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Thread: What can I read from my DC track...

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    Default What can I read from my DC track...

    I decided to stop hijacking @Metrolink MRC 3000 thread (and my own MRC Cab Controller 55 thread) to ask about / discuss reading data from DC (actually I just noticed that @Metrolink had the same idea with his post about incorporating voltmeters into his MRC 3000's). Anyway, I think this is a different enough thread so posted it.

    Question/Topic: I am trying to figure out what data I can read from my DC track.

    Purpose/Why: I think it would be cool to display some/all of this data on my control panel but it will also help me see if it is possible to build an Arduino-based version of the Kato Soundbox (I have some friends that are super into audio-video editing so can help with creating and mixing the sound files). I am also looking for some fun electronic projects that I can do with my kids (or rather to show them what is possible when you get off the iPad) -- looking over the next year or more in all likelihood since work is crazy busy these days...

    Starting Point Volts & Amps: I went ahead and purchased a couple of voltmeter-ammeter combination units so that I can test out what I can read from my track (I had some cheap voltmeters but want to see how amps vary on my level track and on my slopes with and without loads).

    Can I read back-EMF? Next I will try to figure out how to read back-emf -- I saw one post that seemed to suggest you could read voltage between DC pulses but in the opposite polarity (if I am understanding things correctly): "BEMF is a side effect of Pulse Width Modulation. The decoder can read the voltage generated when the power is disconnected from the motor." ( This would be easy enough to test but might not work depending on how the MRC Cab Control 55's circuit is designed. I dont want to mess with the locomotives so want to try to read what I can from the track -- any ideas / advice?

    Scale Speedometer? Finally, I might try to setup an Arduino circuit w/ an IR sensor to calculate scale speed at one or two points on my loops. I think I have everything I need to do this (bought some IR sensors to control my o-scale crossing gates but I think I can use them for this). I need to read quite a bit more on this.

    Anything else I should think about reading? THANKS!

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