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My 1500km road trip in the name of Lego . . . . some pics and commenta
Breakdown posted a topic in CommunityThere's probably a couple of you who saw just the 1500km round-trip part in the "Shameful Confessions" thread. For those who don't know I'm from Canada. Tariffs are a pain here, and 12V lego is virtually non-existent anywhere in the Americas. If you spend 48 hours, you are permitted $800, so I managed to grab a few outer rails for my blue 12V stuff, a few cross overs and managed to snag a great deal on a pair of monorail points. Ever since seeing pictures on social media from a friend I've had the abandoned turnpike on my bucket-list. The key has been finding a legitimate reason to go there. An auction winning from just inside the Virginia border would finally be the catalyst - stated on E-bay local pickup only. After much back-and-forth between the sellers and myself, along with a friend's house that I stayed at - around the Pittsburgh area. We settled on a date, and then it was just me my car, my friends and 1500km on the road. (For those with a keen eye for violations, my car was in park while taking pictures in juristrictions where there are laws against that kind of thing. I also had some help in the car. It's about an hour an a half to the US border. I selected the "Rainbow Bridge" because it was the long weekend. The picture, and by far the clearest I've ever seen in my lifetime at that location, is the duty free store, just prior to hoping on the bring. It's usually more time efficient to cross at the Peace Bridge, but inbound visiting the US, it's usually the worst or near worst of the three options. In all I spent about 30 minutes in queue awaiting customs. It's a pretty spectacular view. This is the view just prior to entering Grand Island. There's not much on the island, other than a small them park of sorts, which looks very dated. There's a $1 toll to cross into the island. This view, you can see the Skylon Tower, Minolta and the Casino down by the Falls. Obviously the bridge to the island. I look some Panoramas, and eventually I'll get around to processing some of those. I love the blue on these bridges. I was just weirded out by these patterns, it's as if they wanted to prevent walking on grass at all costs. You can't really walk in a straight or perpendicular line at all, this is from the lookout, where the pic of the bridges was taken. Bridges leaving the island are more attractive. But man are they skinny!! Welcome to PA!! This was the 10 minutes of driving on the way out where it rained, not hard, just just got a little rain. PA is the northern border of where we can get this stuff and OMG!! That sweet, sweet nectar. I was so hungry but it was totally worth waiting for Pennsylvania for the Sweet Tea. I can't get this at home and every day without it I die a little inside.
Automated vintage 7866 level crossing
AlmightyArjen posted a topic in LEGO Train TechHi, I'm busy with a big automation project (fully automated coal terminal) and I wanted to do something else in between. So I made a "quicky": I've automated the 7866 12V level crossing! Two sensors detect trains and the microcontroller (Arduino) lowers the bars. The bars go up again when the last wheel of the last wagon of the train has passed the sensor 2 seconds earlier. Pretty plain and simple! I've made a nice vid: In the video you'll see also my BNSF coal train, which is one of the three coal trains that will run in the project that I'm currently working on.
Fully automated level crossing
alainneke posted a topic in LEGO Train TechFor the past few weeks, I've been busy incorporating occupancy detectors in my (DCC) LEGO train layout. To get this to work, I had to create electrically isolated blocks in my layout: Layout by alainneke, on Flickr (the little red parts are single pieces of flex track) All blocks are connected to a couple of occupancy detectors ('ECoSdetector') using track connection wires. When a train enters a block, current is being drawn and the detector will know that there is a train in the block. When it leaves the block, the current stops flowing and the block is 'free' again. What can you do with this information? Well, for example, you can let robotic cows turn their heads when a train passes. However, I decided to automate the classic 7866 level crossing: When a train enters block 1:3 (or 2:11, when going the other way round), the crossing closes. When both blocks 1:3 and 2:11 are 'free', the crossing opens again. Thanks for watching!