Is there anybody around this group that has ever dabbled in H.O. train set
up and computer/MCU? I would like to incorporate some automation into a
track layout for my son, and only seem to find some REALLY expensive
equipment that is available commercially, and it really doesn't fit the
bill. I'm looking to set up automatic operations which would include
lighting , speed control automated accessories, etc.
I've seen very little along these lines in this group, though it should
be a natural.
The prime group for this is rec.models.railroad. Be sure to also ask
there. However, be prepared for some resistance to DIYers. You might
also do a Google search for "NMRA DCC" to find what's out there, and
http://jmri.sourceforge.net/ for an open source effort. However, it all
pretty much needs a commercial encoder interface, and you're back in the
big bucks again.
Of course, if you don't care about compatibility, you could always roll
your own system. Though it's not quite as simple as this, the basic idea
is that you put big caps on all the motorized accessories, then put PWM
down the track, rather than a constant DC. The PWM contains a 4- or
8-bit address code that commands anything on the line. Each component
then decodes the signal, and if the command is addressed to it, listens
to the following bytes of instructions.
Author: Constructing Robot Bases,
Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
How about hooking a stamp (or some other simple controller) up to a relay
board and drive all your lights/accessories from there. That wouldn't take
care of the train speed, but could get your feet wet.
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