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Throttled CAB Controller

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  • RMweb Gold

Firstly apologies for this (very) late entry into the “2012 Scratchbuild Challenge” as I've only just thought of the entry and just received the “nod” to be allowed to enter it.


What I have built, (without a thought of entering it into the Scratchbuild Challenge), is a programmable/customisable DC Train Controller.


I have called it a “Throttled CAB Controller”.


(With hindsight, a more suitable name would have been better!)



It is based on my “2012 Innovation Challenge” entry a “SMART Power Board” which I later called “Smart Driver Board”. Basically a one stop PCB for all (almost!) Model railway motor control requirements.




The schematic and PCB development can be reviewed here:-





The components for the PCB I bought “locally” when I was based in China and the Box and Controls were bought at Maplin Electronics, (mainly because I could walk in, brows, select and mull, and then pay for the bits I wanted).


The build of “Throttled CAB Controller” can be found on page, of the same thread, here:-





I've always wanted to build my own controller and building one now allowed me to fulfil that desire AND it allowed me to demonstrate an application of my challenge entry WHILST being a very good test bed for future software development.



The controller has two outputs, which can be selected, or the control can be 'passed' to a PC.

There is Inertia and Braking available for several 'classes' of train.

The control knob has been configured to be a 'Forward-OFF-Reverse' proportional power control.

An 'Enter' and a 'STOP' push button are also added for selecting programming input and “stopping” in a hurry.

A shuttle control is also built in, but this shuttle unit is quite special. You program the 'shuttle' by, selecting the relevant mode, and then 'drive the train' and the controller records the journey. This has the advantage of being able to change the trains speed (to position) several times – need to slow to pick up a Token when passing a signal box or how about crawling up to the buffers in the Bay Platform but gentally accelerating away? Now you can!

An “inch” button, (depending on operating Mode), is also included to 'aid' coupling/uncoupling.

Plus many more features as, and when, I think of them!

(Most of the above need to be added to the software BUT that will only require some time. The Hardware is already in place.)


All of the panel controls are completely programmable and thus you can change their assigned use to something else. The panel fascia is just a printout, that I laminated at work, so when (not if) you change the way the controller works you can quickly, cheaply and easily thus incorporate it into the controller – to give you the exact controller that you want.



Anyway, I give you :-





I will post a video of the 'simple' controller working shortly.



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  • RMweb Gold

The attached video (hopefully) has had its name changed so that I could download it to RMweb.

If you want to play it (just a Gronk going back and forth when I turn the knob) then you will have to download it and change the file's extenstion to ".3GP".





(Sorry for the extremely short vid but I had to fit it into 2Mb!)

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