About the article

Rail Router

model train routing with a PC

Rail Router
‘Smooth Operator’ elsewhere in this issue employs model control servos to drive the turnouts on a model railway. One of its advantages is that it can be activated over a single wire making it ideal for computer control described… here! Rail Router is a hardware/software combination capable of controlling up to 127 turnouts. The Rail Router hardware comes in two flavours: a master router board capable of directly controlling up to 15 devices and a slave board connected up via a ribbon cable and adding a further 16 turnout controls. The general layout of the system is illustrated in Figure 1. The master and slave circuits use the same printed circuit board stuffed to reflect the desired function. Slave routers are optional — if you are satisfied with ‘just’ 15 turnouts and/or semaphores then you’re fine with just the master router.
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Gerber file

CAM/CAD data for the PCB referred to in this article is available as a Gerber file. Elektor Members can exclusively download these files for free as part of their Membership. Gerber files allow a PCB to be produced on an appropriate device available locally, or through an online PCB manufacturing service. Elektor recommends its business partner Eurocircuits as the company of choice for its own prototypes and volume production in selected cases.

Master Router
Resistors:
R1 = 4kOhm 7R2,R3,R4 = 10kOhm
R5 = 47kOhm
Capacitors:
C1,C2 = 22pF
C3-C7,C9 = 10µF 25V radial
C8,C11,C12 = 100nF
C10 = 1µF 16V radial
Semiconductors:
IC1 = PIC16F877-20/P, programmed, order code 030403-41
IC2 = MAX232
IC3* = 74HCT241
IC4 = 7805
Miscellaneous:
JP1,JP2 = jumper
K2-K16 = 3-way SIL pinheader
K17 = 9-way sub-D socket (female) angled pins, PCB mount
K18* = 10-way boxheader
K19 = 2-way PCB terminal block, lead pitch 5mm
X1 = 8MHz quartz crystal
PCB, order code 030403-1 (see Readers Services page)
Disk, all project software (PIC & PC), order code 030403-11 or Free Download
* only required when a Slave Router is connected

Slave Router
Resistors:
R2,R3 = 10kOhm
R5-R8 = 47kOhm
Capacitors:
C1,C2 = 22pF
C9 = 10µF 25V radial
C12 = 100nF
C10 = 1µF 16V radial
Semiconductors:
T1 = BC550
IC1 = PIC16F877-20/P, programmed, order code 030403-41
IC4 = 7805
Miscellaneous:
K1-K16 = 3-way SIL pinheader
K18 = 10-way boxheader
K19 = 2-way PCB terminal block, lead pitch 5mm
S1 = 3- or 4-way DIP switch
X1 = 8MHz quartz crystal
PCB, order code 030403-1 (see Readers Services page)
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