Wasatch Scale Model's FireBox Brings a Small DCC Controller for Model Trains

The FireBox features a SAM D21, ESP8266, supplies 5A continuous and 6A peak current, and comes with preloaded DCC++ firmware.

Cabe Atwell
3 months agoSensors / Home Automation / Robotics

Wasatch Scale Model is set to launch its FireBox DCC control system for model trains, which the company boasts has a 5A main track and is faster and more powerful than some typical base stations on the market.

"The board is fully compatible with JMRI software, and supports addressing up to 255 locomotives simultaneously and managing over a thousand turnouts," Wasatch explains. "We've also included a Wi-Fi module so you can run trains without having to plug the FireBox into your computer."

The FireBox is also completely open source, so users can modify it or build their own with personal specifications. The platform supports RailCom right out of the box, which allows users to grab speed reports, see how much fuel is left in the locomotives, and even write their own configuration variable (CVs) on the main track. FireBox is fully NMRA compliant as well and comes with upgraded DCC++ firmware preinstalled.

The main track supplies 5A continuous and 6A peak current with built-in overcurrent limiting, while the programming track offers 6A peak to the programming track, only it's limited in software to NMRA-compliant 250mA. Firebox is equipped with a SAM D21 microcontroller, along with an ESP8266 Wi-Fi module for wireless control, and offers built-in RailCom detection and reverse supply polarity protection.

The FireBox packs an integrated EEPROM chip for storing turnout, output, and sensor data. It even features a pair of SparkFun Qwiic-compatible I2C headers that enable quick plugging of accessories, such as LCDs, and expansion headers for networking or conversion into a booster station. Wasatch Scale Model is currently crowdfunding the FireBox on Kickstarter with pledges starting at $55, which includes the control system and a 3D-printed case.

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