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Thread: Pete's Nn3 Journey

  1. #41
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    Sorry all, I've been rather distracted doing many things and have once again neglected to log in here or update my thread!

    I will have to get some proper photos and a proper update done some time this week, but my layout has progress to all the track being laid out, with the turnout wires and feeder wires run through ready to be wired up. I've connected the turnouts to my controller and my DCC-EX CommandStation operates them well. So, yes, I have definitely made some progress!

    I have, in the meantime, assembled a small test loop which is somewhat operational, although I need to add some sensors yet and possibly some signals. It does have a working version of the turntable in miniature form though.

    I've also decided I'm going to add a mimic panel to my layout, which will integrate fully with the EX-RAIL automation capabilities of DCC-EX, so I will have a fully digital layout, but with old-school manual control available.

    I also managed to design an Nn3-ish scale shell for my Rokuhan Shorty power chassis' which is meant to resemble our Queensland Rail 2000 class railcar, and it actually turned out pretty well. I need to do some more refinements yet, particularly with respect to the headlight. There are two 0.5mm holes for the headlight, with fibre optics running to an LED inside, and I added some cut down motorcycle wheel weights as well. Again, I am lacking in photos!

    For the moment, here's a quick and dirty video of my test track in action with one of those Rokuhan Shortys in use. Note the bridge track needs some refinement, it's not perfectly level.



    Also, a quick video of the mimic panel throttle I've designed and printed using 3 slide potentiometers so I can control up to three locos with it.


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  3. #42
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    Very nice, how about more about the throttle? Are you going to get some documentation up on it?

    Also I'm aware of the EX-TurnTable along with its connection to DCC++EX probably more than some on here as I've been checking in on Discord from time to time. How about a short overview of what it is all about for the guys here also. Nice work on both,

    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
    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/RR%20Mai...ge%20Menu.html

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  5. #43
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  6. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
    Very nice, how about more about the throttle? Are you going to get some documentation up on it?
    Quote Originally Posted by sid View Post
    interesting on the throttle ......
    Ah yes, sorry, that was definitely a bit of a teaser!

    The throttle is designed specifically for DCC-EX using the API commands, runs off an Arduino Nano, and connects to a serial port on the CommandStation. I do have the code publicly available in my GitHub account, but please be aware right now it is very much a work-in-progress and has a very long way to go to being useful for anyone else. I just haven't had the time to work on the code like I need to.

    Here's the back side of the throttle:

    IMG_4997.jpg

    I designed the panel mount in Fusion360 and printed it to go with the various components I had available locally here.

    Right now, the downside with the throttle is that the loco addresses are hard coded in the software, and the only functions available on the keypad are changing direction, turning the headlight on and off, turning track power on and off, and sending an emergency stop.

    My first priority when I get back to it is to enable entering loco addresses via the keypad, and then being able to read the roster information from the CommandStation so you can select from what's available.

    For documentation, I will definitely be providing some including a Fritzing diagram to help with assembly etc., but I've only just briefly started so it's not published yet.

    Unfortunately, I've had too many distractions and other priorities lately, so a lot of my own layout progress has stalled, as has a lot of my input to the DCC-EX project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
    Also I'm aware of the EX-TurnTable along with its connection to DCC++EX probably more than some on here as I've been checking in on Discord from time to time. How about a short overview of what it is all about for the guys here also. Nice work on both,

    Sumner
    Good point Sumner, and great idea! Always happy to share on EX-Turntable!

    For those who are interested, EX-Turntable is a new (Beta) part of the DCC-EX project, and is an integrated turntable controller for a CommandStation, and can be fully automated using the new EX-RAIL capabilities as well. There's a bunch of documentation available on it on the DCC-EX website, but in essence it just uses an additional Arduino microcontroller along with a stepper driver and motor to control a turntable. It also has a traverser mode for those using horizontal or vertical traversers in staging or fiddle yards, as well as catering for turntables that don't rotate a full 360 degrees.

    My own turntable is back in the design phase again as I decided my initial plan of making brass wipers and using the pit rail as a live DCC power source was getting too fiddly and complicated, so I chose to take Sumner's approach and use a slip ring instead. I've got one in use on the tiny turntable in the video, but I need to refactor my actual layout turntable design to use that yet.

    I also just realised I have a reasonably recent photo of the layout after all my track arrived, although this is prior to running the turntable wires through to the controller, and prior to adding the feeder wires, but you can at least see the layout now in reality instead of just XTrackCAD!

