My Layout - Brynderwyn part 1

Chris Hall Feb 13, 2021

  1. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Hi everyone,

    Thought I would start to document the building of my N scale layout, Brynderwyn. It is a fiction European country using a combination of Swiss and German locomotives and rolling stock. The name is an odd one, as it is a Welsh word (my wife is Welsh), and is a town in New Zealand (my home country) and includes my late Father in Laws name - Derwyn, who was an Arduino genius - a source I wish I was able to tap into now!

    The base board is "Kaiserstuhl" made by Noch, a preformed plastic base with some basic grass and paint. The track is over two layers with a gradual incline at the back (though a couple of engines struggle without the traction tires). I managed to pick this up second hand from the swiss version of Ebay, complete with the lower level of track and switches, a transformer and several locomotives.
    Kaiserstuhl layout.jpg
    DBD8B7B8-F97E-4B76-A3A7-70D36A8DF9DA-3067-000004D48F75D1D8.jpg

    My first step was to remove all the track as in some parts as the glue had not stuck correctly. One thing I learnt very quickly was the access within the tunnel areas is near impossible in places, this resulted in several attempts to lay the track and I eventually settled on creating sections of soldered track that I could wiggle into position, glue and then connect to the next section. The track plan didn't quite line up either using the Fleishmann Piccolo track (not my first choice but what was supplied), but nothing a little modification didn't fix. I also installed the turnout motors upside down, so I can hide them later with ballast and scenery.
    IMG_3952.jpg
    IMG_3819.jpg
     
  2. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    For the layout I decided to go the DCC route with a digital control panel and (eventually) automation. For that I have DCC++ EX, using an Arduino Mega, Motor Shield and a raspberry pi cooling system on top. I'm in the process of creating this today (waiting for the 3d printer to build the housing for the Mega) so decided to start this thread whilst I wait!

    IMG_4467.jpg

    For the layout control itself, I went with a headless Raspberry Pi 3b running JMRI. To control the turnouts, lights sensors etc, there is a CMRI node network of 4 Aduino Nano's and one Uno linked together via a 485 bus. The system is easily expandable to include more Nano's as required. The bus clamps are made using my 3d resin printer (big thanks to Sumner for his 3d plans for the wire bus connectors - I slightly modified them!) plus mounting plates for all the 485 boards and arduino's.
    IMG_4458.jpg IMG_4457.jpg

    5v and 12v is supplied via two buses provided by a converted HP computer power supply. This is very handy as it provides a constant 5v 2A supply for the Raspberry Pi, a 5v 15A supply for the arduino components, 12v 15A for the turnouts and 12v 8A for the DCC++ system, all from one small space.

    IMG_4459.jpg
     
    badlandnp, MK, SP-Wolf and 2 others like this.
  3. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    7,064
    11,756
    123
    Looks like it is coming together nicely! (y)
     
  4. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    To keep the wife happy I have a bench up stairs that I use to assemble building, build circuits and general tinker. Normally I only scuttle down into the basement on weekends to spend some quality assembly time. Swiss houses are very accommodating as most have "bomb" shelters. This gives me a large open planned space, which is insulated and remains cool in summer - warm in winter, that I can make plenty of noise in without disturbing both those upstairs and the neighbors.
    IMG_3826_Original.jpg

    so far I have modified several building that I have obtained online for cheap.
    IMG_4209.jpg IMG_4210.jpg
    These two have a very basic interior created by printing out shop interiors onto card and then folding into shape, several levels of LED's enable different floors to be illuminated when required. Both are controlled by daisy chained PCA9685's, this allows me to control all my buildings using just two arduino pins.

    After I purchased a 3d printer, I was able to up my building game.

    IMG_4124.jpg

    This was a standard station building that came with the layout. I pretty much pulled it apart, repainted the exterior, cut open the doors and created an interior. All the items on the platform I designed and printed myself, even installing micro LED's inside both the ticket machine and vending machine.

    IMG_4105.jpg IMG_4126.jpg IMG_4127.jpg

    The last building I have created has combined all of the above skills and more. Each floor of the building was 3d printed and painted, then stacked along with micro LED's to create a realistic interior. This will be placed at the front of the layout in the town. I even installed a flashing LED to simulate a TV playing. This is also controlled by a PCA9685, and when combined with JMRI and the fastclock the lights turn on/off through the day. Unfortunately I don't have any photo's of it yet - just a video, but will get some soon.
     
  5. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Thanks!

