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Topics - G8B4Life

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1
Forum Tips and Help / MOVED: grade crossing
« on: August 26, 2020, 07:05:28 AM »
This topic has been moved to RailPro Discussion & Help.

https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php?topic=1056.0

Reason: Moved topic to appropriate board.

2
RailPro User Guides / MOVED: Custom Holiday sounds
« on: August 14, 2020, 12:27:26 AM »
This topic has been moved to RailPro Discussion & Help.

https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php?topic=1052.0

Reason: Not a user guide but a question

3
How to: Installing and running RailPro in Linux with Wine

Previously I ran an experiment to see if I could get RailPro software to run on Linux. The post I made simply detailed what I did more as a running commentary than a how to and I didn't finish it up completely; once I got the software running I left it and moved on.

This how-to guide covers installing Wine and RailPro Assistant and HC Simulator on Ubuntu and Debian based distributions and getting them to run and making it easier to use than how I left things in my experiment post. Although Wine can be installed on Fedora (31 and 32), macOS (10.8 to 10.14), OpenSUSE, Slackware, FreeBSD and Android as well this guide does not cover those distributions. Full instructions for installing Wine in different Linux distributions can be found on the Wine webpage at winehq.org.  It is recommended you familiarise yourself with the instructions at WineHQ even though you are following this guide.

Depending on your terminals capability you may be able to copy and paste the commands into the terminal to save on typing them in. This guide makes the assumption that files that you download will be downloaded to your desktop. If you download the files to a different location you will need to substitute that location for the desktop in the commands.

Obligatory disclaimer

This guide was tested using Lubuntu (Ubuntu 18.04). It has not been tested under other versions of Ubuntu or Debian. If you are installing on Debian you may need to modify the commands entered into the terminal depending on your user permissions (you may be a root user in which case you may not need the sudo command).
. . .

Part 1: Installing Wine

There are two methods for this part, the slightly harder way and the slightly easier way.

The slightly easier way:

Use the install script generator at rptools.pdc.ca (still being written) and follow the instructions there for using the install script.

The slightly harder way:

Open a terminal window and type in the following commands in order.

If your distribution is 64 bit and you haven't previously done this enable 32 bit architecture in your distribution

Code: [Select]
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Download and add the repository key for Wine

For Ubuntu based distributions
Code: [Select]
wget -O - https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key | sudo apt-key add -

For Debian based distributions
Code: [Select]
wget -nc https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
sudo apt-key add winehq.key

Add the repository for Wine. You will need to choose the correct repository based on the version of Ubuntu or Debian you have or your distribution is based on. See WineHQ for further information.

For Ubuntu 20.04 based distributions
Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ focal main'

For Ubuntu 19.10 based distributions
Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ eaon main'

For Ubuntu 18.04 based distributions
Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ bionic main'

For Ubuntu 16.04 based distributions
Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ xenial main'

For Debian 10 based distributions
Code: [Select]
deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/ buster main

For Debian 9 based distributions
Code: [Select]
deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/ stretch main

If you are installing to Unbuntu 18.04 based or Debian 10 based distributions you need to add a repository to be able to install FAudio which Wine requires. Though you can install these manually if you are confident in your ability to do so by following the instructions linked on the WineHQ site most users will find it easier to let the system handle the installation.

If you want the system to handle the installation add the repository key

For Ubuntu based distributions
Code: [Select]
wget -O - https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Emulators:/Wine:/Debian/xUbuntu_18.04/Release.key | sudo apt-key add -

For Debian based distributions
Code: [Select]
wget -nc https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Emulators:/Wine:/Debian/Debian_10/Release.key
sudo apt-key add Release.key

And add the repository for FAudio

For Ubuntu based distributions
Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Emulators:/Wine:/Debian/xUbuntu_18.04/ ./'

For Debian based distributions
Code: [Select]
echo "deb https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Emulators:/Wine:/Debian/Debian_10 ./" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/faudio.list

Update the repository list

Code: [Select]
sudo apt update

And finally Install Wine. You will need to choose which version of Wine you wish to install. The choices are Wine Stable, Wine Development and Wine Staging. It is not recommended to use Wine Staging, this version receives the latest new features which are not fully tested which has the potential to cause regressions (break) Wine. Wine development receives more updates than Wine Stable and the updates have had more testing to not cause Wine to break but regressions are still common. Wine Stable receives the least updates and updates generally do not cause regressions due to the amount of time that is available to test features before being put into Wine Stable. This guide was tested using Wine Stable.

