The new Pi-SPROG DCC devices

Introduction

Pi-SPROG 3 is the a new low cost DCC programmer-controller that connects directly to a Raspberry Pi computer.

Pi-SPROG Full package is a complete DCC system built on a Raspberry Pi computer.

Using a Raspberry Pi 4 model B with built-in WiFi you can instantly run trains with wireless throttles, or program features of your roster of locos.
Control multiple trains using Apple iPhones/iPods with the WiThrottle app or Android phones with the Engine Driver app. Free versions of both apps are available from the respective app stores. Paid for version of the apps are also available with greater functionality.

Pi-SPROG 3

pi-sprog 3

Pi-SPROG 3 is new upgraded edition of our Raspberry Pi-compatible DCC controller and programmer. With with an integral 2.5 Amp track output, the Pi-SPROG 3 will drive a wide range of layouts, depending on the total current requirements of the loco fleet and accessories.
You can also connect further boosters such as our own SBOOST II. In this respect it is similar in operation to the SPROG II and SPROG 3 products that are part of the SPROG DCC range.

See the Pi-SPROG 3 User Guide for more details.

We supply Pi-SPROG 3 with a 15V 3A regulated power supply and all needed software and instructions for you to set up your Raspberry Pi.
This is intended for those users who already own a suitable Raspberry Pi and are happy to configure their own system.
Full instructions to create a suitable Linux image for your Pi model are provided, and we now also include a full image in microSD card.

Click here to order your Raspberry Pi DCC solution.

Pi-SPROG Full package

pi-sprog full

Our Pi-SPROG Full Package is a complete DCC system built on a Raspberry Pi computer. This package includes the Pi-SPROG 3 DCC interface with an integrated 2.5 Amp booster, Raspberry Pi 4B, 5v and 15v Power supplies and a pre-configured microSD card with the current Raspbian Buster system, JMRI DecoderPro and PanelPro and preset WiFi network.
This is a complete and fully configured and tested system that will work "out of the box" (actually, in the included 3D-printed custom box!) for those users who do not already have a Raspberry Pi or do not feel so confident in the setup process.

We supply our Pi-SPROG Full package with all that you need to get going!
Click here to order your Raspberry Pi DCC solution.

If you have an original Pi-SPROG One, we now have an upgrade available to the new Pi-SPROG 3 firmware that enables several new features, and is strongly recommended. Order online and then send us your Pi-SPROG for the upgrade.

Setting Up the Pi-SPROG and Raspberry Pi

Pi-SPROG-Full

As supplied, there is nothing more to do than plug in the power, connect your phone or tablet to the WiFi and select your loco(s) to run.

The default configuration starts up the Pi as a WiFi base station broadcasting its own WiFi network, launches PanelPro, starts the WiThrottle and advertises the service on the Wifi.
Connect to the WiFi, launch the throttle app for your type of device (phone, tablet, etc.) and select a loco, locos or trains to run.

If you want to use DecoderPro and set up or program DCC settings, then connect to the WiFi and launch a VNC virtual desktop to connect to the Pi. Close the default PanelPro session, and launch DecoderPpro from the desktop icon provided.
With the new Pi-SPROG 3, both Program and Command Station modes are accessible simultaneously, and so the only significant difference between PanelPro and DecoderPro is the initial set of windows shown.

See our "Using the Image" Guide with full details about using this image, or download a printable version (4 pages) too.

See the Pi-SPROG 3 User Guide for more details of the Pi-SPROG hardware, firmware and setup.


Power Supplies

The Pi-SPROG 3 requires a regulated DC power supply of 12 - 19V. A current capacity of at least 2.5 Amp is recommended.
Both our Pi-SPROG 3 and Pi-SPROG Full Packages include an appropriate 15V 3A regulated supply. Alternative supplies are also available - please Contact us to request bundling of other options, for example for a higher voltage unit.
Use of a lower capacity supply (e.g. for a low power dedicated programming setup) will require manual configuration of the Pi-SPROG 3's current limit.
A small amount of power is taken from the Raspberry Pi's internal 3.3V supply, through the GPIO connector. Using separate power supplies in this way guarantees that a problem with the DCC track power supply will not affect the normal operation of the Raspberry Pi.