    IMG_4950.jpg

    More than happy to answer any other questions on the throttle and turntable topics. I'll be away for a (probably very wet) long weekend motorcycle trip this weekend but hope to get back into some real progress again soon.

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  8. #45
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    Very quick extra update: the documentation for the serial throttle will live in my GitHub pages site, made a very brief start for now.

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    Thanks, good info Pete!

    Quote Originally Posted by peteGSX View Post
    The throttle is designed specifically for DCC-EX using the API commands, runs off an Arduino Nano, and connects to a serial port on the CommandStation.
    So would a battery and a $5.00 ESP8266 connected to the Nano's TX/RX pins and a few added lines of code for the WiFi turn the throttle into a wireless one?
    I'm interested . Maybe also post this info over in the DCC section here and add to it as the project progresses.

    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
    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/RR%20Mai...ge%20Menu.html

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    just friggin AWESOME . one day when im rich i can have a nice shop. i miss my shop sooo much......i love new styles of throttles ect for DCC++EX ect. seeing new kinds of builds getting new ideas. Just wonderful i tell ya.......
    getting more people to share or at least show what they have done to make this system better is very good for all of us hobby people and more importantly N scale setups
    lots of good ideas out there and i for one am very happy people are sharing there wonderful knowledge. its like walking down the street and seeing this fellow out side sitting in his chair on the porch with a glass of iced tea and you stop to say hello and the next thing you know you talking about every thing next thing you know its late but you have learned a lot from all his experiences in the world. aww yes nothing like B/Sing with some cold ice tea.
    Thank you all........

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  13. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
    Thanks, good info Pete!



    So would a battery and a $5.00 ESP8266 connected to the Nano's TX/RX pins and a few added lines of code for the WiFi turn the throttle into a wireless one?
    I'm interested . Maybe also post this info over in the DCC section here and add to it as the project progresses.

    Sumner

    Hmmm good question! I've not looked into a wireless option, however my test setup will have Bluetooth on it using the HC-05 master device, and a HC-06 slave device will be on my test setup's CommandStation. I did some doco for the DCC-EX website on this the other day actually: https://dcc-ex.com/reference/hardwar.../hc-05-06.html. That gives wireless capability, but only from one specific device to the CommandStation. If you use EngineDriver however, you should be able to pair with the CommandStation and use it I believe (haven't tested that yet).

    I'll have to get my hands on another WiFi module at some point and give that a try also.

    I think a 9V battery connected to VIN on the Nano would do the job nicely too.

    I'll be off for a few days now on my trip, and my home situation changed a bit this week (nothing bad, just awkward) meaning I had to relocate all my testing/experimenting stuff into the garage in boxes temporarily, so not sure when I'll get back to progress at the moment. On the plus side, that might be the kick in the pants I need to start on my layout wiring and finish up my mimic panel design ready to start building it.

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  15. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by sid View Post
    just friggin AWESOME . one day when im rich i can have a nice shop. i miss my shop sooo much......i love new styles of throttles ect for DCC++EX ect. seeing new kinds of builds getting new ideas. Just wonderful i tell ya.......
    getting more people to share or at least show what they have done to make this system better is very good for all of us hobby people and more importantly N scale setups
    lots of good ideas out there and i for one am very happy people are sharing there wonderful knowledge. its like walking down the street and seeing this fellow out side sitting in his chair on the porch with a glass of iced tea and you stop to say hello and the next thing you know you talking about every thing next thing you know its late but you have learned a lot from all his experiences in the world. aww yes nothing like B/Sing with some cold ice tea.
    Thank you all........
    You know that's a pretty spot on analogy for things like these forums Sid!

    I have learnt so much from others that I feel it's only right to give back where I can, so sharing knowledge, ideas, and (sometimes most importantly) failings so others can learn is the right way to go.

    That's one reason I joined the DCC-EX team as while I can't really contribute to the core software, I can definitely help out with the documentation and some behind the scenes stuff that the guys doing the development don't have time to do.

    With your shop comment, I'm pretty much out of room now! My layout lives in the garage on my side of our two car garage, and squeezes in with my two bikes and the workshop. As I just mentioned in my reply to Sumner I've temporarily lost my experimenting location which I had next to my laptop here, but I hope to have a solution to that sometime soon. I did a huge clean up of my workbench over the last week or so and that alone has helped so much.

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