The pages in this section detail the redesign of the D&B model railroad control electronics using a Parallax Propeller chip. This component contains 8 microprocessors in one IC package. The microprocessors (cogs) run in parallel which permits all of the D&B model railroad functions previously performed by multiple Basic Stamps to be run by a single propeller chip. In addition, the cogs use common hardware pins and memory which simplifies inter process communication and the sharing of program code. A library of user community developed software is available for free download and includes functions such as serial/USB drivers, keyboard/screen drivers, and PC interfacing routines.
The redesign uses the existing cable connections to the turnouts and sensors on the model railroad; "plug compatibility" is the goal. Refer to the Basic Stamp pages for an understanding of the construction and control electronics previously developed. After operating the model railroad for a few years now, there are areas where improvements can be made to both hardware and software. The improvements will seek to minimize/consolidate hardware and simplify the software. The software will draw upon examples available from the Parallax discussion forum.
Planning and Construction: Design Goals Track Plan Photos Scenery Base
Basic Stamp Control Electronics: Main line Yard Grade Crossing Block Signal Turntable
Circuit Description: Main line Yard Grade Crossing Block Signal Block Detector Turntable Power Supply Schematics
Photos and Video clips: Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6 Video Clips Ride The D&B
Propeller Control Electronics: Overview Flow Charts Program Code Schematics Photos
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Copyright © 2006 Don Buczynski
San Diego, California