I am new to Lego trains, I just received the cargo train set for Christmas. I have always wanted to play with robotics, and this has been the perfect opportunity to meet for starting this. Plan is to automate both the track and the train itself. I will use one microcontroller for the track, controlling switches, lights, train crossings etc, and a second microcontroller on the engine to take care of driving. Everything will be controlled by my infrared remote (Logitech Harmony one) and additional sensor input.
This is a long-term project, but I have made a first stab at creating a automatic Lego train switch. A video of the working setup is embedded below. this is of course just a beginning, I need to build a full switching house around this in order to make it look even remotely authentic.
I appreciate feedback/ideas on how to improve the design, it is not yet very stable (the connection between the servo and the switch toggle).
I expect to have further updates as I progress, but don't be impatient. My largest challenge will be to build/modify an engine to house the batteries, sensors, Lego Power functions XL engine, and the microcontroller.
The plan is as follows:
-- automatic switches
-- (automatic) signal lights
-- automatic track crossing with automatic booms, lights, and everything
For the engine:
-- build engine to house Power functions XL motor, batteries, a few servos, and the microcontroller
-- control the train motion using my remote control
-- add a forward sensor to stop the train when the track is obstructed
-- add a sensor which can read instructions embedded alongside the track (e.g. increase speed, decrease speed, "train stop in 40 cm" to have a realistic slowdown to a station, etc).
-- The ability to switch between manual and automatic control
-- stop and start automatically on red and green lights, maybe even emergency brake on red lights and obstructed track even in manual mode
A self loading/unloading cargo car, the details of this are unclear yet.
I would really appreciate ideas/comments to the above list :)
Merry Christmas to all,
Edited by TheBrickster, 26 December 2009 - 03:16 AM.