Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 14, 2010

Model Train Rotary Dumper using a Parallax Microcontroller

at 2:06 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Toy Hacks


BS2ILH from the Parallax forum posted an interesting project, it’s a Model Train Rotary Dumper. Say goodbye to having to push your train cars around using your hands, instead with a push of a button you can see automation take over and complete the task of unloading all the coal from your model railroad.  You can see lots of build videos here, it is a very well laid out project! Schematics and code are available here.

“A locomotive positions a unit train at the gate servo arm. Either a button on the hardwired control box or the IR remote control (from a Sony DVD) is pressed to activate the sequence. The positioner lifts its arm and moves to the rear of a car and lowers the arm to grab the coupler. The gate arm is turned to clear the track and the brake servo arm is lowered. The positioner pushes the train cars forward, the the gate is swung and the brake arm raises to grab the leading car axle. The sequence is repeated and thus 1 car is inside the dumper. The dumper rotates to unload the coal from the car and back to upright. The sequence of moving a car and dumping it is continued until a light detector mounted under the tracks signals that there are no more cars to dump – a car is not over the detector when it is checked prior to the positioner moving another car in the sequence. When the sequence is complete the Siren sounds and ‘Frere Jacques’ plays thought the piezo speaker.”