Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN bus

Post Reply
torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN bus

Post by torstenSch » 30.03.2015, 09:47

Hello,

I am probalbly not the only one, who followed Bert on connecting Rocrail via an arduino via CAN to the Gleisbox ("http://forum.rocrail.net/viewtopic.php? ... eisbox+can).

The first issue I currently have is, that some K-track turnouts switch only to one side, if their decoder is connected to the rail. If I connect the decoder to my old TAMS B-2 booster, I have no issue and am able to take the decoder/switch power from dedicated light power line.

Second issue is, that I am not able to connect S88 feedbacks (easily) to the track, as the Gleisbox with the H-bridge amplifier is not GND based.

As Bert has written in his valuable posts, taking the booster signal from the Gleisbox is quite easy (especially with the picture uploaded lately; thanks for that).

Question is now, if this booster is used for driving the locs, too: How to get the MFX feedback signal into the Gleisbox (and via the CAN to rocrail). If the Gleisbox output is not used lateron, I don't really care.

TAMS offers a Booster Link. According to them, the Gleisbox (-track) may take the feedback from boosted track portion via the Boosterlink, if the Gleisbox ios driven by a separated power supply. According to my understanding with using the CAN interface, this boundary condition is hurt.

The Boosterlink works on common GND by design, which doesn't fit the H-brigde side. Therefore I thought about applying the Boosterlink output to pin 8 of the Gleisbox SAA6579, but as Bert pointed out, the boosterlink output is high output level, not TTL required by the SAA6579.

I would like to stick to TAMS, as they provided a good service/support in the past and I am still happy with the long time quality of their booster, decoder.

Suggestion has been, to feed the signal of the boosterlink via an optocoppler to the Gleisbox, ether directly to the SAA6579 or via the track output of the Gleisbox.

Did someone work into this direction? Any suggestion for starting my journey?

Thank you!

Best regards,

Torsten

woodyboy
Posts: 628
Joined: 18.11.2013, 16:01

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by woodyboy » 30.03.2015, 18:30

Hi Torsten,

What kind of switchdecoder and powersupply do you use for the Gleisbox?

Regards,
Bert

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 31.03.2015, 13:37

Hello Bert,

I use the normal Märklin transformator delivered with the MS2, labeled with 36 VA.

For the decoders, I have 4 self made with 145027 (build 2004 after http://www.heise.de/ct/Redaktion/cm/buc ... 5.html#WD4), one LDT S-DEC-4-MM , 4 TAMS WD-1, 2 TAMS WD-34.

For the tests, all but one decoder are disconnected. The decoder is able to pull the 7549 if not connected to the turnout, If connected, some are stuck on one direction. With external power/booster, they switch.

Not all have an issue, but it seems independent from the turnout. I may put them to garbage, but as two are in the lower floor, I fear the issue to return later with the upper tracks mounted and no chance to fix it ...

As the second edit:
If I disconned the turnout from the decoder and power it with a classical Märklin trnasformator (the blue ones), the turnout will move. So, it seems not to be the 'classical' micro switch issue of the blades, but perhaps the 'classical' mechanics and dust/wear debris issue

Brgds,

Torsten

woodyboy
Posts: 628
Joined: 18.11.2013, 16:01

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by woodyboy » 02.04.2015, 19:53

Hi Torsten,

Reading your story and my experience with the "36VA" powersupply " (wall adapter) delivered with the MS2, I think you have to blame the 36VA powersupply. My experiences with this fine piece of hardware are not so positive. See my post at http://forum.rocrail.net/viewtopic.php? ... =90#p73895

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 09.04.2015, 09:25

Hi Bert,

thanks for the hint. I face the issue, even so no CAN is connected, just using the hand control to switch one turnout. My first thought has been to apply external power to the turnout decoders, but stopped getting aware of the H-bridge inside the GFP.

Had some guests last week staying, so was blocked from the track. Will try to switch the turnouts with my TAMS booster. If it works, it's not the turnout ...

Brgds,

Torsten

welli
Posts: 65
Joined: 16.12.2012, 10:28

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by welli » 22.05.2015, 20:21

Hi Thorsten and Bert,

Actually I have connceted the Gleixbox to an Arduino (LAN) and to an Editsbooster.
As my mfx lock did not get recognized by rocrail , I took the Bosterlink solution and connected it direct to the outputs of the gleisbox and the Editsbooster as shown in the manual.
But rocrail did not recognized the mfx lock, once I connected the Display of the Gleisbox ,where the mfx lock was already recognized in, rocrail could also run the lock once greated in rocrail. :?:

Hope that this littel shares can help you.

