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There have been threads on remote control of accessories and features of rolling stock. I decided to take a look at some "universal" solutions to the issue. With that in mind, I have initial designs of a family of boards to perform a wide variety of remote control functions. All of these boards use the commonly available and inexpensive 1527 learning code 4-channel receivers and transmitters shown below.

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Another transmitter option is also available, the 433mhz 4-button remote control, this will control any of the receiver modules as well.


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The 1527 learning code receivers used have a number of different operating modes. They can operate in either momentary output, latched toggle mode, or interlocked mode. Each receiver can respond to multiple remotes, and each remote can trigger a different output mode of the receiver.

An obvious issue with the 1527 learning code transmitter/receiver boards is they aren't PnP for model train applications. They lack the power supply as well as the input and output conditioning circuits for use in our environment.

This is one attempt to remedy that shortcoming.

Note that all the 3D shots below don't illustrate the transmitter or receiver board, I didn't have a 3D representation for those, and I didn't feel like spending the time to generate those, it's a lot of work!

First up is a 4 channel transmitter module designed to interface with model train applications. This board accepts the above illustrated 4-channel transmitter board and provides power and interface logic for the board for a wide range of uses. Each of the four inputs to the board are optically isolated and will accept any trigger voltage from 1.5 volts to 18 volts AC or DC to trigger a transmit channel. The on-board power supply accepts AC or DC power from 6 volts to 18 volts to power the internal logic and OEM 4-channel transmit board. This board can be embedded in rolling stock for internal control of car functions from the locomotive. It can also be used with the Lionel SC2 or MTH AIU to trigger actions from the respective command system remotes. A suggested use might be to use the front coupler output on a steam engine to activate a peripheral function. A magnet on a wheel with a reed switch can trigger a function when you are moving. You're only limited by your imagination.

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Next up, we need a way to receive this command, here's a pair of 4-channel receiver boards. The first one has four relays to allow total isolation of the switching from the board power. The second board is a FET output based design that allows a more compact design and will switch 1/4 amp of power referenced to input power ground. Both receiver boards use the 4-channel receiver module previously described.

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What if you don't need 4 channels of control all in one location? Well, I considered that, and thus a couple more boards were conceived. These are a single channel relay output board and a single channel FET output board. The outputs match the previously described four channel boards, just a smaller board with a single channel output. These also use the same 4-channel receiver previously described.

With the single channel board, we have a conundrum, the receiver we're using is a 4 channel receiver. That means we can't program individual buttons on the remote (or channels on the transmitter module) to separate the channels. So it appears we'll be "wasting" three channels of transmitter and significantly limiting ourselves.

Not so fast!

Taking advantage of a feature of the 1527 learning code family, each of the single channel boards has a Channel jumper field. The appropriate jumper is added to the board to select which of the four receive channels will activate the output of the board. This allows you to have four of these boards all programmed for a single 4-channel transmitter. Each transmitter channel will activate only the board that has it's Channel output jumpers selecting that channel. Multiple receivers can be programmed to respond to the same transmitter, the net result is we have a single channel board that only consumes one of the channels of our transmitter's four channels. The single channel boards orient the receiver horizontally over the board to minimize the overall height of the board. The relay board is 1x1.2 inches in size, and the FET based board is 1x0.6 inches in size. Overall height is around .6 inches for either board.

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Stay tuned for additional developments.
 

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I'll admit, I'm intrigued. I'm not sure how I would use it right now, but stuff like this fascinates me, regardless of the fact that in not that good at it. I'm finishing up my second DCC controller build right now. My wife will be thrilled to see something else added to my project list!

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Well I just read your universal control ideas for rolling stock. While I understand a little it of it, I must admit that you could have written it in Greek and it would have made as much sense to me. I admire your thinking. I'm just don't have that much of an electronics mind. I run all Gilbert American Flyer and have adapted TMCC to my layout operations. That is as advanced as I am electronically.

Kenny
 

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So a couple of quick questions ...
1st] do you have run the train remote to control the train loco AND the keyfob to access the extra functions??
2nd] is there someplace to tell the keyfob whether to run latched on / off or momentary operation ??
 

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I imagine you could build an Arduino based decoder that will run with a remote. I think there is some information for Arduino decoders on here somewhere. I'm not great with this stuff either, but I'd like to be.

Honestly thought, for remote control of individual trains I like the MRC Loco genie. Or you can get it cheaper from their supplied, XL systems for about $40. They come with a remote and can be used on DC or on a DCC layout with the remote or your DCC controller.

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Discussion Starter #6
This system isn't actually designed for actual train control, but rather automating operation of accessories or rolling stock. I plan on using one of these pairs to control the backup light on my MTH Aerotrain observation car. Over the years I've participated in a lot of threads on remote control, so I figured it was time to try to come up with a generic set of boards to address many of the situations.

So a couple of quick questions ...
1st] do you have run the train remote to control the train loco AND the keyfob to access the extra functions??
2nd] is there someplace to tell the keyfob whether to run latched on / off or momentary operation ??
1. Like I said, this is to control other features. The keyfob is one way to trigger it, and the transmitter module is a second way. The transmitter module is designed to be built into a locomotive or rolling stock and trigger events based on external events. Moving, passing over a sensor in the track, etc. One person is already wanting to use this setup to control all the lights in his passenger cars remotely instead of them being always on.
2. No, the system is one-way, there is no feedback to the transmitter or keyfob to tell what the remote receiver is doing.
 
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