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  • Location
    South Hampshire
  • Interests
    GWR, Heritage Railways, Steam Locos

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  1. The TowerPro SG90 & the HobbyKing HXT 900 look like the right options for 9g servos and it is clear that many modellers have used these successfully for both turnouts and signals. I am intrigued by the HobbyKing HK-5330 "ultra micro" servo, which is only 23 x 20 x 6 mm size. It has much lower torque than the 9g servos, but I think that this is going to be OK when driving semaphore signals. I aim to try out a set of these for driving a junction bracket signal, where there are 3 arms to control and where space for the motors is more of an issue. Mike.
  2. Well, I view it a bit differently. You are going to need some kind of DCC controller, like it or not - I would not lump the cost of that into the equation here, since it is table stakes for having a DCC enabled layout in the first place. So the extra cost for automation is really the Pi - and you don't have to have the monitor for the Pi, since it can be run "headless". OK, in my case I have a Digikeijs DR5000 controller and I use a Pi400 with a large touchscreen monitor (22", not 7" !), but I regard that as a replacement for a "traditional" mimic panel. You don't have
  3. Colin, I wonder whether the automation that you're looking for might be achieved using a Raspberry Pi running software like JMRI or RocRail, rather than using an Arduino. If you used an Arduino, I think that you would have to implement a lot of software yourself, both on the detection side, since you need to know where trains are located dynamically, and also on the control side, since you have to set routes on the layout and drive trains. I am sure that this could be done using an Arduino, but from what I know about available software, it looks like a lot of work. Your
  4. I agree with Iain that the Digikeijs DR4018 is one very good option. It can control 16 on/off channels which can be used for lighting etc, each on its own address. Pay attention however to the max loadings - 3A in total but 2A on any pair of channels. Yours, Mike
  5. My thinking is that, for a point motor fitted above the baseboard below the points, this is not a particularly big distance. For the MP1s that I use, it represents a gap from the top of the motor to the base of the turnout of 15mm. The equivalent distance on my own layout with the motors fitted under the baseboard is 12mm. I don't forsee any problem with this working successfully, unless the track itself is not held firmly and gets moved sideways when the motor switches. Using physically larger motors like Tortoise can give problems where there is not enough space to mo
  6. How far above the baseboard is the track? It isn't very clear from the photos in the link. I use MTB MP1 point motors. In principle, these could be mounted on the top of the baseboard in a hole in the foamboard layer under the points. On my layout with the MP1s mounted underneath the baseboard, there is a 12mm gap between the motor and the underside of the point. I am pretty sure that the control rod from the motor to the tie bar could deal with a gap significantly bigger than this - certainly 25mm and very likely more - the control rod is surprisingly rigid and does not flex much.
  7. Privy at the end of the garden? That brings back some memories - my great aunt's house in the 1960s, the only one of our relatives who still had one of those. Taking a torch and a bucket of water down the path to use it in the dark evening. Luckily I never had to use it in freezing weather - my dad had tales of those times where he had to break the ice first before using the toilet. Not so long ago, this was the normal way of life for many folk... Mike.
  8. Keith, I operate all the points on my layout with MTB MP1s - they are great. Very compact, easy to install with excellent adjustments if you don't line things up perfectly. Very reliable, low power and with a built-in switch that can handle frog power. I now drive them all from a touch screen using JMRI on a Raspberry Pi. Yours, Mike.
  9. Keith, I think that the simple truth is that you need to download a .uf2 file to your Pico that contains all the modules that your programs are going to use - and at the moment, that does look a bit messy since this is all very new and things are being updated in real time ("it's still steaming in the morning air" as I said in an earlier post). There certainly seems to be: a uf2 file produced by the Raspberry Pi folks, which I think is quite vanilla a uf2 file produced by the Pimoroni folks, which I think addresses their hardware a uf2 file from the
  10. Yes, perhaps. Although the differences are so many it looks to me almost like scratchbuilding from generic Scalescenes materials to get something close to the original. Mike.
  11. Andrew, I think we all agree that it's the voltage drop across the wire that counts. And I also agree with you that it is always better to over specify. I probably don't need a 2.5mm2 track bus on my layout, with its maximum cable run of the order of 5m and a max of 4 or 5 locos running at the same time, but the hassle of having to rip out and replace underspecified cable just isn't worth considering. Perhaps to assist the OP in deciding what cable to use, I'll provide a link to a useful Voltage Drop Calculator tool, which can give hard numbers to the use of any gi
  12. Keith, I assume that you found the Pico Python SDK document here: https://datasheets.raspberrypi.org/pico/raspberry-pi-pico-python-sdk.pdf This then references the general MicroPython docs here: https://docs.micropython.org/en/latest/reference/index.html An import statement references a module that contains a library of functions that you can use in the Python program. The machine module is described here: https://docs.micropython.org/en/latest/library/machine.html The machine module is supposed to
  13. Sorry - no can do. The hint is in my moniker
  14. So I think it's a good idea to separate out the different connections that you are talking about: 1. "phones can all connect fine" - what phones are you talking about, and what app(s) are you running on them? - I assume you are talking about the phones connecting directly to the DR5000 over WiFi - i.e. you are not using your home WiFi system 2. "the Z21 app can't" - you mean that you are running the Z21 app on a phone, but it is unable to connect to the DR5000 WiFi? 3. "the computer can connect fine but can't control the device" - is this
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