Simple, affordable DIY Deadrail system

Discussion in 'Welcome to the DARK side' started by leadie69, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. leadie69

    leadie69 Full Member

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    Hi Andy - the ESP32 is the big one with all the pin connections on top left, the motor driver is top right and the voltage regulator is on the bottom.
    Ian
     
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  2. Andy_Sollis

    Andy_Sollis Staff Member Moderator

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    Cheers Ian
     
  3. Bernie

    Bernie Full Member

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    Hi Ian, this dead rail system is certainly interesting, and great work devising this solution. Steve Massikker's set up is a very comprehensive system, worth a read and I would like to try out his test track over a spare few days. Looking forward to the shunting version you mentioned in the future and your slightly modified code (what did you change?). So questions:
    1. What sort of battery? Jaycar has 1000 mAH Ni-CD and 910 mAH NI-MH on special clearance at the moment. By all accounts the Ni-MH are better for this application. Incidentally, Jaycar is excelling at pick & collect with 1 hour order to pick up, that is faster than I can get my skates on. Only just been able to collect this month now that we can do 15 kilometers for shopping. Last time I did delivery it took weeks.
    2. Voltage regulator to 11 volts? 3.7 x 3 = 11.1, is it that critical? Or does it keep that voltage at 11 volts as the battery power runs down?
    3. Charging? Obviously, there is no charging circuit here, so one needs to have it removable from the van or have the cable pull out from underneath, and a suitable charger, what do you do?
    4 been dabbling an Arduino for servo point control, can the Arduino IDE be used to load the esp32? I have read up and they certainly seem a more advanced unit than the Arduino.

    Looking forward to more, simply fascinating ingenuity ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  4. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi Bernie

    The 3.7V is the nominal voltage for LiPo's, charged to 100% the cells will be 4.2V and should never be allowed to fall below 3.2V otherwise the cells can become permanently damage, or may ever set on fire or explode.
    LiPo's have a far greater energy density than NiMH batteries often between 2 and 4 time the power for the same size and voltage, and each cell has a nominal voltage of 1.2V charged and should avoid being dropped below 0.7V per cell. NiCd's have the same 1.2V per cell, and can be discarged to 0V, but have a lower power density than NiMH.
    Another advantage of the LiPo's is they self discharge far slower than either NiMH or NiCd's. Never thought I'd be using my old RC car knowledge again. LiPo's can alco be charged at a far higher current than either NiMH or NiCd's, a LiPo charger is required, as the charge is in two stages
    1. Constant current - a fast charge up to approx 80% - charge current is determined by the "C" rating 1C = 1 x Battery capacity, e.g. for a 1000mA battery charge = 1A, for a 2C battery the charge rate would be 2A, 3C 3A etc,etc.
    2. Constant Voltage - final part of the charge, current reduces until battery is at 4.2V per cell, the best chargers will monitor and control the charge on each individual cell.
    Hope this helps

    Paul
     
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  5. Trainguy

    Trainguy Full Member

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    Hi this is an interesting idea.
    Is the app still working well. Do you encounter any issues?
     
  6. leadie69

    leadie69 Full Member

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    Hi Trainguy,
    The app still works but, last time I looked, it has been taken off the Play Store. I have pretty much stopped using the ESP32 as it is a bit big to fit into smaller wagons. For shunting I'm starting to go back to an arduino based infra red system that I designed some time ago as I find the code much easier to modify. I have used a wifi system called OSRailway that I found on thingiverse which is good for use on a large layout but I still keep coming back to my IR system for my small shunting layouts. I have recently installed the IR control in a Bachmann On30 Shay and found it works really well.



    Ian
     
  7. Trainguy

    Trainguy Full Member

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    Nice work! That is impressive. Do you have and info you can share on the IR system you have implemented?
     
  8. leadie69

    leadie69 Full Member

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    I don't have any pics to hand right now but basically it is powered by a 9 volt battery which connects directly to the motor driver and, via a 5volt regulator, to the leonardo tiny. When the IR receiver gets a signal the leonardo sends the direction and speed selected to the input side (5volt) of the motor driver which then sends the appropriate pulse rate and direction info to the motor (9volt). I have also programmed the leonardo to turn on the orange led in the cab when it receives a command and leave it on until it has finished sending data to the motor driver - this gives the effect of the firebox door being opened and also lets me know that the system is busy and can't receive another command until the led turns off.

    I hope this all makes sense.

    Ian
     
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  9. steve

    steve Full Member

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    Hi Ian.
    Thanks, great video. Looks really good and running nicely on that layout.
    Is that video of the Bachmann On30 shay. It looks like it is. I have one, and they are quite impressive, although I think the clutch slips a bit, as the shaft is driving the bogies (trucks). Mine is DCC with sound, and sound good.
    Nicely done
    Steve
     

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