Automation w/stops powered track Bachmann

jeff2245

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Hello all, I am new to this forum and new to garden railroading. Please excuse any errors in my posting/ rr terminology. I am seeking recommendations on equipment to install a closed end loop around my pool area. It will have 2 stops and a turnaround. I plan on using powered track from LGB or other vendors. I have several Bachmann locos and one LGB. None of them have receivers, or any additional equipment. I have upgraded all the Bachmanns to annie chassis. I would like the system to run on it‘s own once I have initiated start up, making the turn around and 2 stops then repeating until I have stopped it. I have a basic understanding of DCC as my MTH trains use it. What type/brand of system should I use to accomplish this? I am trying to keep costs down, so older equipment would be fine, if it gets the job done. Should I go with computer controlled? Straight DCC?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Jeff C091DE15-67CF-4221-8BDE-33E19DD89D89.jpeg
 

jeff2245

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Replying to my own post, I just saw the post a few down from mine on the APTC. Would this work for my layout?
 

idlemarvel

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Hi Jeff, welcome on board.
Not sure what APTC is but I suspect you will need DCC with some kind of computer logic and sensors to handle the turnaround. The reverse loop is more straightforward as long as you only have one train running.
 

PhilP

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This is effectively a shuttle, but with a station - stop, a reverse-loop, and both ends of the shuttle at the same place! o_O:wondering:
 

jeff2245

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Hi Jeff, welcome on board.
Not sure what APTC is but I suspect you will need DCC with some kind of computer logic and sensors to handle the turnaround. The reverse loop is more straightforward as long as you only have one train running.
Hi Dave, thanks for the reply. APTC is all purpose train control, it is referenced in a post in this thread from July, 2020. Any recommendations on what brand system to use?
 

jeff2245

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This is effectively a shuttle, but with a station - stop, a reverse-loop, and both ends of the shuttle at the same place! o_O:wondering:
Hi Phil, yes it is a shuttle type layout, any recommendations on hardware/software to make it work?
 

playmofire

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This is similar to what you are thinking of, an end-to-end-round-and-round shuttle layout. The station stops could be fitted in between the two ends using a station stop unit and reed switches at is simplest.

 

jeff2245

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This is similar to what you are thinking of, an end-to-end-round-and-round shuttle layout. The station stops could be fitted in between the two ends using a station stop unit and reed switches at is simplest.

Yes, thank you, this would work with modifications, how do I automate it so that it works with just a button push? I’m trying to get this setup so that my grandson can just push buttons to make the train and accessories work.
 

playmofire

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Yes, thank you, this would work with modifications, how do I automate it so that it works with just a button push? I’m trying to get this setup so that my grandson can just push buttons to make the train and accessories work.
That I can't answer but I'm sure that this man has done it:


You will need some sort of controller for fixing the speed.
 

dunnyrail

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You could do it with Analogue LGB EPS systems. The restart could then be automatic or with a switch to cut restart out and restart by use of a push button.

As for early cheep DCC (LGB MTS) early LGB MTS would not be easy to use, we tried it on the Ruschbahn with just a simple stop and run round and our resident It expert could not get it to work. What you are proposing is somewhat more complex than that.
 

Paul M

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Welcome to the forum Jeff, youfound the place to come for good advice. Just be ready for the bad jokes!
 

idlemarvel

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Hi Dave, thanks for the reply. APTC is all purpose train control, it is referenced in a post in this thread from July, 2020. Any recommendations on what brand system to use?
On reflection I think you could do this with an analog shuttle unit. The two ends of the turnaround would be the ends of the shuttle, and you could use sprung points to ensure the train goes the "long way" round and comes back the "short way"., or if you don't like the idea of sprung points you could use track magnets to trigger point motors to set the correct direction. Then one or more station stop units. Never done this myself but it sounds easier than setting up DCC and track sensors. I hope someone else with experience of this can provide more info.
 

PhilP

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If track powered, you would also need a reverse-loop module..

PhilP
 

playmofire

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On reflection I think you could do this with an analog shuttle unit. The two ends of the turnaround would be the ends of the shuttle, and you could use sprung points to ensure the train goes the "long way" round and comes back the "short way"., or if you don't like the idea of sprung points you could use track magnets to trigger point motors to set the correct direction. Then one or more station stop units. Never done this myself but it sounds easier than setting up DCC and track sensors. I hope someone else with experience of this can provide more info.
The layout uses just those, Dave, an analogue shuttle unit and sprung points. I haven't tried the station stop yet but there is no reason why it wouldn't work. And the track meander as you wish between the end points.
 

Dagnall

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Geoff,
Your proposed layout is interesting!. I use Rocrail which is free, and gives me the "hands free" running I wanted for my Grandsons. Rocrail is a (free) computer program that controls DCC trains and accessories. It does mean that you need a computer to run Rocrail, but that can be a simple laptop or even a Rasberry Pi. The really good thing is that once set up, Rocrail can automate the trains and run them by its self.
I have not seen anyone else in the UK talk about this approach, but there is an very active Rocrail forum.

