Category Archives: Garden Railway

Inspired my Mark Found’s tv series “The Garden Railway”, I started building my own garden railway in my backyard. It is build right from the scretch.

I created this blog in order to share my experiances to interrested people, who also want to start with building up their own garden railway in their own backyard. So every comment and feedback it apreciated.

A garden railway is a great possibility to combine nature and technic in a home environment. It is also a great hobby to free up the mind from daily business. And it is completely different to smaller inhouse scales, because everyone starting with this hobby has also think about weather and stability, security and many other impacts. Working with garden railways needs rockery work, concrete mixing, gardening, and way more.

Please enjoy my little blog. I hope, that I am able to share some good inspirations.

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.

MORE CAPACITY

Today I expanded the power capacity of my LGB Stainz steam engine from 4700uF to 1F. The power dropouts just sucks because of dirt of the tracks. Now – with the extended energy buffer – it is running smooth as not before. The investment of 12 Euros was really worth it.

SAFETY FIRST

I made the bridge over the waterfall safe to walk over. I just took some wooden ice sticks, cutted and glued the together. Then some wood protection paint. Finally some electrical wires, cutted them and soldered them together for the sealing. Last step spraying the sealing in silver and put everything back in its final position.
Looks pretty natural for some small money….