miniThrottle: A model railroad WiFi throttle.
It is a pre-configured and pre-compiled version of miniThrottle set to operate as a DCC-Ex relay. There isn't a precompiled version of miniThrottle as a throttle only at this stage. Calling it prebuilt is a bit of a misnomer as it is not a ready-to-run option. It is a pre compiled image. You still need to source your own hardware and assemble it yourself. But the firmware is ready to install, and assembly follows a recipe. As such it can be installed on a specific hardware configuation, which then allows:
The local throttle controls are optional, but may be useful in situations where you are attempting to run DCC with a minimum of additional "stuff". Where the additional "stuff" may include addional physical boxes and wired interconnects or simply installing a mobile phone app.
Note: This pre-compiled version is not suitable for a stand-alone / hand-held WiFi throttle. However it may work as either a relay and/or a tethered throttle.
While it is possible to connect the module directly to DCC-Ex, this is not recommended. Mounting the module on an Arduino prototyping board, requires slightly more effort and allows the module to be stacked on DCC-Ex.
If you wish to run on an alternative hardware selection or with different options then you may still compile from source code.
The example on right shows a precompiled miniThrottle unit incorporating a 5V buck converter which allows the miniThrottle and DCC-Ex to be driven by the same 12 or 15 volt power supply as the trains. This is built on a prototyping-hat that can be seated on top of your DCC-Ex modules.
As a precompiled version, no compiler / Arduino-IDE is required. Some downloads are required as indicated below. And the Esp32 module is connected via a USB cable in order to flash the precompiled image to it.
By downloading from this site you accept the conditions of use.
|File Name||Save At||Function|
|miniThrottle_bin/0xe000_ota_data.bin||0xe000||Over The Air (OTA) update data|
|miniThrotPreBuild.zip||Relay with local controls||Display, Keypad, Potentiometer|
Up to 8 relay clients
programming track accessible though local controls
|miniThrotPreBuildNoCtrl.zip||Relay with local display and no controls||Display only|
Display shows status info
Up to 8 relay clients
|miniThrotPreBuildNoDisp.zip||Relay with no local interface||No local interface|
Up to 8 relay clients
May work with many Esp32 modules but only expected to work for the unit as shown here
The module used can found by searching Google (or other search engines) using the term "esp32 oled", and purchased from AliExpress, Ebay, Amazon etc.
|Left Hand Side|
|36 / SVP||10k - 20k potentiometer centre / slider, pot pin 2 (any linear potentioneter in this range should be OK.)|
|25, 26||4 x 4 keypad, membrane type recommended, same keypad as pins 0, 2, 14, 12, 13 and 15.|
|S1, CM, SO, CL||no connection - used to access internal memory|
|3V||potentiometer high / fast side / pot pin 3|
|GND||potentiometer low / slow side / pot pin 1|
|Right Hand Side|
|SVN, 39||RX connect to DCC-Ex TX pin (via 5K resistor to DCC-Ex and 10K resistor to GND)|
|16||TX connect to DCC-Ex RX pin|
|5, 4||no connection - used by I2C connection of display|
|0, 2, 14, 12, 13, 15||4 x 4 keypad, membrane type recommended, same keypad as pins 25 and 26.|
|RX, TX||no connection - same console connection as USB serial|
|GND||Connect DCC-Ex GND, common ground|
|5V||5v supply from DCC-Ex|
Note: If using this as WiFi relay only (ie no local controls) then the potentiometer and keypad connections are left disconnected. In this case you don't need a module with a display, as long as pins SVN (39) and 16 are available to connect to the DCC-Ex module.
In the config.h file of CommandStation-EX, you may want to check the following and reflash the CommandStation-EX module:
#define ENABLE_WIFI false
//#define SERIAL1_COMMANDS #define SERIAL2_COMMANDS #define SERIAL3_COMMANDS
Time to customise the unit!
You can configure the unit either via web page or connecting to the serial port. The serial port parameters are 115200 (speed), 8bits, no parity, 1 stop bit and no flow control. On a PC you need a terminal emulation such as Putty or TeraTerm-Pro and a USB cable attached to the miniThrottle device. It is assumed that for most users the web page will be the best option. However, the serial port option can still be useful if you have forgotten the admin password.
On the first start the unit should run an unsecured access point called "dccStation". No password is required. Connect to this access point and use your web browser to go to http://192.168.4.1. To access anything other than the status page you will need an admin password. This is initally a user of "admin" and a password of "mysecret", neither of which contain either quotes or capital letters. Now work through the various options to customise your miniThrottle device. See the web interface configuration page to review details, but here are some general comments.
There are 2 modes of keypad operation: menu mode and driving mode. Driving mode is used when contolling a locomotive.
The numeric keys can be thought of as acting as a directional control / arrow keyad, except when entering numbers such as a loco address. In this mode:
|2, A||Go up one option|
|8, B||Go down one option|
|4, C||Go to previous menu, or if at top menu refresh display|
|6, D||Go into selected option|
|5, #||Go into selected option|
Note potentiometer is ignored in menu mode.
|0 - 9||Functions 0 - 9|
|*||Engage/Disengage potentiometer (allows keypad-only control)|
|#||Locomotive menu, when speed is zero|
In standard driving mode the extremes of the potentiometer represent stop and full speed. In bidirectional mode the potentiometer center position represents stop, while the extremes represent full speed in either forward or reverse.
Changing direction of a moving train will stop it.
The locomotives selection option is not expected to display if there is no track power. If it does not appear after applying power, you may need to refresh the menu using the back button, either 4 or C.
When removing locomotives in an in-throttle consist, you can only remove the lead loco if it is the last locomotive in the consist.
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