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radio control for 00 gauge


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Hi,   I am a retired electronics engineer and I have just finished the design of a radio control for 00 gauge,  using a Li-Ion battery I am getting good results, my test track is not powered so that there is no problem with dirty tracks. 

The  charging can be done externally or via the wheel pickups, the loco can be run onto an isolated powered siding.

The electronics are very simple, utilises 433Mhz       four control button keyfob   to select forwards, reverse, accelerate and decelerate.    Multiple locos can be run on the same track and reverse loops are a piece of cake.   At present

the battery+receiver will only fit into diesel locos (mine are class 31 and 35)  running time is about 1 hour depending on speed.   Forwards and reverse lighting is included .

I have other non battery variants of this for indoor powered track.

hope this might be of some interest,   

regards to all

Steve Soar

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, stevesoar said:

As I said I am retired so this is only a hobby for me which I thought might be of interest.  The protocab looks good, thanks for the link.

The most important thing about any hobby is that it is something to be enjoyed. I hope you continue to do so.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,   just been experimenting with a few ideas on battery charging.  I have decided that a powered siding (12V dc) and pick up through the rails suits me best, an onboard buck charger output 8.4 volts to

charge an EBL PP3  2cell li-ion battery, a boost circuit raises the voltage to 12v for loco control.  

I have replaced the loco on/off switch with a small latching relay   TQ2-L-5V   this is wired to isolate the battery if the rails supply is reversed, a blocking diode protects the buck charger circuit.

So the loco is run onto the powered siding and starts to charge, I turn off loco lights to save energy,  the loco is still powered up and can pull out of the siding and onto the dead track  at any time.

When fully charged a trackside led changes from red to green.  Now if the track voltage is reversed the onboard relay latches off and the loco battery is isolated.

To turn everything back on again the siding is powered up and polarity selected to set the onboard relay. Loco is now active and can be driven out of the siding and onto dead track.

So loco can be run, recharge and switched on and off without having to fiddle with a switch on the loco or having to remember where the magnet is.   All this can be done without going anywhere near the loco.

If required the siding can be long enough to accommodate more than one loco. 

I don't know if this has been done before, perhaps it has?     I can send more details if anyone is interested.

 

 

 

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Hi,      Thanks for the interest,  it's going to be difficult to explain it without a diagram so I will create one and a description.  In the meantime I attach a photo of my proto.

The pale,  rectangular block on the rhs is the latching relay which selects the run/charging mode. Also on top is my receiver, and on the side the charger circuit and boost circuit to take battery voltage  up to running voltage.

the orange and black leads on rhs  go to the short section of powered track  it is these leads connected to a 12V supply via a changeover switch,  selects  on (charging) or off . The red and black leads on the LHS go to the motor.

The whole lot sits on a PP3 li-ion battery  (you can see the terminals just below the relay).

Hope I have not caused too much confusion,

 

Steve

 

DSCN9681.JPG

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Hi, having run an "OO" garden line on and off since the 90's using Analogue, DCC and even Hornby Live steam, the biggest problems for me have always been; keeping the power on and keeping the track clean. A train hasn't run since about 2017 and that was only on a limited section of the track.

I'm liking the sound of RC because it could potentially remove my 2 biggest bug bears and allow me to run trains more often with minimum effort, (just a light rub down and a quick vacuum of the track). To this end, I'd be interested in a parts list and instructions in how to fit. You never know, it might be possible to RC the Hornby live steam, after all it's only a heater and a Servo to power.🙂

 

Just seen your post, how long will a PP3 power a loco?

 

 

Edited by stray
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Hi, as promised here is a rough diagram of my on/off switching circuit.  The li-ion charger is a cheap 2 cell (8.4V output)  the DPDT switch feeds onto the rails and

can switch the polarity, when the top rail (on diagram) is positive then the relay is set and the battery is connected and charges via The schottky diode , The receiver is also powered and active.

If the switch is flipped to reverse the polarity, the relay is unset and the battery disconnected, the diode protects the receiver.   The loco is now off and no drain on the battery.

The relay is a single coil latching type and only requires a pulse to set or reset, hence the capacitor feeding the coil.  

hope this makes sense.

 

 

DSCN9684.JPG

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  • 2 months later...

Hi,  I have made some "improvements" to the track charging circuit,  it now has a centre off DPDT switch   the circuit is shown in the RUN position, the loco can be driven off the charging track,  the DPDT switch is switched to the centre off position

when the loco is ready for a charge it is driven back onto the powered siding and switch is set to charge position, this flicks the relay contacts to charge and isolates the electronics, when charged the switch set to off and as  the loco is also off it will retain the charge and can be  stored with a full battery. It can be switched on again by switching to the  Run position.

