The return of…
Yes I am sort of back at it, but the family problems have not gone away.
I am currently working on a signalling system for a local model railway club.
This is a quite a big arrow to my bow, as I am not quite sure what I am doing yet? A big learning curve is required to take it all in. I have to take out the old analogue system, that is operated by a creaking relay logic system, and move it over to a more advanced software/hardware driven system, with a RS485 data highway switching the signals.
It should keep me my mind active for another couple of years, especially as all rally visits at weekend now have been cancelled due to Corona..
Relay logic is just as digital as a “more advanced software/hardware driven system.”
Steve, I would suggest you approach this project like eating an elephant: One small bite at a time. First generate a logic diagram of the existing network. Hopefully this task was done by the previous builder and updated as the routes grew over time. If you don’t understand the old version you’ll waste lots of time trying to envision a computerized replacement architecture.
Design and test one oft-used function until you get the bugs out. Then define and design the I/O interfaces to the blocks and (mostly visual) signals on each side of the control block. When successful, select another oft-used function and repeat the entire process. Work through the list until all legacy functionality has been converted; only then should you expand into the realm of “OK, now let’s just add this little tweak …”
Fail-safe operations to protect the club members’ investments in rolling stock will be part of the goal, not speed of implementation. At least it’s only a hobby model, so you don’t have to worry about human passenger safety.