JMRI: DecoderPro User Guide
Reading the contents of a decoder generally takes a long time, and with some command
stations it's not even possible. The JMRI Roster stores the known values of decoder
configuration values to make it unnecessary to read them from the decoder. It can contain
"Roster entries" for an unlimited number of individual locomotives.
Each Roster entry has an "identifier" (Roster ID) by which it's known. This is your name
it. When the program wants you to select a Roster entry, it will ask you to pick from a
selection box or menu containing Roster entry IDs. You can use anything you want for this:
Road number, type, even "That crummy old model I need to repaint" or "My beautiful Shay".
You can edit the contents of a Roster entry with the programmer panes.
When you first open a JMRI programmer, you'll see a "Create New Loco" pane.
It allows you to edit the following items:
- Roster ID
Your name for the new locomotive, see above. You can change an entry's ID later, in
which case it will appear in new selection boxes, etc. with the new ID name.
- DCC Address
- This is either a Short or Long Address, based on how the decoder is configured.
- To Read the information from a decoder with this address,
Write changes to that decoder or only Save this entry to
Click the "Open Comprehensive Programmer" button at lower right to display a row of tabbed
panes with additional properties:
- Roster Entry
- Road Name
- Road Number
Use these fields for whatever you want.
- Decoder Family
- Decoder Model
These two fields are filled in based on the decoder that was selected when the entry
was created. They can't be edited after that.
- Decoder Comment
You can put anything you want here. Some people have used it to record whether an NMRA
plug was used, whether the decoder was soldered in, etc.
With additional information about your Locomotive etc.
- Motor, Basic Speed Control, and many other tabs:
The JMRI application main windows and the DecoderPro windows have 3 menus that allow working
with the application, in addition to the buttons around the Roster table: File, Settings and
Roster. The latter is also available in PanelPro, and allows you to open the Roster by picking
the first item.
- Create Entry ...
- "Create" is used to create a new Roster entry, even if you don't currently have a
connection to a layout. When you select this, you're given a window in which to select a
decoder type. Pick the right decoder type, the format you want, and click "Open". You'll
see a DecoderPro-style window for changing the contents of the new entry. Don't forget to
click "Save to Roster" when you're done! The "New Loco" button is an alternative.
- Edit Entry ...
- "Edit" is used to update the contents of a Roster entry, even when you don't have a
layout connection (normally, if you do have a layout connection, you'll use the DecoderPro
programming functions). First select an entry in the Roster table. You'll get a
DecoderPro-style window for viewing and changing the contents of the entry. Don't forget to
click "Save to Roster" when you're done! The "Program" button works as an alternative.
- Copy Entry ...
- "Copy" is used to create another Roster entry that's identical to the original except
for its ID. If you have a standard setup you'd like to use for new locomotives, you can
create a Roster entry with all the right values filled in, and then copy it every time you
want to program a new locomotive. A right click on a roster entry is an alternative.
- Import Entry...
The combination of "Export" then "Import" allows you to bring a locomotives Roster entry
when you move to another layout, with its own DecoderPro installation.
When you select "Import...", you'll be asked to locate an XML file to import. It
should have been created by an "Export" command. You'll also be asked for the ID of the
new Roster entry to be created. This can be the same as it was before it was exported, or
you can give it a new ID.
- Export Entry ...
Although it is possible to find the XML files defining Roster entries in the preferences
directory, it's better not to mess with them directly. The "Export" command will create a
new file representing a Roster entry, including all comments, CV values, etc. You
can then take that to another copy of DecoderPro and import it into that Roster. Export
does not change your current Roster in any way, it just makes a copy for you of a
When you select "Export...", you'll be prompted to select a new filename. You can call it
anything you want, but it's best to put a ".xml" extension on the name.
- Delete Entry ...
This completely removes a Roster entry. You're asked once if you're sure and a backup is
made, in case of mistakes. A right click on a roster entry to see an alternative method.
- Print Summary...
Prints a summary of the entire Roster, showing the primary information for each
entry as a separate text block.
For a more detailed listing of a specific decoder, see the "File" menu on the
- Print List...
Prints a summary of the entire Roster, presenting the primary information for each
entry in a very compact, paper saving table format.
- Print Preview Summary...
Shows the contents of the summary on your screen, so you can preview it before printing.
- Print Preview List...
Shows the contents of the list on your screen, so you can preview it before printing.
- Roster Groups
A more advanced feature to categorize and
group roster entries into sets,
so that you can work on a subset.