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 Sprog - Dcc Kit Review

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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:11 pm

A while ago Clive_t did an article on Troys site about his Sprog Programmer so you may be aware of what it's all about. I had "fancied " one for quite a while but could not justify the expenditure, then I found that members of MERG could buy the kit at a reduced price. My mate had joined MERG at Warley that year so I asked him to get me one. A whole year later he finally got around to it, I collected it last week and ripped open the packaging expecting to see a few capacitors and resistors and stuff. Oh dear, we thought it had a lot of LEDS, they were in strips, I thought no problem - just solder at each end. Then it dawned on us - the whole kit consists of surface mounts - 'undreds of 'em,and tiny IC chips and in the words of the song " and they all look just the same". I said I would have gladly paid the extra £20 or so and got the thing ready made.

Anyway I am going to give it a go so keep an eye out for updates.
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Carl Hibbs
Admin


Location : Haute Normandie - visitors welcome

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:38 pm

Patrick...for me (I have forgotten) and a few others new on this forum.

What is a Sprog programmer please. Question
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clive_t



Location : Portsmouth, England

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:57 pm

I'm pretty sure it wasn't me guv.... I think Dave (dsteam) might have been the culprit?

_________________
Cheers,

Clive

Not-so-Fat Controller of the S&CGR

Also, blogging at: http://scgrbuild.blogspot.com/
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http://www.scampington-chipside.co.uk
pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:12 pm

In reverse order, oops - sorry Clive, you're probbly right about that.

What is a SPROG ? Briefly it's an interface that enables you to program CV's and read em on your decoders, using your PC or Mac or Linux machine and as Dsteam ? showed us you can actually use it to drive trains too. It is supposed to work with most makes of decoder and runs on good old JMRI software which is free to download and very user friendly. Dunno why it's called SPROG, visit the website here for more info.

Sprog Website

Another Review
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:22 pm

You at the back , yes you ! , stop interrupting !!

Where was I ??

First off I printed out the instructions – they ran to 11 pages of A4 but build the instructions start about halfway. It is recommended to read through them first and highlight certain points re extra careful bits. Also to check off the parts list against what you've got, something I haven't done – oops. I also printed of the schematic and PCB diagrams for reference, that was a good idea as they are in constant use.


[url=]Tools[/url]

I assembled a set of tools I thought would be useful, you will note lot's of magnifying equipment and several different types of tweezers. I am using my “trusty” 30w-130w pistol type soldering iron but may have to grind down the tip a smidgen, this together with multicore solder (NOT 22SWG as suggested, or paste – can't find any in the shops, actually can't find any shops either).


Ok , make a start, there are two options for doing the board, the first is for “experienced” folk and entails doing first one side of the board (the surface mount bits) then the other side. The second method follows a list of instructions and allows you to take test readings as you progress but is a bit more fiddly as you only solder one type of component at a time (the other method suggests you do all the capacitors, all the resistors etc. en masse). Sometime before you get too carried away you should decide whether you want a USB or Serial type interface – can't be both, as this affects what bits you use.



First step is the PCB power supply, comprising a socket module, a bridge rectifier and a large capacitor – you then feed it with 12 volts, I used a smallish lead acid battery for this. The voltage across the capacitor should be 12voltsish if you've done things right. Phewwwwww so far so good.




Next up we start with some surface mount stuff – to say they are small is understated , I can't see'em, I can't pick'em up – hell I can't get them out the packaging even. How am I gonna stickem on ??

[url=]Fingernail[/url]
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Carl Hibbs
Admin


Location : Haute Normandie - visitors welcome

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:27 pm

Bloody........ What a Face


Good luck....Bon Courage.
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:42 pm

Tomorrow is 6 weeks without a fag, I need these things to keep me occupied. Incidentally C6 went flying from the tweezers, I found it after crawling around the floor like a forensic person. Thats the 2nd bit to fly away, things ain't looking good at all.
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dtsteam



Location : Preston, England

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:13 pm

One sight of that kit and I wish I had never mentioned the damn thing.
I bought a finished unit to save time, but I would have expected the kit to include good
old fashioned components with legs on. Much credit to you, Patrick, for trying.

scratch when you work out how to solder the bits, do tell ! scratch
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:00 pm

I would like to say "I wish I had never bought this kit".

