Posts by rcmodeler

    My brothers layout is run by DCC++ and until now the power from the command station was limited to 2A

    which was the max power from the Arduino motorshield. Since the layout is still under construction that

    wasn't a big issue. But it needed to be increased.

    So now I have built a second version of the command station which is equipped with a more powerful

    motordriver called IBT_2, which can deliver 43A (in theory). And i put it all together in a small 3D-printed box.

    Inside it looks like this:


    On the bottom is an Arduino Mega with DCC++EX 4.0 and on top of that is a Wemos D1 mini that controls MQTT communication.

    The IBT_2 motordriver is mounted on the lid. There is also Volt- and Ampmeter and two RGB-leds.

    USB ports are accessible at the back for software updates without disassemble the box.

    IMG_20220803_090333_25.jpgIt is programmed to deliver up to 5A and I hope that will be enough for a while.

    The layout is divided into 4 different power sections so when it is ready it is easy to add boosters when needed.

    IMG_20220803_090425_25.jpgIt is tested and working.

    Next project....

    Made some short videos on a new, cool part on my brothers layout.

    A small turntable för KLV 12.

    KLV 12 turntable video 1
    Short video of a small, homemade, low budget turntable for KLV 12, scale 0.It is made of 3D-printed parts and a microprocessor controls a stepper motor in 3 ...

    KLV 12 turntable video 2
    Just another video of the small turntable.

    KLV 12 turntable video 3
    And a third video of the small turntable.

    NEW problem.

    I don't know what the metal parts are made of but it is quite brittle (someone in another forum called it monkey-metal).

    Anyway, when I took the boggie apart for changing the gears I noticed a crack in the motor bracket, and on a test run

    with a boggie with some load on, the motor bracket snapped of and the motor got loose.

    There is a similar crack on the other boggie at the same place.


    My first idea was to simply make a new motor bracket and drill some holes in the monkey metal for some screws,

    and when I did that another part snapped off :(


    Time to make something drastic X(

    I've been playing around with Fusion 360 for a while and I thought I will try to make a 3D-print of a boggie.

    Just using a caliper and a lot of patience this came out of the printer:


    Well, this was not the first attempt but it is the final prototype.

    It is PLA and it is easier to see any mistakes when it's not black.

    Trying to put everything together:


    Not too bad:


    Power pick-up:


    they are just pressed in place just like these:


    and it looks alright:


    does it work?


    well, so far, so good. Sounds ok.

    Probably going to use some other type of plastic, and another color, of course.

    But anyway, not bad at all :)

    Over to the next problem, couplings.

    I want to have Lenz couplings because they work very well and all other rolling material has the same.

    The ideal thing would be some kind "telex" couplings as on Lenz locomotives, but as I don't have any of these

    and don't know if there are any to buy somewhere, I decided to 3D-print a holder to the standard Lenz cuopling.

    It will do for now, the important thing is that I can use it.

    The holder was drawn in Fusion 360 and it looks like this. Thera are two printed parts, the red one is mounted on the chassie

    and the green one is holding the coupling and can rotate a little.


    I cut a small spring in two halfs and mounted them on each side so that the holder self-centers.


    And with both mounted


    The height is correct, maybe I need to adjust the length, but that's easy.


    If anyone knows if Lenz automatic couplings is available somewhere, please let me know :)

    Regarding the cracked gear, could it be, that Heljan manufacture their engine in the same China company like Bachmann.

    They have the same problem with their On30 range of engines, where some original sealed locomotives had cracked gears when you open the package.

    I have the small Bachmann On30 diesel engine, and it does have a cracked gear. :(

    It's on my neverending todo-list :rolleyes:

    Tomorrow is today :)

    Visiting Heljan's homepage made it clear that there are no spare parts for Nohab MY, except for handrails.

    But there seems to be some plastic gears for some other, strange locomotives in scale 0.

    They look the same, but a picture of a spare part in a plastic bag doesn't tell much.

    Well, I sent an email to Heljan's service department with measurement and number of teeth on the gears that I need,

    and asked if that was any of their spare parts that would fit. Got a quite fast reply stating:

    "This item has been sold out for more than 10 years and we no longer carry spares for this item"

    I took a chance and ordered two look-a-like gear sets and hoped for the best.

    Price for the part, around €9 each pair isn't so bad, but they have a fixed shipping cost at around €30,

    even for the smallest part. I don't give Heljan's service any stars.

    Well, does the Gear assembly for O Class 35, 47 V1 & 37 V1 (2010)+Class 55 fit Nohab MY?


    Nope, but close enough. New one to the left, old to the right:


    The only difference is the length of the axle, the new one is 1mm longer on the top.

    A simple solution would be to file it down but I'm afraid to damage the plastic gear.

    So I went for a more simple solution, made the axle hole in the boggie 1mm deeper:


    After checking that everything is rotating freely it's time to assemble it again:


    Hade a short testdrive with the boggie on the testtrack. Does it work? YESSSS!!! :thumbup:

    Made the same operation with the other boggie and then I call this problem solved :)

    Next problem.......

