this has been long overdue, but I think it is still a good time to introduce myself here...
Like so many of you, I started LEGO very young and got my first sets when I was 3 years old. After a short change to Duplo I was back to LEGO and have been hooked to trains since I got the 4564 and 4551 for my 7th birthday. I own a lot of (train)sets, but 9V trains are still my favorite.
When I started university, LEGO was not put very high on my agenda, but I fell in love with Café Corner and bought all Modulars since. As budget is limited for a student like me, I have to make choices on which sets to buy, but recent series like the Modular buildings, Winter Village and of course the Creator trains make me spend more on LEGO each year.
As I am currently abroad, I have no bricks to fiddle around with and the cost for a set here in Asia is incredibly high (about 2.5 times the European price, where LEGO already isn't the cheapest). The lack of bricks inspired me, an electrical engineering student, to finally start working on a custom digital control LEGO train system I've been thinking about for a long time. As a purist, I dare not to open a LEGO train motor to add DCC decoders and the like, so it will be a block based system with modules for each block costing around € 15,- for the current circuit (including train detection system, signalling, 9V voltage control, hopefully PF IR commands so both PF and 9V can run on the same track and CANbus communication to a computer). A friend in software development (and also huge LEGO train fan) will work on the PC part of the system, possibly integrating our system with Rocrail (http://wiki.rocrail.net/doku.php). When I am back home at the start of next year, I can start testing the hardware design and see which design choices give the best results (can blocks make decisions autonomously or should everything go through the central computer, etc.). Hopefully we can show you some results next year!
Although I have read on this and other forums about LEGO train systems using DCC decoders, I have not found examples of systems using digitally controlled analog blocks. Is there anyone around here who has tried such systems (for instance the Dutch DINAMO (http://dinamo.vanperlo.net/)system)?
Edited by graafderk, 17 November 2012 - 06:30 AM.