Arduino ideas, and help

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migalyto

Well-Known Member
#41
Yes ... the electronics is one thing, the code stuff is another matter and what would probably dissuade me from using this stuff. I might be wrong BUT, the more I look at Arduino it seems as though using it only makes achieving an end result more complicated.
Actually Tony, The more I look at this the more I want to conquer it! As Lloyd posted the sketch for say grade crossing, or building lighting, arc welding. Its already been written in some form or another. That's what we started this thread is to bounce ideas, or get each other the help, or answers to their questions. the more research I'm doing the less overwhelming its becoming.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#42
My biggest question at this point is.....Where is a good place to buy a good starter setup? There looks to be a ton of knock-offs. I want to buy good quality stuff out of the chute to add on to in the future.
 
#43
Yes ... the electronics is are thing, the code stuff is another matter and what would probably dissuade me from using this stuff. I might be wrong BUT, the more I look at Arduino it seems as though using it only makes achieving an end result much more complicated.
Why am I not surprise?
In previous posts you also mentioned, you don't like Facebook because it's dangerous, this hobby is dying and other things I can't remember .... LOL
In life you need to take chances, you need to learn and if you fail, you get up and try again.

Tony, I was scared of electronics and still am, but I've surrounded myself with people that know how and took the time to learn and listen and ask questions, because after seeing what Arduino can do, I wanted it. There's lots of money to be saved by doing the stuff yourself. One of the guys installed servos instead of tortoises, he needed 42 of them, a savings of more than $500, that's 2 locomotives.

My biggest question at this point is.....Where is a good place to buy a good starter setup? There looks to be a ton of knock-offs. I want to buy good quality stuff out of the chute to add on to in the future.
When I got started, I didn't want to spend to much money in case I didn't like it, so I bought a knockoff on Amazon and it came from China. I've had no problem since and all my parts come from China and most are knockoffs. I don't mind waiting 45 days to get it if I'm going to save 50-65%.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#44
One of the guys installed servos instead of tortoises, he needed 42 of them, a savings of more than $500, that's 2 locomotives.
Perhaps but then again you don't need Arduino to use servo's for turnouts either.

For things such as you built, speedometers and weigh bridges and so forth, it seems great; however, for day to day things such as changing points, lighting - it does over complicate it.

As for the the other things you chose to bring up - your absolutely right, and I stand by what I said about farcebook and the hobby declining. Now I'll add this ... new technology rarely makes things better, it only creates more, over priced, things to fail and/or make people lazier than they have already become.
 
#45
Now I'll add this ... new technology rarely makes things better, it only creates more, over priced, things to fail and/or make people lazier than they have already become.
In this case, "Arduino" is a new technology that's even used on the space station. It is better, cheaper, and definitely makes people less lazy as it's a hobby inside our hobby. Your statement would therefore be totally wrong on this subject.

The way I see it,
-If you're just going to watch trains go round and round, you probably don't need any special gadgets, but if you are into operations, then it would be very useful.
- If you have a small layout, you probably don't need it.

But,
- If you want to save some money, you might look into this.
- If you like animation on your layout, this is a good alternative.

So many people in our hobby are getting involve with Arduino or Raspberry Pie, especially the younger generation. There are clinics available all over the place for model railroaders, especially in the NMRA. You could definitely find out by yourself if you were open to look at Facebook or even Youtube

It's not for everybody, but there's no need in denying the good it does to our hobby.
 
#49
Perhaps but then again you don't need Arduino to use servo's for turnouts either.
Tony,

I'm not trying to start a "which way is better" or a "my way is better" argument, but - you cannot use a servo without some form of driver. So it comes down to: Do I want to do it myself (or insert "can" for "want") or do I want to pay someone else to do it for me? Almost everything we (electronics knowledgeable model railroaders) are doing ourselves with Arduinos can be bought off the shelf. Here's what it comes down to for me. I can buy an Arduino Mini Pro (just one of the Arduino variations) for $1.40. I can get a servo for $1.07. Or you can buy the equivalent from TAM Valley for $30 to $40. NEITHER WAY IS "BETTER". For me, I love playing with electronics. I've been doing it personally for 52 years and professionally for 25 years. But that's me. It just becomes one more enjoyable aspect of model railroading. Plus it allows me to configure "things" the way I want, not the way some designer things it should be. Okay, call me a control freak, it won't be the first time.

