Hobby Trains...

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.
TIA
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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.
-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases, Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
Venom8 wrote:

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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.
-steve

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http://www.sidetracked-e.com HTHs Greg the Grog
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Some great ideas and links. Thank-You all who replied.

set
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