Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Update

Family issues remained this month with Dad settling into the nursing home.  My daughter delivered us a Granddaughter in the wee hours of the 20th of this month and she wanted us to be among the first to see the new arrival.  So I was required to be the coach captain to ferry the older family members to and from the hospital.  Unfortunately our Granddaughter lost too much weight and was admitted to the neonatal unit for nearly a week but things appear to be on the right track now. Once again thanks to those that have called in or contacted me regularly to "have a chat".
Slow progress again this month as I start rebuilding my energy levels after all the family issues encountered to date this year.  I did some more work on the first Launchpad project - "Quintet Optical Sensor and timed outputs" and some further thinking led me to identify the possibility of a railcar being left stationary in the helix, between optical sensors and out of sight led to the "Helix Occupied Flasher".

I also got the ceiling lighting working for the first time I can fine tune a few areas down the track.

Quintet Optical Sensor and timed outputs

Last month I showed the commencement of a hobby board whereby I could use the Launchad Chips (MSP430G2553N20) without the Launchpad using a method detailed by David Loman - link.

The power supply method was also detailed last month with the exception of the final stage 5V => 3.2V - I was measuring the meter (see final comment last month) as I had no load on the final section of the circuit!  The original design using 3 diodes in series did work - when load was actually added! - it delivered 2.97V under load.

I decided the the single "block occupied" 5mm  LED would not provide sufficient visual indication across the room when a train was in the block.  This indication is necessary to know as if say "a railcar" was stationary between sensors as it would not be evident to most user. I don't want any cornfield meets! especially in hidden trackage  I added another MSP430G2552N20 chip to include the "Helix Occupied Flasher" project I have developed.

The The LaunchPad for Model Railroading site managed by Terry Terrance has featured my project.

Helix Occupied Flasher

The panel has 3 Red LED's at the entry and exit of the "incline".

Pilot - Using the launchpad for testing.

Here is a link to the Helix Occupied Flasher code should you wish to do something similar.

Helix Train Movement Sensor and Display

The "Helix Train Movement Sensor and Display" was born by combining the "Quintet Optical Sensor and timed outputs" and "Helix Occupied Flasher". The pics below show the combined installation of  "Quintet x 2" and "Helix Occupied Flasher" panel.

The panel

10mm Red & Yellow LEDs CA'ed in place with Cathodes soldered together - the Red wires are for the "5mm Green power on" and "Red occupied" LEDs and the green wires are for the Yellow position indicator LEDs.

The Hobby board with the three MSP430G2553N20 chips that have been "programmed" in the Launchpad.

Optical sensor placed and held in place with double sided poster tape.

Three of the sensors

Sensor wires (green) connected by wire wrap to header pins on hobby board.

The finished product

I somehow put 11 yellow LED's in instead of 10 - senior's moment - I also have a gremlin in the "occupied" code as LEDs 1 & 6 do not extinguish when the train exits the block.  I'll have to add another sensor & code in the "occupied" project to make the 11th one work!

Ceiling Lighting

Bob and I fitted the globes to the spotlights this week and the end result was pleasing.  The "light and dark areas of the blue sky are hardly noticeable but the camera makes them stand out for some reason.

That's it for this month.

Thanks to those that continue to help me achieve my ambitions and hello again to all my followers!

Till the end of July.


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