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AoW Museum train activation buttons

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AoW Museum train activation buttons

Post  Uniblab on Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:43 am

I delivered the train control buttons Friday. Joel was there and we talked about an issue with them. They work quite well as designed. However, they don't work as intended. The button must be pressed and held for the train to run.

When ordering parts for the new boxes, I got the same type of relays as is in the original. The problem is the relays are "delay ON", not "delay OFF". I spoke with Barry, the guy who built our original, and he said he had to do some odd things to get his delay ON relay to do what a delay OFF relay does normally. (Barry is apparently a retired industrial electrician of some sort and has years of experience working with control relays.) I tried a couple things I could think of before I delivered them but I could only get it to buzz instead of latch the way it is supposed to.

The condition I left the boxes was such that the kids would have to hold the button down to keep the train running. (After a 2 second delay to keep the kids from tapping the button to make the train jerk and decouple the locomotive from the cars.)

When I left the museum Friday Barry said he would look at our boxes when he came Sunday. I understand he took one of the boxes home with him to see if he can get it to run as we want it to. If he can get it to work he will apply the fix to the other box. I do not know when he will be returning to the museum.

If the boxes cannot be adjusted with those relays in them I will order the correct relays and return the first ones I ordered.

My apologies for the issue. My assumption was that by getting the same type of hardware I could easily replicate the function of the example we had.

Another potential issue: The relay turns the power on all at once. This sudden power can cause the locomotive to decouple from the cars if the train is parked at a high resistance spot, i.e.: corners. Heavier trains will likely be more susceptible to this issue.

Solution: I would like to build a "ramp up" circuit using a capacitor/resistor combination. However, I do not know how to determine what size capacitor and resistor to use, nor am I entirely certain of the wiring configuration. I could use some advice from an electronics engineer. As such I will consult with Tom Atkinson and see what he recommends. Once built I will add the circuit inside the new boxes.

I will continue to update the status of the visitor activation train controllers as I have more to report.


Mike Tighe

Uniblab
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Re: AoW Museum train activation buttons

Post  Uniblab on Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:23 pm

I just heard from Joel: The button system is working as intended with both buttons. Yeah! (Barry had to switch the connector at the button switch to make it work correctly. Now that it was explained to me it makes sense but I wouldn't have thought of that on my own...)

I will recommend that whatever train is left to be run while nobody is there should be a lighter train, like the LEGO kit trains - NOT any of the custom built trains.

I spoke at length with Tom Atkinson regarding building a "ramp-up" power controlling circuit. Although he clearly stated (several time...) "This isn't the way it should be done." it can be done. He sent me links to the parts I would need but they will be big and need good heat handling to last long. Which means I'd need to buy bigger boxes to replace the boxes being used now. (Something I wouldn't mind doing any way because it would give more room for the track wire connectors to be wired up. Right now it is a bit tight to turn them with your fingers.)

The cost for the parts would be about $35 (4 big capacitors and 10 resistors). I'd have to do some testing to get the delay right. It might take 2, 3 or all 4 capacitors. If it takes more than 2 of the capacitors I could buy more for the 2nd box.


Bottom line: The buttons are working now. Let's watch to see if the instant power-on to the tracks is an issue before worrying about building extra control circuitry. Use kit-built trains only for public operation!




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Re: AoW Museum train activation buttons

Post  Brianb on Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:16 pm

Thank you Mike for the continued work and updates.

Brian

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Re: AoW Museum train activation buttons

Post  Cale on Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:44 pm

Brianb wrote:Thank you Mike for the continued work and updates.

Brian

I agree. Thank you Mike for your help with this and thank you Brian for working on the bottom stands.

Cale

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