In any case the standard Raspberry Pi power supply should be sufficient, depending on what other peripherals you have connected to your Raspberry Pi.

Software

The Pi-SPROG 3 and Pi-SPROG Full Packages are supported by the popular JMRI DecoderPro software for decoder programming and layout control.

We have created instructions for configuring the Raspberry Pi Operating system to support the Pi-SPROG 3, should you prefer to do this yourself:
Instructions to create Raspberry OS "Buster" Linux image for Raspberry Pi 4 model B configured as wireless access point.


Prepared Images

To help users in setting up their system we also supply pre-configured Raspberry OS (Raspbian) "Buster" images, including all of the software required, on micro SD Card. Thanks to Steve Todd for the base image that we are using, with some additional adjustments.
This image defaults to Command Station operation running JMRI PanelPro, and also includes DecoderPro set up to be used as Programming Track operation.
We offer the image in two versions, set up as a standalone WiFi accesspoint, or to connect to an existing club or home WiFi network.
Select the appropriate configuration of the microSD when ordering: - pi-sprog sd

Pi-SPROG-WiFi, preset to support WiThrottle or EngineDriver users via the built in Pi WiFi access point, but easy to switch to Program mode via VNC or a local display. This image can also be reconfigured to work on an existing home or club WiFi.

Home/Club WiFi, preset to support WiThrottle or EngineDriver users via an existing club or home WiFi, but easy to switch to Program mode via VNC or a local display. This image can also be reconfigured to act as as standalone WiFi access point.

See more details of the software below, and Click here to order your Raspberry Pi DCC software solution.

Example System Configurations

Buster package - Wireless DCC Command Station / Program Combination

Use the WiThrottle or EngineDriver App on your mobile 'phone or tablet to drive your trains.
Default is Operation mode with PanelPro and the Pi hosts a separate WiFi broadcast network,
or switch to programming by connecting your display and keyboard, or launching a VNC virtual desktop to connect to the Pi.
Close the default PanelPro session, and launch DecoderPro from the desktop icon provided.
This is the image now shipped with our Pi-SPROG Full package and Pi-SPROG 3 Package

What about a home or club existing network?

We also supply a preconfigured image that is set up to connect to an existing network, rather than broadcast a new separate network, as the example above does (our default image we ship). Select this option when ordering.

For more information about using these prepared software images, see our Guide.

Tell me more about the 3D-printed custom box

Standard boxes for the Raspberry Pi models allow addition of extension boards plugged in to the top, but don't enclose them effectively. So we decided to build our own custom box explicitly designed to fit the Raspberry Pi with the Pi-SPROG mounted onto it.
The standard package we supply includes the appropriate connector and four stand-offs to mount the Pi-SPROG at a good clearance above the Pi, and securely attached.
Our box custom fits this combination and secures it firmly, while providing plenty of ventilation for the normal operation.
Note that we designed the original box for the Pi 2B and 3B models, including 3B+ which we then supplied, and is still available.
We now also offer a new box for the Pi 4B model, and that is our included box and Raspberry Pi for the current Pi-SPROG Full Package.
We keep updating the box design to afford the most usable package for your layout controller, but please note that colours may vary - we most often make them in white.

Interested?

We have Pi-SPROG 3 units in stock now, supplied complete with power supply, software and instructions to set up and configure your existing Raspberry Pi.
Click here to order your Pi-SPROG 2.5A DCC programming and operations solution.
We also have our Full Package including a pre-configured Raspberry Pi 4B now available.

Contact us to register your interest in other options. Our product range continues to grow, and so please let us know what application you have in mind.

About Us

We are the BBM Group LLC, a family business specializing in solutions for model railroaders.
Model railroads come in many sizes, and we specialize in N Scale, with a track gauge of Nine millimetres.

Contact us for more information, and to share your ideas and needs.