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Thread: Aurdino control of Kato switches?

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    Default Aurdino control of Kato switches?

    Anyone know of a project where someone has built a control scheme to throw a Kato switch with an Arduino?

    I would like to build a control panel that works with push buttons and JMRI.

    I guess it would help if I could spell.
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

    My build thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...706#post476706

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    I haven't completed the puzzle but I have put the various pieces together. You'll need about 800mA for at least 50ms (preferably longer) to throw a regular Kato turnout, and twice that current for the double crossover. That's way more current than an Arduino output pin can drive, so you'll need a relay, a driver transistor, or a CDU or something to deliver the actual drive pulse.

    The logic itself is pretty simple. You have two wires going to the turnout. The polarity of the pulse sent on the wires determines the direction thrown. So either two Arduino pins, or one pin with an inverter or something like that.

    I could provide schematics and what not if you need them, but it's a fun "exercise for the reader" ...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
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    I was following up to CDU. What is that?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry but how many switches do you think can be controlled from a single Arduino?
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

    My build thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...706#post476706

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    I was looking at one point into making a DCC accessory decoder from an Arduino for controlling Kato turnouts, just haven't had the time lately to follow up on it. I remember finding a circuit for it once, IIRC. If I can find it again, I'll post a link.

    Andrew

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    Thanks Andrew, I have burned up Google and Yahoo looking for a similar project. I would like to build a control panel for my yard with 14 switches. The mains are already on DS64 DCC control.
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

    My build thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...706#post476706

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    Quote Originally Posted by genshed62 View Post
    I was following up to CDU. What is that?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry but how many switches do you think can be controlled from a single Arduino?

    CDU = "Capacitive Discharge Unit" basically a big capacitor that provides the current pulse (charge dump) to actually throw the turnout in response to the control switch.

    With the right circuitry external to the Arduino, you could control any number of turnouts. One per general purpose IO pin, that would depend on which Arduino you have. Plus you could add IO expander chips to provide additional controls.

    I'll see if I can cook up a circuit. Give me a bit.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by genshed62 View Post
    I was following up to CDU. What is that?
    Capacitor Discharge Unit. Pretty cool actually. Hornby has them but there has to be a cheaper option.

    Thanks @TwinDad for setting me off in the right direction.
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

    My build thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...706#post476706

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    Something along these lines should work:

    kswitch.png


    DRIVE goes to an Arduino output. With DRIVE high, the turnout switches one way, with DRIVE low, it switches the other way.

    With the high current being switched, you may want to use two Arduino pins... one for DRIVE and one for /DRIVE (and remove the connection between them). This would allow you to turn off both FETs briefly before turning the other one on, to avoid the very brief short circuit that may happen while switching them with just DRIVE.

    So the sequence would be (assuming starting with Q1 ON and Q2 OFF)
    1) Turn OFF Q1 (set DRIVE to high)
    2) Wait a brief time
    3) Turn ON Q2 (set /DRIVE to high)

    Then to switch the other way:
    1) Turn OFF Q2 (set /DRIVE to low)
    2) Wait a brief time
    3) Turn ON Q1 (set DRIVE to low)

    Q1 and Q2 would need to be rated for 1A + and at least 12V, but that shouldn't be hard to find, given the brief pulse period.

    Now, if you want to share a single capacitor with multiple turnouts, the circuit gets a little more complex...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
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    Very cool. At least I can find electronic parts here. Thank you very much TD. Off to the parts market. I will build one test switch for now.
    Andy C.,
    Southern Pine Rail Operations, Back in Cypress TEXAS

    My build thread: http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...706#post476706

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    This has been helpful. I would (almost) kill for an Arduino Shield with the appropriate circuitry that I could just connect. Looking to accomplish a fairly sophisticated mix of manual, sense, positive feedback and it looks like DigiTrax will just not cut it....

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    Default Ardiuno Control of KATO Switches

    A few years ago I experimented with using the Arduino MEGA to control the Kato Switches on my layout. I have 14 switches and using the 8 relay boards with optocouplers I was able to get the system working mostly. Unfortunately, at that time, I was unfamiliar with a lot of the hardware and the need for using resistors to pull down pins and even though the code worked fine, the hardware left my switches dancing due to RMF on the switch input wires. I was very short on time and the layout was going to my son so I took the Arduino's out and used toggle switches wired for reverse operation with a momentary switch between the main power and the toggles so I could give the momentary pulse. If you would like the code, I think I still have it around somewhere, let me know. At this point in the game, I am building a DCC++ system and going to use Arduino not only as the command station but a second and third one as a decoder to move the switches. Because I will not need two inputs for every switch I may be able to get all 14 switches on one Arduino Mega.

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