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connecting two boards (20 channels) by one cable

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jameske

New Member
Hi everyone, I am trying to figure out how I can (make) and connect a control unit to an output box through one cable.
The idea is to use an output box with dimmer control so I can plug in lights and not have the main voltages flowing through the control box. The control box is to be connected to the output box. There are 20 channels for lights to be plugged into and each of these channels will need to be controlled (so they can be dimmed and turnned off and on). Therefore how do I get the 20 channels (with thier individual settings) from the control box to the ouput box.

Please ask questions if I don't make sense.

Thanks,
Jameske
 

jameske

New Member
DMX looks like the way to go - How would I go about incorporating DMX into my project? Is there any good websites that are easy to understand?

Thanks
 

Hero999

Banned
You should have mentioned this in your previous thread.
http://www.electro-tech-online.com/threads/lighting-for-model-railway.96354/

I've never done DMX control before.

I'd probably use something fairly simple such as serial data transmission (20-bit one for each light) which would just tell each LED to light and when.

Dimming as such wouldn't be possible but with a high enough bit-rate, it could be implemented by PWM.

Another way could be just to transmit the brightness of each light serially as an 8-bit number, might be easier. To be honest I don't have much experience with this kind of thing.

EDIT:
You could use a PIC with a built-in UART and PWM controller for this.
 
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3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Your initial post was vague. I would not use DMX for a model railway. It is intended for theater lighting.

I would look at what the people at MERG are doing as suggested in the other thread.
 
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MrDEB

Well-Known Member
You could go with computer controled

using PWM, you can build the boards yourself so you have 250+ levels of light intensity.
come Christmas I put up a display doing just that using one 64 channel with dim capabilities and two 64 channel boards with just on/off capabilities
system uses SSR's, a zero crossing power supply, lots of cat 5 cable
YouTube - rocking Salmon, Idaho lights

here is a link to several DIY projects
Main Page - Christmasinshirley.com
 

jameske

New Member
Thanks MrDEB, that video is pretty impressive for DIY. Thanks for the website I've been browsing on it and found some interesting things I want to try. In terms of a model railway, what would be the best hardware and software compination to use (with dimming capabilities)?
Also, would it be possible to have a manual option where I can bypass the computer and use physical sliders/pots for dimming and push buttons for flashing the lights instead.

Thanks
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Also, would it be possible to have a manual option where I can bypass the computer and use physical sliders/pots for dimming and push buttons for flashing the lights instead.
Use a mode switch (auto/manual) on your console. In the manual mode the computer reads the sliders and adjusts lights accordingly.

The questions you are asking suggest you do not know how to program a PC or micro controller?

If or when you can program the light stuff is almost trivial including PWM for dimming. You can even use R/G/B lights to mix any color you want. Put a running marquee on the theater and a blinking EATS sign on the cafe.

The good news is that micro controllers are cheap. You can run most LEDs directly and incandescent lights with a simple transistor.

And as I suggested earlier you can add sensing too. I could go on all day about what is possible.

3v0
 

jameske

New Member
Firstly, The reason I was asking about a 'manual option' and computer option is because I was thinking about mounting all the controls for the model railway on the same board as the model. Therefore a computer would fit on the board.
Come to think about it I tink I will do away with that idea and just use a computer.
Secondly, are the lighting controls (with dimming capabilities) mentioned at Christmas In Shirley for DC or just AC?
 
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