To Install Wine Stable
Code: [Select]
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

To Install Wine Development
Code: [Select]
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-devel

To Install Wine Staging
Code: [Select]
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-staging

If the install notifies you of missing dependencies answer yes to install them.
. . .
- Tim

4
RailPro Discussion & Help / Another idea, this time function mapping
« on: June 26, 2020, 01:00:47 PM »
Yes, another idea. I'm a lost cause I know  :(

While doing some work on my UI idea's I found myself staring at the HC screen for about 20 minutes as I was pondering what to change the Next Page button text on the Control Locomotive screen to because it's misleading, at least to me, to something not so vague in meaning when I had a thought.

RailPro is seriously falling behind the industry in the number of functions available with most DCC systems now allowing control of nearly 30 functions. Some have had this capability for a very long time now. RailPro can control only 16 functions.

So my idea was this. What if, if we had 32 functions (4 pages worth) available, we could as an option:
  • Split the 32 functions down the middle (2 pages each) and have each set of functions be relative to the direction of the locomotive, and,
  • Be able to map function buttons to other function buttons.
This setup could be beneficial for bi-directional locomotives. Take a GP-9 for example, you could quite easily be driving that either short hood leading or long hood leading down the line. With the idea you could set the function pages something like this:

Page 1 (FN 1 - 8 ) for the main driving functions, and has the lighting functions for going forward, ie
BTN 1: Front Light On
BTN 2: Front Light Dim
BTH 3: Dynamic
BTN 4: Notch up
BTN 5: Horn
BTN 6: Bell
BTN 7: Brake
BTN 8: Notch Down

Page 2 (FN 9 - 16) for other forward functions like ditch lights on/off if fitted and other sounds you might have.

Page 3 (FN 17 - 24) would be for driving in reverse and has the functions for doing that, ie
BTN 1: Rear Light On
BTN 2: Rear Light Dim
BTH 3: Dynamic - Mapped to Button 3 (FN3) on Page 1
BTN 4: Notch up - Mapped to Button 4 (FN4) on Page 1
BTN 5: Horn - Mapped to Button 5 (FN5) on Page 1
BTN 6: Bell - Mapped to Button 6 (FN6) on Page 1
BTN 7: Brake - Mapped to Button 7 (FN7) on Page 1
BTN 8: Notch Down - Mapped to Button 8 (FN8) on Page 1

Page 4 (FN 25 - 32) would be for other reverse functions, ie reverse ditch lights etc, sounds mapped to page 3 functions.

The premise of the idea anyway is that when you change direction the controller would go automatically to the first page of functions for that direction so you have the lighting functions for that direction available straight away and you wouldn't have to go page hopping so much, and being able to map function buttons to other function buttons would save having to set effects on buttons more than the initial time.

I get that for modern stuff this really isn't a thing for, I know your not going to be driving an SD70Ace or a dash 9 with the locomotive running long hood leading on a train but for older stuff where running a train either end leading was fair game, or locomotives with a full cab at either end like we have down here it could be a handy set up.

Well, that's the idea. Does anyone else see any value in it or am I just dreaming up solutions to non existent problems (remember, thinking of 4 pages of function buttons)?

- Tim

5
RailPro Discussion & Help / Revisiting UI and UX ...again!
« on: June 25, 2020, 09:58:39 AM »
With DigiTrax's release of their new throttle, apart from the interesting choice of shape (see the picture on the second page of this MRH thread if you don't get the shape right away:https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/39897) DigiTrax users just got a huge UI (User Interface) boost compared to what they previously had and that got me thinking, yet again, about what we have with our white and dark blue screen.

Personally I think the RP UI just doesn't look at good as it could, or should, for what RP is supposed to offer over other control systems. To me it's looking dated compared to what other systems that now offer a proper RGB screen (touch or not) have.

Many of you will remember my two and a bit year old thread on a less white UI: https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php/topic,630.0.html and the comments then were favourable to what I had put up. What's everyone thoughts these days? Are you happy enough with the current UI? You'd like a new UI? Can't see the point in my pursuit? Tim just stop wasting bandwidth?

I did a little refresh work on one of the UI idea's from my Less White UI thread. If people are interested I'll post them for comment. If enough people like the different ideas then we could probably take the ideas to RE.

- Tim

6
Part 1: Introduction, the install and first tests

Obligatory disclaimer

This is not a step by step how-to but rather a commentary of the experiments journey. I don't think I've missed anything in the steps taken that doesn't affect the outcome but I've not included any links etc as it's not supposed to be a step by step how to.
. . .
Ok, so why?

Given it seems the there will not be native versions of RailPro software for Linux and Mac anytime in the foreseeable future, and I had a lot of time on my hands due to the Covid-19 pandemic I decided to do some experimentation. I've done experimentation on running RailPro software on alternate operating systems before, both with Wine on Linux and ReactOS but these were failures; Wine had no support for HID devices and ReactOS is based on a version of Windows that RailPro software no longer runs on (I could possibly workaround for that but that's another day).

