Arduino microcontrollers are a great way of automating model railroad layouts due to their low-cost availability, open-source hardware and software and a large community to help you.
For model railroads, Arduino microcontrollers can prove to be a great resource for automating their layouts in a simple and cost-effective way. This project is such an example of automation of a multi-point model railroad layout to run two trains.
This project is an upgraded version of some of my previous point to point model railroad automation projects.
A bit into this project:
This project focusses on automating a multi-point model railroad layout which has three stations. There is a starting station, say ‘A’ which initially houses both the trains. The mainline track leaving the station branches into two lines which go respectively to the two stations say ‘B’ and ‘C’.
Step 1: Watch the Video
Watch the above video to understand the operation of the layout.
Step 2: Get All the Required Stuff
Here is what you will need for this project:
- An Arduino microcontroller compatible with the Adafruit motor shield V2.
- An Adafruit motor shield V2. (Know more about it here.)
- An expansion shield(Optional but highly recommended)
- Three ‘sensored‘ tracks.
- 6 male to male jumper wires(To connect the turnouts and track power wires to the motor shield.)
- 3 sets of 3 male to female jumper wires, a total of 9(To connect the sensors to the Arduino board)
- A 12-volt DC power supply adapter with a current capacity of at least 1A(1000mA).
- A suitable USB cable(For connecting the Arduino board to the computer).
- A computer(For programming the Arduino board)
- A small screwdriver
Step 3: Program the Arduino Microcontroller
Make sure you have the Adafruit’s motor shield v2 library installed in your Arduino IDE, if not, press Ctrl+Shift+I, search for the Adafruit motor shield and download the latest version of the Adafruit Motor Shield v2 library.
Before uploading the code on the Arduino microcontroller, make sure to go through it to get an idea of what all is happening and how.