Best regards

woodyboy
Posts: 628
Joined: 18.11.2013, 16:01

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by woodyboy » 22.05.2015, 22:06

Hi Welli,

Thanks for reporting, but this is expected behaviour. The work around for this is to put the loco one time on a small piece of track attached to the output of the Gleisbox. In this phase discover and bind should be both selected in the controller configuration of Rocrail Then Rocrail will create the loco and assigns a sid to the mfx loco. This sid will be reused after every restart of Rocrail. If you plan to use a combination of a MS2 and a Gleisbox, let the MS2 handle the assignment. For this situation the bind option is sufficient. The only thing necessary for this situation is to connect the MS2 before Rocrail is started and let the loco be registering by the MS2. Rocrail listens and takes the SID assigned by the MS2. This SID is reused every time after restarting Rocrail.

After restarting in a Gleisbox only situation with a non bidirectional booster, f.i. the Edits booster, the discover option must be disabled. Otherwise a verify will be executed which could not be successful verified due to missing feedback. In that case the Gleisbox unbinds the loc and it will not respond until the discover option is disabled and Rocrail is restarted.

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 20.10.2015, 15:08

Hi Welli and Bert,

to be honest, it took me some time to recover from your postings and the workload contributed in addition.

Nevertheless, thanks for your postings!

It didn't really agree to 'Thanks for reporting, but this is expected behaviour. ' My expectation has been, that the Boosterlink would transfer the feedback from the locos to the GFP and by this to rocrail.

Over the month' my conclusion to this issue became:
Develop a device, listening to the communication by the GFP and switch the turnouts based on this, leaving they loco stearing to the GFP (which works out on may layout until now (not all locos deployed)).

Based on this, I thought about 'tweaking' Berts work:
The new device
* Shall work without rocrail server connected to CAN_UDP_gw.
* 2 options:
* 1) Step in the middle of CAN_UDP_gw and rocrail
* -- will cause delay in comm CAN_UDP_gw to rocrail
* -- twice the risk of loosing a UDP packet
* -- will require to emulate rocrail comm until, rocrail connects
* 2) Get CAN_UDP_gw to send parallel stream of information to this slave
* -- will require patching of CAN_UDP_gw
* - sending always to broadcast 192.168.2.255:15730
* -- may cause issue on initialization, if no rocrail connects
* - don't wait for rocrail to join for forwarding GFP data
* Uses ports to control separate booster for the turnout/signal information sent by the GFP/Maerklin CS2

I changed the CAN_UDP_gv20 to send to broadcast always as a first step and will try to test/load it ASAP. Question is, how to emulate the rocrail server, if no rocrail is connected, but I'll use the debug output.

Best regards,

Torsten

woodyboy
Posts: 628
Joined: 18.11.2013, 16:01

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by woodyboy » 20.10.2015, 18:50

Hi Torsten,

To me it is not clear what your goal is to achieve by the proposed device. Reading your posts, two issues are mentioned. First the MFX feedback problem in case of an unidirectional booster, second the switches which are stuck in one direction.

Did you tried to test them direct attached to the Gleisbox. If successful try separate the switchdecoders from the track conductor and feed the decoders by the Gleisbox output instead of the track? Feed the track with the output of the booster. This guarantees also a more reliable operating of your switches, because of lack of interference from the moving stock.

A more preferable solution is to use a separate Gleisbox with a separate arduino or other can bridge solution for the switches. If using only a few turnouts then this is an expensive solution.

To get mfx feedback by the boosterlink, ensure the correct wiring and position of the ground lead. Feeding back an opto coupler signal to the output of the Gleisbox will have no effect. The design of the Boosterlink shows a performance driver to superposing the mfx signal to a CS2 /Gleisbox output. The most preferable way is to skip the H bridge and to decouple with an optocoupler to the RDS decoder. Currently I do not have enough time to analyze a correct and reliable signal path. But my thougts are an opto driven by the Boosterlink. The output of the opto in series with a 3k3 resistor as an open collector output on pin 2 of the test connector in the Gleisbox. Be sure to use use the correct phase.
Last edited by woodyboy on 21.10.2015, 20:17, edited 1 time in total.

