Simple Shuttle controller

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Glen A
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Simple Shuttle controller

Postby Glen A » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:03 am

With the new configuration of modules I needed to be able to drive two trains at once myself.
So I built a shuttle controller using a latching relay.

The idea is I drive one train and while I'm shunting at one end, I can push a button and the other train will shuttle down the track and then come back and stop.
I also made a option so I could leave a train continuoiusly running backwards and forwards between two reed switches by mounting another reed switch on a different siding.

I used just a few parts:
12v latching relay
a couple of glass reed switches
small magnet (mounted under engine or wagon)
push button
diode


Its so simple to build anyone can have a go.

Image

The 12v latching relay (middle) cost me NZ$15 (about UK 5 pounds),
the reed switch (bottom) NZ$2.50ea and diode (top) just 15 cents.


Here is the wiring for the relay.


Image

A short burst of 12v across the top two pins will hold the relay in one position. And a burst on the next two will move it to the other position and hold it there.
Now you can make a 'normal' relay 'latch' by adding a whole lot of other parts, but I wanted a simple job. :roll:


For a continuous run the reed switches get mounted in the track like this:

Image

Or for an 'out and back' something like this (you will need to test the diode in both directions to find out which way is right) :

Image

Or if you are a bit more clever and want both options:

Image


So here it is wired up under the module, so I can plug in the controllers and power supply into it:

Image



The reed switch mounted in the track (and painted grey to hide it):
Image


Magnet mounted under a wagon, with some blu-tack.
The magnets out of old computers CD and DVD drives are really small and strong:
Image


And here is my train ready for hours of fun shuttling back and forwards: :D
Image

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michael
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Postby michael » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:58 am

Glen that is very interesting.
Regards Michael
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Postby Artizen » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:50 am

I guess it would be even more interesting if I knew what it all meant!!!!!

I am assuming that the magnet somehow triggers the thingy between the rails so that polarity is reversed?
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Postby Glen A » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:25 am

Artizen wrote:I am assuming that the magnet somehow triggers the thingy between the rails so that polarity is reversed?


Yes, when the magnet passes over top, the contacts inside the reed switch touch and let the current through, (just the same as a push button).

And when the signal gets to the relay it changes (and the polarity is reversed).


Cheap and easy to set up, (and very useful if you are exhibiting a small layout on your own and want to leave something running while you duck out to water the horses :wink: )

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Postby Adrian » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:26 am

G'day Glen
Good to see some 'electriks' getting some 'airplay' here.
However (don't you hate it when that word appears) doesn't your train do an instantaneous reverse at the far end ?
Personally I would have used a Picaxe to do the same thing.
More expensive ? Yes.
But so much more adaptable --- you could also include acceleration and deacceleratin as well.

Shameless plug --- I will be giving a talk on using a Picaxe for almost exactly what you are doing next Easter at the Narrow Gauge Convention in Melbourne.

Ian wrote:
I am assuming that the magnet somehow triggers the thingy between the rails so that polarity is reversed?

Yes Ian, the 'thingy' (the reed switch) is a sealed glass tube with two iron reeds in it.
When a magnet approaches one of the reeds it is magnitized and is attracted to the other reed so closing the circuit.
Glen uses this closure to toggle the relay which reverses the polarity to the track.
Reed switches are cheap and reliable and can even be buiried in the ballest to become invisible if you feel so inclined.

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Postby Artizen » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:14 am

Adrian - I'll be talking to you in Melbourne then!
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Postby Glen A » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:41 am

Adrian wrote:However (don't you hate it when that word appears) doesn't your train do an instantaneous reverse at the far end ?


Hi Adrian,

I only run at 'crawling speed', not 'slot car speed', so no problem there. :wink:

Plus I have found that the little Bachmann gasser's nicely power themselves down when you change direction. So even if you were running at 'slot car speed' and change the direction switch, they nicely slow to a stop and then accelerate back up in the new direction. I think they are the best locos ever built :D

p.s. The intention of this was to be a simple project anyone can do. I'm sure that picaxe and other big electronic projects can do the job better, but they are not necessarily simple... :wink:

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...the magnets...

Postby Prof Klyzlr » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:18 am

Dear Gn15 fans,

Simple analog DC shuttles have been a bread-n-butter piece of many show layout builders toolkits for many years now.

However, given the need to run any loco (without modification, reconfig, or reporgramming), in any direction, at any orientation, at any time, and in some cases suddenly press-gang brand-new or "foreign" equipment into service on the shuttle route, any method which requires modification to operate (such as mounting magnets on cars or locos) is a hamstring I know I'd rather not have to deal with.

As an alternative, a "dumb timer" 555-based reverser and a diode "stopping section" at each end achieves the same basic results, without requiring any mods to the locos or rollingstock...

http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/AutoRevCheap.html

Given that the reverser relay is a "pass thru" situation, it can be effectively "plugged in circuit" between any analog throttle/controller and track feed, IE entirely adaptable to any existing layout or system.

