Faceless mode and once turned on we were all able to hook our phones into the Pi and drive my N scale California Zephyr loco 9910 up and down the length of test track.

So next step was to burn a copy of the Micro SD Card for one of the fellas, let's call him Bob shall we, to take home and play. I had also collected together some other files for Bob such as the Noobs 1.3.9 download, VNC, PUTTY and such. It'll save him a few minutes here and there looking for those files on the net.

So we then plugged his R-Pi with this new Micro SD card installed in it, into all my kit and fired it up. It of course worked fine and loco 9910 went up and down the track again. OK, so now we connected a monitor into the Pi so we could do some editing. Reason why - because Bob had an old Wireless Router kicking around and wanted to see if we could get it to be our Access Point. I had all these thoughts of needing to go find some drivers for this gadget and editing files and such. But of course we had it all plugged together and whilst I got ready to edit some files, Bob was able to just hook into the whole thing from his iPhone and drive 9910 up and down the track!  No edits or anything required!!

So another cuppa and a think. Yes of course...  The Wireless Router was a pretty much standard unit (TP-LINK 54Mbps Wireless Router, Model No: TL-WR340G v 4) and connected to the R-Pi with an ethernet cable.  The Pi wasn't required to drive a USB wireless dongle and also act as a DHCP and DNS server etc. By default the Wireless Router does all of that. It had previously been setup to act as the Access Point for a windows based laptop. The IP Address, and DHCP was already setup on the device itself.

So the TP-LINK wireless router gave the Pi an IP Address and the JMRI was able to talk out via this device. Funny enough, no changes were made in the Pi at all. When we looked at it again and rebooted, we were able to see a few errors during boot-up that could be attributed to the USB Wireless dongle being missing, but that was it. So that was an easy config! So Bob was happy and sent home with a working JMRI and Raspberry Pi setup.

So a pile of gas bagging with the fellas at the club and some lunch and more talking and such, then it was time to head home, crack a beer and sit outside and read the local rags and some online news. Another beer, some YouTube videos on model trains, a snack and then it was time to go inside, turn on the boob-tube have a ½hr snooze ready in time for the news at 5.

Next time I'll need to figure out how to setup the Raspberry Pi with our 5 amp NCE system at the club (Powerhouse Pro 5) via a serial cable - see you then.