55″ Dispatcher Panel

55" Dispatcher Panel by BGTwinDad
55″ Dispatcher Panel, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

This is an early step in the “dream plan” for dispatching my layout(s).  The photo doesn’t really do the scale justice.  This is JMRI displaying my layout panels on our 55″ living room TV.  It’s big enough I can tell track occupancy from my kitchen thirty feet away.

For now, it’s just a novelty, because the current Glover’s Bend layout is small, but the ultimate goal, the “Chestnut Hill Sub” will be an around the room shelf layout big enough for multiple operators, and a panel this big will be easy for everyone to check when they want to see what’s coming.

Ultimately, all of this will also be web-accessible, enabling truly remote dispatching, for my friends who are too far away to visit in person.

Someday, when I win the lottery.

Technicals:  I just installed a Digitrax BDL168 block detector circuit under the layout, and it is monitoring 16 different blocks around the two main lines.  It’s feeding information back over LocoNet to my train room computer, which is generating the displays using the JMRI train control software.  My train room computer happens to have an HDMI display port, which makes it easy to convert my TV into a monitor.  Add a wireless keyboard and trackpad, and I can dispatch trains from my couch!  Easy-Peasey!

I’ll write an article or two about installing the BDL168 and setting up the panel once I get everything debugged and working properly.