Ardunio to Throw Powered N Scale Model Railroad Turnouts

Hey everyone, I searched and found a few things regarding this, but not as it applies to my situation. So I have just a few questions.

First, this is what I envision. A windows based control program that has a diagram of my track with all the turnouts shown. In this I can click (or tap if I decide to go with touch screen) each turnout to throw it. The color of the turnout on the screen changes and the lines change to show direction. It would be awesome if it could work in conjunction with JMRI for controlling everything.

So my first question is, what kind of output does Ardunio have. The switches are based on basic 12VDC and the manual throws simply change polarity to trow the turnout. Is this possible?

Next, what kind of programming is involved in creating this control interface? I have no programming experience at all.


Do you mean something like this

Change your search parameters to "arduino railway control"

Lots of completed projects out than some easier than others so you may be able to pick one almost "off the shelf" so to speak.

Rather than go big right off the bat stay small until you get to grips with things and feel comfortable with what you want to do.

Being as you run model trains there is a good chance you already have soldering irons and multimeters and the basic tools also needed for Arduino.

Yes and no. I did find that one, I dont want the total railway control, but just the ability to move my turnouts. And I want to do it from a PC.

Its all do-able.

Just a thought that it would make it a little more portable if the screen was part of the project AND touch screen.

Interfacing to a PC or even a tablet is also do-able via bluetooth should you want to go that far.Possibly the quickest way and maybe without such a steep electronics curve is where the 12 volts and the Arduino are pretty much isolated from each other.
That page has some other ideas such as reed relays which are great for auto switching your turnouts.

There are also "addressable" relay boards but they tend to cost a little more but do give you many more relays per pin.

As far as talking to the PC there are a lot of options.
The Arduino will just send back the data it is supposed to via commands in the sketch itself.
A lot of people swear by "processing" but there are also some other packages that might be more suitable for you.

Do you have any particular software in mind that's already available for the task at the PC end ?
Major hobbies such as your often spawn software that is usually adaptable in some form.

EDIT also look at DMX relays as they are a STANDARD and there are lots of software packages available for DMX work...used a lot on stage work but very adaptable to your situation.

AFAIK it is common to use Arduinos with JMRI although I don't use JMRI myself. Try Googling Arduino JMRI

I have built a simple track display that works like you say just using HTML5 and a small Python webserver program (because I like doing stuff myself).

You will probably need a transistor between the Arduino and the 12v device to allow the low power low voltage Arduino to control the 12v circuit. You need to provide details of the exact turnout motors you are using and how they are presently operated.

If you use servos to control the turnouts then the Arduino can control them directly.


Thanks R2 I knew there were some train buffs around...
Thought there was another one too ?