Nicks workshop mutterings

Various railway orientated modelling projects in my new workshop/railway room.

Another steep learning curve!!

As I said in a previous post, I have decided to use the MERG[Model Electronic Railway Group] CBUS system to operate the new layout.

I purchased 2 kits to make a test board. One to accept the input from switches and the other to control relays which I intended to use to drive a point motor and a Heathcote servo board. The other intention was to program it by the ‘Slim’ method which doesn’t need a computer input. Constructing the kits was fairly straightforward and the initial testing told me they were working. I followed all the instructions to teach the relay driver to respond to the switch but alas this was where I came unstuck. The relay switched on when I closed the switch and only switched off when I closed it again…….

After lots of reading around the Merg website and the forum I discovered that there was a problem programming the relay driver using the onboard switches. I therefore decided I would have to go down the computer route to set up the modules. I purchased a USB4 kit to provide a connection to the USB port on my Laptop and also a GIZMO kit to monitor the whole system.

Now a load more reading about the program to be downloaded to set up the system- 3-4 large documents on the website-and then yet another learning curve to get to know how the program works. Eventually with a lot of trial and error the last ‘light bulb moment’ occurred and I had a working test board! I can now work a Hoffmann point motor, control a servo for operating signals and switch LED’s on and off. Whow!

The test board. The USB port is at top right,the switch input board middle left and relay operator in the middle.

Now that I have worked out how to do it, it will be relatively easy to scale it up to the rest of the new layout but there is still more learning to do…… it will have to wait until the terrible Covid 19 epidemic is over as the Merg kit shop is presently closed.

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