What started this round of experiments was finding out Wine had come a long way since those early days experiments and now had support for HID devices. I had to try it! For this experiment I ran a 32bit version of Lubuntu (based on Ubuntu 18.04) in a virtual machine (VM) on a old host with not much RAM. By far not the best setup but it's all I had to work with at the time.
. . .
The experiment begins...

After setting up Lubuntu in the VM and updating everything I started the journey. Visiting the download page for Wine at WineHQ, the first thing I had to do was to find out which version of Ubuntu my installation of LUbuntu was matched to so I could download the correct version on Wine.

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After a little bit of mucking around I found out the version and started the installation process.

In the Lubuntu terminal I downloaded and added the repository key for Wine.

Code: [Select]
wget -O - https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key | sudo apt-key add -

and then added the apt repository for the correct Ubuntu version for my copy of LUbuntu.

Code: [Select]
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ bionic main'

A note at the top of the installation page mentioned that the version of Wine I needed to use required some extra packages that they didn't include so I had to download them separately. Given the choice of two ways to do this I opted to add the repository to Apt the same way as for Wine.

After updating the packages in apt we can then install Wine. For this I chose the stable branch (there is also the development and staging branches, which for non techies basically means beta), also installing the recommend packages.

Code: [Select]
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

After this Wine should be ready to go. I had already downloaded the installers for RailPro Assistant and HC Simulator to the desktop. As they were automatically associated with Wine it was just a matter of double clicking the installers.

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Well not quite ready to go

When first run, Wine will update it's prefix (configuration). It's at this point some not so well written words made me do the opposite of what I should have done. Wine will look for a couple of packages (Gecko and Mono) and after not finding them ask if it should fetch and install them. According to the installation guide at the WineHQ website you should answer YES here. The way I read the wording in the messagebox made me select no. This resulted in me having to install them later after working out which versions of each I actually needed; another not straight forward exercise because it wasn't specified anywhere.Once the prefix is updated the installation will continue.

Click to enlarge
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Looking good. You can ignore the admin notice and just click YES, Windows administrator permissions don't matter here

Click to enlarge
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Installation Done!

Will it run? Yes it does, and is connected to the Internet too!.

Click to enlarge
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Ok, so it wasn't quite that simple. When I first ran it Railpro Assistant didn't connect to the internet. I had forgotten to change the network adapter type in the VM from NAT to Bridge. For some reason RailPro Assistant doesn't work in NAT mode. I spent more  minutes than I'd like to admit pondering why it wouldn't connect in Wine before I remembered about the network adapter in the VM So, with RailPro Assitant able to connect to the internet it was time to see if RailPro Assistant could see HC Simulator when it was running.

Click to enlarge
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Success!

Being quite pleased at this point it came to the first real test; can we download anything?

Click to enlarge
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Yes we can!

More success. Knowing how RailPro Assistant and HC Simulator communicate to each other this was a pretty big deal to see this work right off the bat running in Wine. So we had gotten Wine installed and confirmed that the software runs in Wine. We we're off to a good start. Next in Part 2; The CI-1, the HC-2b, and getting them working

- Tim

7
This topic has been moved to RailPro Discussion & Help.

https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php?topic=1029.0

Reason: RP product help request, not a using the forum help request.

8
General Discussion / A good flux for soldering?
« on: May 13, 2020, 09:01:58 AM »
So I've just re-affirmed how much I hate soldering  >:(. Ok, I sort of fib, I don't hate it (I don't actually altogether mind it) so much as I hate how difficult it can be when it just doesn't want to work well (which is often for me), and that's the subject of today's post.

What is a good solder flux for electronics work? Today I soldered some 32 AWG wire to the tiny little tabs of a couple of iPhone4 speakers and without applying any flux to the tabs it was just painful to get the solder to stick (the solder was rosin core but sometimes that's not enough). I have a tube of some Radio Shack brand flux (about 30 years old!) that used to work very well and possibly still does but it's a thick sticky honey like consistency flux so not really a good choice these days. I'm thinking something water like consistency that can be applied with a small brush, or needle squeeze bottle.

- Tim

9
RailPro Discussion & Help / MOVED: HO track code 83 or 100?
« on: May 06, 2020, 02:19:37 AM »
This topic has been moved to General Discussion.