    Its slow progress at the moment. The layout has be on its side for over a month now whilst I've been wiring the underside. I didn't realise just how long it takes to strip wires, crimp on terminals and then attach to the board....
     
    badlandnp and mtntrainman like this.
  6. Bookbear1

    Bookbear1 TrainBoard Supporter

    410
    184
    21
    Really outstanding work! I love the detail you are working into the layout.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  7. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    1,036
    2,107
    36
    Welcome, and great work on the layout. I like the track plan, it looks spacious but still small.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  8. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,114
    3,575
    125
    My son is in town for the weekend. He is an IT guy and computer nut. I remember him years ago telling me about this 'raspberry pi' he assembled that was more powerful then this BIG desktop computer he built for me eons ago. Yet it is was only about the size of a credit card !!!! He proceeded to tell me all about his 'Raspberry Pi' and like this post I got lost after ...
    [​IMG]
    I knew when I saw your setup that he would go bonkers...and he did. He told me to tell you...'awesome...job well done!'...as he tried to explain what all those electronics do. Of course he dumbed it down just enough dad could somewhat follow along. LOL.

    It was cool to see him get excited about something that is train related yet highly computer and electronically done.

    Thank You...(y)(y):D:)
     
  9. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    1,036
    2,107
    36
    I have used Raspberry Pi’s for many different projects. I had built a cluster Pi for working on the SETI@Home project, but I disassembled it shortly after the SETI program was cancelled. Now I have a Pi in my railroad control box running JMRI and it will make ambient city sounds for my layout as well. Pi’s are great little computers.
     
    badlandnp, mtntrainman and BNSF FAN like this.
  10. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    They are great little machines, I build a small table top layout originally, powered by a raspberry pi and lcd touch screen, which worked well but the screen was too small to be really useful and it was hardwired to the layout so movement was limited.

    I'll definitely come and pick your brains at some stage about the ambient sound part, thats next on my project list once I get the DCC++ system up and running. I was looking at using an old Bluetooth speaker to run the ambient sound part but so far most of the information I have found is using Sound Pro and all about loco sounds.

    IMG_4325.jpg
     
  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    1,036
    2,107
    36
    My ambient sounds are just sound files I downloaded from the net, that loop over and over through a set of Amazon Basics speakers attached to my box. Look for my build thread in the DCC section.
     
    BNSF FAN and Chris Hall like this.
  12. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Created a Youtube account so I can link the video's on here. let me know if you can't see them as I may need to change the privacy settings. Edit - Sorry for the naked man in the shower.....

     
  13. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    1,036
    2,107
    36
    Looks good, vid worked perfectly.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  14. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    7,064
    11,756
    123
    Video working fine. The level of detail is fantastic sir! (y)(y)(y)
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,114
    3,575
    125
    WOW is all I can say ! (y)(y)
     
  16. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Thats why I love this hobby, its a great mixture of Woodwork, electrics, robotics, computers, model building and painting, plus all the others I've forgotten about.
     
    badlandnp, mtntrainman and Massey like this.
  17. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Seeing as it was Valentines Day I thought it prudent to not scuttle downstairs to work on the layout and at least be in the same room as the wife (she crochet's and is more than happy to read whilst she beavers away). The planned work didn't quite play out the way I intended. My 3D printer decided to have a hissy fit and it took several prints before I realised what the issue was (slight misalignment between the build plate and the print screen - talking width of paper misalignment!). End result was the print not always sticking to the build plate, or one corner would detach which resulted in a lot of wasted resin, cleaning issues and also replacing the FEP film thanks to a rogue piece of print getting smashed between the build plate and screen.

    I did finally manage to salvage some of the prints to create the box for the DCC++ mega system, which made me happy. Just needs a little more sanding and a good paint.
    IMG_4468.jpg

    The plus side of waiting for the printer (each section took between 1.5 to 3 hours to print) was some time to play with scripting in JMRI and testing the new DCC++ system. Down side is now having to learn yet another computer language with Python. Joy. Got something in the end, managing to move the loco between two IR sensors and playing sounds. Wife was not impressed with the constant honking, clanking and general racket though, but it does give me the excuse to go downstairs next time to "make all the crappy train sounds"

     
    mtntrainman, badlandnp and SP-Wolf like this.
  18. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    2,775
    5,599
    67
    I will have to echo mtntrainman and say that my sons will probably get super stoked by this! Me, I think it is really cool, too! A bit above my skill levels in electronics. The 3d printing is excellent, and the overall modeling is great! This will be interesting AND informative to watch as you go along. I may even learn some neat e-stuff!!
     
  19. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

    56
    145
    4
    Thanks!

    Honestly I am no computer genius and it has taken almost a year of lock down to really start to produce results. I've fried two uno's in the process and countless other little boards but the satisfaction of watching something work for the first time is fantastic.
     
    mtntrainman and badlandnp like this.
  20. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

    1,036
    2,107
    36
    Wow, that makes my little system look like a wind up toy. I can’t be DCC with mine, the little Kato Portrams do not play nice with DCC.
     
    Onizukachan likes this.

Share This Page