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JanW

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  1. I have a question to y'all: How to add the bell sound at the rail crossing when the lights blink? The KATO standard rail crossing probable has a nice sound chip that emulates the sound through a small speaker. I have been searching the internet for ways of doing it without using the KATO rail crossing. I get no further than the standard train kits with a standard sound (ding ding ding) or the Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board that can be loaded with WAV files with the sound of the real thing. Any other better idea's?
  2. There are two options: To stop the bus: install a magnet at the right side of the bus. The magnet is oriented with the north-pole up. The sensor in the bus is located half-way and roughly in line with the right front and rear wheels. . When the magnet is removed (e.g. with a servo), the bus moves on. To stop the bus and have it move on after some 6 seconds (the passengers really have to hurry up) : Install a 2nd magnet with the south pole up, some 30 mm before the stop magnet.
  3. By trial and error I figured out that my bus can do a 60 mm radius. Initially I though that it even goes down to 50 mm but at that radius, the bus slowly loses track of the guide wire. At a 90 deg bend, it is kind-of doable because the bus will catch up with the guide wire soon enough after the bend. However at 135 deg or more, the bus really looses guidance and veeres off the road! So 60 is the absolute minimum. My lay-out uses 60 mm to take the turn onto and off the rail crossing and to take the corner at the Tomytec factory.
  4. Hi JR 500, Currently the railway crossing has no barriers or lights. It is the simplest crossing Kato delivers. The crossing is on a side branch to the industrial area, so no regular traffic. However I may add lights (i.e. safeguarding with lights only, without barriers) or even add barriers. Next interlock them with the bus traffic. There is complication at the crossing: Buses cannot pass each other on the crossing. So an interlock is needed to prevent that buses run into each other. It will get complicated...
  5. I have been experimenting some more and have now been working on a busstation with 3 busstops where 3 Tomytec buses will come and go. All will be automated by a Arduino thingy. Also created a 3-way turn-out to allow the buses to pick one of three stop spaces. Adding the 0,5 mm steel wires just under the road surface and between the tracks on the railway crossing was quite a fiddly job. I needed to remove the plastic parts to the sides of the track to install the steel wires separately. Still work in progress of courses! Here the topview of this area in my lay-out. A sneak preview on how things will look-like when completed. First I need to master Arduino stuff, including controlling servo's and connecting sensors (i'll use Hall sensors to detect a bus). I'll keep you posted! Jan
  6. Tomytec buses have two magnetic field (hall) sensors half way between the wheels. One at the right side and one at the left side of the bus. The one at the right side is capable of detecting the difference between a N-S field and a S-N field and is used to control the bus at a bus stop or traffic light. The one at the left side can only detect one magnetic field direction and is used to accelerate or decelerate the bus. Definition of which pole is North and which South is somewhat arbitrary in this discussion as long as you do not mix them up. Let's say that a magnet with the North pole up at the right side of the bus, stops it. The sensor at the right side now, has two mode of operation: Just to stop the bus. There is a magnet with the N-pole up, detected at the right side of bus. The red LED in the bus is lit. When the magnet is moved away the bus carries on. To stop the bus for some 6 seconds (indeed, the passengers really need to hurry) only. To do this a magnet with the S-pole up is positioned at the right. When the bus drives over the magnet the sensor first detects a magnet with the S-pole up and a split second later the stop magnet with the N-pole up. The split second equates to a driving distance between the timer magnet and the stop magnet of some 30 mm. So the timer magnet with the S-pole up is positioned 30 mm before the stop magnet in the same drive path at the right side of the bus. The sensor at the left side has also two modes of operation If the bus drives slowly and the bus passes a magnet with the S-pole up at the left side of the bus, the bus accelerates. As the bus passes the magnet the yellow LED in the bus is lit as long as the magnetic field is detected. In fact the driving is just a little bit faster. Maybe it is most noticeable with fresh batteries. I have not tried it. If the bus drives fast and the bus passes a magnet with the S-pole up at the left side of the bus, the bus decelaretes . The speed magnets are useful before and after a stop, say some 50 mm before a bus stop to mimic the slow-down before a stop and 40 mm after the bus stop to mimic the acceleration after the stop.