Reason: General discussion topic, not RailPro specific

https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php?topic=1014.0

10
This topic has been moved to General Discussion.

Reason: General discussion topic, not RailPro specific

https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php?topic=1013.0

11
General Discussion / 21 pin solder pad breakout board
« on: May 02, 2020, 10:40:08 AM »
While looking around for ways to avoid hardwiring my latest purchase (thanks for the mass of same colour wires Athearn!) I found what I was looking for, a proper 21 pin solder pad breakout board. I haven't bought any at the moment as the board is too long for the space available to me; and I've not used AliExpress before and I'm a bit loath to try them, so I'm putting them out there to the group incase anyone else sees a use for their installs:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32885829171.html?src=bing&albslr=230308992&isdl=y

The board length isn't given but it appears to be about 5 time the width of the plug itself so the approximate length of the board could be worked out from the NMRA DCC standard.

I know TCS and SoundTraxx sell something similar, but they are only 9 + 2 (speaker) solder pads and they are not well priced for what they are.

- Tim

12
General Discussion / How is everyone doing?
« on: March 20, 2020, 11:01:35 AM »
We don't have a members lounge area so I'll just have to put this in general discussion.

It's rambling time...

How is everyone doing (genuine concern)? I hope your all coping well with whatever measures you are having to take to keep yourselves safe at this time. I am starting to go stir crazy.

I won't regale you with how things got this bad (if you read between the lines you should figure out what's happened) but I'm now stuck at home with nowhere to go, due to the exchange rate wasting my currency nothing to buy to do an RP project that I'd like to do because everything's too expensive now; and no money coming in to pay for anything anyway.

Any other project that I could do either requires parts (money I shouldn't spend since I'm not making any), is not stimulating,  or is of any use to do so. I'm starting to not know what to do with myself.

I sincerely hope that your all doing well and that none of you find yourselves in the same situation that I'm now in due to that damn virus.

- Tim

13
General Discussion / MOVED: Proto 2000 GP7
« on: March 19, 2020, 09:30:40 AM »

14
RailPro Discussion & Help / CGNAT issue finally fixed
« on: February 24, 2020, 06:23:47 AM »
Well this is an interesting discovery. After a year of finally coming to terms with there was a problem and knowing what it was but no fix made Ring has finally fixed his server so that CGNAT is no longer an issue; within a few days of the proxy workaround having gone live. The "coincidence" of the timing is just... amazing  ::)

Anyway, everybody and anybody should now be able to connect to RE's file server with RailPro Assistant no matter what internet connection they have.

Anyone who had a copy of RPA installed from back when we had the offline installer here you will need to download and install the latest copy of RPA first.

- Tim

15
RailPro User Guides / Using Gimp to resize Sortains GIF images for RailPro
« on: February 19, 2020, 07:17:03 AM »
Sortains (backlink: https://rpug.pdc.ca/index.php/topic,955.0.html) provides a nice range of images for use in a screensaver program. These images are almost the perfect size for using with RailPro. While they are no substitute for an image of your own model they fill in well until you can get a photo of your own model; or for if your can't get a photo of your own model.

The images provided by Sortrains are in GIF format, which need converting to use in RailPro. While it may be possible to use MS Paint to do the conversion Gimp is a much better tool to use for this image format.

Please respect Sortains copyright for the images and use them only for your own use.

1. Open the image you wish to use in Gimp. You'll see the the image has a checkered background. This is a transparency and we'll deal with it later so do not try to colour in the background.

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2. The first thing you'll need to do is convert the image to RGB colour mode. Do this by selecting Image from the menu bar and then selecting Mode and then RGB.

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3.  With the colour mode corrected now resize the canvas. Images for use in RailPro need to be 480 pixels wide by 180 pixels high. Select Image from the menu bar again and then select Canvas Size. Do not select Scale Image.

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4. Adjust the canvas size as per the image below.
  • First set the canvas size (if the little chain next to the width and height boxes are "linked" together you'll need to unlink them by double clicking on it).
  • Then center the image in the new canvas size.
  • Set the Resize Layers to All Layers.
  • Finally, click the Resize button.

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5. You should now have an image 480 pixels wide by 180 pixels tall.

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Important Note. When you export the image from Gimp to the BMP format, the transparent background will be transformed to the background colour on the toolbox. Make sure the background colour is white. In the image below of a crop of the Toolbox the purple and white squares show the foreground and background colours respectively. Change the background colour by clicking on it if needed.

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6. Now you can export the image. Select File from the menu bar and then click Export.

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7. Select the folder where you'd like to save the image and give it a Name, making sure it ends in .bmp, then click the Export button.

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8. You'll be shown the export options for the bmp file format. Make sure "Do not write colour space imformation" is ticked and that 24 bits is selected as in the image below. You can then click the Export button.

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You'll have now converted the GIF image to the required size and format for loading into RailPro Assistant.

- Tim



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