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Offline river6109  
#1 Posted : 08 May 2015 08:42:25(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi everyone,

at last, I got the switching mechanism with the help of an electronic expert going. the main part was a reflective opto coupler which can be inserted between the sleepers of a K-track and just sits below the middle studs.
the pulse is activated via the slider or the so called wiper.

I thought it was straight forward as my other opto coupler but this needed an expert to put it all together and it may was expensive to get the data sheet made up which I can copy and produce any amount of them. the final cost for parts hasn't been revealed as yet.

the whole idea behind the project was, the current Märklin switching tracks aren't terrible reliable, you need a 90mm track and if you want to add another switching track this means another 90mm of track. when I say not terrible reliable the reason is sometimes the wiper doesn't return to its neutral position and therefore leaves the pulse open and nothing else can be switched.
my optocoupler will be used in conjunction with my signal-braking modules and this in turn will be able to switch turnouts, signals, lights on and off and the current in a siding can be switched on and off.

what are the benefits: first they will respond 100 % under any circumstance, whether your train runs fast slow so long it has a slider underneath the loco, secondly the optocoupler can be placed between 2 sleepers with other words almost anywhere including a turnout if required.

the optocoupler needs to be eventually connected to a small circuit board with all its electronic parts, I think there are about 8 or 10 parts. from the optocoupler lead 4 wires and all you need is drill 4 small holes into the layout board have the wires soldered onto and the rest is simple or another option is may bepossible to drill a big enough hole to sit the optocoupler between the space of 2 sleepers and have the optocoupler mounted onto the attached circuit board.

Of course there are simpler ways of getting a pulse and one such simple solution is a reed contact but than again you have to add magnets under locos and sometimes when the loco travels at speed, (ICE 3) the reed contact may not respond. but all in all its a very cheap option and most probably very effective,

the optocoupler doesn't respond to anything else, like wheels, axles or any other component which travels over the optocoupler, the optocoupler if my memory serves me right has a responsive reflection up to 5 or 8mm and the object going over it has to be reflective.

this is just another little find or research I've made and continued to reach my goal and I'm pleased with the end result. it also shows you don't have to have the electronic knowledge but an idea hard to give it a miss.

the cost of the circuit plan wasn't cheap and it wouldn't be worth if you intend to add a few optocoupler unless you know how its done and adding all the costs together it would work out dearer than buying a switching track but this is not a fact as yet just an assumption.

anybody seriously interested please contact me via my email address but any general questions I'm happy to answer.

there will be photos coming in the near future, so sit tied and wait for the excitement, and see if it turns you on or off. BigGrin


John

Edited by user 08 May 2015 13:06:15(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

https://www.youtube.com/river6109
https://www.youtube.com/6109river
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Offline PJMärklin  
#2 Posted : 08 May 2015 10:11:37(UTC)
PJMärklin

Australia   
Joined: 04/12/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,404
Location: Hobart, Australia
Hello John,

Your optocoupler has activated me already!

What a great idea pursued to fruition - look forward to the photos.

Regards,

PJ

Edited by moderator 09 May 2015 04:46:13(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline river6109  
#3 Posted : 08 May 2015 11:32:28(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi, here are a couple of photos to show you what is visible and there isn't much to see which is the whole idea. the slider goes over it and bingo.

its almost as good as a lottery win

John
river6109 attached the following image(s):
optocoupler 20010.JPG
optocoupler 20009.JPG
optocoupler 10010.JPG
https://www.youtube.com/river6109
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5 years in Destruction mode
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Offline waorb  
#4 Posted : 08 May 2015 15:57:34(UTC)
waorb

Brazil   
Joined: 31/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 856
Location: Brazil
Originally Posted by: river6109 Go to Quoted Post
the optocoupler needs to be eventually connected to a small circuit board with all its electronic parts, I think there are about 8 or 10 parts. from the optocoupler lead 4 wires and all you need is drill 4 small holes into the layout board have the wires soldered onto and the rest is simple or another option is may bepossible to drill a big enough hole to sit the optocoupler between the space of 2 sleepers and have the optocoupler mounted onto the attached circuit board.

Hello John.

Nice solution. Smile

Is this kind of circuit board you are talking about?

Google Optocoupler Sensor

Maybe it's possible to adapt it to C-track also?

Cheers,

Walter
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Offline river6109  
#5 Posted : 08 May 2015 16:15:22(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Walter, the one I'm using is not listed on this page you've provided, its a Retroreflective Photoelectric Sensor, that is the official name, my main purpose for this sensor is to activate my Signal braking modules and it has been designed for this purpose, the signal braking module's relays work with 18 volt AC and this is where the problem with me started understanding the sensors data and working principal. with a signal braking module you can turn on and off your current in your track(s) switch signals from red to green, turn lights off and on, enter the siding or station platform with a delayed braking deceleration and start off with a acceleration delay. while you loco sits in the siding (power off) the sound ist still on but you can't control the sound slots or Aux functions.

