Archive for August, 2017

If you’ve got an old Model B hanging around and you don’t have a use for it, Ivanx has made a distro which turn’s it into an Apple II or Apple IIGS.

RasppleII download  (warning large zip file, use Free Download Manager)



JMRI start


The following link gives instructions on how to install JMRI on your Raspberry Pi automatically:

Tested on Wheezy ( the version of Raspian issued with the original model B) with Sprog II, works. Tested on Jessie works.

Detailed explanation for setting up R-Pi for VNC

The later version of Raspian, Jessie, issued with later versions of the Raspberry Pi can also be used on the original model B.  Jessie has a number of improvements which make JMRI easier to use on a Raspberry Pi.

A most useful improvement is the inclusion of VNC server which allows the Raspberry Pi’s desktop to be viewed on another computer.

How to install and use VNC is here

To access your Raspberry Pi from your Windows machine, you  need to download and install Putty.

Start a Putty session, select ‘SSH’ enter the IP address of your Pi eg:

VNC allows you can use the Raspberry Pi in ‘headless’ mode which means ‘without the Desktop being displayed even if a monitor is connected to the Raspberry Pi’.

Using the R-Pi without a Desktop improves performance slightly and is a good idea when you are using JMRI to control a layout. However, the good thing about VNC is that it allows the Raspberry Pi desktop to be displayed on another device, even if the R-Pi is not displaying the Desktop itself.

Instructions on how to do this are given at the Raspberry Pi website given above, but I will repeat them here. What you have to do (assuming your are running Jessie) is boot up the Raspberry Pi, and either with a monitor connected, or via VNC you have to go to the Raspberry in the top left of the screen, go down to ‘System Preferences’, and choose ‘Raspberry Pi Configuration’. Where it says ‘Boot’ change the option from ‘boot To Desktop’ to boot ‘To CLI’.  Restart the R-Pi to make the change take effect.

(If you’ve forgotten the procedure under Wheezy is  raspi-config from the command line. You may need to go back to Wheezy if you can’t get JMRI to work with SprogII under Jessie)

If you access the R-Pi via VNC from your Windows machine after the reboot, you will get a small black window, but do not imagine something terrible has happened – all you have to do is activate the virtual desktop on the R-Pi by command line. It tells you how to do this on the R-Pi website, but I will repeat it here

To create and connect to a virtual desktop:

  • On your Raspberry Pi (using Terminal or via SSH), run vncserver.

(You just have to type vncserver into the terminal)

  • Make note of the IP address/display number that VNC Server will print to your Terminal (e.g.
  • On the device you’ll use to take control, enter this information into VNC Viewer.

To destroy a virtual desktop, run the following command:

vncserver -kill :<display-number>

This will also stop any existing connections to this virtual desktop.

You can proceed with the next part of the project which is to install JMRI.

Open a terminal either on the Pi itself or via SHH from another machine.

sudo apt-get install git
git clone
cd JMR-Pi
sudo ./

If this doesn’t work, try again later. Sometimes GitHub gets very busy.

On your Android device, go to the Play Store and install Engine Driver for JMRI. In JMRI, under ‘Actions’ find ‘StartWifi server. Your Android device running Engine Driver can connect automatically without your having to enter an IP address.











The Hornby R8245 Sapphire Decoder has a facility to create an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) train which will run to and fro automatically without the need for any switches or sensors on the track.

R8245 is for DCC (Digital Command Control) users only.

Programming the auto-control cycle on the Hornby R8245
Sapphire Decoder

The FIRST thing you need to know is that CV 140 turns the Auto control Cycle ON or OFF.

The SECOND thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140.

The only value you need to remember is 12. Think of the 12 Days of Christmas!

The THIRD thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140 to
turn off auto control.

This is easy to remember:  It is a zero, zadda, zilch, nothing.

Now you have understood those basic things – writing 12 to CV 140 turns on auto control and writing a zero turns it off.

You can now enter the values needed for duration and speed..

In this example we are going to prorgramme an auto control cycle which
will make the train run for 30 seconds in one direction and then run back for 30 seconds at the same speed.

To wait initially for 5 seconds, write 5 to CV123
To travel forward for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV127
To set a speed of 20, write 20 to CV124

Now, having programmed the outward journey, you must
programme the return trip!
To wait at the station for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV131
To set reverse speed of 20, write 20 plus 128, (which makes 148) to CV132

To set a duration of 30 seconds for the return trip,
write the value 30 to CV135

And finally, to wait 5 seconds at your first station, write 5 to

That’s it!

The auto control cycle is now programmed. You can now
write 12 to CV 140 to the decoder to get the train going
by itself.

Things to remember!
Only set a slow speed and a short duration initially – once
the loco is under auto control, your DCC command station
cannot control it until a zero is written to CV 140.

An easy way to programme the Sapphire decoder is to use
Decoder Pro which is a part of JMRI

However you can programme the Sapphire decoder with
any DCC system.



If you are using Dynamis, move the joystick left or right to
find the loco with the Sapphire Decoder

On Dynamis, having selected your loco, press the fourth button, it will
say ‘Edit Name’Move the joystick until it says ‘PROGRAM. Press the 4th
button again. It will say WRITE ADDR ON MAINTRACK. Move the joystick