The Poover battery gives about 3 hours run time,  it has inbuilt protection for overcharge, undercharge, overtemperature, and cell charge balance.

I have two locos with this system and they can be charged at the same time on the track.    The running track must be "dead"  

hope this all makes sense.

Best wishes to all

Steve

DSCN9859.JPG

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, I have simplified everything,    instead of a battery I have 4  supercapacitors  15F  2.5V each in series.   This gives 10V which is boosted to 12V for the receiver.   Capacitors are charged thro the loco track pickups from a 1metre section of powered track, rest of the track is unpowered.  The capacitors charge up from the track via an onboard bridge rectifier,   full charge in approx  15 seconds.

Loco is top up charged each time it runs  over the powered section.     The  distance run between charges is approx 12 metres so larger layouts will need more 1 metre powered sections. 

1.  only need to keep the 1m track charging sections clean.

2,  no on/off switch needed.

3, no waiting time for charging.

4, very simple circuit.

Still early days.  

regards to all

Steve

 

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Why have you decided to go down the supercapacitor route rather than the battery Steve?

I agree your latest method does simplify everything but you are now reliant on powered track again and even if it is only a 1 metre section in every 12 you will need to keep the rest of the track clean too otherwise there's the possibility you'll end up with dirty loco wheels that don't fully charge across the powered section(s). Wheel cleaning and track cleaning go hand in hand no matter the size of the layout.

I can see advantages and potential for your latest system but feel that for a traditional layout it's sort of reverting to how things currently are where capacitors or 'stay-alives' are used in association with DCC control. 

How do you envisage it being operated/used?

 

 

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Hi,      your comments are very valid,  I want to reduce the time waiting for battery charging, and eliminate the complexity of on/off switches.  The future of supercaps is looking promising with a lot of research to increase the capacity to rival battery technology,  I believe graphine is being considered in the manufacture.    If/when this happens then the capacitor can be treated like a battery but with very fast charging, I think that the wheel pickups might be insufficient so might need a plug in for the higher charge current, or else it would be little different to the battery.   I like to look at new technologies and it is great to have feedback,  thank you for your input.

I like the idea of being able to leave the loco on track, in a siding or loco shed etc.     the  other "live" sections might be at stations or level crossings so that the loco can charge whilst waiting.

I am still using the Poover PP3 battery with good results, it has excellent protection for over discharge damage and I have a loco without an on/off switch, charges up in a powered siding and is allowed to slowly self discharge when not being run,  can be stored and when self discharged is protected by the inbuilt battery protection circuit.   Could be a bit fraught if the transmitter is inadvertently switched on !    Any comments or ideas much appreciated.

It might be a no brainer but then many ideas start with a no brainer.

Thanks for your interest

Steve

 

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I think what you've managed to achieve so far is amazing and I applaud your efforts. It's something I could never get my head around - hence my problems with the fading signals on my videos and my lack of expertise in finding a solution, let alone doing it correctly in the first place.

It seems the only thing letting you down at the moment is technology itself so I hope that your wait for supercaps is a short one.

 

 

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Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.    Supercapacitors  are improving all the time so yes, all we have to do is wait for the technology to catch up.

In the meantime the li-ion battery is probably best choice.   I have several locos with PP3 li-ion batteries which give 3 to 4 hours run time.

regards

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,   my latest prototype circuit,    the top diagram shows circuit in charge mode via 2 pin socket, the lower diagram shows run mode,   the DPDT switch

can select either charge or run.   

When in charge mode the FET is biased OFF and when in the  run mode the FET switches  ON, the  loco can be unplugged and driven away.

So,  no mechanical or reed switches on board, just the 2 pin socket.

Will be further testing the prototype this week,  will post results. In the meantime if more info is needed please ask.

best regards to all

Steve 

DSCN9893.JPG

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Hi,   I have now made a prototype using a simplified circuit which charges from a buffer stop  into the loco buffers

these are modified to steel  with leads going into the on board control circuit. The track buffer stop is modified with molibium magnets

3mm dia x 3mm long. these make good electrical contact with the loco buffers, the buffers have a few mm movement to allow for poor alignment.

the loco can be recharged or set to run by the changeover switch.   If the loco is running towards the buffer stop and the switch is set to charge

then the loco switches off soon as contact is made and recharge starts.

Hope the photo makes sense, let me know if interested in more clarification.

best wishes to all

Steve

DSCN9894.JPG

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