  7. Just wanted to share some tests I did using Neodymium magnets I picked up from an on-line store here in The Netherlands. I did not shop specifically for Neodymium magnets but they were simply the only ones that were available at the size I was shopping for. They are actually quite cheap (€ 0,21 - € 0,46 per piece) I bought 3 types to run tests with: block magnets of 10 x 4 x 3 mm with the N-S orientation across the 3 mm thickness. This is the same as the block magnet used by Tomytec to stop the bus. cylindrical magnets 4 mm diameter and 4 mm thick. N-S orientation along the cylinder axis. cylindrical magnets 4 mm diameter and 2 mm thick. N-S orientation along the cylinder axis. Objective of the tests are to come up with my own road design that is just 4 mm thick (instead of 7 mm by Tomytec), 50 mm wide (instead of 74 mm for Tomytec) for a dual carriage road (and just few mm wider at a bus stop), allows to move the stop magnet e.g. with a RC servo and allows for a turn-out, also operated by an RC servo. The Neodymium magnets are a lot more strong than the classic ferro ones used by Tomytec. I wondered why Tomytec uses a block magnet to stop the bus oriented in the driving direction of the bus? I found that the short distance the bus needs to come to complete stop causes the bus to just pass the small Tomytec speed control magnets, i.e. the bus effectively continues without stopping. So I first tried to use the Neo block magnet as my alternative. It is quite a strong magnet that interferes with the bus steering magnet when positioned the same as Tomytec does (some 10mm from the guide wire. I had to move the magnet away from the bus as far as 14 mm from the guide wire. To get the bus moving again the magnet needed to be shifted to 19-20 mm from the guide wire. This is a problem because the magnet needs to be at the right side of the bus i.e. at the inside of a dual carriage road. The magnet could infere with an upcoming bus at the other side of the road if the road is made more narrow than the standard Tomytec roads. The road at the bus stop would need to be much wider than my target of 50 mm to allow an upcoming bus at the other side of the road to pass without inadvertently being stopped by the stop magnet at the other side. So the Neo block magnet is too strong fo my purpose.. I made a test road with bus stop with the desired dimensions out of 0.5 mm PE sheet. I simply used commercially available 0.5 mm diameter iron (steel) wire. Works perfect with the Tomytec bus, no need to buy the expensive Faller wire. Next I tried to use the smallest (4 x 2 mm) cylindrical Neo magnet to stop the bus. Would it be strong enough to stop the bus before it passed its magnetic field while stopping? Indeed it does! The small magnet could simply be positioned at 10mm away from the guide wire. I also added the 6 sec delay magnet of the same small Neo magnet type (N-S orientation is reverse as for the stop magnet): It appears that the bus stops nicely on time and the 6 sec delay magnet was detected. The steering magnet is not impacted by the magnets. See the below video: Opposing buses are not impacted by the magnet (in stop position): Next I moved the stop magnet 5 mm away from the guide wire: You can see that the stop magnet is now roughly half way the two guide wires. If the guide wires at the bus stop were at the normal 22 mm distance for the dual carriage road, the magnet would get too close to the opposing guide wire. So at the bus stop the guide wires really should be minimal 28 mm apart. Now the bus simply continues at the bus stop. Finally I had to verify if the opposing bus is not stopped by the stop magnet at the bus stop. The distance between the magnet centreline and the opposing guide wire is only 13 mm.. Apparently, the stop magnet only needs to be moved 3-4 mm away from the stop position to get the bus moving again. This could easily be done with a RC servo. Form all this I plan to proceed with: 50 mm wide dual carriage roads / 27 mm single carriage roads. Bus stops with quide wires at least 28 mm apart. 4 mm thick roadbeds, enough to accommodate the mechanism to move the 2 mm thick stop magnet back and fro. The use of the 4 x 2 mm Neo magnets for both stopping, speed control and 6 sec delay at bus stops. the use of 0.5 mm commercial steel (iron) wire. Comments?
  8. Yes, it did get better after a while. Will leave it for a while to avoid the risk of making things worse! Yes, saw that and it is a good idea! Probably make some form of chicken foot with both a guide wire straight on and a V-shape. My KATO automated crossing wil need to get a groove in the road bed to hide the wire in. There is no space for the guide wire from the back with all the PCBs and the barrier mechanism underneath. That will require some careful machining of a 0.6 mm groove... Yeah, I noticed both the red and the yellow light. I did not know that the hall sensor in the bus is sensitive for the orientation of the magnet. Will need to keep that in mind when making my own road sections and bus stops! Do you know if that is also the case with the long stop magnet? As you seem to be an expert on the subject: Do you if and where I can buy the magnets separately (i.e. not as part of a Tomytec kit)?
  9. Yes, I applied greyish felt (with an adhesive back) as noise dampening. It works pretty good and it kind of visually integrates the separate tracks. The tracks are left loose on the felt.
