PWM Model Train Throttle

  • One of the reasons I joined Makerspace was to learn new skill. So, for my first electronics project I plan to build a pulse-width modulation throttle for my daughter’s model train using the plan from this website:
    I’m still laying-out the pcb using Fritzing on Linux. Work s ok but doesn’t have a lot of my components in the library. So, I’m learning how to model them. I’d be interested to know if there’s better electronics design software (opensource).
    Once I get that done I’m keen on trying out the CNC for making the printed circuit board.
    I’ll post updates on how that goes.

  • That is great timing! I am helping organize a three part workshop with instructor @dhylands to do exactly this. Stay tuned and we will make a post about it early next week.

    Meanwhile, if you need any help running the 3020 let me know. I just ordered these V shaped engraving bits for the workshop. They should be perfect for making PCBs.

    I have been wanting to try this process out for a while now, so will be following your progress closely :smile:

    Edit: forgot to mention, for the workshop we are planning to use kicad. It is open source and runs on Linux.

  • Aras:

    Please post the results on these bits’ performance once they arrive. We just bought some USA bits at about 50X the cost, and I’m very curious about how the China parts work.


  • @BrianB for sure! I will do some tests and post results here. I was just going to engrave a few shapes in scrap aluminium pieces at progressively faster speeds until I break a bit. I know that is probably not the best way to test them, but at least it will give me a starting point. What tests would you be mostly interested in for the V bits? Are you using them for PCB’s or for something else? I also have some other cheap bits from china that I could happily stress test.

  • Full steam ahead! After correcting a few mistakes the breadboarded circuit works. Yeah! (Though I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t joined the magic blue smoke club)!

  • @frank thanks for sharing! I love seeing all the finished projects on here, even if it does not help to get me out of the blue smoke club lead :)

  • I guess the next step is to solder it onto perf board and place it into an enclosure.

  • @Ron_Ron I’d still rather do the circuit board on the cnc machine. I’m going to try to get it ready for the next circuit board workshop.
    But first, I’m thinking of adding a 3-colour LED to the output as an indicator of voltage and direction (ie. the polarity to the tracks to change the direction of the train). Not for any useful purpose, just to add a fancy light!

  • Metal

    Absolutely nothing wrong with adding fancy lights to a project!!! heck some of @Ron_Ron s projects are nothing but pointless, fancy lights and they’re awesome!!

Log in to reply