For bonus points, simply dropping power to the reverser circuit drops the relay to a known predictable state, so a single SPST "manual/auto" switch is all that's needed to switch on-the-fly to/from "shuttle" and "direct manual drive" mode...

Just another way to skin the same cat... ;-)

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

PS Units similar to the Rob Paisley circuit are available commercially here in Aust from Anton's Trains, and in the UK from GaugeMaster.

http://www.gaugemaster.com/item_details ... augemaster SS-1

Circuitron also do the AR1 and AR2 units which are slightly different, and use light-dependent detectors at the end-of-run

http://www.circuitron.com/index_files/cat/301CAT.pdf
check Page 29 by he printed page #s, or page 42 as indicated by PDF Reader

PPS: now, if only DCC were capable of the same trick,
while forfilling all of the established operational and practical criteria noted above... ;-)
Happy Modelling,
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Prof Klyzlr

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Postby rue_d_etropal » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:50 pm

The diode and timer is the way I have been operating shuttles for years. I have some relatively cheap units bought a few years ago and just extracted from storage. Fortunately they worked(one failure out of 5), but if I have a problem I will switch to my ever trustworthy Gaugemaster unit.

Very useful at exhibitions. I am planning to use it on my APA module when it is exhibited as part of the French challenge in October.
I am also exhibiting it at a one day show this month in Blackburn, so I will be able to see how well it runs. The module is wired so the sidings at back can be operated separately from the line at the front, which operates as a shuttle.
Tested module last night in operators mode, ie from back, and will need to sort out some lighting just in case. Loads for wagons also need to be tested, either loose granules representing grapes, or a solid infill which can be easily removed. Depends on time, so will try with loose granules/seeds first.
I am using the Bachmann HO GE70 locos as basis for my Gn15 locos. As they are DCC onboard, they need to power up before moving off . Nice slow runners as well.
Agree it is a pity there is nothing easy for DCC to operate a shuttle. Suppose the answer is to have the lines split so the shuttle section can be run on analogue and rest on DCC. I think that would work on my module, but no point as only one loco on shunting lines.
Simon Dawson
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Postby Glen A » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:26 pm

Very good, diode and timer. Yes that normally works.

However in my instance I could not put a dead section with diode in one end due to the other train needing to run well into the dead section to get the wagon lined up with the dump shoot. (sorry, I should have made that clearer at the start).

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Postby bandmbill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:27 pm

CML Electronics do a DSS1 that can shuttle using DCC - see their website

http://www.cmlelectronics.co.uk
Using DCC since 1997 wherever I can!

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Postby rue_d_etropal » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:43 pm

Glen, one problem with the diode is that different trains/locos might require different stop points, especially if train is reversed. Solution is to have more than one section with diodes, and a switch to bypass diode. This would also work if line is shared. It might not be simple but neither is it complex.
Simon Dawson
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Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
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Postby Adrian » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:17 am

G'day Gentlemen,
It seems that there as many solutions to the problem as there are grains of sand on a beach.
Glen has found one system that works for him in his situation.
The Prof's solution also works but does have the problem of putting the diodes in the correct position.
An 'intelegent' reverser has to make use of sensors but these could be optical which could allow for 'foreign' equipment on the line without any modification.
The CML shuttle system does work on DCC, BUT ONLY with Digitrax controllers (it uses the Loconet system which is Digitrax only).
DCC can also be used with JMRI I belive which can use any type of DCC controller---- have yet to try it though :!:
Personally I like the microcontroller approach as, once wired up, the parameters can be modified with the touch of a key. It can also be expanded to include signals, level crossings etc. if that's your thing.
A thread like this only goes to show just what a divergent group we are.
All with different skill sets and different ways of solving the same problems in their own ways.
Isn't it a wonderfull world ?
Adrian Hoad

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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:27 am

Dear Adrian,

As a extra bit of info, the NCE MiniPanel appears to be the same basic animal as the DSS1, albeit strictly for NCE systems.

Both have limitations which are more to do with the DCC at-the-rails command structure than the actual units themselves, but we'll leave that conversation for another time... ;-)

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr
Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

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Gerry Bullock
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:43 am

Here's the unit I plan to use Glen (You'll know where :wink: ):

Image
So little time, so many ideas!!!!! GerryB.
http://gn15gnutt.blogspot.com/

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Postby Prof Klyzlr » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:50 am

Dear Gerry,

Love the way that some people consider basic circuits soo "proprietary" that they must scrub off any and all ID markings on the components...

Seems to be a curiously UK thing, I've noted the same thing with items sold by Gaugemaster...

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr
Last edited by Prof Klyzlr on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

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Postby bonneville » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:42 pm

I expect we could all write volumes about curiously British model railway habits and thinking, maybe a future subject for the Blether columns maybe? :lol:
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Postby Adrian » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:41 am

G'day Alex
I expect we could all write volumes about curiously British model railway habits and thinking

Why stop at British :?: :?:
I can assure you that strange habits don't respect international borders.
Cheers
Adrian Hoad

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