  10. My starter set B3 just arrived. I have been playing and experimenting a bit with it and noticed a few things: 1) The bus steering mechanism and magnet is quite strong. It does not easily gets off track. Without guide wire however, the bus does not tend to go straight or anything (no under or oversteer). So level track crossings need short sections of guide wiring everywhere. Will be a fiddly job to fit them on Kato rail crossings. 2) My bus is slightly limping. It seems that one of the front wheels is not exactly concentric with the axle. I suppose it is not made in Japan 😉 3) The break lights are not visible through light conductors at the break lights of the bus. Instead you see a red glow through the rear window. 4) The magnet to accelerate or decelerate the bus does not really have a noticeable effect on the speed. The bus does not drive very fast. I'll need to try again with brand new batteries. 4) the tires are made of very soft rubber that have a good grip on the road. This allows for steep roads (maybe 12% or more) however the tires quickly collect dust and loose their grip. So tires need cleaning often if you have gradients. (i plan to have an underpass under the rail tracks). 5) the standard Tomytec road is rather wide. 37 mm for a single lane = 5.5 meter. Normal roads have 2.5 - 3.5 meter wide lanes. 6) the road sections are 6 mm high being some 1 mm higher than the footplate of Tomytec houses. So houses would need additional shimming to create a curb and side walk. I plan to make my own (more narrow) road sections, crossroads (even with traffic lights), and a bus station where buses wait a while and for each other. Plan to make them out of PE sheet. So need some more experimenting. I ordered some 50 meter of 0,5 mm steel (iron) wire for just a few euro. I intend to test to see if this wire is suitable as guide wire and test various turn radiuses.
  11. Yeah, indeed it may be a bit apocalyptic however I have seen road crossings in Japan (e.g. at the crossing where I lived for 9 months in Yokohama) that operating 24/7 with hardly any traffic after 9 PM. Of course pedestrians wait patiently and obedient for the light to turn green while there is no car in sight. Very tempting for a anti-authoritarian Dutchman like me!
  12. Thanks a lot! I am a layman here. Do you refer to this kind of components? https://www.getgoods.com/products/606592/Hall-effect-sensor-TRU-COMPONENTS-AH-3503-UA-4.5-6-Vdc-Reading-range-0.0195-0.0255-T-TO-92-Soldering.html
  13. Great idea! Would you know if the sensor could be installed below the guide wire or should the guide wire be interrupted at the point of the sensor?
  14. Absolute great idea's and solutions ! Many thanks for all this. 🙏 In the mean time I have ordered the B3 bus starter set and will have a go at it! Indeed I planned to get myself on the learning curve of applying Arduino electronics. The use of hall-effect sensors is indeed a great idea. I even started wondering why these are not applied to detect trains in a DCC controlled lay-out (maybe they are). As a mechanical engineer, the use of these modern electronics opens a whole new realm of learning, opportunities and challenges, but it will keep the grey cells going! I am now wondering to 3D print my specially laid out road crossings including the levers, servo brackets and magnet holders and hide the servos in buildings along the road. By the way, is any of you aware of nice Japanese traffic lights with working LEDs build in being readily available in the market? I only found dummy traffic lights without LEDs (KATO and Tomytec). Fitting these with SMD LEDs would be a rather fiddly job..
  15. Hi all! I am considering to have a bus or two driving around on my lay-out. My layout does not lend it self to the use of the standard off the shelf road sections supplied by Tomytec. I have no experience with this system yet and I am searching and reading about it on internet and on this forum. In all it is a bit confusing to me and I am left with a number of questions that I hope some of you may be able to answer also to check if my idea's are feasible. I plan to create my own road sections and maybe even a complete station square with a bus stop. Will the Faller Car system wire work with the Tomytec buses? What would be the minimum turn radius for the bus? Is it possible to have a level rail crossing? I have the standard Kato automated rail crossing. Would be nice if I can have the bus cross that crossing. E..g. if there is no guide wire, will the bus automatically continue straight on or will it behave erratic and swerve off the road onto the tracks? There will be junctions with traffic lights. How can I make a bus stop at the red/amber light? I understand that you can control the bus with magnets under the surface. Is there a spec to buy a electromagnet that does the job? Would it be possible to create a remote controlled turn-out, such that one bus may go straight and the other pulls over or turns left or right? I may like to have two buses. Is there a way to detect the position of a bus to create a block system that prevents that the buses run into each other?
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