[Coco] Computers and electric trains...

Mike Pepe lamune at doki-doki.net
Wed Nov 28 18:23:22 EST 2007

Aaron Banerjee wrote:
> My (7 year old) son just got a real Lionel O gauge train set from his 
> grandfather for his birthday/early Christmas.  I've been waiting 35 
> years for a real Lionel...  Anyhoo, I was wanting to use the computer 
> for command and control of the set.
> I tried getting a relay board for my PC, but I was getting prices for 
> relay or DAS boards of like $800 - $1600.  This is way out of my price 
> range.  I must be looking in the wrong place (I tried Keithley and 
> another place).
> The first thing that came to mind after the sticker shock is that the 
> coco natively has 4 A/D converters (JOYSTK) and a natural relay 
> (cassette motor).  Unfortunately, I need more than one relay.  I suppose 
> the out pin of the serial I/O could be used (in conjunction with a 
> transistor) to drive a relay, but I'd need more than two.
> This sounds like something someone on this list has probably done in the 
> past.  Any insight/advice would be appreciated.
>                             - Aaron


No need to re-invent the wheel. These things already exist, and for much 
less than buying industrial computer interface stuff.


Now, there is the complication that the Lionel 3-track stuff uses AC 
motors whereas the DCC stuff is really built for 2-track DC systems, but 
decoders and such do exist for 3-rail systems as well.

Digitrax makes a rather inexpensive system that can be controlled via a 
serial port. Even a CoCo serial port!

Poke around their website.

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