The Modern DC Control Wireless System for All Model Railways
Sketches and URB units updated to 122Hz
4/14/19 Tests 122 Hz PWM frequency is passed.
3/31/19 Watch Loop video
3/20/19 Protocol 2.1 is implemented to all Apps
How it works
The project has named as URB (Universal Railway Bus), consists of three parts – a Android App, rules for applying and writing Arduino Sketches and any Arduino hardware. You can use any Arduino boards and moreover, connect them together. Data exchange between the application and your layout is carried out through one or several Bluetooth connections.
The Main Principle of the whole project is the minimum complexity and inexpensive components. Open source Arduino IDE allows you to program the system to suit your layout. Detailed step-by-step examples of system integration into your railway are available on the website and on the YouTube channel.
System fits to your favorit scale
To control trains you will fit any of the many Motor-Drivers suitable for the Arduino platform. This means that you can use any voltage range. And moreover, you get flexibly adjust the speed characteristics of your locomotives by simply changing the Arduino sketches.
+ Unique feature – the system is native supports multiplayer mode.
Any railway layout
There are no restrictions on the size of your railway and its complexity. You can apply this system to a small layout with a few turnouts, and then expand your railway world to any size. You do not need additional accessories – all you need already available in the big collection of devices for Arduino.
Most of videos, sites and posts of modelers show the most spectacular part of the process of creating a layout – the layout of ways and creating details of the landscape. At the same time, the creation of trains control system is postponed until later, hoping for ready-made DDC solutions. And if the layout is large enough, it quickly becomes clear that the initial and most popular DСC systems are not designed for such a complex layout. As a result, most modelers simply do not try to make complex control of their layout. And I very often see a sad picture as on an excellent model layout several trains monotonous and boring move on parallel circles. Such "live" things as dynamic changes in routes, complex maneuvers, automatic train movement, online signaling and independent management of several players will make very expensive and difficult to install and configure logics if you use the concept of DCC. Especially bad is the control console on complex layouts, it is cumbersome, inconvenient and its cost often exceeds the price of all other electronics.
As you already know, in my project the console is the Android phone with the Arduino Trains application. In addition to the fact that you immediately get several a ready "free" and wireless management consoles, this solution transfers the configuration of the logic and algorithms of your layout to the network of Arduino blocks located directly on the layout. This is a very big difference from the usual model of building electronics on the layout, since you are building a distributed control system. This solution allows you to perform most of the control algorithms locally, which greatly simplifies and speeds up the setup and programming of sketches.
The flexibility and universality of the project URB gives you the opportunity to independently make decisions about the organization of the behavior of devices on your layout.
Advantages of this project
Modularity of the project allows the use of prototyping. Create your a prototype, and then transfer it to the layout. This allows you to realize your thought much faster.
Instead of a long and not always successful manufacture of a real console with buttons and throttle rudders, Arduino Train Apps immediately gives you many advantages:
- Works right out of the box. You just need to run the program on a smartphone or tablet.
- Wirelessly. Bluetooth is integrated into any modern Android device.
- You can use several Android devices for controls the one layout, that is, you can play together. Also you can just buy cheap simplest Android-tablets specially for the your model project.
- Useful app UI specially for railway modellers
No projects is successful if it does not offer a complete and reliable solution. My version offers not only this, but also an almost infinite expansion of your railroad capabilities in building electronics, the lack of restrictions in the implementation of your own ideas. You can update your layout and add new features to it by simply updating the firmware of the the Arduino boards, you will not let you lose interest in the future.
Programming a sketch for a project is very simple. Only simple codes and standard Arduino libraries are used. My friend says a great phrase about Arduino: Don’t be afraid of programming, for Arduino programming is like teaching the dog to execute commands.
For the Arduino platform, a very large number of parts are produced: sensors, motor- drivers and etc. Thanks to the competition of the producers, they are very cheap, and you will not have compatibility problems between them and Arduino. The software has been tested by millions of users and is very reliable.
And most importantly, thanks to the Arduino community, you will always find the answer to any of your questions. A large number of training materials are also available free.
Try it now
A simple free Android app that allows you to drive the locomotive. It is the initial application for experiments with the URB project. You can use it also at exhibitions, to demonstrate your layout to visitors. Free downloading this application from GooglePlay they will be able to control the train to which you will provide access.
To test the capabilities of the URB project, assemble the circuit from the first example or create own it. Also I recommend to do set up a URB control system to suit your favorite railway scale and your locomotives. Also this application is basic for beginners.
Founder URB Project
Hello friends! I started this project in 2014. Then I was absolutely not satisfied with the state of affairs in railway modellings. I did not want to use the ready DCC system for a variety of reasons, one of which was my old fleet of locomotives. The attempt to sort out the zoo of Open DCC solutions terrified me. In addition, I wanted to control the trains from the Android phone and absolutely did not want to use a computer for this. I needed a simple, reliable, repeatable solution with a lot of flexibility, if I wanted to make my layout automated.
The second problem was the lack of convenient software. All the applications I've found have always come bundled with hardware. And this completely blocked the incredible possibilities of a cooperation of Android and Arduino. I wanted to independently build control algorithms and have a universal wireless console. As a result, I had to write an Application for myself. Now this is the fifth version of the program Arduino Train, and it's consists of several applications.
Gradually within a few years the project has become reliable and perfect, so, I that now they can be shared. Especially I succeeded design in the concept of URB, I myself did not expect how convenient this was.
If you have ideas and suggestions about this Project — write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org