Anyone good with Arduino?

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Olie

Active Member
#1
I have an Arduino Uno and some shields. I want to run a booster via Loconet. What I'm lacking is the hardware mock up. Can a Dual MC33926 motor driver shield be used? After looking at the Tam Valley Depot DCC booster (which seems to increase in price monthly), my guess is it shouldn't be all that hard. The loconet outer wires use railsync and the TVM booster just takes that signal and sends it with the power. I know this can be done with and Arduino, I'm just hitting a mental block. Someone jar my brain please....
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#2
Olie, have no idea what Arduino is or what it does but have seen a few posts referring to it. I'll also be interested in hearing what others have to say about it.
 
#4
I have a basic knowledge of the Arduino. There are several people out there that use it a command station for their entire layout. I used it on a static display my had at the library to control a locomotive in a display case. I am now setting it up to control turnouts. It will also control lighting and gate crossings on the layout when I get to that point. There are endless uses, just have to find the "sketch" or program to upload so the Arduino knows what to do and when. I may just go eith the Tam Valley Depot booster using Loconet but I know it can be done with the Arduino.
 
#5
Olie,

When you say gate crossings, will it control the up/down servos for the gate , and take care of the flashers as well? That I'm really interested in. I suppose you could have it control building lighting? What would be neat is to have lights come off and on at certain times randomly to simulate people moving around and using different rooms at different times.
 
#6
Olie,

When you say gate crossings, will it control the up/down servos for the gate , and take care of the flashers as well? That I'm really interested in. I suppose you could have it control building lighting? What would be neat is to have lights come off and on at certain times randomly to simulate people moving around and using different rooms at different times.
Simple answer to all of your questions is yes. The Arduino can be set up do multiple things at once. Only limitation is the coding or "sketch". This guy uses it to run an entire layout https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJmvQx-fe0OMAIH-_g-_rZw
Calls it DCC++.
Another good resource is http://mrrwa.org/
If it can be controller by electronics or if you even think you want it to be controller by electronics then the Arduino can do it. Again, the sketch is the key.
 
#8
I think that device might be usable. A QUICK glance at the specs suggests it has the needed characteristics. Is 3A going to be enough?

Frederick
If 3A isn't enough, go bigger. The shields that can be added are fairly endless otherwise with a breadboard and the circuitry, you can build whatever you'd like. This is where I get lost. Optocouplers, rectifiers, flux capacitors, etc. Then the programming. Unfortunately, all my children are of the age now that they are either long gone with families of their own or are so absorbed in their own worlds that asking them to figure this out is no longer an option. Once upon a time that would have been my go to solution. Getting old sucks sometimes........
 
#9
I, too, use the Arduino for all sorts of things, including the model railroad: signals, turnouts, crossings, etc. I didn't jump in earlier because I am not familiar with the MC33926.

And just some additional tidbits:

This guy uses it to run an entire layout https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJmvQx-fe0OMAIH-_g-_rZw Calls it DCC++.
The reason he calls it DCC++ is the Arduino is coded in a subset of the C++ language. But don't let that scare you, the parts you need to use are truly easy to learn (that means you Tony).

If it can be controlled by electronics or if you even think you want it to be controlled by electronics then the Arduino can do it. Again, the sketch is the key.
I'd say the "sketch" (what Arduino users call the program that the Arduino runs) is 1/2 of the key. The other 1/2 is the interface electronics, sometimes really, really easy, other times not so much. The limit is either your knowledge of electronics OR how well you can follow the instructions found on the web. And, in some simple cases, no additional electronics or even parts are required.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Good thought Mike an "Arduino for Idiots and Ideas" thread - the Idiots would be me. If this Arduino stuff is the "In Thing" now a days, perhaps we could make an Arduino Sticky as a go to Thread.
 
#14
Think of the Arduino as a really smart switch. It has a series of inputs and outputs. The inputs can be as simple as a toggle switch or a push button or as complex as an optical sensor with discrimination to determine the light level in a room (in Arduino speak, a "shield"). The inputs can be used to tell the Arduino to "do something".

A quick example: 2 push buttons, an Arduino, and a servo. Push button 1 and the servo travels in one direction, push button 2 and the servo travels in the opposite direction. Push button 2 again and nothing happens. At the same time, the same Arduino can turn on an LED next to button 1 when button 1 is pushed and turn off the LED next to button 2. And do the reverse when button two is pushed. Or you could use 1 push button, add 2 LEDs, say a red and a green, and - push once, the servo moves in one direction and lights the red LED. Push the same button again, the servo moves in the opposite direction and lights the green LED.

Instead of controlling servos, the Arduino could control light bulbs or LEDs (say in a model of a bookstore) or streetlights or crossing signals, or, or, or ...

From the basics, as Olie said, its only limited by your imagination and the help you can find.
 
#15
Mybe we could start an audrino thread to bounce ideas off each other. Olie caught my attention with crossing signals. I want at least one working crossing gate on my layout, but am kind of lost in electronics also.
Good idea since we have sort of hijacked Olie's thread. As I know I've said before, I have 50+ years of electronics experience and a complete home electronics lab. I "discovered" the Arduino about 4 years ago and have been having a blast playing with it. And I'm happy to help in any way.

PS: Tony - do you still need any terminal blocks?
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#16
I just looked at the Arduino site and I got lost as soon as I opened it. There's 20 or 30 different Arduino boards with additions and software and geez - god knows what else. How do you know where to start with this stuff and what is really needed to do something like using it for turnouts ...

Is there a "dictionary" that translates Arduino Language into good old Plain English? :)
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#17
Ahh yeah, sorry Olie for the hijack ... we, or those conversant with the thing, should get the thread back on track.

Kevin, I hadn't given them much thought but am sure I will need some in due course, unless this Arduino stuff negates the need for them.
 
#20
I'll check my resources and see if I can find the "Beginners Guide". As to all the varieties, they ALL work the same. The differences are in the physical size and/or the number of inputs and outputs and some other features beyond this discussion. For the beginner, the UNO is the place to start. It is the simplest to learn to use.
 



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