    I have already solved some of the problems. Was going to write it in the second post but I get interrupted all the time. Women! :cursing:

    Beginning with a view of the project:


    Then we can begin with the gear problem.

    There are two identical boggies with one motor each, looks like this:


    And if we take it apart it looks like this:


    The two plastic gears next to the motor shaft is cracked, same on both boggies.


    There are two separate plastic gears pressed on the same axle, the small one is cracked and doesn't rotate:


    To be continued tomorrow..... :)

    With the top of it is easy to see that the motors are running but the wheels are not :(

    So it is a gear problem. I don't know if it is a common problem with this loco,

    but Heljan has apperantly problem with broken plastic gears on other locos.

    Pics are coming later (today, I hope).

    There is no dcc socket. It is just an analog PCB. That's why it is a problem.

    I had a lack of long time projects :S so I got myself another one.

    Bought a used Heljan 44801 Nohab MY with unknown history.

    It's an unpainted (brown plastic) model with high mileage (visible wear on the wheels) and some parts missing.

    But it's beautiful anyway :love:

    There are some problems that needs to be fixed so that it can be driveable.

    The three biggest problems is:

    * it is analog, DC.

    * I need to put Lenz couplings on it and there are no accessorie bag in the box

    * when I try to drive it with DC, lights are working but it is not moving

    Well, time to address the problems.

    I have become quite familiar with Kicad (for making PCB) and tried to make some cards with the more efficient microcontroller ESP32.

    It has a lot more I/O pins so I don't need as many cards to control everything.

    There is an ESP32 in my handheld control but there I only use a few pins.

    So my first ESP32 card looks like this


    Made some minor flaws on the design that doesn't make any difference, will fix it for the next version.

    It has 24 pins (4 are just inputs) and can control leds, servos, buttons, whatever.

    Just solder the components needed, not all of them.

    An extra bonus is that ALLPCB sent me these cards for free, no charge, not even for freight.

    I have soldered two of these cards and will install the firs one next week.

    God evening, Johan.

    Code and schematics are just prototype versions. The code for the handheld control is quite large and not well commented,

    and it is still growing. The schematic is not so complicated.

    I´m going to make a new version for the base station this autumn with the new DCC++EX and a more powerful motor driver (IBT_2).

    Maybe I can share that if someone is interested, and go from there.


    Beginning to develop some pcb in Kicad, easier to solder and looks a lot better.

    First one is a card that can control 8 servos for turnouts or other things.


    Next one is a more flexible card that can control signals, lights and servos too. Mix as you please.


    And the rescent one that I just finished in Kicad is a card for 4 block occupancy detectors.

    It is a quite simple and cheap type based on a bridge rectifier, ac optocoupler, led and a couple of resistors.


    Picture borrowed from:


    "S" from this card goes to "S" on the flexible card above, and when f.ex. a locomotive is on a detected piece of track

    then a message is sent to those that are interested, signals, track plan, what ever.

    And as a final for this year a made a video on a 3D-printed, wireless, modular track plan that we use:


    That's all for now.

    Happy New Year! :)

    As I don't have any stationary layout at home I've started to build some modules in scale 0,
    and maybe attend to some meetings in the future. At those meetings they have another system
    for dcc control but at home I would like to use my wireless system.

    I have a lot of battery powered machines and thus I also have a lot of batteries,
    so I made a battery powered DCC++ master station with wifi and mqtt so
    I can use my wireless controls.

    Made a short (bad) video on how it works:


    Upgraded the wireless sender with new microcontroller.
    The old one was an Arduino Nano (blue) and the new one is ESP32 (black)

    ESP32 has a lot more memory, is much faster, has built in wifi and bluetooth and sd-card reader

    The only extra thing in the box is a voltage converter to feed the microcontroller and display from the DeWalt battery

    USB-port for uploading new program and SD-card (for future functions) is accessible from outside

    And as I was at it, I made three :D

    They are identical except for their "device name", sender 1, 2 and 3

    and can be used independent or all at the same time, there is no master or slave.
    When startpicture shows it is connected to the mqtt broker

    Everything else works the same, for now. There will be more functions later on.

    Tested and working fine :)

    Now summer is knocking on my door and a lot of work is waiting outdoors ;(

    Moving on with ir-detectors. We now have a couple of them mounted and the first thing we are going to use them with is a road crossing.
    I've made a test setup for a light and sound crossing just to se how it works. The test setup looks like this:

    It is my favourite microcontroller Wemos D1 mini, Mp3-player with SD-card and speaker, one white LED and two red LED.
    The soundfile on the SD-card is downloaded and probably american. Going to record one in Sweden in a couple of weeks.
    The soundfile is trimmed in start and end, and goes in a loop.

    The ir-detectors messages can of course be used in many applications, this is a great advantage with mqtt.

    A small video of this test drive can be seen here:
    Road crossing test