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EZ Light Linker and CMB16D


Denny
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This is definitely not in the budget for this year, but maybe next????

My daughter gave me one of those battery operated, ride-on trains, since the kids are too big to ride it now. I would like to repaint it and use it for Christmas, 2009, but would like it to be controlled by LOR. I have been trying to figure out how to do that and was wondering if this would work.

First, I would upgrade the train motor and battery from 6 volts to 12 volts. Now that I would have a 12 volt power source on the train, could I use that battery, connected to a CMB16D (DC Board) to power the EZ Light Linker so that it could receive signals from another EZ? If so, I could use LOR to transmit the start, stop, speed signals to the train. I could also use it to control things like an MR16 headlight, DC powered Christmas lights that are synchronized, etc. Has anyone done something like this before using te EZ and DC Board? I don't see why it wouldn't work, but I don't have the EZ or a DC Board (reason for holding off until Dec, 2009) to try it out. Was just wondering if those of you that do have these items have ever tried anything like it.

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I don't know how much current your motor will draw.. The MOSFET's in the CMB-16D might not be adequate for the train motors, but I would think it should be possible to to use the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) output from the CMB-16D to drive a larger MOSFET or transistor to drive the motor load. The PWM should be ideal for DC motor speed control.

It might be a bit more complicated, but one could probably work out a way to use one channel to select direction, and a second for speed.

One step further up the complexity chain would be to add a magnet in the track, and a magnetic reed switch on the bottom of the train to act like a wiper motor park switch, to allow the train to stop at a predictable location every time. Then you could use a third channel to signal that it should leave, or run through the park location..

- Kevin

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LightORamaDan

The LOR train that was at PLUS2007 was one of the kids riding trains. It had a second (12V battery) added to it to power the CMB16 and ELL. The train was put together by Darryl at http://www.christmaslightshow.com and we borrowed it for PLUS. The 6V battery and motor were used. I believe that a relay was connected to one of the CMB16 channels to turn the 6V motor on and off.

The CMB16 can run on two different voltages. The right bank ( channels 1-8 ) can be powered by 12 volts and can be used for 12 volt lights and LED spots. The left bank ( channels 9-16 ) can be powered by 6V and could control the motor. I believe that if the motor draws too much power you could use multiple channels to power it. Just turn on/off at once. Motors (especially at 6V) can draw a lot of current (the lower the voltage the higher the current). You can use a relay to control the motor. There would be no speed control but that may not be all that important.

Having two batteries would be a pain but it does give you more "juice" to work with and elemniates the need to rebuild the train's drive train.

Dan

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The second battery also eliminates the possible damage to controllers from transients caused by starting and stopping the train motor. Interrupting a DC circuit can produce whopping transients..specially if there inductive loads involved.

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I forgot about the board being able to handle two different voltages, so that will make it much easier to convert. I shouldn't have any problems with a second battery since the train has two cars besides the locomotive. I may construct a couple more to pull behind it also. The train has a lot of track, even a 90 degree crossover, so it should look good running around the yard. I may set it up this year without modifications. Budget won't allow the EZ Light Linker this year as I need the iDMX1000 and a DC board for the MR16s. Putting a little in reserve, hoping the solenoid control board will be released during the sale also. HINT, HINT! (I still want to experiment with animatronics!)

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BobinFL wrote:

The second battery also eliminates the possible damage to controllers from transients caused by starting and stopping the train motor. Interrupting a DC circuit can produce whopping transients..specially if there inductive loads involved.

I really can' t think of any way to construct a motor that has no inductive component. Some are just worse than others...

If you are not doing any directional control, it is generally smart to put a reverse biased diode, rated for the full motor current, ideally with a fast switching time, in parallel with the motor. This way, the when the power to the motor is turned off, the induction current will short circuit through the diode, instead of generating the voltage spikes.

- Kevin
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