Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Arduino Loconet Shield GCA185

I have good news for those who like Arduino and Loconet. In a previous post I was talking about using a GCA50 board (from Giling Computer Applications) to use as a Loconet interface for Arduino or any other processor. That is a very good solution for those who don't master electronics and board isolation to design and build our own boards.

BUT BE PATIENT, A NEW AND BETTER SOLUTION IS ON THE WAY!!!

Giling Computer Applications is developing a new board named GCA185, and it's a perfect Loconet interface shield for Arduino. Just plug it on top of an Arduino UNO and it's ready to run. I've been able to test a prototype:


It was mounted just with the male pins, but it will have also female so you can plug more shields on top. I tried my MP3 shield, and fits perfect.

You can see it has "double loconet connectors". That means the typical RJ12 used by Digitrax, Uhlenbrock and many of the important brands, and DB9. That last is the used in GCA boards from Peter Giling and offers more reliability and extra power to feed all Loconet modules. In RJ12, Uhlenbrock tried to do something similar (in the LoconetT connector of Intellibox central stations), but for that it had to sacrifice the Railsync singal because an RJ12 has not enough pins. That's the big difference, in the DB9 connector you have all the Loconet signals plus power source.

The good point of the shield is that it has both types, and doubled (for input and output). So it can be used in any type of Loconet bus.

Arduino power source is taken also from Loconet bus, so you don't need external supply, just connect and run!!!

The new GCA185 will be available for purchase very soon, and new Arduino software will be also released taking advantage of this new shield.



3 comments:

  1. This looks very interesting!

    Do You know if it would be compatible with outer Arduino boards, like the Mega or the Nano?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I tested it with both boards and works perfect! Las version of MRRWA libraries are prepared for the different Arduino boards.

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  2. Boards can be purchased to Peter Giling, in the official hardware page of Rocrail:
    http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php?id=gca185-en

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