For your layout you will need track sensors to tell whatever automation system you use where the trains are - you can have lots - or just a few.
With your layout, you could probably "get away" with just three - one on each stop and one on the reversing loop. But with more you could run more trains simultaneously, as Rocrail will "lock" a bit of track for the loco that is using it, and not send another down that track until its free. With more sensors, you could have more locos running (all automatic) .
Now for how to power the locos.. I am sure you appreciate that your Loop and Reverser will need Isolation to prevent track shorts if you use track power. But Battery power would avoid this..
Rob at Rocrail has been developing some very interesting Wireless systems recently, and I have been testing these "WIO" devices. My trains actually use wireless "WIO" based hardware to control points and interface with track sensors (I use small reed relays and magnets under the trains). I have three "WIO" boards on my garden railway. One at the "Swing" that controls a point there and interfaces with 5 track sensors, Another one at the "shed" and one inside the shed. I actually have a track power DCC controller connected by ethernet to power my trains, but I have experimented successfully this WIO hardware and used it to generate a mobile "DCC" signal and powers DCC controlled Stainz. This very simply makes the Stainz "wireless", and so no DCC track power is needed - which would remove your track isolation problems.

When used wirelessly the WIO hardware can also generate an analogue voltage to drive a DC train if you want.

A couple of videos.. Easter Cottage New loop test Proof of principle running Standard DCC Stainz wirelessly with Rocrail / WIO

For interest, I originally designed my own Wireless hardware (Rocrail with my inexpensive wireless system ) to work within Rocrail and control a 3d Printed loco with very low cost hardware - this code included some sound capability which WIO does not have, But I have now given up this code and just use WIO because its being actively developed and is simpler to install than my code.

I would be happy to talk more if you are interested.

PS I have no links to Rocrail, I just like it!
 

idlemarvel

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Geoff,
Your proposed layout is interesting!. I use Rocrail which is free, and gives me the "hands free" running I wanted for my Grandsons. Rocrail is a (free) computer program that controls DCC trains and accessories. It does mean that you need a computer to run Rocrail, but that can be a simple laptop or even a Rasberry Pi. The really good thing is that once set up, Rocrail can automate the trains and run them by its self.
I have not seen anyone else in the UK talk about this approach, but there is an very active Rocrail forum.

For your layout you will need track sensors to tell whatever automation system you use where the trains are - you can have lots - or just a few.
With your layout, you could probably "get away" with just three - one on each stop and one on the reversing loop. But with more you could run more trains simultaneously, as Rocrail will "lock" a bit of track for the loco that is using it, and not send another down that track until its free. With more sensors, you could have more locos running (all automatic) .
Now for how to power the locos.. I am sure you appreciate that your Loop and Reverser will need Isolation to prevent track shorts if you use track power. But Battery power would avoid this..
Rob at Rocrail has been developing some very interesting Wireless systems recently, and I have been testing these "WIO" devices. My trains actually use wireless "WIO" based hardware to control points and interface with track sensors (I use small reed relays and magnets under the trains). I have three "WIO" boards on my garden railway. One at the "Swing" that controls a point there and interfaces with 5 track sensors, Another one at the "shed" and one inside the shed. I actually have a track power DCC controller connected by ethernet to power my trains, but I have experimented successfully this WIO hardware and used it to generate a mobile "DCC" signal and powers DCC controlled Stainz. This very simply makes the Stainz "wireless", and so no DCC track power is needed - which would remove your track isolation problems.

When used wirelessly the WIO hardware can also generate an analogue voltage to drive a DC train if you want.

A couple of videos.. Easter Cottage New loop test Proof of principle running Standard DCC Stainz wirelessly with Rocrail / WIO

For interest, I originally designed my own Wireless hardware (Rocrail with my inexpensive wireless system ) to work within Rocrail and control a 3d Printed loco with very low cost hardware - this code included some sound capability which WIO does not have, But I have now given up this code and just use WIO because its being actively developed and is simpler to install than my code.

I would be happy to talk more if you are interested.

PS I have no links to Rocrail, I just like it!
Sounds interesting but you'll have to explain what WIO is?
BTW I am also a user and fan of Rocrail
 

PhilP

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WIO is normally Wireless Input/Output..

The 'device' communicates, Wirelessly, to the main central controlling device.
The remote unit can either accept inputs from sensors, or provide output to drive devices.

PhilP
 

Dagnall

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Dave,
"WIO" is the name that ROB (Mr Rocrail) has given to the ESP 8266 / ESP32 based code that works with Rocrail to give Wireless capability. I assume it means "Wireless IO", but I have never asked!.

Its (WIO) a VERY capable bit of code, but in its simplest form, you need an ESP8266 development board and an MCP23017 interface IC (and 5V power or regulator) and you will have a circuit that wirelessly gives you 16 IO and four servo drives.
You can make the WIO board yourself, or Peter Gilling has some nice PCB and kits.

Like all things Rocrail, it takes a bit to get find out how to best use it, but the Rocrail Forum is excellent for help.

For the "DCC" "WIO drive", Rob and Peter Gilling prefer a very big driver IC, capable of driving loads of current, but I prefer the TB6612 as its cheaper and capable enough to drive a Stainz. Again for this option you just need a 5V power source for the ESP8266 and then wire it to the TB6612 motor driver and it will generate DCC signals you can feed to a Dcc train. (just don't short the tracks!!)

Cheers
D
 

FatherMcD

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If you are willing to put some control systems in the locos, you might check with Del of gscalegraphics.net and ask if his Enhanced Critter Controls would provide the operation you are looking for. They can be track powered and provide for automated station stops with acceleration and deceleration and reversing, all controlled by track magnets. It might even be possible to run multiple locos with automatic spacing. You would still need reversing loop control and some way to operate the points, either with springs or relays, as previously noted. Del has been quite helpful when I have previously asked about specific applications. Ken
 

playmofire

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Jeff, I think you may need to make a basic decision on analogue or DCC and then take it from there based on the advice you receive as a result of that decision.