So the interesting thing about O gauge Model Railroading is that the this is a three rail system that uses AC rather than DC. Unlike DC locomotives where to run in reverse you reversed the current, older O scale locomotives required the cutting of power. A locomotive running forward, cut power to neutral, cut power to reverse.
The newer lionel locomotives come with an RC remote that controls the train itself. The track receives a constant power.
I have a few projects in mind and am unsure on where to begin with any of them because I am very new to electronics and programming. However, the project that I am most interested in figuring out how to start is to replace the RC remote controlling my son's percy with an arduino board so I can control forward and backward. Then to control switch points to automate the train some. I do not want to destroy the remote.
Project 1: Replace/Replicate RC remote to control Percy Tasks - 1. Determine how to receive and decode the signal that the track master remote transmits. Forward, backward, stop,(all on a dial), and three sound whistle buttons.
Program Arduino board and Radio transmitter to transmit these codes to train.
begin work of programming siding switches to direct the train on various routes using forward, stop, and backward. As well as built in sounds when leaving stations, etc..
Project 2: Find a way to control the variable voltage the train needs to run with programs to stop voltage to trigger neutral in reverse for the three pre-war Lionel trains I own.
Figure out how to translate code coming from arduino into AC voltage set by the arduino program speed control(possibly using current transformer). I thought of using servos to physically move the throttle stick,but would prefer something more elegant.
design forward, backward, neutral cases to cut power to track to switch between these states.
If you have any input on parts i could use for either of these projects, please let me know. Or if you know helpful tutorials that can help me accomplish this, please pass them on. Especially the RC remote item.