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 21.10.2015, 11:00

Dear Bert,

thank you very much for your valuable input.

Sorry for confusing you (and possible others): Perhaps starting with clarifying the requirements:
1) I would like to control the turnouts and locos solely via the MobileStation2 hand controls. This will enable my children to play
2) I would like to use the track layout offered by rocrail to set to turnouts (incl. routes) and perhaps have a small commuter go back and forward). For my own purpose.
3) I would like to build a physical control panel, that is connected via S88 to rocrail/srcpd to the GFP (my requirement, based on the current progress on the landscape work, will take ages)

Currently 1) and 2) are not working for the turnouts.

One turnout solely on the GFP works, I didn't perform the tests listed in your posting, but will try to do so.

I understand your big picture. I just don't feel enough push to bypass the H-bridge and connect a MFX-able booster (or my with a booster link). From your previous posts I think to know what to do, just see a big chance to wreck my GFP.

That's probably the reason it took me so long to move forward on this.

So my solution (currently) is, to listen to the GFP output on CAN/UDP and to drive a second booster from it (with the risk not to connect H-bridge and turnout booster).

Any suggestions welcome.

Test yesterday at least enabled my to see the stop/go command from the MS2, just the turnout changes have not been transmitted (observable in the trace). Rocrail initiated turnout changes have been observable in the trace UDP to CAN.

Best regards,

Torsten

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 23.10.2015, 09:23

Hello,

I used the time for further tests. As expected, the basic issue is the turnout engine for the K-track. Some moved lighter than others.
All are OK with direct connection to 16V (classic analog mode) and work quite well with decoders supported by external voltage.
MS2 with only one turnout/decoder connected work for all but the bad one. But: More fail, if several locos are on powered track in parallel.

External booster works with all turnouts.

BTW: With the risk of future need to replace some turnout motors in future due to burned end-off-switches, I really think about replacing the more hidden (no chance to replace later) turnout motors by servos ...

Brgds,

Torsten

woodyboy
Posts: 628
Joined: 18.11.2013, 16:01

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by woodyboy » 23.10.2015, 09:43

Hi Torsten,

To me it sounds like a power supply problem. Did you try a 19V or 19V1 laptop powersupply to replace the original Maerklin powersupply? I'm using this solution to operate my switches for about a year and this works very reliable. Be aware not to use a power supply with a higher output voltage. The parts used in the output stage of the Gleisbox are rated for a max of 20V. Also keep in mind the maximum output current of the Gleisbox. The unit has a temperature and output current monitor and switches off at overload, but our hobby should not facilitate a silicon meltdown experiment 8)

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 30.10.2015, 10:00

Hi Bert,

thanks for the hint (especially about the voltage). The turnout engine still has a issue, but it sounds much stronger on switching and without the surounding plastic/metall reliable switches!

Best regards,

Torsten

torstenSch
Posts: 19
Joined: 05.02.2015, 14:48

Re: Add booster to Gleisbox, supporting Boosterlink and CAN

Post by torstenSch » 13.11.2015, 10:43

Hello,


as update from my side.
Welli stated, that booster link works.

I found meanwhile a link: http://www.ldt-infocenter.com/dokuwiki/ ... e_1594.pdf showing MS2 stearing mainly the turnouts, while a LDT DB4 booster drives the track, taking the MS2 output as input and using a booster link to feedback the DB4 track to the MS2 box.

Only drawback is, that MS2 and DB-4 have to share a common ground.

Using Bert's hint in the parallel thread for driving a separate booster (inside the MS2) bypassing the H-bridge, will allow me to use my booster to drive turnouts and lights from a separate (old) booster based on common ground (with the CAN-bus and S88-Ethernet device mentioned in Berts separate track.

With this, I see a solution for:
- enough power (and voltage) the drive nasty turnouts
- S88 bus has coomon ground with turnouts, light etc. so easy to feedback
- I know the path to add additional booster to support the track with more than 1.9A (delivered by the MS2)

Only open issue is: Getting the current sensors (used to watch <<<occupied>>> tracks) connected to the common ground S88 (yes, the expensive opto S88 will do ...).


Thanks for getting so far!

Brgds,
Torsten

Post Reply

Return to “DIY Hardware”