The new Pi-SPROG DCC devices

Introduction

Pi-SPROG 3 Series PiSPROG 3v2           New! DCC Programmers and Controllers for Raspberry Pi.

Build a complete system for setting up and running any DCC locomotives.
The Pi-SPROG 3 is a low cost DCC programmer-controller that connects directly to a Raspberry Pi low-cost computer, plugging directly onto the GPIO pins.
Mounted directly on a Raspberry Pi computer, the Pi-SPROG models offer all the capabilities to run a DCC layout, and/or Program DCC decoders.
We have single output and now also dual-output Pi-SPROG devices available.
Using a Raspberry Pi model 3B+ or 4B including WiFi you can easily build a fully featured DCC system with wireless throttles using Apple iPhones/iPods running the WiThrottle app or Android phones using the Engine Driver app. Or buy the complete preconfigured system here!

With essentially the same capabilities as the SPROG 3, the Pi-SPROG 3 is new hardware that can provide full programming functionality, and also 2.5A (per output) to run your layout.

We offer the Pi-SPROG 3 v2 or Pi-SPROG 3 Plus board, with supply and software ready to run on uSD card, or the complete Pi-SPROG Full Packages including a Raspberry Pi4B, and complementary 3d-printed box.

Pi-SPROG 3 Plus

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

PiSPROG 3plus

With dual outputs, the Pi-SPROG 3 Plus is the first of the SPROG family to offer this feature.
Available as a plug-in board for your Pi, or as our complete ready to run package including a Raspberry Pi 4B.

  • Dual 2.5A DCC track outputs
  • Selectable Programming Track
  • Selectable dual "main" outputs
  • Selectable auto-reverse

We supply Pi-SPROG 3 Plus with a 12V or 15V 5A regulated power supply and all 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 ready to run image in microSD card.

Click here to order your Raspberry Pi Dual-output DCC solution.

Pi-SPROG Plus Full package is a complete dual-output DCC system built on a Raspberry Pi computer, and includes a Pi4B 2GB.

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 v2

pi-sprog 3v2

Pi-SPROG 3 v2 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 v2 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.

The Pi-SPROG 3 v2 is a member of the 5th generation of SPROG products, and is a part of the new "Plus" hardware family. See the SPROG 3 Plus User Guide for more details.

We supply Pi-SPROG 3 v2 with a 15V 3A regulated power supply and all 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 ready to run image in microSD card.

Click here to order your Raspberry Pi DCC solution.

Pi-SPROG Full package

pi-sprog full

Our Pi-SPROG Full Packages are a complete DCC system built on a Raspberry Pi computer. This package includes the either the Pi-SPROG 3 v2 (single output) or Pi-SPROG 3 Plus (dual output) DCC interface, Raspberry Pi 4B 2GB, 5v 3A and suitable track power supplies and a pre-configured microSD card with the current Raspberry OS 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 packages with all that you need to get going!
Click here to order your Raspberry Pi DCC solution.

Supply Chain Challenges: We are seeing very long lead times for electronic components in the aftermath of the pandemic impact on the workforce, and so we may have very limited availability of the Raspberry Pi needed for this option.
We will note any "out of stock" status on our 'Buy Now' ordering page.


Upgrades

Note: If you have an original Pi-SPROG One, we now have an upgrade available to the newer Pi-SPROG 3 firmware that enables several new features, and is strongly recommended. Order online and then send us your Pi-SPROG One for the upgrade.
The Pi-SPROG 3 and Pi-SPROG 3 v2 offer essentially identical features and behavior, and so there is no need (or possibility) to "upgrade" between these two different hardware implementations

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, (printable version (4 pages)).

See the relevant section in the SPROG 3 Plus User Guide for more details of the Pi-SPROG 3v2 and 3Plus hardware, firmware and setup.

Power Supplies

The Pi-SPROG 3 v2 requires a regulated DC power supply of 12 - 25V. A current capacity of at least 2.5 Amp is recommended.
Both the Pi-SPROG 3 v2 and Pi-SPROG Full Packages include an appropriate 12/15/18V 3A regulated supply (select upon ordering).

The Pi-SPROG 3 Plus requires a regulated DC power supply of 12 - 25V. A current capacity of at least 2.5 Amp per output is recommended.
Both the Pi-SPROG 3 Plus and Pi-SPROG Plus Full Packages include an appropriate 12/15V 5A regulated supply (select upon ordering). Note we do not currently offer any higher voltage supplies as the total power exceeds the specification for the power connector.

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, which must be set less than the power supply capacity.
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 v2 and Pi-SPROG Full Packages are supported by the popular JMRI DecoderPro software (v 4.24 or later) for decoder programming and layout control.

We have created instructions for configuring the Raspberry Pi Operating system to support the Pi-SPROG models, 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.
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.

Wireless DCC Command Station / Program Combination

Use the WiThrottle or EngineDriver App on your mobile 'phone or tablet to drive your trains.
Default is running PanelPro as Operation mode where the Pi hosts a separate WiFi broadcast network, and you can selevt and run trains immediately.
Or switch to programming mode by connecting your HDMI display and keyboard, or through launching a VNC virtual desktop to connect to the Pi.
Close the default PanelPro session, and launch DecoderPro from the desktop icon provided. In this mode you card read and program any DCC decoders.
This is the Pi WiFi image now shipped with our Pi-SPROG 3 Packages. Similar features are in the Home/Club version too.

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

Tell me more about the 3D-printed custom box

Pi-SPROG-Box

Standard commercial 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 normal operation.
Note that there are now four custom box models. We designed the original box for the Pi-SPROG One and Pi 2B and 3B models, including 3B+ which we then supplied, and is still available (Box3).
We also offer a box for the Pi-SPROG One or 3 with Pi 4B model (Box4), and now new versions (Box4v2 and Box4p) that are the included boxes for the current Pi-SPROG 3v2 or Plus Full Package.
We keep updating the box design to offer the most usable package for your layout controller, but please note that colours may vary - we often make them in beige, gold and white as well as brown!

We have Pi-SPROG 3 v2 and Plus units in stock now, supplied complete with power supply, software on microSD card, and also instructions to set up and configure your existing Raspberry Pi.
Click here to order your Pi-SPROG DCC programming and operations solution.
We also have the "Full" Packages including a pre-configured Raspberry Pi 4B 2GB 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.