User Guide

More advanced information

DecoderPro Symbolic Programmer

Modern DCC decoders are complicated beasts to program. The simple idea of "put the address in CV01" doesn't cope well when you program complicated functions using combinations of bit patterns. A friendlier interface is needed. There are programs that provide better ways of programming specific decoders. Unfortunately, they are limited to specific types of computers, and only their authors can customize them for new types of decoders.

The DecoderPro symbolic programmer is meant to improve this. It is configured using text files, so that it can be adapted to additional decoder types easily. It talks to the decoders using the JMRI programming interface, so that it can run on any computer and layout hardware that JMRI has been ported to. It's freely available for download. And since the code is available via open source, if you want to improve on it you can.

Quick Introduction to Using DecoderPro

The Quick Tour page will given you more information on how DecoderPro looks and the basics of how to use it. From there, you can go to the full DecoderPro manual for more information on how to use it, or look at the User Guide for more information on how it works.

DecoderPro is also covered in Volume 3 of Joe Fugate's series of videos on DCC topics.

What You Need to Use DecoderPro

The DecoderPro software will work on Windows, Linux, Macintosh (OS 8.6 through 9.2 and MacOS X), and OS/2. It will probably also work on most other modern operating systems that have Java available; contact us for help if you'd like to try it on some other system. You need to have a serial port available, either on the computer itself, or via a USB adapter. For more information, please see the download pages.

You also need to have a serial connection to your DCC system. For more information, please see the DCC hardware pages.

What you can do to help

DecoderPro is the creation of a large number of volunteers, model railroaders like yourself who've each contributed to making DecoderPro a great resource for all of us. You can help too, even if you're not a computer programmer; click here for suggestions on how help.

DecoderPro User Guide

These User Guide sections follow the Quick Tour with more information on how DecoderPro works and how to install and adapt it.

See also the DecoderPro manual for more information on how to use DecoderPro.

The User Guide pages:

Details
Configuration files
Working with the roster
Frequently asked questions
Downloading and installing DecoderPro

More advanced information

Intro to XML files
Create your own decoder definition
Create a custom programmer definition
How the roster is stored; updating it by hand
Locomotive (roster) files
Debugging
Sharing Rosters Among Computers
Updating Decoder Definitions

Decoder information

The JMRI project has compiled a lot of information about decoders from many manufacturers, which we make freely available in several forms. To learn more, see the decoder information page.