I also added ESU turnout servo motors connection to the signal and braking module via another optocoupler and an ESU servo motor module

it will be about a month before I can show a video how it all works

John








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5 years in Destruction mode
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Offline waorb  
#6 Posted : 08 May 2015 18:57:50(UTC)
waorb

Brazil   
Joined: 31/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 856
Location: Brazil
Originally Posted by: river6109 Go to Quoted Post
its a Retroreflective Photoelectric Sensor, that is the official name

Hello John!

Really interesting device. Where did you bought it? Online?

Supposedly it will work with S88 modules, that's correct?

Quote:
it will be about a month before I can show a video how it all works

I'll be looking forward for that. RollEyes

Cheers,

Walter
Offline Johnvr  
#7 Posted : 08 May 2015 20:21:51(UTC)
Johnvr

South Africa   
Joined: 03/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1,149
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
John,

Very interesting idea RollEyes

I have also been experimenting with optical devices using a Light Emitter and a Light Receiver with a beam across the track, which beam gets broken by the passage of a locomotive and activates a signalling system.

I have already developed the prototype for a friend of mine with a Z-scale Marklin, and I intend to use the same methodology for my new signalling system in HO-scale.

Fairly simple electonics, and pretty cheap too.
Contact me for further info if required.

Regards,BigGrin
John
Offline river6109  
#8 Posted : 09 May 2015 04:14:45(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Walter, John,

there is some literature available regarding reflective Photoelectric sensors but they all have problems with light entering or interfering with the sensor and additional electronic parts are needed to counter act this.

the idea came original from the use of ESU servo motors and ESU servo motors modules, when I bought them I had no idea they weren't compatible with my signal braking modules, because not long before I've produced another 40 signal modules and to throw them away I thought was a bit wasteful, so I called for help on the ESU website and someone came up with the solution by using optocouplers and after some further explanation and assistance I was able to construct a simple circuit board so the 2 modules were compatible. the optocoupler had the function on one side 5 volts DC and the other side 18 Volt AC adding a resistor to reduce the voltage.

I can't remember exactly what triggered the idea of using optocoupler instead of the switching tracks (k-track) but one thing was for sure I wasn't happy with the functionality, sometimes the wiper got stuck and therefore any other pulse action was disabled and trains than collided or went through the station without stopping until I found out the who the culprit was. on other occasions the wiper didn't activate a pulse. the same occurred with c-track switching tracks and the fault there was the micro switches, when they soldered the micro switches onto the small circuit board the temperature they used was too high and this weakened the spring action within the switch and the result was the lever no longer functioned 100 % and I replaced the faulty switches and they've been working alright since than.
Back to the reflective sensors as I said I can't remember exactly what triggered it off and what example I must have used to get the idea but I've searched the web and found these little beauties, the are different from other similar reflective sensors as they do not reflect an object in the same manner and this was crucial to use it with the help of a loco slider. thinking it was working the same way as an optocoupler I found out it didn't work and this puzzled me but for an expert electronic technician, as I found out on Wednesday my assumption was totally wrong, the reflective optocoupler had to be operated on both sides with DC and not AC and DC as the previous optocoupler.
Since than I found out there are other obstacles that can interfere with reflective sensors, whereas light can interfere with these sensors or axles could trigger or change the polarity (what this all means is foreign to me) I can understand a light source could interfere with the sensor but this one has a different sensor whereas the slider activates the reflection and anything above 4 or so mm it will be useless.
another thing I haven't asked if you turn the sensor around, will it still operate so if the wiping action is directional this would be another bonus, not so much for me but for other modellers who have a single track but locos going in both directions or it could be an advantage for freight switching operations.

the technician took some time to figure it all out and when I've asked how much does this cost I got a shock but in hind side it was worth it and the time they've spend on it was relatively cheap when considering what they charge an hour.

