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(Guest)    J&C Studios O Gauge Archive    LED Lighting    Adjusting LED Brightness in Passenger Cars - Slow WIP
 
 
 
 
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Topic: Adjusting LED Brightness in Passenger Cars - Slow WIP
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stan
Joined: May 18, 2008
Topics: 10   Replies: 15
posted on Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM:
My Archive Category  

LEDs dramatically cut power, but another problem is turning LEDs on/off without backing onto an unpowered siding. Also, like Rule 17 headlight dimming, I'd like dimmed interiors when running but full brightness at the station. I find it odd that command engines dutifully startup and shutdown while the cars glow 24/7.

I first thought of a magnetic switch scheme placed near stations to automatically trip brightness adjustment when approaching or departing. Another switch could turn lights on/off. I quickly concluded what's really needed is command control.

I looked at Lionel's R2LC TMCC decoder module used in operating cars. But DIY cost to equip a fleet was out of my budget. And since it doesn't look like anything similar for DCS is forthcoming, my work-in-process is to use a TV Infrared remote. So far, the directionality of IR control has not been a problem with a small layout. But in the back of my mind, I keep the backdoor open to switch to RF with re-cycled RF modules from those under $10 R/C cars. My goal is less than $5 per car for all the electronics (LEDs, track power conversion, IR receiver and programmable microchip). A TV universal remote is used as-is.





Click here for a
short video showing the LEDs turning on/off and adjusting brightness under remote control

Obviously this is not a weekend project. Some offshoots I am looking at include modeling the Head-End Power cables that run between cars in the Amtrak fleet. This allows getting rid of some of the noisy pickup rollers. If needed, I want to tinker with those cheap IR video surveillance floodlights that have dozens of Infrared LEDs as a way to spray the layout with the IR commands to insure reception (in lieu of RF). Once I settle on a set of key functions, I figure I can hook into several AIU relay outputs to access them using my existing command remote.


Thanks to JCS to providing a place to archive slowly developing modeling ideas otherwise vaporized in 6 months on OGR




 

   

Dale H
Joined: Sep 25, 2010
Topics: 32   Replies: 39
posted on Nov 29, 2010 10:28 AM:
My Archive Category  

Neat idea. I do not know if this would fit in cars with seating though. Being a conventional operator different ideas come to mind. If you could get a small 6 volt or less single coil mechanical latching relay, you could work it off a whistle control button circuit. Or you could hook some zener diodes to its coil and increase voltage over the threshold throwing the coil. So for example if track voltage was normally 18 volts and the throttle was increased to 21,the coil would energize,switching the lights. Being a mechanical relay this would have memory. of course all the lights on the block would switch at once.

Dale H
 

   

stan
Joined: May 18, 2008
Topics: 10   Replies: 15
posted on Dec 4, 2010 02:02 PM:
My Archive Category  

I marvel at the techniques conventional operators have come up with - like the patterns of bell-whistle signals to activate couplers. The European NEM 640 Standard which I believe is primarily for conventional operation of HO AC layouts uses 24V AC pulses to switch engine direction using latching relays AFAIK. Perhaps some circuitry there could be adapted to AC O-gauge conventional control of rolling stock without interfering with engine control.

Aside from sending bell-whistle DC offsets or pulses or similar "simple" signals on top of the AC track voltage itself, it seems we're back to manually handling the car or forcing its physically position near some activation device. For example, the passenger car could be positioned over a decoupling track section. Rather than releasing a coupler, the decoupling electromagnet could trip a reed switch in the passenger car to dim and/or turn the lights on or off. I'd guess this could be done for a few dollars per car.
 

   





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