Today I cut up and glued together a modified configuration of the Peco Setrack Platform System and started painting it:
It’s not much, but it’s progress.
The main reason I am writing this post is to start talking about the turntable mechanism.
Remember last year when I asked Peco about the DCC turntable motor that was slated for release in 2016, and they told me it would be released later in 2017? Well, it wasn’t released in 2017. When I asked them about it more recently they told me they were having some technical difficulties with the indexing, but assured me that it was slated for release in 2018. They thanked me for my patience.
I do have patience, but I’ve come to realize that I don’t have much faith in Peco’s ability to manufacture a motor that will work well. Judging by the prototype, there will be modifications necessary to mount the motor directly to the underside of the turntable. Also, the motor probably has a gearbox, which probably has plastic gears, and that means it will not be very accurate (especially an earlier model, while the kinks are being worked out).
So, I reached out to my brother-in-law and told him what I needed to do, and asked him to guide me through the hardware and software setup of an Arduino-based, DCC-interfaced turntable motor. He knows far more than I do about circuitry and programming–it’s what he does for a living.
After a few days he gave me a shopping list:
- Arduino Uno
- Adafruit Motor Shield
- Iowa Scaled Engineering DCC Shield
To power the Arduino, I sourced a power cable from the electronic graveyard at my office. The motor shield stacks right on the Arduino and drives the motor via jumper wires. The DCC shield (which is slated to arrive next week) will translate commands from the DCC controller to the Arduino, which will then tell the motor shield what to do.
I got the Arduino and motor shield today:
As you can see, I also got a stepper motor, a 4mm to 5mm flexible motor shaft coupler, and a 4mm steel rod.
Figuring out a mounting system for these mechanical components will be my primary goal for the next few days while I wait for further guidance from my brother-in-law. The mechanism may look something like this:
So, although it doesn’t seem like it, there’s quite a bit of activity happening underneath LSR, and if all goes as planned, I will have an indexed, programmable turntable soon.