Controlling model trams with Arduino

Model railway enthusiast Ken Shores decided to add a small tram line to his model railway layout to add realism for a region of his layout, and has a twin line with three stations, two of which are single-platforms before slip points. As part of operating fun it would be simple to add manual controllers, however Ken instead is developing an automated system based around an Arduino Mega board that allows to trams to operate automatically while observing the station stops. With the use of a motor shield for power delivery and directional control and several infrared/phototransistor combinations the Arduino can control the direction of the trams and also detect their position on the layout. 

Although a work in progress, it’s a fascinating project and we hope Ken moves forward with his documentation. Check out the project site for this and other interesting readings. And for more, we’re on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you’re making things that push an Arduino to the limit, or if your projects outgrow the normal Arduino-compatible boards, running out of program and flash memory space, or you’re stacking on Ethernet and microSD shields, or all at once – it’s time to upgrade to the Freetronics EtherMega:

Quite simple the EtherMega is the fully-loaded Arduino-compatible board on the market today. Apart from being completely Arduino Mega2560-compatible, it includes full Ethernet interface, a microSD card socket, full USB interface, optional Power-over-Ethernet support and still has a circuit prototyping area with extra I2C interface pins. So if your project is breaking the limits, upgrade to the EtherMega today. 

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