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Signals & Switches & L.C.C. Oh My !
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 Posted: Mon Oct 29th, 2018 07:03 pm
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Steve P
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I am starting to do the computer control/LCC R&D.  
I have concluded that the CAN bus style of control will not work for my outdoor setup.
The RC Circuits power hub only provides 1/2 amp on its power bus, while just ONE of my 3 searchlight poles consumes up to 2 amps!
Since my dead-rail engines require dependable WIFI coverage everywhere along the track, I have decided to use WIFI enabled arduino modules.
They're quite inexpensive and provide a lot of functionality in a small package.

This means my "bus" becomes a 2 wire 5v bus (with a LOT of amps).  
It doesn't have to extend the length of the track, but only exist where controls are needed, ie. depots, freight yards, etc.  
If I can't get 110V to a particular depot, I can park an Optima RedTop battery there for the season.

Hopefully the MKR1010 will provide adequate WIFI coverage with its internal antenna.  
If not I can use a WIFI shield with one of the other arduinos.

I have a 24 channel PWM shield working now, enough control for 4 of the 3 searchlight towers, using only 4 bits of the arduino.  
Its SPI based, and can be daisy-chained, so you could control 4/8/12 or more towers.

They also make an i2c bus based 12 channel PWM servo driver board, which I will be playing with to make tortoise style switch controllers.

Steve P


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 Posted: Fri Nov 9th, 2018 07:20 pm
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Steve P
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Hi, I built a few dwarf prototypes.  I think I'll use ABS plastic for the stands next time.

Attachment: 2018-11-09-130654-1024.jpg (Downloaded 114 times)

Last edited on Fri Nov 9th, 2018 07:21 pm by Steve P

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 Posted: Mon Nov 12th, 2018 05:39 pm
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Steve P
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My latest production prototype of a 3 searchlight pole.  I'm pretty hasppy with it at this point.

Have to rework the electronics, the LM317s I am using can't drive the green/blue segments to full current with a 5v supply.

Steve P

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 Posted: Wed Dec 19th, 2018 07:26 pm
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Steve P
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Hi,

I have prototyped an RFID reader for tracking the movement of rolling stock.
It is based on an Adafruit Feather WiFi mcu, and up to 8 PN532 RFID readers.

By placing the readers on ends of different track sections and a RFID tag on each car,
I can determine the position of all cars at any time.

Next I need to design a weatherproof enclosure for the reader that fits under a section of track.

Steve P


Attachment: 2018-12-19-131856.jpg (Downloaded 80 times)

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 Posted: Fri Jan 11th, 2019 09:54 pm
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Steve P
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Hi,

I sent the RFID design out to fab, just got the boards back. 
This is the front, back, and most parts "in place".  No soldering yet. 
I need to ring out a few traces before starting real assembly. 

They sure look nice, and will be MUCH more reliable than point-to-point solder tacking!

Steve P


Attachment: 2019-01-11-154946.jpg (Downloaded 68 times)

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 Posted: Mon Jan 14th, 2019 05:04 pm
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Si.
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Hi Steve  :wave:



L :!: :!: KIN'   C  :cool:  :cool:  L   !



From Freddie Flintstone 'wooden stick with rocks' ...  ;)

... to prototype ...  :brill:


... to model  :pimp:  has worked out real well !



The new 'central switch tower' electronic-brain PCB is awesome !


:old dude:  I wouldn't want to have to hardwire one of those up using 6SN7s sonny  :P



:moose:



Si.




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 Posted: Mon Jan 14th, 2019 05:27 pm
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Steve P
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Si,

Thanx, I'm happy...

The 1st RFID reader is fully functional and tested. 
I need to wire the additional 4 card readers I have and see how it works with 5 cards at once. 
Then I can start the higher level code that determines the location of rolling stock by track section.

I have done about 95% of the work on laying out the high power LED controller PCB.
It will drive up to 24 3Watt LED segments (ie 12 Red/Yellow/Green signals) as well as up to 48 20mA LEDs.


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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2019 05:45 pm
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Steve P
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Hi,

I realized I would need an indoors test track,
so switched gears for a few days and built a table in the dining area.

Setup a Yard Master and placed a card reader under the track. 
Stuck a paper rfid tag on the underside of a passenger car. 

Started up the client software on a desktop, connected to the Yard Master via wifi,
then moved the car as quickly as possible back and forth over the reader several times:


$ ./LWClient feather2 2390 b
command to feather2 (10.11.12.143): "b" response from feather2: "Success "
response from feather2: "Reader: 0, Road mark: BLR877222 (UID: a6:62:5d:42)"
response from feather2: "Reader: 0, Road mark: BLR877222 (UID: a6:62:5d:42)"
response from feather2: "Reader: 0, Road mark: BLR877222 (UID: a6:62:5d:42)"
response from feather2: "Reader: 0, Road mark: BLR877222 (UID: a6:62:5d:42)"


So proof of concept is complete, this is going to work!


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