Chuck’s New Throttle: Installation


As you may recall, Chuck’s new throttle was essentially functional, but needed some detail work before installation in his layout. I’m smack in the middle of fall show season, so this is a particularly bad time to get things accomplished. The morning after the Mini Maker Faire, I dragged myself out of bed early, and proceeded to attach the remaining pieces.

Chuck wanted a toggle switch to cut the throttle off from both the power supply and the track. He wanted a polyfuse, in case of a short circuit. Of course he wanted a front panel. He wanted a 15-volt supply, because his set of Life-Like Alcos were still sluggish at full throttle. He provided some of the key parts, I had most of the others on hand.

The panel is a piece of 3mm Baltic Birch plywood, with a printout laminated on with Super 77 spray adhesive. I drilled holes for all the components, and glued small pine sticks to the back. The PC board is screwed to the pine. No, it’s not up to my usual standards, but it’s perfectly serviceable. It didn’t have to look as slick as Lynn’s panel.

On the way to his place, I stopped at Home Depot for more #4 screws, and a 1/16″ Allen key to attach the knobs. Once at Chuck’s, I started off by reconnecting the wires to the IR sensors and the track, and gave a brief running test to verify that things still worked. I improvised a cleat for attaching the front panel. After some head-scratching, I laid down a piece of double-stick foam tape for securing the Arduino/shield stack. It probably wouldn’t withstand a lot of transport, but Chuck has no plans to take the modules anywhere.


Once everything was in place, we flipped the toggle and let the trains run for a while. That extra voltage seemed to help; we were able to get the Life-Likes at a comfortable cruising speed.

Looking for code?

There has been interest expressed in code and a schematic for this project, but I’m not posting them quite yet and I’ve now posted them. Chuck sent me an email a few days ago, reporting a minor glitch with operation. I’ll be heading back for a closer look in a few days. From his description, it should be an easy fix, and once it’s done, I plan to post the code.

If you’re interested in Arduino-based throttles, keep watching this space. I have another project coming up soon, and I should be reporting on it within a few weeks.