arduino model railway control

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

Model railway running under computer control using the laptop to send commands over the USB port to the Arduino, which then does PWM to control the speed of the train. There were a few hiccups along the way not least of which the Arduino crashed repeatedly when the train started moving it appears that the power pack I was using didn`t like having its load being PWMed, causing voltage problems.

arduino model railway control
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

I resorted to running the Arduino off the USB supply, disconnecting the common 12V power input to the board, and just using that external power pack to provide power for the direction change relay and output to the loco. Make sure that you keep the ground connected though, as the Darlington TIP120s need that to be common in order to work. The eventual use for this project is to automate the model layout in the Corris Railway Museum, and allow visitors to put coins in a slot and the train will then run for a number of returns depending on the coin put in. More coins the train runs a little quicker. The software allows for reed switches at either end of the line for reversing, as well as reed switches for stations. The hardware driver circuit is shown here in the schematic below (I know it`s pretty rough, but it`s as good as I can do at short notice), and photo of the really dodgy looking breadboard prototype.

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