All posts by AlexG

THE LOOP IS CLOSED

Finally after 2 years of planning and construction the loop is closed and the the attention, that the locomotive is running over the edge, is over.

– 1.5 tons of gravel
– 600 kg of concrete
– 60 kg of jigstones
– 50 meters of tracks
– 5 switches
– 2 bridges

…and lots of fun!

CLOSING THE LOOP

The planning to close the loop is preparation. Using the software tool “AnyRail”, I tried to estimate the required tracks. That requires also a little variances to get the loop closed in a harmonized way. As soon as I received the ordered tracks, I laid them in the way, I’m planning ot have them in future. I’m also planning to integrate another train stop and place a little castle tower on top of the little hill next to the station.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

First night run with the updated BR114 diesel locomotive. Is was delivered by default with three front lights. During the update with the NodeMCU I added two red backlights on each side and an interia light in the operator room. The lights are switching dependent to the drive direction. The best way to see the lights is to make a little photo session in during sunset.

FIRST TEST RUN

I placed the nodeMCU into my locomotive. So the heart (power buffer), the legs (motor amplifier) and the brain (microcontroller) is now imbedded.

The nodeMCU – containing the ESP8266 microcontroller with WIFI functionality – is acting as webserver, that is getting connected to my private network. I stored all files such as HTML, CSS, javascript and icon and the SPIFFS area. While downloading the website a websocket connection is getting established from the browser to the controller, which is much faster than using the AJAX-technology. Using the slider, it is possible to control the speed of my locomotive. Using the “FWD” and “BWD” buttons, it is possible to change the direction. Controlling the lights will be next.

For all, who are interrested in the technology: I used the PWM functionality to control the speed. The websocket connection is not only working one way. As a usual webserver, it is possible to connect from several devices to the website. So it is possbile to control the locomotive from several devices in parallel. So I connected to the ESP8266 with my mobile, tablet and laptop in parallel. As soon as I move the speed slider on one of my devices, the slider on all other devices moves as well. Same for the state of the buttons (turned “ON” or “OFF”).

WIFI CONTROLLER IN PROGRESS

Since no boards from Bluerailtrains are available anymore, I am working on a development of my own WIFI based controller. The power supply of 10x 10F capasitors (in seria for getting 1F @30volts) and the L298N motor amplfier are already installed. The NODEMCU (development board containing a ESP8266-12) is also programmed as webserver including a websocket service to control the locomotive.

So I’m on the way to implement my first webserver on rails…. 😉

RAMPUP

It hot today and you get sweat pretty fast. So not much work done this weekend. I’m also running out of material. So just a little dirt moved as preparation for the next few meters of tracks to be laid down.

BLUERAILTRAINS IS DEAD

I have one diesel locomotive left to get migrated to the Bluerailtrain decoder. One out of four. Now I wanted to order the very last required decoder and I had to understand, that Blueraintrains stopped their production. There is not one single decoder left on the market. Needless to mention, that I feel pi**ed…

I’m really disappointed, because it was an awesome solution and I already invested into three decoders for my remaining locomotives.

Well – what are the lessons learned? I need to develop my own decoders. Then I know, that I have them available, when they are needed.