SO I WILL !! "I WISH I HAD NEVER BOUGHT THIS KIT" !!!!!!!!!

There that feels better. Progress is very slow and too boring to try to relate to you folks. I managed to stick a few bits on yesterday without too much trouble, just being very careful - I did get a short across two "legs" on the voltage regulator but used a bit of bare wire to "soak it up", annoying because somewhere is a roll of braid I bought a while back and have never used. Needless to say I can't find it.

I had ground the tip of my iron to a chisel point but found that the IC's would be a problem withh the tip being still much too large. I have ground it down to a fine point and now I can't solder a thing with it, I think I took of some sort of coating and the copper tip just oxidises and solder will not run proper.

Tonight I lost R17 from the tweezers which meant I had to go through two fruit dishes, a tray full of "will come in handy stuff" beside shifting everything on the dining room table oh so carefully and listening very hard. I said to Maria it spelled the end of the project as there was no spare for that value. It finally came to light sitting in a groove on the table, white side up so it looked like a crumb, if it had been brown side up I would not have been so lucky in finding it (table is brown too).

I need to find a finer iron, despite having several I can't find any of them - and I am not going to buy another one.

If I ever get this thing completed there is absolutely no guarantee it will work and it could fry my gizzards.

I should have been a stock broker - much less risky.
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:50 pm

Flogging components that are clearly for machine/computerised assembly and expecting humans to put them together is a complete load of bollards. I had fantastic eysight in my youth but couldnt put that together. If I was you Id send it back with a nice letter saying you want your money back!!
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:47 pm

Well, I have been at it again and AM NOT confident, armed with my new variable iron and thin solder I stuck some more bits on the board, this is becoming a bit of a challenge to finish. New iron/solder combination works better but was it worth the extra cost ? now I have 8 electric irons, got a bunch of old fashioned ones and a couple of gas ones too. I digress.

I have a possible problem, when running a test as per instructions I am sure there was some smoke from somewhere and I cannot get a voltage reading at the "dividing voltage point between R32 and R33" which should be 0.175 x input voltage and should not exceed 5 volts.

Oh and I cannot get pin 21 in chip U5 to ground when sw100 or Sw101 is closed, pin 5 does.

Oh and the Red LED comes on when I connect the battery. DO NOT BUY THIS KIT !!!

More Anon


Now where's me fags ?
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:10 pm

I salute your determination!

Smoke is not good though. pale
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:53 pm

Guess wot ?

It doesn't work - "locomotive not found" but at least the pc recognised the usb serial device and a light did flash when it tried to find the loco. AH Well what did you expect ?


I AM GONNA CRACK THIS YET !!!!!!! Sad
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:33 pm

You're doomed doomed, is this a sensible activity for a recent non smoker?
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mikeyh



Location : Dordogne France

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:00 pm

i have always thought that this hobby was relaxing and very therapeutic. Now I know different!!!!!!!!!

mikey
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:36 pm

GeoffW wrote:
You're doomed doomed, is this a sensible activity for a recent non smoker?

Most definitely not !!

8 weeks yesterday
bounce


Mikey_h wrote:
i have always thought that this hobby was relaxing and very therapeutic. Now I know different!!!!!!!!!

mikey

Actually I did find it relaxing - I think it may have been the flux fumes.
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:11 pm

Life has never been the same since they took the good fumes out of marker pens
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:11 pm

Life has never been the same since they took the good fumes out of marker pens
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:49 pm

Ok all you cynics out there, ha , those who had no faith, those that expected me to fail , HA !!!!

