Sunday, November 29, 2015

Use of Arduino in digital layouts

I've had the opportunity to make a presentation about the use of Arduino in digital layouts to all the people from "Martorell Friends of the Rails" association.

They were so kind of inviting me, and finally I spent all the afternoon there exchanging ideas and impressions with all members about how to develop the digital system of their new layouts. It was really a funny and interesting day.

I want to share with all you the presentation I did, I hope you find it interesting:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Martorell Friends of the Rail" association visit

Today I've been invited to visit the association "Amics del tren de Martorell" (Friends of the Rail from Martorell). Martorell is a small city close to the south of Barcelona, where this 30 years old association is sited.

Joan is one of the members in charge of the association and is now working in some parts of the H0 scale layout. He got in contact with me because he wanted to exchange our experiences in digital rail road modelling and in particular about the use and possibilities of Arduino in this field. Joan is one of the most experienced modellers I've ever meet in person and has been dedicated to rail road modelling during a huge amount of years, but you can see on him the same illusion and vigour of a newbie. I showed him my programs and how I use Arduino in my layout, and Joan told me a lot of anecdotes and funny histories about his extended time dedicated to trains and the association. A short meeting of one hour became three, being totally unaware of the time. And we had to leave because Joan had the compromise to mount his modules for the train fair is held tomorrow in Gelida, and he was already two hours late because of my visit.

The association had to move recently from the previous place they were, and they are building new layouts for the club members. This first one is an N scale layout:

And the following photos is the large H0 scale, including a H0 narrow section and tram:

They have also a very good and interesting collection of old models given to the association by some of the members, and a nice library full of books, magazines and videos.

I hope to visit the Martorell Association soon, and continue talking to Joan and may be run some trains to test their new layout, hopefully "Arduinized".

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Led signals control with Arduino

With the same LNCVSoundOutputs program for Arduino is possible to directly connect a led to each of the free output pins. Pin 0 and 1 are used for the serial communication with an optional MP3 shield, or to activate the Loconet Monitor mode and debug the Loconet communications. Pins 7 and 8 are used for the Loconet communications. So 16 pins are free to use as outputs.

The current limitations of Arduino UNO are:
  • 20mA for each Pin
  • 200mA in total, sum of all pins

That means we can connect one led to each of the pins with no problems, and have 10 of them illuminated at the same time.

I had the following signal bridge. It has 4 light signals of 3 aspect each one:

I connected each of the led (4 signals x 3 aspects = 12 led) to Arduino UNO. On top of Arduino there is the GCA185 Loconet Shield, and on the top of the shield a self development board where I soldered screw terminals to make the connections easy:

And that's all needed to control your light signals through Loconet: Arduino UNO (3€), Loconet Shield (15€), development shield (2€). Just 20€ and you can manage 16 outputs. If more load is needed in each pin, you can always use a MOSFET board and supply the needed current through an external power source.

In my case, the power to light leds comes directly from the Loconet connector.

I hope you liked it!!