Here's an offer: let me know something you would like to have an Arduino do. I'll put the hardware together, write the sketch, and send it to you with hookup instructions. I currently have about 100 various Arduinos on hand, and maybe 50 to 60 SG90 servos, plus a deep stock of other electronic parts. One of these days AG (After Garden), I'll take a picture of my test bench and post it. Just keep in mind that you (meaning anyone) don't need all the equipment I have.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#50
Kevin,

What I said, regarding these Arduino's, wasn't said as a claim that something was Better, what I said was - these Arduino's are great for things such as speedometers and other things that people, like yourself, are capable of building. I'm NOT putting them down over all because they are, apparently, adaptable for a variety of things, and that for the electrically and technically minded that would be a good thing. What I also said though, and some thing that was completely ignored I might add, was using them/it for things such as turnout control and/or lighting (to be specific) made doing those things more complicated than they needed to be. Simply put, there are easier ways to wire up turnouts and lighting than using an Arduino.

As for the servo's - your right again; however, all I said was you don't need an Arduino to use servo's.

Look, if people have the ability, the knowledge to use them for whatever purpose they choose and they are beneficial to them then that is great. I just don't see the point in making "some things" more complex than they need to be.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#51
My starter kit showed up today. Probably won’t get time to mess with it for a couple of weeks, but am super excited to learn something new.

3391DDBC-AAF1-4A9E-B640-82D31D4BAE76.jpeg
 

Olie

Active Member
#52
I just ordered the 16 servo shield. This will allow me the ability to control up to 16 PWM/servos and/or LED sets. The PWM slots, when used with LEDs, allows for some incredible control over what the LEDs do. Like welding flicker or open flame from a fireplace or candle flicker, fade in and out or flash, etc. I'm excited to test drive that puppy!

Mike, you need to get on it right away, don't wait for a couple of weeks. Then, once you have the sketches down, post them here so I can steal them!!!
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#53
I just ordered the 16 servo shield. This will allow me the ability to control up to 16 PWM/servos and/or LED sets. The PWM slots, when used with LEDs, allows for some incredible control over what the LEDs do. Like welding flicker or open flame from a fireplace or candle flicker, fade in and out or flash, etc. I'm excited to test drive that puppy!

Mike, you need to get on it right away, don't wait for a couple of weeks. Then, once you have the sketches down, post them here so I can steal them!!!
Olie,

I was kind of hoping since you have some experience with this, you would be our resident sketch writer. Good idea on the servo shield. I never thought of it, but I have a whole shoebox full of servos from my RC airplane days. Never knew what I was ever going to do with them....now I know!
 

Olie

Active Member
#54
Olie,

I was kind of hoping since you have some experience with this, you would be our resident sketch writer. Good idea on the servo shield. I never thought of it, but I have a whole shoebox full of servos from my RC airplane days. Never knew what I was ever going to do with them....now I know!
Writing the sketches is my weakness. I currently take from the libraries available to download and then tweak to see what works. I will share whatever I come up with but for right now, I'm not the go to guy for writing sketches. Maybe in the near future.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
#55
Olie,

I would bet that almost everything we want to do already has the sketches written for us. We may have to do some searching. There are a ton of videos out there. I don't know how good I will be at sketch writing either.
 
#58
Hi,

I am a little late to this discussion. Lots of good resources here.

I plan on doing some arduino projects - after I get my new layout running (so in a year or so).

Here is a youtube link that explains a simple project for a model railroad. I hope you find it useful.


Dave
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#59
Can someone explain the Arduino code?
It looks like the program language called "C".

Are you wanting a general idea of what all the code is doing or details of each statement?

For example the first line: int THROUGH = 1;

Defines a data storage area variable named "THROUGH". This data area can be referenced by this name through the rest of the program.
The "int" declares that this variable is of type Integer so it can only have values of integers (-1, 0, 1, 2, 3, etc).
The equal sign is an assignment operation which puts the value on the right into the variable on the left. In this case the value of THROUGH is set to 1.
The "1" is a constant just like any algebraic statement.
And all C statements must end with the semi-colon.
 





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