Signal Plan Article
An article on creating a Signal Plan, the first step on the road to implement signalling, has been planned for awhile now. We have just completed a project to signal a small layout to be used in an educational setting. This is a fairly simple layout, with a short main line with one passing siding, so it makes a perfect case study for an article about creating a Signal Plan. The steps involved were documented and we are in the process of creating an article.
Signalling System Product Development
We continue to move forward with the development of a full signalling system, currently being called Signal Master Plus (see our article on The Evolution of a Signalling System).
Our initial Discrete I/O Card (DIO), with 10 inputs and 12 outputs, has been produced and the software that runs them has been fully developed and tested. Our RS485 Bus Controller (4BC), that attaches to a Raspberry Pi computer using its GPIO header, manages communications with the I/O cards has been produced and its software is now fully functional and communicates well with the DIO cards. We are in the process of porting our RailServer software from MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) to QT libraries, which will permit moving it from a Windows computer to the Linux operating system of the Raspberry Pi.
The process is taking a little longer than we had anticipated, but we've been making headways recently and hope to have this on the Raspberry Pi where it can talk with the 4BC card to communicate instructions and read status of the DIO cards.
Fast Clock Display kits remain unavailable:
The Fast Clock Display is currently not available as a kit, but our built units are available for the same price as our kit: $47.99.
Take advantage of this price while it remains in effect. As usual, quantity discounts apply starting at three units.
Switch Machine Interface Now Available
Our new product, a connection interface for the Tortoise Switch Machine by Circuitron, is now available for ordering.
We now have our installation and assembly instructions for this product on our Documentation Page.
The development of this product is part of the development of our new signalling product line, currently being called Signal Master Plus (see our article on the evolution of a Signalling System. As the second set of SPDT contacts are needed for switch position status, an easier way to wire this would be to used a 3-conductor ribbon cable. This new product is available with either a 3-pin header plug (upper image to the right) or a 3-position terminal block (lower image to the right) for the second contacts.
There are two LEDs in series with the motor to provide an easy to see indication of the switch machine's position, provided it continuously receives power. One is green and one is yellow, and when ordering you can select which colour indicates the left position and which colour indicates the right position. We will be adding an application note on translating left/right to normal/reverse in the next few days.
After consulting with initial users of the header version of the SMI, we now provide a right-angled 3-pin header as can be seen in the upper image to the right.
We have added accessory items to our products page. This will include items for use with our products such as IC sockets, header plugs, spacers, and jumpers.
Traverser Power Supplies:
We now have a power supply suitable for the Traverser. It is a "wall wart" type power supply that provides 12 VAC at up to 750 mA, from a 120 VAC outlet (Canada and USA). The price is $8.99 on its own, but will only add $7 to a Traverser/QOD combo. See The Traverser product page for details.