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Thread: Why did I buy an O scale Boxcar?

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    Default Why did I buy an O scale Boxcar?

    I thought it would make a nice case for my JMRI Raspberry Pi.

    I picked up this cheap, beat up O scale boxcar and a short piece of track, for... reasons...

    IMG_4715.jpg

    IMG_4719.jpg

    IMG_4720.jpg

    It's a piece of junk, with parts missing and broken. The plan is for this to just be the prototype, and I will (eventually) either scratch-build or kit-build a nicer one for permanent use.

    I had intended to install the Pi vertically, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the interior floor is JUST wide enough for the Pi to lay flat. By shifting it down so the HDMI ports are in the open doorway, I don't even have to drill holes for the cables (I'm using PoE to power it, and don't plan to hook the audio up right now). Obviously there's more work to do on the fan mount... I need to cut holes for air flow, etc.

    The hardest part about this little project may well be figuring out where in the room I can put it!
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Ha -that's a cool idea.
    Master Po - "Accept the ways of others, respect first your own"

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    Now I'm wondering... Maybe I should mount the fan in the upper half of the open door, blowing out, with a little baffle to ensure the air flows in the bottom and across the Pi before curving up and over to the fan... if that makes any sense...

    Something like this:
    Airflow3.png
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Maybe put some short spacers under the Pi to help draw air around and up from the bottom?? .... to go along with the baffle.

    Sumner
    Modeling UP from late 40's to early 70's very loosely......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
    Maybe put some short spacers under the Pi to help draw air around and up from the bottom?? .... to go along with the baffle.

    Sumner
    That's a good idea... except because the Pi is exactly the width of the car, I'd probably still want to keep the Pi maybe midway through the lower opening so I get airflow both below-and-around and directly over the card?

    Plus I need to retain space for the cables to enter...

    Airflow4.png
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    If you wanted ventilation, you could have started with a stock car.

    If you want to power it, some 18650 batteries in a tank car can do the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegaman Dan View Post
    If you wanted ventilation, you could have started with a stock car.

    If you want to power it, some 18650 batteries in a tank car can do the job.
    Both very good ideas... A stock car would be great for passive ventilation. There's plenty of space in the boxcar for batteries, though. These O scale cars are HUGE. Batteries in this case are a non-starter, though, as this is the main layout computer, and I like to keep it up 24/7. The boxcar will be a stationary display, so having the cables out the back isn't really an issue.

    I could save myself a bunch of trouble by using WiFi for the network connection and the wall wart for power. The main reason I need the active ventilation, ironically, is because of the PoE hat, not because of the processor heating. But I'm reserving the option to use the onboard WiFi as an access point/host for WiThrottle, and using PoE reduces the cable count by one (and allows me to get both HDMI ports in the boxcar door).

    Having said that, if only I had a wireless solution for the LocoNet connection, with a good battery the whole layout computer could be in a train on an O scale layout... "Hey, where's your layout computer?" "It's on the through freight to Bakersfield..."
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    Having said that, if only I had a wireless solution for the LocoNet connection, with a good battery the whole layout computer could be in a train on an O scale layout... "Hey, where's your layout computer?" "It's on the through freight to Bakersfield..."
    I know you're not too serious about this, but there _is_ a bluetooth loconet bridge available: http://www.mollehem.se/index.php/en/...terface-detail - I've had my hands on one and we managed (without any proper preparation, not even testing it) to kill the layout's loconet with it, but with proper installation and configuration, sounds like you could do what you were talking about

    Heiko

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    Will the Pi fit in there vertically? Would cool better that way maybe and you might be able to run the cables straight down and out the bottom thru the track and whatever benchwork it is sitting on. Something like a loading platform could be placed in front of the car to hid the cables exiting the bottom.

    Sumner
    Modeling UP from late 40's to early 70's very loosely......

    Under$8.00 Servo turnout Control --- 3D Printed Model RR Objects -- MyHome Page
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko View Post
    I know you're not too serious about this, but there _is_ a bluetooth loconet bridge available: http://www.mollehem.se/index.php/en/...terface-detail - I've had my hands on one and we managed (without any proper preparation, not even testing it) to kill the layout's loconet with it, but with proper installation and configuration, sounds like you could do what you were talking about

    Heiko
    Not TOO serious... but at $30 USD that's not a bad deal. Of course it could also be "faked" with a PR-3, a second R-Pi under the layout running JMRI, and the boxcar/Pi using LocoNetOverTCP... but at that point it's just a gag... might as well just run JMRI on the under-layout Pi.

    Scratch-building that BT-LocoNet interface with an Arduino or ESP or something would be an interesting challenge, though...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Aaaaaaand... here's the "finished" product... at least until I scratchbuild a nicer car to install it in.

    Here's the inside view:


    Boxcar Pi Case Inside by Mark, on Flickr

    The Pi is laying flat in the bottom. The fan and its baffle are taped in place in the open door that will face the rear. The baffle ensures that intake air flows over the Pi before being exhausted by the fan. The Ethernet and USB cables enter the car through the door below the baffle, and loop around to connect. The Pi is positioned so that both of the HDMI connectors are in the doorway so the HDMI cable can plug directly in. Power is delivered over the Ethernet cable via PoE.

    Exterior views as "installed":

    The back side of the car...


    Boxcar Pi Case Back Side by Mark, on Flickr

    The front side of the car...


    Boxcar Pi Case by Mark, on Flickr


    The front side as seen from the desk chair below. The monitor and keyboard/mouse are on the desk below the bottom of the picture.


    Boxcar Pi Case by Mark, on Flickr
    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 know this is an older thread. But I have to say I like what you did.
    Just an old gandy dancer.


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    that is a very cool idea using an old box car or cattle car......

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    You should mark the car in some way so that it is not mistaken for just some weird tangent you took.
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