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Offline river6109  
#1 Posted : 08 May 2015 12:44:53(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi everyone,


in today's climate, performance is the main factor and driver in our society, we aim at perfections until we achieve our goal.
We have had this particular track employed for many years and it is on record it had many sick days at the most important times, we've felt sorry for this track and kept it on but everybody knew the days were numbered and a new track had to be introduced to keep the upper hand for an growing digital demand.
We had a lot of directors meetings and we came to the conclusion a mini micro switch had to be the replacement. after a lot of consultation and searching the net for solutions we've engaged an electronic expert and as you will see when you read on, a new era has begun, out with the old and in with the new. although the track has been made redundant we'll keep the track on a voluntary basis until such time arrives, we are confident the same is no longer required and for historic reasons, the tracks stay where they are so viewers will be able to see what a switching track looked like.

part of the following informative information below I'm already thinking of something else using the optocoupler forming part of a digital decoder by activating sound slots or Aux functions at any given point of a layout.; its a dream but I'm working on it



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
river6109 attached the following image(s):
optocoupler 20010.JPG
optocoupler 20009.JPG
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Offline river6109  
#2 Posted : 02 January 2016 12:21:09(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
here is the end result for 3 circuit boards,

1.) REFLECTIVE OPTOCOUPLER
2.) BRAKING MODULE
3.) SIGNAL FADE IN - OUT MODULE

opto_  brake _ fader0000.JPGImage (40).jpgopto_  brake _ fader0002.JPGopto_  brake _ fader0001.JPG
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Offline river6109  
#3 Posted : 29 January 2016 05:27:56(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi, I'm some what intrigued by the respond or should I say none responds although this topic attracted 407 viewers no one asked a question or showed interest in it, so it appears to be the case.

have we gone so far down the track that anything bought over the counter in a hobby shop or bought over the internet has any chance of a approval.

I personally don't care as I carry on regardless but the design of my reflective coupler has more uses than I've shown. it could also be my example is based on a K-track but can also be used with out any trouble with M or C -track, it is also noticeable when one highlights some of the shortfalls (correspondence) suddenly there is an influx of answers disputing any claim one has observed, rather than commenting on the topic itself.

although it doesn't offer all the positives, like: not usable for independent direction control but it has other benefits which I thought would interest other modellers: 100% functionality, can be placed any where on the track and can be attached to anything you like to attach it to or is it to complicated to drill a 5mm hole in a baseboard and the same would be for the M or C-track and it is almost unnoticeable.

Happy modelling


John



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Offline river6109  
#4 Posted : 09 February 2016 15:37:49(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Well in the last couple of days I've achieved another mile stone, I have now put all the modules together and they work on my workbench, there is one small problem I've got voltage feedback on one of the reflective optocoupler, its not the optocoupler itself its the connection with the micro switch motor, it responds where it shouldn't for each double track I need 3 reflective optocopler, a.) track 1, b.) track 2 and when it leaves the station it goes back to a single line and here it turns the signal to red (optocoupler 3) and it is this one when activated the motor activates as well which isn't connected to this particular opto coupler , so somewhere there is some feedback from somewhere else but I haven't found out or worked it out yet how to solve the problem.

John

So what have we got here ?

2 Signal braking modules x 2
2 Signal faders x 2


bread board0001.JPG


So what have we got here ?

1 ESU Switch Pilot Servo module
1 circuit board to operate ESU micro switch motors (5volts DC) activated via optocouplers (1.5Volt DC) and the whole lot is pulse activated via 3 reflective optocoupler ,
bread board0000.JPG

here is another board front and rear

finished modules0002.JPG


finished modules0001.JPG

optocouplers for 4 ESU micro switch motors

finished modules0000.JPG
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Offline river6109  
#5 Posted : 23 March 2016 10:35:27(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
it is now over a month ago when I pursued the finishing touches with my reflective optocouplers but I had a small problem, optocoupler number 3 turned the micro servo as well which they shouldn't, because I didn't have an immediate solution for it it went into the hard basket. inquired about it with a couple of friends but last night I came up with an idea using a 3rd relay and today I'm happy to announce it works without a hitch, since than I've discovered I don't need an extra relay I can use one connection which is or was reserved for turning lights on and off.
this has bought a lot of pressure down as I was unable to continue to install them nor could I go ahead with anything unless the whole switching mechanism worked.

so to update you again what it is all about.