I think it is working

And still no fags
sunny
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Paul Stainz Holt



Location : North Wales

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:42 am

I bought one of these yesterday (not a kit I hasten to add).
Set it up early evening and tweaked the programming on a couple of locos.

Must say, it is good to program any loco decoder - most of the drop down list were names I had never heard of.

A good piece of kit.

I was able to fine tune the sounds from my green Rugen lok.
Tonight the two 2095 bobos will have the sounds adjusted. Very Happy

_________________
Excellent Austrian narrow gauge in North Wales.

Website http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
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http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:58 pm

And don't forget you can control locos from a computer, I think it was Dtsteam who did it but it was on Troys old forum. Maybe not. Since I built and tested mine it sat on the shelf, there is a user group forum on Yahoo if you have probs, I suppose you know all this anyway. One day I will attempt to do something with my QSI equipped RS3 which is v. loud.

Nice to see someone else "breaking the MTS/massoth" stranglehold.


167 (I think)

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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Paul Stainz Holt



Location : North Wales

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:22 pm

One of the reasons I bought the Sprog II was because my LGB MTS programmer has stopped functioning on my PC Evil or Very Mad

The other reason is that the LGB system is fine for LGB and some Massoth chips, but it can't programme high CV numbers, for example, on a Massoth XLS chip, the overall volume is controlled by CV 200 - MTS can't adjust that one Rolling Eyes

Anyway, like I said, the Sprog II will programme any chip.

I have a Zimo/Dietz sound equipped Stainz from Peyker Modellbahn in Austria - I shall see if the Sprog works okay with a combination of decoders with a "Suzi" interface.

_________________
Excellent Austrian narrow gauge in North Wales.

Website http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
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http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:53 pm

I read that it only has about a 1amp rating, some folk on the user group have trouble with high amp sound decoders on Large Scale, there is a get around using a booster I believe so don't panic .

Yahoo user group

Good scource of imfo

Andrew Crosland who actually designed the Sprog runs it and is a great scource too.

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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Paul Stainz Holt



Location : North Wales

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:44 am

Thanks for the link. Smile

I am still using MTS II for running trains on the layout.

A few of the guys in my area run their trains with Massoth or an MTS III with a Massoth handset.
The Massoth system is slightly better in a number of small ways than MTS, but not enough (in my opinion) to spend £1300 on a new control system.
I would rather spend that sort of cash on a new loco or three.

Unless I get a brainstorm Shocked , I will only use the Sprog to program decoders for now.

By the way, I got a Roco Maus DCC control system with an HOe set a couple of years ago - rated at 2.7 amps.
It runs my layout fine - provided no more than 5 motors are running. Its also switchable between 14 and 28 speed steps.

_________________
Excellent Austrian narrow gauge in North Wales.

Website http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
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http://linzgstadtbahn.webs.com/
pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: Sprog - Dcc Kit Review   Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:26 pm

Ah - now you're talking - the Roco system is very underated in my opinion. I have a multimaus and the maus 2 I think they are 3.75 and 3.25 amps respectively, The Multimaus is a great bit of kit you can even throw dcc controlled points. If you want to "try" DCC then its a brilliant set to get a taste. A person such as yourself with a couple or three Stainz could go DCC for a relatively small amount - even decoders can be got for less than £20. I tire of seeing these "whats a good system to start off - gotta be cheap etc etc" then at the end of it they say -"just got the latest whizz bang Massoth/MTS from Jeremy blah blah - a bargain blah blah blah - ordered 3 days hence, buy now pay next year arrived at the crack of dawn before I was a glint in my fathers eye. Oh and not to forget the discount.

Sorry Jeremy, if you read this I mean no malice - I have had excellent service from you myself. AND 1 order despatched before I had paid.

Do you mean you can run 5 Stainz or 5 HO at one time on 2.75

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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