New pages: Turntable

I’ve added two new pages to my build blog, both describing the newest subproject of my model railroad electronics project: an operating locomotive turntable, driven by an Arduino-type microcontroller.  The first page gives background information on the turntable project, and the second page goes into more detail on how the drive train between motor and turntable was created.

New page: Throttles – Implementation

I’ve added a new page, Throttles – Implementation, which describes the current implementation of my now-working Arduino-based model train throttle system.  This system was successfully used for the first time at the 2017 Ekoji Obon Festival, an annual event held each July at the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, Virginia.  Our club, Japan Rail Modelers of Washington DC, has set up a display of our Japanese train models at this Festival for several years now.  This year’s display included a double-track loop with a pair of my N-gauge PORTRAM models, and powered by my new throttle system.  Festival visitors, especially kids, had the opportunity to drive the trams using a control lever modeled after the actual hand controls used by the drivers on the Toyama Light Rail system.  There’s more information on Toyama Light Rail and my models on my Overview page.

Arduino Day in Rockville, Maryland – a video

The first Arduino Day event to be held in Rockville took place at the Rockville branch of the Montgomery County Public Library on April 1, 2017.  Arduino Day 2017 saw 499 different events take place in 78 countries worldwide.  The event in Rockville was a collaboration of the Montgomery Village Arduino Meetup group (for which I’m the organizer), MoCo Makers group (co-organizer), and the Rockville Science Center, and took place in the library’s Maker Space.  The event had over a dozen displays and activities, and we estimate we drew about 50 visitors of all ages.

We have a YouTube video posted here:  I’m the guy in the red shirt demonstrating my Toyama Light Rail trams being controlled by my Arduino-based throttle with visitors getting a chance to take the control and drive a tram.  Yeah, I look just like my avatar, don’t I?  😉

Switch Machine Controller updated

I’ve added a pair of Fritzing drawings to the Switch Machine Controller page.  One is a breadboard drawing to give a rough idea of how I’ll be wiring up an Adafruit Pro Trinket 5V (Arduino-class processor) to a pair of L293D drivers, which together will drive up to 4 KATO single-coil switch machines.  I’ve also added a schematic of the design as well.  I’m in the process of adding a Software section to that page as well, which I plan to have in place this evening, time permitting.


Successful throttle test

This evening I was successful in driving one of my PORTRAM trams on a loop of track, powering it with an Adafruit Motor Shield mounted on an Arduino Uno microcontroller. The code was basically the Motor Shield’s “DCMotorTest” example code with modified timings.

I caught some video of it running, which I’ll post on the Throttles page as soon as I get a chance to upload it.