1.) braking module
2.) ESU micro servo motors
3.) ESU Switch pilot servo module
4.) otocouplers
5.) reflective optocouplers
6.) fade in and out signal lights

so in a nutshell: for 2 tracks I need: 2 braking modules, 2 fader in and out signal light modules, 3 reflective optocouplers, 1 ESU Switch pilot servo module (suitable for 4 servo motors), 2 servo motors,

this will eliminate all switching tracks for once and all. all my K-track turnout will now have a realistic turning mode, all signal lights will fade in and out and all trains entering the braking section will brake slowly and accelerate slowly, so what more do you need ?

another extra feature will be, I've got this old Brawa station signs: Ein Zug fährt ein auf Gleis (x), a train arrives on platform (x) the illuminated sign shows the announcement and below there is another illuminated box which you add the different track numbers, in my case 1-8 and these boxes can also be switched on independently.

to do this I will add more reflective optocouplers before the train enters the station and gets cancelled out when the train has become stationary.

one very happy chap

John
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Offline nitramretep  
#6 Posted : 23 March 2016 16:04:53(UTC)
nitramretep

United States   
Joined: 22/01/2015(UTC)
Posts: 207
Location: lower hudson valley, ny
Very clever work and thanks for the schematics. Perhaps no one responded to your work as it is quite self explanatory and well documented. Thanks for your efforts & sharing!
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Offline river6109  
#7 Posted : 24 March 2016 10:59:06(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Originally Posted by: nitramretep Go to Quoted Post
Very clever work and thanks for the schematics. Perhaps no one responded to your work as it is quite self explanatory and well documented. Thanks for your efforts & sharing!


thanks for your comment, in my opinion it has many or could have many application, it could be easily (reflective optocoupler circuit module) changed from AC input DC output to DC input DC output by removing the rectifier. it can be used in conjunction with the Märklin braking module, IEK braking module and most probably all other braking modules, computer control sensors and the list goes on.

the handy part is also the reflective optocoupler unit can be fitted to any track anywhere with out restrictions. whether 2 rail 3 rail (M - C or K - track and activated by a slider.
as mentioned before on 2 rail tracks the unit has to sit a bit higher and again would look prototypical with other devices placed into the middle of the track. outdoor application can also be used and my main aim was to replace a switching track which hasn't had a 100% reliability record.

Although different modules and electronic gadgets have come onto the market over the years and the monetary outlay can be quite expensive, some modellers have shied away from it either buying Märklin modules only or sticking to for what they've got an unreliable switching track.

another application it has served in my switching purpose an electronic ciruit module mixed and connected with a digital electronic module (ESU Switch pilot servo module) and at the same time has a RailComPlus feed back, telling the ECoS which way the turnout is facing and a manual activation via the ECoS track plan.


John
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Offline river6109  
#8 Posted : 03 April 2016 02:45:35(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi, I'm still struggling getting these different electronic modules working together, one board works fine, the other is identical and doesn't work and this really gives me a headache because I can't figure out why. I've tried different approaches but nothing seems to resolve the issues, if I use the reflective coupler in conjunction with the braking modules they work alright, so it not an issue whether they are faulty or something else, the servo motors also don't work but the opto coupler is ok. I've worked on it for 3 days now and I can't find a solution or find why its not working.
It simple to copy one system onto an other board , I know the white connectors are not ideal because the screw ruins the wire connection by chewing it up and especially when you undo and redo the wires several times.

I've followed each wire and they all seem to be in the right place, I've tested the voltage with a meter and I get conflicting voltage measurements but I can't figure out why. Its a brain teaser at its best, after several hours you don't no whether you're coming or going.

try my luck again today and see what I can come up with

John
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Offline applor  
#9 Posted : 13 April 2016 01:43:11(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,403
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Having recently finished a design for my new layout and running K track I am quite intrigued with your opto coupler.