I think it also could have use for 2 rail operation using a slider or a reflective object under the loco and it wouldn't have to be dragging along the track bed similar as they use the pantograph but not touching the wire at half mast.

what other uses it has I haven't considered but as you said in conjunction with S88 modules would be another use and of course having both sides of the sensor originally DC (mine was converted to AC) and I assume there could be further options of its use.

as mentioned before there is a much simpler and cheaper option by using reed contacts but for me to place over 200 magnets underneath the locos wasn't attractive and most the time they only work when placed parallel with the track and there are other reflective sensors by putting one on each side of the track and anything goes past the light source gets interrupted and triggers a pulse but again you have to hide them behind bushes or place a small shed to hide the reflectors.
the sensor infra red led itself doesn't emit any light we can see so there is no visual light stream which may have put me off using such.
When I finally build the small circuit board I will most probably include the sensor as well, the sensor will be placed high enough to go through a pre drilled hole and just sits beneath the centre studs and hopefully adjustments can be made regarding the height variations of different thickness layout boards, the circuit board itself will be screwed and secured underneath the board.

I don't think they will be cheaper than the switching track but it will give you a 100% operational functionality, a wider scope where to install the sensor including if necessary in turnouts and I also think it has a more pleasing visual effect, looking more like a prototype sensor than a toy action wiper.

so this is it for another day folks until the next time with more fantastic news

John
https://www.youtube.com/river6109
https://www.youtube.com/6109river
5 years in Destruction mode
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Offline Mark5  
#9 Posted : 09 May 2015 17:20:53(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,179
Location: Montreal
Thanks for posting this John.

I'd be very interested in hearing how reliable it is.
Your research is very much appreciated.
- Mark
Interested in history of DB, DR and FS circa 1955 to 1965. Fan of signals, catenary, stations and yards.
Father of four girls running an exhibition layout, the Mädchenbahn--
https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=30519&b=1
Large version of my present avatar-- https://www.marklin-user...rce.ashx?i=29910&b=1
Source of previous avatar in "zoomify" detail-- http://bit.ly/1QqMgL0
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Offline perz  
#10 Posted : 13 May 2015 00:29:04(UTC)
perz

Sweden   
Joined: 12/01/2002(UTC)
Posts: 2,521
Location: Sweden
This looks like a very nice solution. Can you tell the manufacturer and part number of the opto coupler? I have been looking at a similar device, but the one you have found has a much nicer form factor.
Offline Shamu  
#11 Posted : 13 May 2015 03:31:51(UTC)
Shamu

Australia   
Joined: 12/07/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,068
Location: In a building site in Yeppoon
Originally Posted by: perz Go to Quoted Post
This looks like a very nice solution. Can you tell the manufacturer and part number of the opto coupler? I have been looking at a similar device, but the one you have found has a much nicer form factor.


Perz,

It looks to me to be a variant of the "RPR220 Reflective Photo Sensor".

You'll find them easily enough on eBay or a good electronics supply store.
Sad when its cheaper to buy a new 29640 starter set from Germany than a CS2 on its own in Oz, welcome to the joys of Marklin down under .
Offline river6109  
#12 Posted : 13 May 2015 03:48:50(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Perz, at this stage I like to keep it a secret until I've proven the reflective photo sensor works fine under all conditions and my aim is than to produce one and sell it on ebay.
there are many of these on the market but only a few will work for this purpose,

John
https://www.youtube.com/river6109
https://www.youtube.com/6109river
5 years in Destruction mode
50 years in Repairing mode
Offline DaleSchultz  
#13 Posted : 20 May 2015 16:01:55(UTC)
DaleSchultz


Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,138
Nice to see such experimentation, but I want to add my 2c.

This is a more complex solution (additional circuits and components) than is typically needed. This is a complex switch. It's output is binary, either it is on/off = closed/open. What is need is a simple switch.

The switch, when closed provides input to an s88 module.

A switch is easily made by isolating the rail by cutting it in two places. This is very easily done one either side of any rail joiner since the rail joiner provides a place to solder the wire that foes to the s88 module.

The advantages to using an isolated length of rail are:
1) very cheap - almost zero cost - it takes less than 10 minutes to cut the rails and solder on a wire. The cost is a big factor since the more detection points one has the smoother the train operations are.
2) zero space needed under the track
3) it works with all axles, so if works even if the loco with the pickup slider is pushing from the rear.
4) extremely reliable. No components to fail.
5) no power needed/consumed.
6) cuts in the rail are almost invisible
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
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Offline river6109  
#14 Posted : 20 May 2015 16:48:54(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,627
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Dale, the only difference is the power doesn't come from the rail, 5.) no power needed ?

John
https://www.youtube.com/river6109
https://www.youtube.com/6109river
5 years in Destruction mode
50 years in Repairing mode
Offline DaleSchultz  
#15 Posted : 20 May 2015 17:41:39(UTC)
DaleSchultz


Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,138
it only grounds the s88 port, so I suppose technically whatever current flows is coming from the s88 bus, and would be the same for whatever else is connected to the s88 also, including an optocoupler.

It certainly does not need an addition power supply nor does it consume digital track current.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
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