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Old 11th May 2011, 00:30   #1
ricky
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Default Keeping Track

Hi Again,

Am planning an extention but as a tunnel / out of sight area of the main loop.
I want to keep track of the trains when out of sight and have some leds on a mimic board to show when they pass a couple of locations.

I know there are many ways of doing this but wondered which one is the simplest to implement, partic as it our of sight, so size etc is not a concern.

Thought about a simple flap hanging from a mico switch above the train or possibly a simple light beam across the track or reflected from the loco underside.

Can do the receiving electronics / micro easy enough its just a simple cheap sensor method I need. ( I don't need to identify the particular loco)

Thanks
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Old 11th May 2011, 03:12   #2
BR60103
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Default Re: Keeping Track

If it's open to outside light, a solar cell (whatever they call it) can generate the 1.5V to run an LED; when the train goes over it the LED goes out. This was used by a friend on his O gauge layout.
You might be able to do it in a closed area with a light above the detector.
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Old 11th May 2011, 13:25   #3
TCWORLD
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Default Re: Keeping Track

It should be a fairly simple task. Effectively you are just doing block detection, and there are many methods out there.

One of the simplest would be a small magnet on the bottom of an engine, and then a Reed switch between the sleepers. If you had a magnet at the start of each train, then that would trip the reed switch which could in turn switch an LED on on the control panel to show you there is a train there. You could then get the LED to turn off when it passes the next sensor (and that sensors LED to turn on).
You could do the same thing using a LED and phototransisor (or LDR) across the track at the interval of each block.

Switching of the controll panel LEDs could be accomplised either with a microcontroller or a simple logic circuit (Flip-Flops).

If you go for the LEDs across the track, then you would be best going for IR Leds/transistors as they are less affected by natural light/sunlight. Just have the LED always on, then when the train passes the beam is broken, and a flipflop triggered to update.

If you had a single mainline with trains running both ways, then things might be more fun if you had two engines on the same line - but there would be ways around that.
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Old 11th May 2011, 21:11   #4
ricky
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Default Re: Keeping Track

Hi guys,

Thanks for the ideas, was orignally thinking of something that did not need attaching to the loco, though the reed system would be much cheaper and simpler to build.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TCWORLD View Post
If you had a single mainline with trains running both ways, then things might be more fun if you had two engines on the same line - but there would be ways around that.
Am planning a twin track as per diagram, with the area to the right being a boxed area extending into the loft void.
(Sidings etc incomplete due to 50 piece limit of AnyRail )
The idea is to all allow track switching in both directions and enough track space to park / 'hold' the trains in the tunnel , so giving a more random appearance.

Any input / ideas welcome !


Tom,

Was thinking of using these little Hamlin reeds from Farnells , Maplins seem to be charging so much for their components these days.
Do you know of anywhere that 'train' type components can be bought for better prices here in the UK ?

http://uk.farnell.com/hamlin/h33/mag...9-1/dp/4332404
http://uk.farnell.com/hamlin/mdsr-7/...10w/dp/4332362

thanks.
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Old 11th May 2011, 22:00   #5
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Default Re: Keeping Track

Farnell is one of the best places I know to get components at competitive prices. But you could also try here, I have bought from the company many times before and can recommend them.
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