I have never used signals before though plan to for my new layout but it means I have a lot to learn and I can see the benefits that this provides - in particular expected reliability and ability to install anywhere.

You are certainly very knowledgeable and your efforts deserver applause - the question is what you plan to do after it is tested and finalized.

Will you be looking at selling kits or completed kits for those of us less technical, or just provide parts/instructions?

Or maybe you have no plans for commercialization and simply wanted to share your work?
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
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Offline baggio  
#10 Posted : 13 April 2016 04:19:39(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,659
Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by: nitramretep Go to Quoted Post
Perhaps no one responded to your work as it is quite self explanatory


Confused Blushing Frankly, I found this topic very hard to follow. Blushing Confused

Perhaps a summary of what it is you achieved and the benefits would make some of us willing to give you some feedback.

Just my usual two-cents worth. Smile
Offline baggio  
#11 Posted : 13 April 2016 04:21:36(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,659
Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by: river6109 Go to Quoted Post
reflective optocoupler circuit module


What is this? Rocket science?Scared Wink
Offline river6109  
#12 Posted : 16 April 2016 04:35:20(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post
Having recently finished a design for my new layout and running K track I am quite intrigued with your opto coupler.

I have never used signals before though plan to for my new layout but it means I have a lot to learn and I can see the benefits that this provides - in particular expected reliability and ability to install anywhere.

You are certainly very knowledgeable and your efforts deserver applause - the question is what you plan to do after it is tested and finalized.

Will you be looking at selling kits or completed kits for those of us less technical, or just provide parts/instructions?

Or maybe you have no plans for commercialization and simply wanted to share your work?


Applor,

the moment I'm satisfied with the operation they suppose to do I will offer them for sale, we are working on it at the moment. it is just a matter of getting the polarity right, I think this is what the problem is a t the moment, when one operates 2 optocoiupler ther is no problem but the moment we introduce a 3rd one the turnouts starting to move whereas they shouldn't, if you just use the braking module you wouldn't have any problems with it. the other point is, is the outgoing voltage will it be AC or DC,

do not think for one moment I have any experience in electronics all I have done is put an idea forward and passed this idea onto an electronic expert (so I think)
everythink you see regarding photos and components or circuitboards has been copied from somewhere.
as I said before the idea only came from an unsatisfied or unreliable switching track and what has emerged is my option as you also noticed can be inserted anywhere on the track and in some cases it can be instalkled as an after thought kit whereas the tracks have already been permanently laid and difficult or impossibel to remove.

my only input was finding a reflective optocoupler which does not reflect othe robjects such as light or axles and this I had achieved and the other bonus was it fitted between sleeper and this was very satisfying.

the functionality has originally been designed by Märklin (braking module) it has than been copied to an identical module by IEK, I've copied it from IEK and this has been its journey sofar, so I can't see any problems with the new braking modules not to be working in conjunction with my reflective optocoupler module.

of course if anybody would like to buy the braking modules as well they would also be open to purchases.
a person on another forum mentioned all the gadgets I'm using aren't necessary but this is of course when you operate your layout via a computer and I'm aware of this but there are many modeller who do not run layouts via computers and you do need these gadgets like braking modules but the optocoupler itselff would always be a useful or necessary component to detect a pulse.
Again I must emphasise the detection does not independently detect the pulse like the Märklin switching track from both directions but at the same time it would save a lot of money and effort to add magnets on each loco or carriage.



