Hardware Support: Connecting an MS100 to LocoNet®
The MS100 from Digitrax allows you to connect many types of computers to a LocoNet®.
Unfortunately, the MS100 is a somewhat old design, and doesn't provide a reliable connection to the LocoNet.
- Your computer may not be able to connect through the MS100.
- Even if it the MS100 makes a connection, you are likely to encounter hard-to-diagnose intermittent errors.
- Even if you get the MS100 to work once, it may permanently fail due to an update to the computer operating system.
- If you have problems with an MS100, there may not be anybody who can help you with them.
We strongly recommend that new setups not use the MS100, and existing users plan on converting to a better solution before it becomes unavoidable.
The LocoBuffer USB and the Digitrax PR3 are currently the most reliable ways to connect a computer to a LocoNet. The LocoBuffer-USB is produced by Dick Bronson's RR-CirKits company, based in part on the original LocoBuffer design.
In MS100 mode, the program attempts to open the port at 16600 baud, the LocoNet rate. If this fails, it attempts to open the port at 16457 baud, which is a standard rate that's close enough to work. If this also fails, the won't be able to talk to the LocoNet through the MS100.
Because neither of these rates are available, the MS100 can't be used with Mac OS X, Windows 7 or most Windows Vista machines.
Because we can't be sure your computer will be able to talk to a MS100 without trying it, you should test this before spending money on the MS100. To do that:
- Start the program.
- Set the preferences for MS100 and your serial port. You don't need to have anything connected, but do select the port you will eventually be using.
- Save the preferences.
- Quit the program and restart it so that the preferences take effect.
If you get a dialog box saying "Could not set baud rate...", then you won't be able to use your computer with a MS100. You should use a LocoBuffer.
Linux hack to set the baud rateSome users have reported success using Linux commands to directly set the baud rate while the program is running. To do this:
- Start DecoderPro, and wait until you see the error message that the baud rate could not be set.
- Run the following commands from the Linux command line:
setserial /dev/ttyS0 divisor 7 setserial /dev/ttyS0 spd_cust stty speed 38400 < /dev/ttyS0
- Then click on "OK" and continue on.
LocoNet® is a registered trademark of Digitrax, Inc.