John

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Offline river6109  
#13 Posted : 16 April 2016 05:16:35(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: river6109 Go to Quoted Post
reflective optocoupler circuit module


What is this? Rocket science?Scared Wink


Baggio, no it is not rocket science it is jsut a module like any other module you will find in any modeltrain layout what you will not find are reflective optocouplers and I've clearly indicated waht they look like and you can clearly see the module whereas the reflective optocoupler is attached to = reflective optocoupler circuit module

secondly I think I made my self clear, as someone else has understood the whole principle or idea behind the benefits one can achieve by using such reflective optocopupler, the objective is

a.) to use this instead of an unreliable switching track
b.) it has the ability to be installed more or less anywhere on the track
c.) although it has not an independent pulse acivation for both directions.
d.) it can be used in conjunction with any Märklin braking module(s)
e.) my usage for this module went further to incorporate the usage of an ESU servo motor(s) connected via an ESU Switch Pilot servo module to be able to be connected to a braking module

a.) the servo motor has an input/output of 5 Volt DC
b.) the Switch Pilot servo module has a feedback capability (RailComPlus)
c,) the turnout direction is shown on the ECoS track plan
d.) on the trackplan the turnouts can be activated manually
e.) the ESU Switch Pilot servo Module had no compatibility with the braking module

to wrap it all up in a nutshell the most important part is or was the reflective optocopuler being able to be connected to a braking module and also can be connected to other modules e.g. S 88's but this again is another subject.

in addition to the core modules (braking + reflective optocoupler modules) a third module had been designed, fading in and out your signals, so any ordinary signal on its own can be connected via the signal module and instead of turning from red to green or reverse it has now a delayed switching function from one colour to anotherr and also the light source is fading in and out.

I can assure you there is no rocket science behind all these modules, they are cheap modules which I have made myself instead of buying them of the shelf at enormous costs showing 3 different pictures with each explaining what the modules are and I think the functions they are disgned for are obvious..

John
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Offline river6109  
#14 Posted : 16 April 2016 05:44:05(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
a quick explanation why I have used the ESU servo motors and the ESU switch pilot servo module

a.) the servo motors regardless who manufacturers them are 100% more reliable than the Märklin under the board mechanism, to be quite honest I would rather prefer a complete different turnout mechanism whereas the switching action is not made from different separate parts like the click on solenoid motor.
b.) the servo motor can be accurately programmed to move left or right in accordance with the turnout lever position
c.) the servo motor position will stay in that position after the power has been turned off and not like the Märklin solenoid motor which had a tendency to move and the possibility was the tongue no longer was pressed against the track, the result = derailments.
d.) when I read about the servo motor I was impressed what it can do
e.) when I read about the Switch Pilot servo module I found out without this module the servo motors wouldn't work.
f.) so without reading further as it was naturally the motor without the module is a "no no".
g.) so I bought the modules and soon found out they are not compatible with the braking module or the reflective optocouplers
h.) the dilemma was: should I get rid of all my braking modules and buy the appropriate ESU module to be able to use all of them together to be able to switch the servo motors.
i.) the cost to buy them would have been to expensive (at least 50 of them) so I had to come up with a solution
j.) the solution I found on the ESU forum when I asked the question
k.) to inform you why I couldn't connect the 2 modules: Switch pilot servo module + braking module, to connect or activate the servo motor the Switch pilot servo module had connections only via a toggle switch and the voltage was 5 volt DC and each connection (2 pins) had the same polarity similar to a reed switch and by pressing the toggle switch the contact was activated.
l.) after further consideration I came to the conclusion the only way I can connect these 2 modules together is by using a similar optocoupler and this information was supplied to me by a member on the ESU forum
m.) 5 volt DC on one side of the optocoupler (emitter and collector) the other side (anode and cathode) and the right voltage was achieved by adding a resistor to the DC voltage

m.) all in all a very successful exercise and again saved a whole amount of money.

John

Edited by user 15 June 2016 17:39:46(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline river6109  
#15 Posted : 31 May 2016 14:46:14(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
the reflective optocoupler will be installed very soon and a video will follow.

John
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Offline river6109  
#16 Posted : 11 July 2016 17:44:27(UTC)
river6109

Australia   
Joined: 22/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 12,622
Location: On 1965 Märklin Boulevard just around from Roco Square
Hi, tonight I've installed more opto couplers with great success. and this will go on for a while, so far I've connected 5 tracks and there are 8 more tracks to go, this is just for starters.






Frachtbahnhof bei Nacht (2).JPG

Frachtbahnhof bei Nacht.JPG

Frachtbahnhof bei Nacht (1).JPG

Edited by user 12 July 2016 03:34:09(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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